We begin by looking at the basic divisions of how a mini will attack your base and towers. We have our most primitive split of:
The absolute simplest army construction is going to just place two of each - two melee, two ranged, and two flying minis. These can be placed in appropriate slots.
Next we consider costs. The average cost gives us the expected ‘premium’ we need to play a counter. Imagine a Gargoyle comes swooping into your base. Your hand doesn’t have a ranged or flying mini immediately available, so you need to play a mini to make cycle your hand and get the one you need. The average cost of your deck is going to tell you how much you need to pay before paying for the mini you need.
Make sure the overall cost is at maximum around 3g (Maiev and Rend can tolerate slightly higher because of the way that they discount things). This is a good estimate to ensure you won’t be caught out.
For anything more complex, it’s pertinent to consider melee minis split into tanks and ‘bruisers’.
A Prowler and a pair of Grunts might both be countered by a Gryphon, but don’t play the same role beyond that.
Next we have the attack types:
- Single Target
For quick reference, you can filter by any of those traits to find the minis with them at WarcraftRumble.gg
Taken together, these are all the ‘axes’ upon which an army will fight another, the set of ways that one force can counter another. Because of the defenders advantage, these are often the ways you will generate the gold advantages that allow you to push ahead with a superior force.
Now, these are the questions that need to be asked of any army.
- How well does my army fight along each of these axis? What are my vulnerabilities and where are my strengths?
- How flexible is my army? How quickly can I cycle to a needed mini? How well can control the map or deploy forces to a needed location?
- What’s my win condition? How do I expect to go on the offensive? Examples would include Footmen + Tirion Fordring, Frostwolf Shaman + General Drakkisath, or Necromancer + Baron Rivendare.
- What synergies do my minis have together? This might be that you have a sturdy tank like an Abomination paired with a mini with Fury like Firehammer.
One strength so far is we have 3 powerful flying minis, allowing massive pressure on our opponent’s supply of Ranged minis. A possible win condition is therefore to exhaust our opponent of ranged minis, and then have fliers swoop in.
An obvious weakness is just to ranged minis overall. But we have limited ability to hit backlines. A Darkspear Troll protected by a Resistant tank like Core Hounds would be difficult to assault, as it would out-range any approaching army and the Core Hounds could endure a lot of the Elemental damage we output from the Drake/Rend/Fire Elemental.
Our army also lacks flexibility. The current minis are expensive and slow. It would be difficult to secure chests, deny Kobolds, or quickly change lanes.
One immediate solution is to add some unbound minis. A Worgen favours striking the backline. A Quilboar is a little cheaper, but we can consider that we already have a resistant tank in the form of Fire Elemental. Whelp Eggs enjoy the Rend discount, but cannot as easily harass Kobolds or take chests.
There’s also the possibility of adding spells. Because we have a lot of AoE Elemental damage and expensive minis, we would be less interested in a spell like Blizzard. Chain Lightning doesn’t quite kill a Pyromancer or Troll either. Polymorph is an interesting choice, as it applies the Vulnerable trait to the minis for a period, causing them to take double damage from Elemental sources like the Drake.
Let’s try adding the Quilboar and the Polymorph. That gives an average cost of 3.6, which is a little high, but keep in mind in practice it is a little lower because of Rend’s ability.
We have no ranged. Is this a problem? We can trade flying minis at an advantage because of Rend’s discount, so we don’t necessarily need them. Hence, we have a relatively flexible last slot. Defias Bandits could be included as utility, as well as S.A.F.E Pilot to combine with Polymorph or snipe ranged minis. There’s also the option of something like Sappers or Meat Wagon to help take down towers.
Of course, this only helps us build Armies in a generic way. We have to consider the real opponents we face in PvP and the challenges of particular missions do not present us with random minis. We need to build to beat the minis we will actually face and not just ‘good’ teams. What we have is a good way to scaffold or structure the construction process.