Welcome to @splinterlands newbie tutorial, it is indented as guide for new players to provide decent understanding of most important parts. And also to help fast forward through first few leagues and reach at least silver league (with better rewards) as fast as possible.
I am just bit over month and half old in Splinterlands so I still vividly remember new player’s struggles, but I also reached diamond league and won two tournaments facing strong opponents. For those reasons I believe I am in unique position to provide good advice that will be relevant to new players.
If you are familiar with how splinterlands works and just want advanced strategies feel free to skip to strategy section where they are discussed.
Everything written in this article should be taken as guideline, not a rule. Splinterlands is complex game that gets even more complex when you delve in more. There are no silver bullets universal strategies that works every time. Practice is important part of mastering Splinterlands.
Goal of this tutorial is to provide guide I wish I had when I started playing. Let’s begin.
Your starter cards
Let’s take a look at starter deck first.
It contains all common and rare cards from latest expansion - Untamed.
That is 7 monsters of each basic splinter (35 total), 7 neutral monsters and 6 summoners - one from each basic splinter plus one summoner.
To build a team for battle you need one summoner and 1-6 monsters from selected
summoners splinter (=color) or from neutral mercenaries.
Pyre represents Fire splinter, which is fast and quite hard hitting
Bortus represents Water splinter, which specializes in magic attacks
Wizard of Eastwood represents Earth splinter, which excels when facing magic
Mother Khala represents Life splinter, which is often heavily armored
Contessa L’ament represents Death splinter, which focuses on debuffing opponent
Drake of Arnak represents Dragon splinter, which behaves differently. If you chose dragon summoner you will need to also choose which basic splinter will be used by that summoner and you will have access to monsters from chosen basic splinter for that match.
Please note that what each splinter is good at is VAST oversimplification and any splinter can choose another strategy for battle. For just starter decks its good quick overview and later on you will still need to think about possibility of mentioned specializations and use countermeasures if possible.
After Choosing summoner you will need to pick your monster that will be in front.
This monster will most often take significant damage from opponent’s monsters so it need to be durable.
Each splinter has big monster with some defensive ability available in starter deck.
Each of splinter affiliated tanks have defensive ability. Most important of these are Shield and Void. Shield reduces incoming melee and ranged damage while Void does the same for magic damage. This reduction is especially significant in lower leagues, because 1 damage is reduced to 0 damage. 2 is reduced to 1 damage, 3 or more is reduced to half rounded up (3 or 4 -> 2, …) It is also reason why difference between 1 and 2 or 2 and 3 damage is much higher than difference between 3 and 4 damage. You will see these abilities very often.
Elven Defender is neutral mercenary so he can be player by any splinter, he is weaker compared to splinter-affiliated tank monsters though.
After placing your tank use some monsters that deal lot of damage from backline. Durability of those monsters is far less important than durability of tank. Still somewhat important though.
Advanced strategies will be discussed at the end of this tutorial.
Let go to battle!
I think you already fought few splinterlands battles if you are reading this. But if not its super easy just click on sword in top menu and select ranked (practice mode is basically the same minus rewards), wait short while to be matched with opponent, select make team and you are in team composition builder. Select your summoner, place your tank, place your damage dealers and submit team to battle. Battle begins, just click rumble and watch the carnage.
Hopefully your monsters are the ones left standing at the end, if so that means you won the battle and you will get rewards. Winner of each battle is rewarded with cryptocurrency - Dark Energy Crystals (DEC) and rating points.
Amount of DEC received grows rapidly with rating, it might be fraction of DEC for first battle, but don’t be surprised when you start getting 5 or 10 or even more DEC per battle in a week or two.
(if you did not received DEC for win go to shop and purchase summoners spellbook, which enables rewards it’s worth it and will pay for itself in very, very short time)
Once you acquire enough rating points you will advance to next league, where you will be facing stronger opponents and bigger rewards.
There is first twist at 300 rating points – matches will start having special rules.
I will cover some of them in strategy section.
Last but not least I want to mention daily and seasonal rewards. They are huge. Every day you get quest, usually to win some battles using some splinter. Once finished you can claim rewards. They depend on your current league, where higher league means higher rewards. At the end of each season you will also get mega reward based on your best league during season. Seasons are about 2 weeks long, current one that is nearly at the end was 16 days I think, but they are quite short.
That’s 50 lootboxes, which will probably contain 15-20 cards, nice pile of DEC and quite a lot of potions. There is random factor involved – if I get extremely unlucky they might be worth just $1, if I get extremely lucky even $50+, it will very probably be between those numbers. It is just for playing and importantly rewards actually have that value – they are digital assets. In most games you don’t actually own what you have in game, but in splinterlands you own all cards you get and can do whatever you want with them. Sell, lease, give to friend or even destroy if you want you can do all this.
How to get new cards?
Apart from already mentioned daily reward, you can buy packs and open them (luck involved, but math of large numbers should be on your side, my favorite way) or you can buy cards directly from market.
Some cards even have really high liquidity when for example you can instantly buy for $0.017 or instantly sell for $0.016 even opening possibility for speculations. Rarer cards aren’t generally that liquid but liquidity is still pretty solid even there.
Another option is to rent cards you want. You would be surprised how rare cards you can get for fraction of cent a day. Ideal for trying out card that you may or may not like.
Apart from in game market there are 3 marketplaces you should know about:
monstermarket.io owned by @reazuliqbal & @zaku – My favorite place to buy cards & packs known for instant cashbacks, discounted packs and fast webpage loading time.
peakmonsters.com owned by @jarvie & @asgarth – you can rent cards or place bids on cards here. When I want to rent card I check here.
steem-engine.com owned by @aggroed – place to exchange DEC to/from other cryptocurrency, you can also daytrade DEC here if this is your thing.
Leveling up Cards
Leveling cards is important aspect of the game and from design perspective it is brilliant way to solve problem with “too many commons” so many card games have. You will see sharp contrast If you look for example on Magic: the Gathering (MtG), famous physical card game where common cards are so plentiful that they have virtually no value and are often used as drink coasters or similar things. Ouch.
To level up cards you need to combine cards into one with higher level. Amount of cards needed depends on set and rarity of card. Very rare gold foil cards require significantly less cards to level up and starts at level 2-4 with just one card. And also legendary monsters need lot less cards to level up than common ones.
To summon higher level monsters you will need higher level summoner. Leveling up works same way as leveling up monsters.
Which cards should I get first?
I strongly believe that very first card new player should get is Furious Chicken. This card is special because it costs ZERO mana to play, only cost is one of 6 spots in your team.
You will be using Chicken very often, what it does most of the time is just sitting there and die to first opponents attack, not very glamourous job, but it saves your other monster from receiving hit and that’s huge for 0 mana.
You will not need to level up chicken for long time so level 1 is absolutely fine. Chicken is also very affordable card – just few cents (or DEC, remember they are cryptocurrency and you get them just for playing)
You might even consider to buy or rent gold foil version of Chicken, because gold foils slightly increases DEC you receive for win if you use them in that battle.
Next on the list should be very affordable “essentials” for each splinter.
Fire: Molten Ogre, Ettin Spearman.
Water: Sea Monster, Crustacean King.
Earth: Nectar Queen, Wood Nymph.
Life: Silvershield Knight, Silvershield Assassin.
Death: Octopider, Undead Rexx.
Neutral: Gelatinous Cube, Creeping Ooze and of course already mentioned Furious Chicken.
All these together will cost way less than $1 total and will improve starter decks significantly. You can easily afford them from just rewards very, very quickly.
Acquiring these cards will also help you find out which splinters are your favorites. Pick 2 for now and get few more cards from those splinters, after which it is good idea to level up your summoners of your favorite splinters to lv 2 and also level up your favorite cards from those splinters.
After that you can level up summoners further, acquire new summoners (marlic for fire, alric for water, zintar for death and daria or delwyn dragon summoners are good choices here) or get more summoners to level 2. There is no best option and it will depend or your playstyle. You will probably not need guide anymore at this point, but if in doubt feel free to ask.
Just quick note on (rare) summoner levels:
Level 2 allows you to use cards of max level allowed in bronze tournaments
Level 3 allows you to fully use any uncombined card you may acquire, including gold foil legendary cards.
Level 4 allows you to use cards of max level allowed in silver tournaments
Spy before going to battle
When you are matched with your opponent check what kind of teams he/she used in last matches. It takes just few seconds and you can learn a lot. If you play on PC just hover with mouse over splinter symbols here:
Do you see some patterns? Can you make counterstrategy against opponent’s favorite team composition? Good, because knowing your opponent is at least third of victory and not letting your opponent know your strategy is another third. While playing predictably might still work in lower leagues it’s bad habit that gets punished hard in higher leagues. Don’t be predictable.
One of the most important concepts, if not the most important one is to focus you attacks on small number of opponents monsters, ideally just 1. Imagine scenario where your opponent injured your tank a bit, injured your mage a bit with his sniper and injured your archer slightly with his sneak attacker while you on other hand focused fire on his front unit, which just fallen and opponent’s fragile monsters are now completely exposed. Yup he is totally dead.
Snipe, Sneak, Opportunity? How do they work exactly?
Snipe will target first unit that have ranged, magic or no attack that is not in first position (tank) This ability can be dangerous because it bypasses usually most durable unit and tries to directly hit important, but fragile monsters. Countermeasure: use “snipe-tank” which is some durable unit which will be targeted by snipes usually in 2nd or 3rd position. Imagine putting Gelatinous Cube with gigantic health in second position taking fire from opponent’s snipers while you totally decimate his monsters with fragile but deadly archers. Any durable archer or mage will do in a pinch.
Sneak allows melee monsters to attack from any position and monsters target enemy in last position. Objective of sneak monsters is to decimate fragile damage dealer again trying to bypass protection of main tank. Countermeasure: use “back-tank” which is some durable monster in last position, ideally with Thorns or Counterattack ability to damage (usually fragile) attacking sneak monsters. Imagine putting thorn monster in back protecting your glass cannon archer right in front of it and opponent trying to kill it with 2 sneak monsters… too bad they died to thorn damage not even killing your back-tank while your glass cannon shredded opponents team to pieces. Heal is also nice ability to have on back-tank and any high durability unit will do in a pinch.
Opportunity is most dangerous of these 3 abilities because It will make monster with this ability target monster with lowest amount of health, which is most vulnerable target. It also enables melee attacks from any position and does not suffer from loss of focus fire as much as other two abilities – If tank is near dead opportunity monster will go finish the job. Countermeasure: “decoys” which are expendable low health monsters that takes hits instead of valuable units. Already mentioned Furious Chicken is ideal decoy due to its 0 mana cost. Summoner Drake of Arnak (included in starter cards) also deserves special mention here because he will add 1 armor to all your units, really frustrating non-magic opportunity attackers. It would take them 4 turn to kill something valuable (armor on chicken, chicken itself, armor on real target, real target), which is way too slow to be effective.
Protecting your front is always important, but if you want to take it to next level (at major expense of damage potential) place very durable unit with shield and/or void as tank and support it with attack debuffs + healer. Example: Bortus as summoner (-1 magic damage debuff), Lord Arianthus as tank (have both shield and void) supported by Naga Windmaster (-1 ranged damage debuff) and Crustacean King (healer) will really frustrate opponent’s ranged and magic damage dealer, because they will do just single damage instead of 3 or worse no damage at all instead of 2. And they still need to do more damage than your healer keeps healing. Counter to this is Snipe/Sneak/Opportunity to bypass protected tank or Affliction ability, which prevents healing. Lite version of turtle strategy is just tank with self-heal supported by healer (Sea Monster + Crustacean King for example), which is extremely vulnerable to Affliction and can also lose badly when facing high damage focus fire compositions. When you use some kind of turtle strategy make sure you have a way to kill opponent’s monsters in case he uses healer too.
First strike strategy
Nearly complete opposite of turtle strategy is something I call “first strike plan” where you focus on delivering a lot of damage fast, ideally killing tank or 2+ backline monsters before they have a chance to do anything. Sacrifice you make here is your tank, which is replaced by some less durable, harder hitting monster or even by bunch of small low mana monsters. This strategy has many forms and can deal physical damage, magic damage or focus on snipe/sneak/opportunity. Counterstrategy to this is building “normal” team with durable tank and proper countermeasures so “first strike” should be used sparingly as a surprise when you expect your opponent to make some fancy composition diverging from commonly used team builds.
Earthquake is probably hardest match rule to master because there are so many moving parts. During earthquake match all non-flying units will be hit by 2 damage attack between turns. This damage is reduced by Shield ability to 1. Snared monsters count as non-flying and will receive damage. While flying is very valuable ability here many player focus on this too much. When it comes to tanks in first positions flying is not that important, they are not expected to last until end of battle and non-flying tanks are more durable in general. They might take extra hit or two from earthquake, but also often have shield ability, which makes them last longer. Feel free to use non-flying tanks in first position. It’s rarely mistake. For other monsters however you want that flying ability and/or Snare ability that removes flying from attacked monsters. When you can’t or don’t want to use many flying monsters consider using Drake of Arnak as summoner because +1 armor means mitigated damage from earthquake between rounds 1 and 2.
Equalizer is newest rule, so it will be one of most misplayed for quite a while. Equalizer changes health of all monsters in battle to value of monster with most health on battlefield. Either friendly or hostile both sides will have health changed to same value. Health buffs and debuffs are applied after that. This drastically changes what tanks look like. Your tank wants Shield and/or Void ability, armor and good speed. For other creatures you want high damage and good speed. Snipe and Sneak abilities are bad because you want to focus your attacks on single unit. Healers on other hand are quite powerful and this makes Affliction ability desirable too. Flying and/or Dodge are abilities are highly valuable on any monster. Apart from redefining what is tank in these matches compositions should be built quite normally – tank and damage behind it. Add healers, and/or buffs/debuffs if situation allows it. Equalizer matches lasts for more turns on average so these abilities will have time to provide a lot of value.
There is a lot more that can be said about strategies since we just scratched the surface and this guide is not intended as in-depth guide on specific situations. Intent of this guide is to help you understand how game works and set you on path to become
better OP player in time.
I hope it was helpful.
If you have any questions feel free to ask, either here via reply or in splinterlands official discord
not playing yet? click here to start