Infinity wars (IW) is a unique trading card game (tcg). I have played a lot of different tcg over the years and I feel that I am starting to get the hang of it. So when I start on a new game it usually doesn’t take me a lot of time to figure out what is important to win. However in IW this wasn’t the case. My knowledge from other tcg games was still quite useful, but it wasn’t enough.
In IW the phases work differently since both players have to give orders at the same time and this means that many new skills are needed in addition to the skills set from a traditional tcg. If you have played other tcg like me, but are new to IW this guide might help you get into the game faster by learning some of the unique mechanics of IW.
In this guide I will look at priorities and try to explain how you can use the knowledge of how priority works, to become a better player.
Phases and priority
In IW you have three phases in each turn.
1. The planning phase
2. The resolution phase
3. The combat phase
In the planning phase each player makes a plan for the turn. After that the computer figures out the order of each ability and resolves everything properly. This might be a satisfying explanation for a casual player, but if we want to win as many games as we can, we can’t we be satisfied with this explanation. To figure out what abilities trigger first you only need to understand one mechanic and that is priority.
Every turn one player has priority and that players name is spelled with green letters.
In the second phase (the resolution phase) all the active players abilities are triggered in the order he used during the planning phase. After that all the inactive players abilities trigger in the order he used during the planning phase. After that we move to the combat phases and all the active player’s creatures attack first. After that all the inactive player’s creatures attack.
(Bonus info: in the start of each planning phase the computer might ask you to do certain things, like sacrifice a creature to Shikana, who demands tributes or the ritual master. Since you can’t do anything before you have decided if you want to do this or not these action will always become the first actions a player does during his or her planning phase and therefore also the first actions during the ability phase.)
Now when we know how priority works it starts to become interesting because we can use this knowledge to become better players.
Order during planning phase
The point is quite simple, but I still see players who make this mistake. You need to do stuff in the planning phase in the order you want to do it in during the resolution phase.
If you play word of command before you play death ray you know the spell will kill.
If you play exhaust before you play called shot you know they are in the support zone.
If you play fear before you play call the crusade no one will block your army.
If you uses Aleta the immortal tinkler before secluded constructor your unit will become larger.
This list go on and on.
You can also use this during deck building. Zom-B-gone 4000 might be too situational by itself but if you play it right after you played an undead corruption the card becomes a lot better.
The next step is to use the knowledge that the active player’s cards are triggered before the inactive player's. So if you are the active player you can kill a secluded constructor before it can use its ability and interrupt your opponent’s plans, but if he is the active player you will have to guess which creature he is targeting with the ability and kill that unit instead so it doesn’t get to destroy your team. You might also be able to use sage of strength before your opponent cast wind of war and save your creatures, but if you were the inactive player you would have to draw your men back to the support zone. Angelify only protects your unit if you are the active player otherwise it will be killed before you can protect it.
So the cards we play, the abilities we activate and the creatures we target all depend on who is the active player. All of this is quite simple, but it starts to become a little complicated when we begin to think ahead.
Planning ahead with priority in mind
You know that it is better to kill the secluded constructor before it uses its ability because you can mess up your opponent’s plan and maybe leave him with a useless bad bot in play, but you can’t just take a turn off and do nothing to cast your spell next turn. But if you consider priority and when you plan what spell to cast you might be able to use all your resources effective every turn and still try to get your opponent when you have priority.
Let us say you are a flame dawn or warpath deck that needs to use all it resources every turn to win and have a lot of creatures that all try to bring your opponent’s life to zero as fast as possible. In this case you might want to play a creature that costs 4 and one that cost 3 the turn you have 7 resources instead of one that cost 5 and 2 if it means that you still have a creature that costs 2 in your hand next turn when you want to play assassinate and something else. It is not that different than planning a head in other regards, but if you remember that spells which are good at interrupting your opponent are better to play when you have priority and cards like call the crusade are good to play when your opponent has priority you might change the order you play spells in a little.
Since this topic is so complex it is hard to give every example, so I will just encourage you to keep this in mind.
Unit placement with priority in mind
Finally we have combat priority. When you play against that annoying monkey combat priority is everything. If you have priority you can make it so none of your opponent’s units attack, but if your opponent has priority his unit will deal damage before they are moved to the defense zone. This means that you can ignore the monkey as an aggressive deck if you have priority, but you have to defend against it if you don’t have it. (Bonus info: you can use the monkey to kill your opponent’s units instead of dealing damage if you have a large creature after the monkey so you can’t ignore it completely, but that is another topic.) Another example is that if you can kill a pack leader all the other beast get smaller, so if you know that your opponent has priority and you think he will place the pack leader in the assault zone, it might be right to use a lot of your units defensively even if you are racing, simply because it becomes easier to get through his defenses when the pack leader is dead.
There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to use your knowledge of how priority works to get an advantage in IW. I can’t mention all of them here, but by mentioning some I hope I got you thinking about this topic. If you have any examples of plays that are better when you have priority or when you don’t have it that I didn’t mention than feel free to write them in the comment section.