Scrolls, what are they good for?
If you’ve bought beta access to Scrolls, then you’ve no doubt figured out that it’s a card-based battle game. For anyone new to the genre, learning how to play can be slightly disorienting. We’ve assembled this beginner’s guide to alleviate that confusion, a list of essential knowledge that’ll help you start without worrying about getting waffle stomped.
Choosing the deck that suits you
When you boot up Scrolls for the first time you’ll have a choice to make: what type of deck do you want to play? There are three types of decks in Scrolls—Order, Growth, and Energy. Each has a distinct style. Whatever your preference, you’ll be issued a starter pack with 50 scrolls (cards) that you can customize later.
Navigating the lobby
Scrolls’ lobby is where you shop, customize your deck, and edit your profile before jumping into battle. The Arena is where you’ll find other players or the AI to battle. Completing Trials against AI will earn you some extra gold, it won’t necessarily be easy money. The rules accompanying each one make for some rather unorthodox battles that range from fighting bunnies to taking on a buffed-up super creature.
The anatomy of a scroll
Take a moment and study your scrolls before battling. At the top of each card, you’ll see one four icons: structures, creatures, spells or enchantments, reiterated as text near the top. The edges of the scroll signify their rarity--the more detail, the rarer they are.
When looking at a scroll, there are a few things to consider—how much resource it costs to play, if it has a countdown and how long it is, what its attack and defense is, and what special abilities it may have. The countdown determines how many turns it takes to activate, with stronger cards typically having longer countdowns. Some cheap scrolls with fast countdowns could be the difference between winning and losing a match.
Hexagonal tiles of doom
Okay, so you’ve been through the lobby and checked the store. Now it’s time to play a match. In addition to a variety of barren locales, the Scrolls battlefield consists of two sides with five columns each. At the end of each column is an idol. Destroy three of these on your opponent’s side (they’ll always be on the right) and you win. Sounds simple enough, right? Not quite.
You start the match with zero resources. To get more, you have to sacrifice (discard) scrolls. If you’re low on cards, you can discard for two extra scrolls instead of resources, but it’ll put you behind when you need to summon anything with a higher cost. Personally, I’ve found that it’s usually best to discard at least one scroll per turn until you have five or more resources. Then, depending on how things look, you can start discarding for more scrolls or just save the ones you have.
Playing to your strengths
Each deck is like a snowflake (if snowflakes summoned homicidal creatures). They’re unique, and you want to make sure you know how to use and defend against them effectively.
Order is all about controlling the battle and taking advantage of different creatures’ proximity bonuses. One rare scroll, the Honorable General, has the ability to create an instant full scale blitz by decreasing the turn countdown of adjacent creatures. When used in the right spot, you’ll have your whole field ready to attack at the same time. Placing spiky spearmen in front of your lines creates a hazard for attacking melee units and as Order you’ll have quite a few tricks up your sleeve in terms of spells and enchantments.
Growth is more about putting a lot of units on the field and letting them work in tandem. One creature, the Great Wolf, gains more power with every wolf creature on the board. And another, the Brother of the Wolf, can actually summon wolves at the end of its countdown. Combine the two and you have a pretty scary lineup. Watch out for these kinds of combos when facing a Growth opponent.
Tips to make the most of your scrolls
Now all that’s left is for me to pass on some tricks that I’ve learned in the 60-something matches that I’ve played. Order was my primary deck during my playtime, so I’d welcome expanded thoughts on the other deck types in the comments section below.
Order has a few nifty scrolls that change where your opponent’s creatures are and which creatures are actually at play. One particular spell, Flip, is useful for throwing any weak creature right in front of one of your own that will attack at the end of your turn. You can also remove your own creatures from play to heal them or remove any debuffs they may have. Be warned: this will also remove any helpful spells or enchantments. Of course, the same applies to your opponent, so feel free to remove that über buffed creature for a turn to make it less intimidating when it comes back.