Mystic Vale: Strategy

By: Tim Rivera

Hi Everyone. It has been a long time since I wrote an article for Daily Metagame; I can tell you it feels good to be back. I just needed to find the right motivation and today I have found it. I have played Mystic Vale non-stop since its release.

Last time we talked about Mystic Vale, Kirk outlined the rules and the gameplay. That article can be found here: 

Mystic Vale: Introduction

Today I am going to outline some strategy concepts that might take your Mystic Vale game play to the next level. I’ll start off by talking more detailed strategies I have found success with, then move towards general strategy.

You Can Build It And They Will Come

The 4 deck types I have found that work well are growth decks, victory point decks, vale decks, and the well rounded jack of all trade decks.

Growth decks

CleansingRainThis deck focuses hard on cards that will give you growth, cards that discard cards in play or in your deck, and cards that negate decay symbols. Basically, anything that can help you remove decay symbols from play or in your deck, and allow you to grow longer fields. It sounds so simple right? You minimize the decay symbols and your fields grow longer. In addition to that you can  press more easily, which in turn allows you to go through your deck faster and get back to shuffling for the next round. This allows you to see those more powerful cards faster. The ultimate goal is to make a deck that can press through itself every turn. Once you get to that point, you will gain between 10-20 points a round if you can buy the right level 3 enhancements.

The growth strategy sounds great and my highest scores have come from using this strategy, but it does have its downsides. This strategy takes a lot of time to develop. Imagine an avalanche. Your deck is the little snowball that starts at the top or the largest mountain. As that snowball  comes barreling down the mountain it becomes larger and more of an unstoppable force.  The problem is, your opponents can make that mountain smaller. If your opponents can drain the Victory Point pool fast enough, you won’t have enough turns of using your unstoppable deck to regain the victory points you passed up while building it.

Key cards:

BearTotemLevel 1 Enhancements: Grassland, Cleansing Rain, Deadwood Harvester

Level 2 Enhancements: Bear Totem, Lifebringer Seed, Mindeful Owl

Level 3 Enhancements: Calm Weather, Woodland Warden, Magic Seed

Victory Point Deck

SeedlingTo counteract those decks that are trying to play the really long game you need an aggressive strategy. The number one card for this deck is Seedling which you will want to add to your cursed lands. All of the good level 2 enhancement cards that gain victory points when played add a Decay symbol to your deck. After a few games it should be clear that adding too many cards with Decay symbols is bad. You’ll see your deck churn more slowly, which leads to more turns for the other players.

In this strategy, you’ll need to add cards that gain victory points when you play them, but also allow you to still have decent field sizes. You’ll also want to press aggressively on turns that your field does not produce victory points. It will be worth it to press even with a high chance to spoil, just to remove one cursed land from your deck.

In the early game, focus on buying Fertile Soils and Seedlings. The deck focuses heavily on cards from the second enhancement level, and if played properly should not need many from level 3.

Key cards:

HulkingThornhide2Level 1 Enhancements: Seedling, Fertile Soil, Cleansing Rain, Deadwood Harvester

Level 2 Enhancements: Hulking Thornhide, Hawk, Plow, Feral Chieftan, and Lifebringer Seed

Level 3 Enhancements: Any cards that give you victory points when you play them. All of them are good at this level but an early Dreadcoil Cobra can be devastating.

Vale Decks

WellspringThe vale deck can also lead to high point totals. Vales are not usually bought until around the middle of the game. I like to move into this type of strategy early, if I am able to pick up either a Wellspring or Druid’s Song in the first few turns. Wellspring can lead to high scores simply because it can buy Azure Lake by itself.

One bonus of going all in on the Vale strategy early is if you do, you are typically the only one doing so. You’ll have two areas to buy cards from while your opponents will only have enhancements. The other bonus is that some Vales can lead to you acquiring more Vales quickly because of their ongoing powers.

If you can get an early Druid’s Song, move into this strategy. Otherwise before you try this strategy, take a look at what Vales are available. If there are level 1 Vales that have ongoing powers, you’ll want to focus on purchasing cards that help acquire the Vales. It’s all about that snowball effect of buying more and more Vales. I stay away from the cards that add Decay symbols to my deck, even though they help buy vales. This deck typically does not buy cards that help fight against decay, so adding more can be detrimental.  

Key Cards:

LifeBloomOrchidsLevel 1 Enhancements: Wellspring, Dawnsinger, Wayfinder, Peacekeeper Druid, and Podlings

Level 2 Enhancements: Bear Totem, Druid’s Song, Plow, Feral Chieftain

Level 3 Enhancements: Calm Weather, Ent Elder, Lifebloom Orchids


Key Vales:

Azure Lake, Radiant Pinnacle, Cascading Falls, Talonthorn Den, Pool of Light, Stream of Vigors

Jack of All Trades

FieldOfFlowersOf course you could just always buy the best card available for each of your turns and it is not a bad strategy, either. If your deck is full of powerful cards, you’ll always have a chance to get there. I am usually pulled into this strategy when there is nothing out there to dictate which way I should go. I usually find myself in this spot when Field of Flowers is available. Field of Flowers is so powerful early.  The turn you draw it in the next shuffle you should have the ability to buy a good level 2 enhancement. The other card I really like in this type of deck is Earthchant Chorus. It has the same power as Field of Flowers early, which is what you’ll want in this type of deck.

General Strategy

DawnsingerYou’ll notice I left out the Guardian deck strategy. For the life of me I can’t get it to work. If I start buying the Guardian cards, I start getting blocked out by my opponents. I find myself using the Guardian strategy in the vale deck most often, but it is usually a few cards here and there. Maybe more time playing will let me know how to really build this deck well.

I wanted to wrap up this article just giving some strong general advice for new players. I have found the most success when I specialize early in one three decks: Growth, Vale, Victory Points. Synergy is key in deck building games. If all your cards focus on one common goal, it will be a lot easier to achieve what you set out to do when you bought those cards.

You’ll also need to focus on what your opponents are doing. I try not to follow along with their strategies because it will usually end up with me getting more cards that fit my strategy. It also hurts when something pops up before your turn and they are there to swoop in on it before you even get a chance at it.

My last general piece of advice would be to not be afraid of spoiling/always know the odds when it comes to pressing. You start with 9 Cursed Lands in your deck. If you have seen them all you know you can press your entire deck without spoiling. Spoiling does have an advantage of getting one more cursed land out of your deck.  You should always know how many decay symbols are in your deck. I always keep count of how many active decay symbols are in the deck. Remember you can always look at your discard pile to figure out your chances.

Mystic Vale is the best deck building game we have purchased in the past year. I highly recommend you purchase it, if you are into any of the games that are deck building games. You will not regret it.

– TimRiv