Author Topic: An Intro to Tempo  (Read 1354 times)

Offline Winsanity

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An Intro to Tempo
« on: December 02, 2014, 07:46:51 PM »
This guide is intended for new and intermediate players in attempt to get them to understand a point that is complicated in both gameplay and deck building. This guide is also written hoping you know what board advantage is and why it is important. As a lot of board advantage and tempo concepts overlap.

So you're finally getting the hang of the game. Went through the campaigns, played some of the weekly decks, and now you're ready to build your own decks. You make a deck and it seems like you just can't keep up with your opponent. They're always either putting a ton of stuff on the field before you have a chance to set up, or just destroying everything and it feels like you can never get anything going. Now why is that? Welcome to the world of tempo.

Tempo, in the world of IW and most card games, means the pace of the game more or less. You've probably had that feeling during a game that you need to push more, or pull back, or need to get some kills in or you'll be overwhelmed. That's tempo. If you're familiar with american football stall would be the equivalent of a team running the ball a lot in order to slow down the pace of the game. While a rush deck is the equivalent of a spread out no huddle offense that tries to score as fast as possible. Midrange would be the more typical mix of the two.

Why is tempo important?
Tempo is important because it lets you decide how fast or slow you would like the game to develop. You need to be able to determine on the fly what type of tempo you need to play for what deck your opponent is using, what deck you yourself are using, and also to be able to adjust as to what is happening in the game at any one time. The battle for tempo is one of the most important things that happens in any one game. If you can get your opponent caught in your tempo then there's a very high chance you're going to win.

How to set tempo
I'll be defining some very simple ways to set tempo in a game. There are more advanced and tricky ways that you will learn the more you play.

Fast Tempo
You will generally try to set a fast tempo if you are playing an aggro or aggro-control type deck. Midrange will probably aim for a faster tempo once they can get their setup going.
The best way to set a fast tempo is to shoot for a fast early game. Haste and Charge cards are generally best with this. Another important aspect of a fast tempo is keeping board advantage. If it's taking you 2-3 turns to set up your attacks early then on then you probably aren't in a fast tempo. It can also be achieved by having a strong early game setup in your command zone. A fast tempo will generally try to gain the advantage, and just never let it go. The downside to a fast tempo is that if it falls apart it is incredibly hard to come back from. Especially if you are against a deck that is playing for a strong late game, such as most decks with a slow tempo.

Slow Tempo
A slow tempo game is generally set for decks aiming for a strong late game. So straight control decks, or stall decks. Midrange decks will potentially try to set a slower tempo for the early part of the game so that they can try to get their turn 5-9 stuff set up properly.
A slow tempo can be achieved through many ways. One of the best ways is to straight up stop your opponent's early game threat. If someone trying to set a slow tempo can break their opponent's fast tempo then the fast tempo is going to be scrambling to try to get it back, and that's where mistakes are made. Another way to get a slow tempo is area of effect cards in the midgame, Mass Death for instance. Taking out a lot of your opponent's characters at once will hurt not only their in game morale, but their real morale as well. They'll begin to feel disheartened and get desperate.

Variable Tempo
I've explained the 2 most basic types of tempo. Though one of the most important things as I mentioned is being able to adjust your tempo as needed. Sometimes pullbacks, and things of that nature, are needed in order to try and maintain tempo. You need to be willing to sit back a few turns to be able to set up that big move, and not just charge ahead all the time. Slow tempo has an interesting issue where the other player just won't play into it sometimes, and while it is an advantage in the sense that the opponent is playing to your tempo. You also need to be able to create a faster tempo at some point to apply pressure to the opponent and get them to feel threatened.

I'm not gonna give you a list as to what tempos do best against other tempos and all that. Because the truth is that it's not always the case. A fast tempo might wipe a slow tempo one game, and then get completely caught up the next. This is why being able to adapt to the tempo is SO important. You need to be able to see what kind of pace the other player is going for, and use that as a way to determine what you yourself should be going for.

So the next time you're building a deck. Be sure to keep what tempo you want to go for in mind. Because it really is one of those things that a lot of people don't think about that makes a big difference.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2014, 08:06:27 PM by Winsanity »

Offline DrayGon777

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Re: An Intro to Tempo
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2014, 10:14:22 PM »
I appreciate the guide, but I'm still not sure exactly what tempo is. Is it just how fast you put characters into attack to generate pressure, how fast you can put characters onto the field, how fast it takes to get to your win condition? I have a rough idea on the concept of tempo, and that's usually using up every available resource at your disposal, but even with that I sometimes end up losing.
Just so you guys know, if you're ever vs WWK, just start putting out random numbers and mathematical symbols, he will surrender.

Offline AAAAANNNTS

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Re: An Intro to Tempo
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2014, 10:49:32 PM »
It's a concept that everyone probably understands, just given a name.

I've heard the word "tempo" before used to describe a type of MTG deck where you drop a turn one creature then prevent the opponent from doing anything while that early threat whittles them down.  I assumed from the way that deck worked that "tempo" oriented decks just put the opponent on a clock while keeping you (and your clock) safe until you win.

I like this guide, gives a great insight into how to think about deckbuilding and approaching matchups, but in my opinion, and from the vocabulary I was raised with you're kind of taking the general concept of deck "speed," calling it "tempo," and also conflating it with the beatdown/control dichotomy.  The main differences being "speed" is entirely a deckbuilding concern and the beatdown/control role assignment a gameplay one (both of which are equally fascinating.)

I hope you don't take these as insults, or saying you're wrong.  The fun thing about vocabularies is how they develop in parallel - a bunch of smaller communities come up with the exact same concept, but call it different things.  Usually, this ends up in arguments, but the only way to proceed is talk about the ideas - a "tempo" by any other name would be as important.  My only criticism is the way you combine the two disparate aspects of TCGs, which makes it a little murky.  However, the ideas are all there, and they're great.
>Lightning Bolt will never be in IW ;_;

Offline MerliniX

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Re: An Intro to Tempo
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2014, 11:10:41 PM »
'Tempo' is originally a concept used in Chess. There it describes a gain of one or more turns or moves over your opponent. Say on turn one you move a pawn one space forward, and then your opponent moves the equivalent pawn 2 spaces forward. On your next turn you move the same pawn one space forward again - in that situation you have given up one tempo to your opponent - they have gained a one turn advantage over you by getting their piece to the equivalent space on their side of the board in one turn less than you did.

In a card game the concept is a little more nebulous - but if you play nothing on turn one while your opponent plays a wealthy noble - they have gained tempo. If then on turn two you play a Knight of the Flame Dawn, while they play Kali the Purifier, they have maintained their turn one tempo advantage (in this case they haven't gained any additional tempo, just maintained the advantage they got on turn 1).

Likewise if they play a Soldier of Fortune turn 1 while you do nothing, they have gained tempo. In this case it is much easier to recover the tempo than the first example because the soldier rarely contributes heavily to a board state advantage.

In short tempo usually translates into who is currently ahead in development at any given time.

Offline AAAAANNNTS

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Re: An Intro to Tempo
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2014, 11:15:59 PM »
Dang, thanks for the help, Merlin.  Really clear and concise definition, should prevent a few pages of bickering.

Maybe I should start reading about chess, I feel bad for neglecting it as a source of game philosophy.  Although MTG is a great progenitor of these ideas, now that I think about it, I don't think it could stand up to the legacy of chess.
>Lightning Bolt will never be in IW ;_;

Offline Winsanity

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Re: An Intro to Tempo
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2014, 02:28:13 PM »
Just as a response guys. I know the guide isn't perfect, and I know I also missed a ton of points. Because in IW tempo wraps around into board advantage really fast and it gets pretty in depth pretty fast. Especially since in a way tempo is a bit subjective, and can be described more as a feeling. Which is why it makes it so damn hard to describe in the first place lol. Merlin gave a really good definition of it though.

Offline SDSakuragi

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Re: An Intro to Tempo
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2014, 12:45:43 AM »
Too long, didn't read.  :'(

Offline Winsanity

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Re: An Intro to Tempo
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2014, 04:40:40 PM »
Too long, didn't read.  :'(
TL:DR; If you keep the board advantage and keep playing at the pace you want while maintaining advantage you should win

Offline MzudemX

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Re: An Intro to Tempo
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2015, 07:33:19 PM »
Just drop this for the moment since in IW twmpo directly translates into resource efficiency.
By that I mean "fast tempo" decks are aming on useing all there resources every turn and "slow tempo" decks are more focused on getting more resource advantage with every card played (death raying a 4+cost card).

And even if this is HS related, HS uses the same resource system IW uses so the basic concept is the same.

Ofc there is more to it and maybe I will find the time to go through them but for now you have to go with the mayor of Valuetown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATrWQ07Kmn4

Offline Interesting_Socks

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Re: An Intro to Tempo
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2015, 07:58:48 PM »
It's probably important to note that terms like 'gaining a tempo' are not directly related to the pace of the game.

For example a slow paced control deck can still gain tempo. If your opponent plays a 5 cost pack leader and you use a 3 resource death ray to kill it, you've gained a tempo. The following video (of magic the gathering) is a good example and explanation of a control deck gaining tempo (@ 7.00)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=artBJGT7MrQ