Hey Everybody, WaitThisIsntMTG back again, this time with a general quick start guide for new players! If you’re looking for the best ways to spend your gold, how to grow your collection most effectively, some quick tips for playing, and links to more reading, this is your guide!

If you’re still just starting out and want to learn all the basics of the game, you should check out https://teamrankstar.com/teslegends-new-player-guide Team Rankstar’s Comprehensive New Player Guide. It has a detailed breakdown of all the game’s mechanics, terminology, economy and more!

First, some strategy basics:

  • Don’t just hit face!! – I cannot stress this one enough. One of TESL’s most unique mechanics is the rune/prophecy system. In a nutshell, you should not break a rune if you cannot answer or overcome whatever prophecies they may draw or play. Even as a very aggressive deck, you need to do your best to play around prophecies. Sometimes that means trading or not attacking with your last creature if it will only do 1 or 2 damage and break a rune. If you are using a control deck, you should not hit your opponent past 26 until you have enough damage on board to kill them in one or two turns. For more on this, Check out Tesl Academy- runes.
  • In line with #1 – Hit Face before you play any cards! In order to avoid the impact a prophecy can have, you should always have your creatures attack before playing any other cards. The exception to this rule is if you have a card like orc clan captain, divine fervor, or items which increase the damage you can deal, you may want to play that first if you are going to play it. This way, if your opponent prophecies a spell to kill something, they won’t have any juicy new targets!
  • Play for Field! – The Lane dynamics are another unique mechanic to TESL. The interactions with lanes overall can make this a tough decision at times, but on a clear board, you should almost always play creatures field lane. Check out Tesl Acadaemy’s How to use Lanes Effectively for more information!
  • Drain/ Gaining Life is not as good as you think – This is a common mistake new players make in card games in general, and its true in TESL too. Even though a card like Elixir of Vitality may buy you a turn occasionally, it provides nothing on board, nor removes anything of your opponent’s. You do not, in general, want to spend a card just gaining life. Creatures with drain are better than a spell which gains life, and having a few in your deck can be good, but try not to go overboard, as they are often under-statted for their costs. 

So, you finished the tutorial, and now there are a million things you can do. The game gives a free solo arena run once you finish all 20 tutorial levels – I would start there. Solo arena is a great way to learn the basics, and gives some pretty awesome rewards, especially as you rank up when starting.

Some Quick Tips for Solo Arena:

  • Your deck should be low-curve, but defensive. This means lots of 2 and 3 drops which can trade effectively. Things like Wind-Keep Spellsword, Barrow Stalker, Awakened Dreamer, Wardcrafter, etc. Cards with Lethal or other ways of trading with bigger creatures easily are also valuable. The reason for this is that the AI will always play aggressively, and this is the best way to counter that in general and sometimes the lanes necessitate having lots of cheap creatures (stuff like the plunder lane or animal lane).
  • Try to take lots of guards for 4, 5 and 6 drops. Cards like Hive Defender, Baliwog Tidecrawlers, or even Fortress Watchmen are good for getting to AI to trade one or two creatures in, sometimes more, giving great value and helping shut down the AI. Also a few 4+ drops with drain or which gain life otherwise can be very helpful
  • Make trades with the AI always. Do not start breaking runes until you get really good board control, and when you do, break them carefully. They tend to run lots of prophecies, and some have huge synergies so giving them lots of cards can be lethal. Make sure you are going to kill them fast when you go for it.

If you do decide to play more solo arenas, once you reach rank 1 in Solo Arena, the rewards start becoming smaller as you won’t get the promotion reward any more. For a more rewarding and tougher arena, I would start trying Versus arena. For some tips on that, check out Izana’s VS arena Quick Start Guide. It’s quite different from Solo arena!

Constructed basics:

Now that you’ve completed your first Solo Arena, it’s time to put together your first constructed deck! I would recommend checking out Endozoa’s Building on a budget article. It’s got some great tips on how to build any deck on a budget, and gives a great starting list too, along with ways to upgrade it! For more budget lists, check out r/competitive_tesl’s budget lists or turquoise link’s budget lists .

One of my favorite things about TESL is that even though these are budget lists, you could definitely take these lists to at least rank 4 (the point at which reset will only set you back to rank 5), or possibly Legend rank. TESL is well balanced in the regard that more Soul Gems invested does not guarantee a deck is better by any means, and that a deck using all commons and rares can often beat a deck filled with legends and epics, especially if the player using commons and rares is better.

Once you have your constructed deck put together, jump into Ranked mode! Starting out in rank 12, you’ll face lots of other new players, probably mixed with the occasional person who has more cards. Win or lose at this rank doesn’t matter, you’ll gain a star moving up the constellation if you win, and you won’t lose anything for losing! It will be best starting out to play in ranked, not casual, as ranked is much more likely to pit you against people at your skill level. Casual has no matchmaking like that.

For information on how ladder works and its rewards etc, I would again recommend Team Rankstar’s new player guide.

Tips to grow your collection

When starting out there are a lot of things you can buy. If you are focusing on a specific deck, following Endozoa’s guide will be helpful. If you are looking to spend money, check out my guide on how to spend money effectively in TESL.

Whether you are f2p or not, check below for what I consider the priority order to spend your gold, assuming you want all the cards in the game. It’s worth noting that this is just a general guide, and if you have a specific deck in mind you want to tune, you should look at the cards in each set to see which will help your deck the most. It’s also worth noting that as of this writing Isles of Madness has only been out a bit over a week, so it’s not yet clear where that set stands as far as its importance. I will update this in a few weeks accordingly.

Order in which to buy sets

  1. 1 or 2 500 gold decks. If you go for a 2nd one, try to get one which has cards you can add to improve the deck you are already using, instead of one in totally separate colors.
  2. Dark Brotherhood Campaign – lots of powerful and archetype defining cards used in top tier decks
  3. Forgotten Hero Collection – lots of powerful and archetype defining cards used in top tier decks
  4. Clockwork City Campaign – a good few competitive cards in top decks
  5. Isles of Madness Campaign – not yet clear how much it will impact the meta, but looking like a strong set
  6. Frostspark Collection – good supporting cards for several decks
  7. Madhouse collection – several niche cards needed only for niche archetypes (items, orcs, market, altar)
  8. Arena runs to build pack based expansions

As you’re playing the various modes to earn gold for the above, you will naturally accumulate packs for Core, Skyrim and Morrowind, so that is why they are lowest priority. They are also the largest sets, and so collecting all of the cards in each set is largely unnecessary (except 1 card in HoM of each to get the 100% Morrowind cardback, but I wouldn’t worry about that starting out).

Mistakes newbies make when trying to grow their collection:

1)Soul Trapping lots of cards – Starting out, you don’t know what you’ll really like or not, and unless you plan on sticking with one deck for a long time, I strongly advise against this. The reason I advise against it is that over the long term, this will make your grind to get the rest of the cards much longer, as you turned them in for 25% value.

2) Trying to save for legendaries – I know, they have awesome powers and most of the top tier decks, especially control decks, have quite a few legendaries. However, when starting out, your focus should be on epics. The reason for this is they are some of the most powerful cards in the game, and you can get 3 epics for every 1 legend you would be able to craft. As a result, they will have a much more consistent effect on improving your deck. Once you’ve gotten all the epics you want, then work towards some of the legendaries. Check out Team Rankstar’s Epic Crafting Guide and Legendary Crafting Guide for more help on what to craft!

3) Spending gold on packs – Since you’re reading this, hopefully you plan to save your gold for the above expansions. But commonly, new players will burn their gold on individual packs. Even if you have bought every collection and story, buying packs is usually still wrong. The superior value comes from playing arena, especially VS arena if you can do well. I would only spend gold on packs if you really don’t like arena, have bought all other expansions, and really need some cards from a set.

4) Buying the puzzles – Puzzles are a bit of a trap when it concerns building your collection. They give extremely little value from the gold-to-gems standpoint, as you only get 5 packs and some gems for completing them. Don’t get me wrong, they’re very fun, just not worth it when starting out.

Build up a reserve

The last thing I want to note is that you should begin working on a reserve of in game resources once you are satisfied with your collection.

  1. Grand Melees – These were every 3 or 4 months on the old client, and cost 6 tickets or 1000 gold to enter. Entry earned you big rewards, usually 10 packs just for entering, and many more for lots of wins, as well as a full set of alternate art for a card! We haven’t had any of these events on the new client, but once they come you’ll definitely want 6 tickets to enter!
  • New sets- Bethesda has stated that we should be getting more consistent content releases now, so it’s important to save your soul gems and gold for when a new expansion comes out once you are happy with what you have. Since a story just released, you’ll want to save for a pack based expansion next. For that you’ll want gold to buy packs and gems to craft cards you want which you didn’t pull from packs.

That’s all for this guide! I hope you find it informative. If you have any questions, or any suggestions for some future guides or articles let me know!

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