Reforging #4 – How to best progress in Solforge (another Beginner’s guide)
Solforge is a free to play game and that means that it’s entirely possible to play it, as the name would suggest, for free. It’s not easy though. If it was then nobody would ever need to pay any money, the developers would go broke and we wouldn’t have a game anymore. Having said that, it’s very feasible for a savvy player to enjoy this game for free or very cheap if she takes full advantage of everything the game has to offer. This article hopes to make those things very clear and should be quite useful for the newer player wanting to advance in the game without breaking the bank.
Caveat #1. This article assumes that people are progressing towards participating in constructed formats. If you just want to draft, then your best bet is to open up alt accounts (see below) and practice using those in the drafts. There isn’t really much strategy here because you don’t have to build up a collection.
Caveat #2. You need to be really good at this game to advance all the way to standard constructed and remain competitive without spending any money. Due to the high influence of luck in this game most people will have a win rate between 40%-60%. To progress at a decent rate, you need to be closer 60% win rate. If after getting into the game and getting comfortable with it you are not achieving a high win rate then you must decide whether to back down to something like unlegendary or to set up a small budget to keep up.
The article is divided into three parts. The first goes through good practices that you should follow in general to be efficient with your resources and make the best of the game. The second part lists out the types of events in which you can participate in the order in which you will be able to do it as your collection grows. The third part gives some tips and tricks to remain competitive once you have grown your collection enough to play in the standard constructed events.
Part 1: General Suggestions
Read about it
The first thing you should do is take a look at all the guides out there. Some of the information may conflict or be out of date but they will give you a good idea of what you can do to better use your resources and play more skillfully. Here are some of the best ones:
Also, make sure to follow the forums and websites like this one that have information about Solforge like reddit, the Solforge forums, the official facebook site and the community facebook site, Ghox’s Socks, etc. There are also quite a few streamers that are worth following.
Always collect the daily rewards.
This is probably obvious but it’s very important to collect the daily rewards you get as they quickly accumulate. This is specially important when you are taking a break. Even if you aren’t playing actively, just make sure to get your 5 daily rewards or at least the first 4 (daily login, 1st online win, 3 online games, 3 online wins). If you have alt accounts (see below) it’s very easy and its quite fast. Of course the best way to do it is to actually play against live opponents but this requires time that not everyone has every day.
Create additional accounts.
Creating alternate accounts (“alt accounts” as they are commonly known) is mentioned in Konan’s new player guide and is one of the best ways to make Solforge “cheaper”. You have your main account where you will use any money you want to spend on the game and focus your collection building and then you have your alt accounts which you can use to practice drafting. I find that having 2 alt accounts is enough to play many more draft while still accumulating tickets without being a huge burden in terms of getting the daily rewards. I wouldn’t recommend more than 3, because getting the daily rewards becomes very cumbersome.
You can use your alt accounts to quickly get your daily rewards by challenging each other then conceding. It’s easier if you have a couple of devices but you only need one. Since you will be using your alt accounts for drafting, you’ll find that you will easily create a collection of heroics and below so you can use these accounts for unlegendary and unheroic. If you find that you don’t play them that much and your tickets are accumulating, try to draft as much as you can when a Guaranteed Legendary Draft WW comes along and you’ll be able to turn those extra tickets into legends.
Also, you can actually use those accounts for standard constructed if you focus each account on one single deck archetype or faction combination. When a legend is powerful, it will often get reused in future strategies so, for example you can have your main account focus on Nekrium Uterra and one alt account with Tempys Alloyin. Obviously at first you won’t be able to do much but you’ll find that you’ll accumulate legendaries just from booster packs and drafting and since you won’t be using your silver it will also start to accumulate. After a few months you’ll be able to forge a Legend or 2 and with enough time will be able to build something to compete with.
Use the Solforge Ladder Community Site
The Solforge Ladder is the F2P player’s best friend, make sure you bookmark this link:
The Community Ladder allows you to pair up against opponents in a number of formats, including unheroic, which only requires rares and commons. It has ladders for all these formats and also has daily tournaments that are free to enter but have real life prizes in the form of Solforge codes that redeem for packs or gold. I’ll talk more about the ladder in part 2 of this guide since its your main resource for competitive gameplay while you are building up your collection.
Spending actual Money effectively.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money if you know where and when to use it.
Every once in a while Solforge has some great sales. The best ones are the 50% sales where you can usually buy anything with gold at 50% price. This is a great time to use some money. Your best bet will usually be to purchase preconstructed decks since those have more legendary cards per gold than any other thing you can purchase. During these sales, you can probably buy 6 preconstructed decks with about $30 and then share the cards in exchange for more.
In addition to the sales, there are a couple of one time purchases that are well worth getting, the legendary chest for 200 gold and the 10 ticket pack for another 200 gold. Make sure that when you buy your gold to use for the sale, that you have 400 gold left over for these two items. Doing this will jump start your path towards competitive constructed play which would otherwise take a few months to achieve.
Make sure to read up on what the best legends are and the decks that you can play with your current pool of cards and the existing preconstructed decks. Look for precons that have cards that you can use in mutiple decks. For example, there is a precon that has Duskmaw, Twilight Drake which is used in many competitive archetypes. That’s a great option for anyone wanting to play Nekrium.
In general, I find that using gold to purchase booster packs is a waste and generally yields less than desirable results unless you get very luck
If you do spend cash to get some gold (or manage to win a Solforge Ladder tournament or an elite tournament) you can also trade. Solforge’s sharing system only really works if you know the people you are sharing with but the Solforge Ladder site deals with this very effectively. Visit it to get more info.
Since at first you have very few cards, make sure to trade 1 for 1 or 1 for more, but only if you are getting more. That means, don’t try to trade multiple legends you have for a newer legend, it’s not worth it because you will eventually be able to forge it yourself or they will come down in value.
Asking for help
The Solforge community is full of friendly and generous people. Lots of them have leftover shareable commons and rares from back when they were plentiful because everything was made of gold. As a new player you should be able to find people in the community sites, that are willing to part with some of their excess inventory. The chat room in Solforge Ladder is specially effective.
Be mindful that players begging for cards is not particularly pretty and can annoy some people. I recommend getting involved in the community by playing some games in the Solforge Ladder then chatting with the people you played with through the public chat system and mentioning the decks you are trying to build and the cards you are missing without directly asking for people to hand them out to you. If any of the players in the chat are interested in volunteering some cards for you, they will say so without you having to ask.
Use silver to buy packs at first, then save your silver for forging.
You can get cards from packs or by forging them individually. Forging is very expensive and a card costs much more to forge than the silver you get from de-forging so it’s usually a better value to get a card from a pack than by forging it. The problem is that card packs are random. At first, when you don’t have any cards, this doesn’t matter so much because you won’t be getting repeats but once you have a good sized collection there are fewer and fewer chances of getting new cards.
There is some math behind when it’s more convenient to start forging but my rule of the thumb is once you are not seeing at the very least new rares every 2 or 3 packs you open. Once that happens stop using silver to buy packs and start saving it for forging. You will still be getting packs from your daily rewards and from events, just don’t use silver to buy them.
Once you start accumulating silver and repeat cards (specially heroics), you’ll be able to forge the singles you are missing. The first rule of forging is: don’t forge until you are actually going to use the cards. This obviously also includes never forging (or trading for) cards just to finish a collection. Why? because you have very limited funds and you always have a chance of opening up any given card from a booster pack.
You’ll probably start out by forging a few commons and rares to compete in unheroic events or the ladder or maybe even the sealed format ladder. Don’t feel bad about forging any missing rares or common. The price is so low it’s negligible for these rarities, but when it comes to Heroics and Legends it’s a very different scale. The important thing to take into account is that every copy of a card you get beyond the 3rd copy is only worth its de-forging value in silver, and that is considerably less than its cost to forge it.
Because of this, I will never forge or trade for a 3rd copy of a legendary card unless it will really make a difference in a deck I’m using. Usually having 2 copies of any given card is enough to test out the deck they are in unless the deck depends heavily on them (for example Wegu in a Wegu deck). This leaves more room for the probability of opening up that third copy and having it be worth its full amount instead of it becoming de-forging fodder. Of course, if you become proficient in a deck and find that adding that third copy will increase its effectiveness, it’s usually worth it to forge that last copy and make up for it by winning lots of constructed events.
Never forge cards from the new set at their 2x cost. If you really need a new card you are better off getting a temporary job or missing out on a couple of morning coffees to get the extra cash and buying it outright when its available in a preconstructed deck or Card of the Day (CotD). The 2 copy limit suggestion also applies to buying preconstructed decks with gold. You may be better off buying 2 copies of 3 types of preconstructed decks and building whatever you can with them and trying out the resulting deck than committing to the full 3.
Use your tickets efficiently.
You can get up to 3 event tickets every day and you should get the most value you can from them since they are your main progression resource. There are currently 3 types of events that use tickets: constructed, draft and Weekend Warrior (WW). After the change to the new client, the draft event became incredibly cheap at only 4 tickets, specially compared to the fact that you now get 3 free tickets every day. Early on, this is where you want to spend your tickets as its an excellent way to quickly increase your collection. The rate of heroics is fairly high and you should always pounce on any that you don’t have and highly value any that you already have a playset of because they are still worth 5,000 silver. NEVER pass up a legendary, even a bad one that you have a playset of, because the 25,000 silver value is to high to let go.
The WWs used to be the best value for beginners but the draft format is so cheap now that its not as good a deal relatively speaking, After all, for only 2 more tickets you are getting 30 free cards and a chance to make a profit if you do well. They still have the lowest bleed rate so they are very good for practicing and playing for fun. Its also much easier to get a 4-0 than a 7-x so aiming for the legendary at the end is easier. There are WWs for cheaper formats and also plenty of phantom WWs that don’t require you to have any cards making them often excellent choices for new players.
One more thing, try to keep a good stash of tickets, around 20 at least. Sometimes there are some worthwhile events like the guaranteed legendary event (see below) and you’ll want to have a good stash for those.
The Constructed Ladder (Ranked Play)
I don’t recommend the constructed events at all. At only one ticket less than the draft, its better value to just draft. If you want a constructed fix, the play the in-client ladder, known as “ranked” play. It’s free to enter and its more likely that you will face opponents of similar skill and collection size, depending on where you are in the ladder. The only reason to enter a constructed tournament is if you don’t like drafting and want to aim for those elite tickets. Also, because of the relatively low value of the tournament, it can take a long time to find an opponent.
Once you have enough cards to participate in most of the formats (at the very least up to unlegendary), you can consider hoarding your prize packs instead of opening them. The reason to do this is because the content of the packs doesn’t get decided until you open them. If you have most of the rares and commons of the existing card pool, it is unlikely you will open up a new card. If instead you wait for a new set to come out before opening them, you may get some of the commons and rares from that new set, making the content much more valuable.
Guaranteed Legendary Weekend Warrior Event
This is a special WW event that costs 7 tickets, has a maximum prize of 2 tickets, lets you keep all the cards you draft and, most importantly, the first pick is from 6 legendary cards. This is one of the quickest ways to turn those free tickets you are getting into legends. This event is particularly good for you if you have alt accounts that have been accumulating tickets since it’s essentially using them to buy a legend.
I don’t recommend participating in these if you already have a large collection of legendary cards because the odds of you getting to choose a card that you actually need are lowered. If you have to pick a legend that you already have 3 of, that is effectively converting the cost of the event into a measly 25,000 silver from de-forging it. Avoid this disappointment by playing your odds correctly and instead just play a normal draft as you can make a similar amount of silver just by picking up a few Heroics in the multiple drafts the same amount of tickets (plus the prizes you get) would enable and you get more play time for your tickets.
Part 2: Progression Steps
In part 1 I mentioned various general suggestions that will help you take more advantage of the F2P resources in Solforge. In this section I’ll give a step by step guide to how you can progress and build your collection.
For an example of someone logging their experience as a F2P player, see Gard’s F2P Solforge site. He doesn’t follow these exact steps but he does similar things and it’s a great read.
1) Starting Out.
Use all your silver to purchase and open booster packs. Avoid using silver to get background skins or additional deck slots until you are at a point where you are forging Heroics.
Get familiar with the game by playing the computer and the initial campaign challenges. Some of the later challenges are harder. Don’t worry about those for now, you’ll eventually have enough cards to beat them.
Do not use your ticket. This is a good time to save up a good stash of ticket for when those really worthwhile events come around, like guaranteed legendary draft.
Sign up to the Solforge Ladder as soon as you can.
Pro tip courtesy of Kaelari: Play at least one game of each format each community ladder season. There are random prizes based on this. The odds are low but it doesn’t take much time and doesn’t require winning just playing one game per format (for the best odds). Since playing is free you have nothing to lose even if you don’t have a deck for each format, just throw whatever you can together.
2) Ranked and unranked play
You can use the cards that you opened to improve the starter decks and try playing in the unranked queue. At first you should be paired up against other new people but if you just win a few times you may start to get paired up against people with larger collections and thus, lots of legendary cards. You can also try the ranked queue as its free and you have nothing to lose. The first tier of the ranked ladder is Bronze. At this tier you don’t lose anything if you lose a game so it is perfectly possible to get through the 15 games you need to win with a well built unlegendary deck. However, at first you will probably need to train a bit in some cheaper formats so don’t despair and go to step 3: Unheroic.
The first competitive format you can play is unheroic. It requires only commons and rares. Once you are familiar with the game and have played a bit, go to the Solforge Ladder site and look up finished unheroic tournaments and look at the sample deck lists. Look through your collection and find which of the decks listed there you can build with minimum forging and build them. You can use your daily silver to forge any cards you are missing or use your judgement to fill out the holes with alternative cards. Then start playing in the Community Ladder and if you can, enter any unheroic events in your time zone. All of these are free to enter so you lose nothing by participating. Obviously you can create your own decks to try out but building the decks from the metagame gives you a good idea of how the games go. Also be on the look out for unheroic WW events.
4) Draft vs WW event.
Once you feel comfortable with the game and feel that you could have a chance at going at least 2-2 in a sanctioned event, it’s worth it to just jump in. If you find that you are having a hard time winning games, you should probably use your tickets for drafting at first. Once you have a stronger collection you may want to save some tickets for WW events since you they are a lot of fun. In any case, you may want to wait a bit (a week maybe) before using your tickets to make sure you aren’t just throwing them away. If you have alt accounts you will be able to practice more. Use those accounts first before you use your main to get some experience, specially if it’s a wacky draft format in the WW events.
5) Advanced campaign.
A pro player can beat most of the campaign with almos just the cards you start with. An average player should be able to beat the more advanced campaigns after about a week of daily rewards. Go for them!
6) Sealed League
After a couple of weeks of rewards you should now have quite a few heroics and a sizeable collection of rares and commons. You should be able to participate in the Solforge Ladder Sealed league without needing to forge much. The sealed league works by giving you a random list of cards to build a deck from, but you need to own them to use them. Most of them are commons and rares and there will only be a few heroics and you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to or can’t afford to forge it. This format is a lot of fun, specially if you like the style of games you get from a draft. Watch out though, the cards lists are made so that everyone gets quite powerful and consistent decks.
After a few more weeks you should be starting to even get repeats in your heorics and can start de-forging them. By this point you should have definitely stopped using your silver for buying packs and can now start to save it for forging. At this stage you can probably try the Unlegendary format (no legends). As with unheroic look at the deck lists in recent tournaments and see if you can build one or two of them or try out your own concoctions. Again, be on the look out for unlegendary WW events.
This is a good time to take a look at your success in the game. If you feel that you can get close to a 60% win rate, then its worth it for you to try to get into standard constructed without spending. If not, then you have to think about whether you should have a monthly budget to help you stay on top of the metagame or if you should stick to unlegendary.
8) Advanced Standard Constructed
If you haven’t put any money, it will likely take you a few months, but eventually you should start to accumulate some legends and find that you can build approximations of those decks that are winning the standard constructed events in the Solforge Ladder. Once this happens you should take the plunge. Build a deck as close as you can get with your own cards, but don’t forge anything yet. If you are still at bronze in the ranked ladder, feel free to practice directly there. If you are at silver or above each loss takes you down a rung, so make sure you practice in the unranked queue first or try it out against opponents from Kaelari’s site.
If you think your version of the deck has potential then try forging some of the missing cards. Remember, try to avoid forging the 3rd copy unless it’s really needed, specially at first. At this point feel free to go into the deep end with the sharks and try to get further up the ranked ladder. Don’t get upset if you hit a limit. That’s how the ladder is supposed to work. The ideal way to play a ladder is to always try to get further ahead in each new season. Once you reach a limit where you are just not advancing because you can’t make the best version of your deck or the deck required for the metagame, stop playing the client ladder and move to the other formats in the community ladder or do drafts or WWs. Then when the next season comes around you should have accumulated some silver and cards and can try to improve your previous record.
Part 3: Staying Competitive
Once you can climb up the Solforge ranked ladder, the progression now becomes more about staying on top of the metagame and continuing to build your collection.
To keep up with the flow of the game and the new releases, you need to win events and get packs and tickets. Draft is your best bet generally, but WWs are lower risk and lower bleed rate in general, minus the elite ticket. You can also play constructed events if that’s what you feel like and you’ve already gone as far as you can take it in the ladder.
Gather event tickets.
While it’s important to convert your tickets into boosters and silver by playing in tournaments, you also want to make sure you have plenty of tickets at your disposal for sudden opportunities. As I said before, having a stash of 20 tickets is my personal sweet spot, so I recommend trying to stay above that most of the time.
Open packs after a big set release.
As mentioned before, hoard your boosters. When a new set comes out open up all the boosters you have hoarded and then draft a few times to get as many heroics from the new set. This doesn’t work as well with mini expansions so I’ll usually just wait until the next big expansion with my boosters and my drafting.
Prepare to draft after a new set release.
Beyond your 20 ticket stash, you should be trying to build up to another 20 tickets as time goes by so that when a new set is released, you can use them up on drafting and have 20 tickets left. Drafting when a new set comes out is the best way to build up your collection. With 20 tickets you can play at least 5 times which should likely be enough to get all the commons and rares and a good portions of the heroics. Since you can get multiple heroics in a draft, it’s the optimal way to collect heroics, but as with boosters, the value goes down once you have most of the cards. I’ve found 7 drafts to be a good number to get the most heroics before I start to see to many repeats.
If you’re not in a hurry, you can also consider waiting for the next guaranteed legendary event since its easier than normal drafts for specifically getting legendaries. Even if you have a large collection, the release of new legendary cards should increase the odds of getting something you don’t already have a set of so its worth waiting for. My current strategy is to draft 3-4 times as soon as the set comes out, then wait for the guaranteed legendary draft. Note that this only really works for full new sets, because the release of a mini set does not bring enough new cards to make it worth while.
Don’t worry if you can’t get all the heroics, you can always finish your collection when the next set comes out and if you need some of them to play competitively, don’t be afraid to just forge them.
Know the meta
After a new set is released, or even a mini set, the metagame can change radically. Let a couple of weeks roll by before you do any forging so that you don’t forge cards that might become irrelevant.
Continue to Forge Wisely
After a new set comes out it’s usually a good time to forge some of the legendaries from the previous set that have now become cheaper to forge. As mentioned above, don’t forge beyond the 2nd copy unless absolutely necessary. Since you may not be able to forge all the cards you need, start off with the staples that you see in most decks, for example Shardplate Behemoth or Duskmaw.
Have a Budget
While it’s certainly possible to remain competitive for free, it’s much easier with a small budget. Around $5 to $10 per month should be enough to keep anyone well in the game. Your best bet is to save that money for when sales happen and at the most just buy the monthly discount bundles when no sales are available.
Play other formats
You don’t always need to play standard constructed. If you feel that the current metagame is not attractive or you just don’t feel that the decks that you can make are good enough, just go back to unheroic or any other format in the Solforge Ladder and keep gathering those daily tickets until the next set comes around. You will also have those weekend warrior events 4 out of 7 days of the week (the majority of the week, in fact) which should often give you an even better alternative to constructed.