Tips and Tricks for Getting 7 Expedition Wins
Hey all! This article was adapted with permission from Sam who wrote an awesome Reddit post on this topic recently. Check out his stream at twitch.tv/samcwill.
Hi guys. My name is Sam, I go 7 wins in most of my trials (my most recent streak is 5 7-win trials in a row), and I want to help you do the same. This short guide is going to contain some things to think about that will help you build good decks, and pilot them to victory.
The Potential Payout:
Let’s say you go 7 wins in every single trial. If you end each expedition after just 1 7-win trial, That’s 2000exp, a net gain of 500 shards, and a champion capsule for just 1-2 hours of gameplay, not to mention the experience you gain for just playing games. This is by far and away the most efficient method of building your LoR collection.
How to Pick Cards
Avoid Big Ifs:
Your goal here is to build a deck that’s consistently strong. This means that you want your deck to have as few big ifs as possible. For example, Cursed Keeper is great if you have a way of killing him off yourself.
Navori Conspirator is great if you consistently have good recall targets like Inspiring Mentor. Kinkou Wayfinder is great if its Allegiance effect goes off and you have at least two 1-cost allies left in your deck.
Normally, these are all big ifs and if you’re not building your deck to work with cards like these from the start, you should avoid picking them at all.
However, if you’ve started taking cards with Cursed Keeper synergy from the get-go, you’re more likely to have those cards offered to you in the future, and the if shrinks significantly.
“Questions” Are Better Than “Answers”:
Some cards are totally if-proof. Greenglade Duo is a threatening 2-drop that starts your opponent’s death-clock ticking early in the game. Zed is a solid 3-drop, and if he’s not dealt with quickly, he’ll produce excellent value.
Alpha Wildclaw hits the board like a truck and without strong enemy blockers to stop him, he’ll end the game shortly after being summoned.
Each of these cards poses a question to your opponent. Can you stop this? And if they don’t have an answer, you win the game. Answers are sometimes good. But questions are always good.
And if you ask enough of them, you’ll back your opponent into a corner where they have to start taking bad trades just to stay alive.
It’s Easier to Build Strong Early-Game Decks than Late-Game:
While it’s certainly possible to build a late-game deck that trades with or otherwise eliminates early threats before dropping a slew of 5+ cost cards and taking the late-game by storm, this requires a lot of things to go right.
It is, on average, less consistent than just throwing together a bunch of strong units you can play on turns 1 through 5, and closing out the game with a handful of finishers like The Empyrean, Tryndamere, and Darius.
Combat Spells Are Strong:
Spells you can play during combat to turn a bad trade into a good one are really powerful! Especially if they happen at Burst speed. That being said, you can only use them for their maximum value when you already have good units on your board.
For example, Elixir of Iron is more valuable keeping a 5/5 alive than a 3/2.
Might is better is used to suddenly destroy the enemies Nexus than it is to let your 1/1 kill an enemy 4/4.
Back to Back can turn two dead allies into two dead enemies, but only if they started out at similar strengths.
So when is it best to pick combat spells? When your deck already has a lot of good units, you expect to spend most of your games ahead on board, and you want to keep it that way.
The more spells your deck has, the worse combat spells become. A deck that’s choc-full of good minions with only around half a dozen combat spells will see great success.
Don’t Put Slow Cards In Fast Decks:
Cards produce value at different speeds.
A card like Thermogenic Beam or Arena Battlecaster produces all of its value the instant it’s played, but a card like Battlesmith or Vanguard Sergeant only offers a portion of its value upfront in the form of stats on the board.
The rest of its value doesn’t come until it’s buffed its last elite, or you’ve played For Demacia!
Cards that offer all of their value upfront are fast, and everything else is varying degrees of slow.
In a fast deck, where your goal is to build as much of an early lead as possible, fast cards reign supreme. Cards that still offer a substantial amount of upfront value won’t slow you down too much and are acceptable to run.
For example, Avarosan Hearthguard, which offers fair stats for its cost, and Inspiring Mentor, which will probably produce the rest of its value in just a turn or 2, assuming you were able to buff a low cost unit.
Slower cards, like Avarosan Trapper and Eminent Benefactor, threaten to reduce your momentum fatally.
Slow decks can run fast cards, but fast decks cannot run slow cards.
How to Pilot
Mulligan For an Early Lead:
The purpose of mulliganing is to set yourself up to have good plays on the first several turns of the game.
During your mulligan, you should almost always throw away anything that costs 4+ mana, unless you already have a solid early game in your hand, and the remaining card is strong in the mid game or insane in the late game.
If your deck has a lot of 3 drops, and your opening hand has no 1 or 2 drops, throw away your 3 drops, assuming that you’ll draw more by the time you need them.
If you are offered a 1-drop and 2 2-drops, let’s say a 2/3 and a 3/2, consider keeping both, and playing whichever is stronger against your opponent’s board at the time.
Assume Your Opponent Doesn’t Have All the Answers:
It can be easy to fear falling into a trap in the form of Deny, Avalanche, any number of combat spells, etc, and to hold back attacks or cards in hand to avoid these potential punishments.
It is best to assume that your opponent does not have all the answers.
Sometimes you will be punished by your opponent having the perfect card to counteract your actions, but normally, they won’t, and playing with a small amount of reckless abandon will, on average, pay off.
The exception to this is when your opponent takes or offers you very bad trades.
For example, if you’re opponent blocks your attacks in such a way that their units die and yours are left with 1 or 2 health even though they could have killed some of your units by blocking differently, they are likely setting up for an Avalanche, and it is a bad time to commit further units to the board.
Similarly, if your Nexus is high on health, and they attack with a 2/3 when you have a 3/3 on board, they are almost certainly planning to play a combat spell, and it is best to simply let it strike your Nexus.
The Value of Nexus Health is Not Constant:
At the start of the game, taking 2 damage isn’t a great loss. It would be better not to take that damage, but it is not worth trading a 3/2 for a 2/1 to prevent it.
When Nexus health is already low, however, every damage becomes important. Reducing a Nexus from 6 health to 4 may mean victory by Decimate.
Reducing it from 4 to 2 may mean victory by Mystic Shot. Consider Nexus health a resource, and spend it wisely.
Consider Your Outs:
In some games, you will find yourself on the brink of losing, but with the knowledge that a certain opportune card draw could turn everything around. Keep this possibility in mind and do not make victory impossible for yourself.
For example, your opponent has only 3 Nexus health remaining, but they have killed your elusive units and steadily gained a lead on board. You have a couple of outs in your deck, cards that, if drawn next, may win you the game. Among them is a Navori Conspirator.
Keeping this in mind, if it’s possible to survive your opponent’s next attack while keeping at least 1 of your units alive, you must do this. It may be possible to keep your nexus healthier by sacrificing everything, but in doing so, you will eliminate one of your potential paths to victory.
There’s much more to a successful Expeditions trial than what we’ve discussed in this brief guide, but keeping the points made above in mind will hopefully help you to win that much more often.
If you want to see these ideas in action, you can catch my stream here, where I do a trial most days.
Consistency is key! Consistently winning trials is the best way to build your LoR collection, and picking cards that are consistently good will get you there. Fast cards in fast decks and imminent threats will put your opponent in situations where if they don’t have just the right answers they’ll lose for sure.