Hey everyone, just the friendly neighborhood bear here!
EDIT: BIG THING TO NOTE, IP BOOSTERS DO NOT WORK IN RIFT CURRENTLY. (Unsure if its intended or not and ill update if things change.) What this means is that if you are running your 100% IP booster or its some sort of bonus IP weekend or something like that dont waste it playing rift runs. You are better off playing normal games and getting twice as much IP, and then you can go back to rift runs after the IP booster time finishes.
This is a guide to strategy and how to get the absolutely most value out of every rift run. Ill arm you with some general information as well as every dirty trick in the book. It is a bit of a compilation of my own tips as well as quality info and links I've gathered into one place.
First some links to further reading on the topic of Rift Runs
If you are brand new to drafting here is a good place to start which briefly explains what the Rift Run drafting format is and how it works. This link also contains specifics on what cards have specific restrictions in draft.http://infinity-wars.wikia.com/wiki/Rift_Run
Another potentially helpful link to new players is this guide to choosing cards in Rift by Pelagoth. Its not fool proof because cards can be situationally valuable. (For example Defense Golem and Balance are really great together but only a little bit great on their own.) However its a useful little tool for new players and Pelagoth spends a lot of time on it so check it out if your interested heres the linkhttp://forum.lightmare.com.au/index.php?topic=65992.0
If you want real examples of Rift Run play and decks you can check out this thread by Crestmoor with some video's of him doing Rift Runs. Some really good players sometimes stream their Rift Runs so Twitch can also a good place to get some vicarious experience and tips and examples.http://forum.lightmare.com.au/index.php?topic=65863.0
The player ES also has a thread posting Rift Decks with screen shots and how many wins the deck got its not a guide but sometimes a picture is worth 1000 wins. I mean words.http://forum.lightmare.com.au/index.php?topic=65573.0
With links out of the way lets get to the good stuff... PRIZES!!! These are rewards you can earn. They are based on how many wins you get before you get 3 losses.
2 Common + Common
3 Uncommon + Common + Common
4 Uncommon + Uncommon + Common
6 Rare + Common
7 Rare + Uncommon + Common
8 Rare + Uncommon + Uncommon
9 Rare + Rare + Uncommon
12 Epic + Uncommon
15 Epic + Rare + Uncommon
18 Epic + Rare + Rare
24 Legendary + Rare
27 Legendary + Epic + Rare
29 Note: Deck becomes completely free to purchase at this point
30 Legendary + Epic + Epic
35 Legendary + Epic + Epic + Gold Common
40 Legendary + Legendary + Epic + Gold Uncommon
45 Legendary + Legendary + Epic + Gold Rare
50 Legendary + Legendary + Epic + Gold Epic
60 Legendary + Legendary + Legendary + Gold Legendary
70 Legendary + Legendary + Legendary + Gold Legendary + Infinity Rare
80 Legendary + Legendary + Legendary + Gold Legendary + Infinity Epic
100 Legendary + Legendary + Legendary + Gold Legendary + Infinity Legendary
On top of these you get bonus rewards if you placed well on the leaderboard at the end of the week. These are as follows.
1-3 Infinity Border cards (1 x common, 1 x uncommon, 1 x rare or above) (soulbound) + 3 Gold Rare or above + 5 Collection Pentapacks
2-5 - 2 Gold Rares or above + 5 Collection Pentapacks
6-25 - 1 Gold Rare or above + 5 Collection Pentapacks
26-50 - 1 Gold Rare or above + 3 Collection Pentapacks
51-75 - 1 Gold Uncommon or above + 2 Collection Pentapacks
76-100 - 1 Gold Common or above + 1 Collection Pentapacks
Some FAQ about drafting and costs and when you are getting good value:
If you are level 20 and have the 3 day boost activated you get 337 IP per game won. Losses are half that. The cost of a Rift Run is 2000 IP so do the math and that means you have to win roughly 5 games on average to 'go infinite'.
A pack costs 3000 IP and the most valuable card in it is the rare. In my opinion the gap in trade value between rares and uncommons is big enough that you can basically discount the uncommons when considering value. Therefore to simplify somewhat when you get to 5 wins you have effectively won yourself a 3000 IP. If you still need commons and uncommons you might consider 7 wins to be worth the 3000 IP since you get an uncommon and a common. The Rift Run only cost you 2000 IP so imo if you want to build your collection and you can get 5+ wins on average then you are better off playing rift than you would be if you played normals and spent the IP on packs.
Buying decks can be a crazy good deal in draft and this is where you can get great value. The deck becomes completely free at 29 wins however it can become good value well before that. I use the value of rares and packs as a measuring stick for whether a draft deck is worthwhile. Say you draft a deck with 5 rares and 2 epics in it. You'd need to buy probably 6 or 7 packs to get that which would cost you 21000 IP. So if you do quite well with the deck and can buy it for say 6000 IP thats not a bad deal if you are looking to expand your collection size.
Decks can even be worth while to buy if you do badly. If you draft a premium legendary (or sometimes even a regular legendary) buy that deck no matter what because you can trade it for anything you want later.
Note: You once you have finished your run you do not have to buy the deck straight away as long as you don't hit abandon you can just log out and log back in and keep playing regular games until you have enough IP to buy a deck if you didnt have enough at the time but did want to buy it.
Another thing to take note of when considering Rift Deck value is the existence of platinum cards. When a new set comes out pre-order cards are all platinum bordered and end up being about twice as valuable when trading with other players. So it can be worthwhile to save up some IP before a new set comes out. If you care about that then this means you have to weigh the value of the Rift Deck you are considering buying against the value of platinum packs rather than regular packs. Basically ask yourself "would I rather have X packs of plat cards or would I rather have this deck?" and that should serve as a solid guide to whether or not you should purchase the deck at the end of the run.
EDIT: A link to my results after 50 rift runshttp://forum.lightmare.com.au/index.php?topic=66771.new#new
Ok now on to the strategy tips and how to win as many games as possible and grab some of these juicy prizes.
NEVER abandon your deck!!! "Rerolling" as some people call it is not something that will make you profit. Here are 3 reasons why...
The first and most obvious one is you aren't getting ahead you are just throwing 2000 IP into the air.
The second is you don't necessarily know if your deck is good or bad until you play it out. Im an experienced player and even I don't know sometimes. A deck that I think eww this is terrible can sometimes go do very well. And a deck that I thought was epic can do very poorly. This is because sometimes the cards that you would normally think are good are not very suitable to the chaotic nature of draft. So if you are abandoning decks before you start you are throwing out potential gold mines that you already paid for.
The third reason is probably the least compelling but should be the most compelling. Playing bad decks will make you a better player. Investing in yourself increases the profit of every deck you buy in the future. When you have a bad deck but try to play it out the the very end it forces you to think creatively and to make risky but accurate plays. It forces you to get the most out of your cards and to combo them together as effectively as possible to barely scrap that win in. This will make you a much better player in the long run than lazily abandoning a poorly chosen deck.
Bonus 4th reason: Ive been inspired to make some very successful constructed decks based on whack rift decks ive drafted that I never would have thought of on my own but once I was force to try something random in rift I thought hmm this could actually work in constructed.
Another very practical tip for getting the most out of your rift runs. Once you have drafted a deck but before you've played any games with it go to your deck builder and build the deck you drafted. Dont worry if you cant build it identically just get as close as possible (usually not hard since rift decks usually have very few rares). Now you can practice with your draft deck and get the feel of how it plays out by playing some normal queue games with it. A lot of my longer runs have an early loss because I am unfamiliar with how to play the new deck ive drafted properly and had I practiced with it before hand could have gone further.
Draft commanders that will support your deck and draft a deck that will support your commanders. This means for instance that if all your commanders cost 4+ resources you will want to fill your deck with cards that cost less than 4 otherwise you may be left unable to play anything. Likewise if your commanders cost 1, 2 and 3, you might want to fill your deck with more expensive cards as you know you will never be stuck with nothing early in the game. Also try and pick commanders that will compliment the rest of your deck with their abilities. A lucca in command? Draft choose all the artificial characters you can get your hands on. Do not put all your hopes in your commanders though you do not need the most amazing command zone to have an excellent deck and a good run.
When picking cards look out for some cards which can end the game. Draft games wind up in a bit of a stalemate where neither side can safely commit to good attack and in these situations you want something that can finish that last 25 hp off and turn these games into a win for you. Cards that have or create flying are great for this but there are many others as well. Try picking up a Mortar Cannon in your rifts and i think you'll find it can pay off big time when you and your opponent are deadlocked. Another stalemate breaker is Aleta, Immortal Traveler creating a stream of death worshipers which can quickly become huge late in the game when you both have 25 characters.
Make sure to draft some tools. As new sets and buffs and nerfs happens you'll have to adjust what tools you think you'll need. Generally you do no need any land destruction but currently you really should get at least 1 artifact destroyer for those pesky Warmachines and Tomes of the dead and its worth getting (and holding until needed) something that can take a Parasite out of the picture. Destroying a Warmachine or tome of the dead on the turn it would be complete wastes tons of their time and hp since they probably wernt blocking or attacking with much. Likewise taking Granthar out on a turn when they were relying on killing your biggest character or flyer can really swing the game in your favor. Do not fear these cards just pack tools to deal with them.
Draft a good curve. If you set aside 10-15 cards for removal tools and game enders the rest of your deck can be built around a smooth and fairly low cost curve. Smooth curves consisting of lower cost characters and abilities make it easy to use all the resources you have every turn instead of missing turns or only being able to use some of your resources. If you do this well (you pretty much always should be able to) then it will win you a lot of games against opponents who haven't got a nice curve. To put it simply if you are playing stuff and they aren't playing stuff then you are quickly gaining advantages over the board and they will have to really out play you to get back into it.
Draft your deck for value combos and average but efficient characters. Do not draft your deck around a single combo or a single "OP" card. If the only way your deck can win is if you draw a specific card you will not have a long run with it. Even if you ALWAYS win when that card comes up it wont be long until you have a game where you didn't draw it and then you just lose and your out runs over. Therefore have a deck which can preform well in all weathers regardless of whether your strongest card is at the bottom of your deck.
When playing a close game in draft do not hesitate to secure draw if you have to. In Rift Runs you can get as many draws as you like but only 3 losses before you have to spend another 2000 IP so get as many games as you can. It is almost always more worthwhile to secure a guaranteed draw than it is to greedily try to get a win and risk ending up with a loss. Say your run is at 10-2 and you are playing a tough opponent. If you get a draw no biggi your run statistically will go on to 15-3 and maybe much higher who knows. But if you get greedy and things go badly and you end up taking a loss your run ends prematurely at 10-3.
Play from the hand, before from command. In general if say you have a Splitter Bot in your hand and a splitter bot in command in general it is better to play the one from your hand because you are building up your board. While your characters remain in command they remain a threat that your opponent has to consider. Sometimes I just leave a parasite sitting in the command the whole game and it really messes up my opponent because they have to play as if im going to play it every turn and I dont have to spend any resources but still get to mess up his strategy.
They may also waste death rays and stuff on your command zone thinking you will play it that turn.
This is a general tip for all matchs but is something to take special note of when trying to get the most out of a draft. Pay attention to their deck purity. This will tell you a lot about what they could potentially be holding in their hand and what their capabilities are. An obvious example is a player with 2 purity Verore could be packing mass death so watch out when they get to 6 resources. Another example is exiles. Watch out if a player with 2 purity exiles gets to 9 resources because Descension can really ruin your day. Its a good idea to save a removal spell and maybe pull back on turn 9 against an player with 2 purity Exiles.
If you can play Rift Runs in large batches rather than a couple games each day. This one is over thinking things a little but every little bit helps! Usually there will be a decent deck in the queue whenever you log on and start playing. If you play a couple matches in a row you are likely to run into this player which may be a tough match. Once you have beaten them however you are in the clear. You can keep playing match after match racking up wins and get on a big winning spree because no one else currently can compete with your deck and skills.
This tip is for the players that have plenty of free time and can really help you get the most out of a deck. If your time is inflexible or scarce then ignore this tip since you'll just be playing whenever you get a chance.
Call it a day when you take a loss. If you are on a good run and trying to steer it to a place on the leader boards once you take a loss add the player who beat you and stop playing draft for the day or until they log out. Come back later when they are gone and continue kicking butt. You do not want to take 2 or even 3 losses in a row to the same deck which may happen be set up to perfectly counter yours. Often ive had 50+ win runs ended by runs that only went 5-3 but they happened to be great against mine.
Leader board sniping. If you have some patience and a good run this is a great tip to secure a good spot on the leader board. Say you are blessed by all the gods and have a run that is on 40-2 but the leader board already has someone with a score of 72 on it. You could choose to stop playing rift until the next week when you wont have to compete with that monster run. Leader board prizes are based on the top score at the end of the week so wait until the last day of the week and then play out your run on a week where you know you will get #1 position and nab the prize at the last second.
Pay attention to nerfs, buffs, bans and bugs and keep up with the current times. This doesn't matter so much in normal games where you have nothing to lose but if you are trying to get the absolute most value out of your rift decks then it pays to be informed. So read the patch notes and be aware of changes whether they are official changes or new bugs that have appeared accidentally. I cant tell you how many times ive lost rift games because Evolving Parasite did something I did not expect
Have fun! Ignore everything I just said and stop taking things so seriously mang, its just a game enjoy it and embrace the chaos