Epic implements combat in a TCG/CCG-like game better than all of the other games of that genre I have played. Attacking is a fluid part of your turn because both you and your opponent have a lot of decisions to make.
You must decide:
- When to attack on your turn (if at all)
- How many champions to attack with at once
- When to “chump block” to prevent damage
- When to play “combat tricks” that enhance your champions
- Which of a plethora of other possibilities you need to consider
In this article, I will discuss first the generically correct answers to these questions. At the end of each discussion, I will link to an article that goes into more detail about that specific aspect of Epic combat.
I have included my Epic Turn chart below to provide context for how attacking/combat works in Epic.
When You may Attack Overview
After you perform all of the Start of Turn actions, you can initiate an Attack Phase at any point on your turn. You can attack, then play a champion, then attack again, then attempt to end your turn, then, since your opponent played a card, you can attack again, etc. As long as you have prepared champions that aren’t deploying (similar to “summoning sickness” for Magic player or non-charge minions for Hearthstone players), you can initiate an Attack Phase on your turn.
When Each Player may Play Cards in Combat Overview
During an Attack Phase, there are 2 windows where both players may play Fast Actions: After attackers are declared and After blockers are declared.
An Attack Phase starts when the current player declares 1 or more champions as attackers. Then the current player may play any Fast Actions (events, champions with ambush, or activating a champion’s power). After the current player performs any number of these actions that they would like, the defending player gets that same chance. So, the defending player can play events, champions with ambush, or activate champions’ powers.
If the defending player plays at least 1 Fast Action, this process repeats. The current player may play any Fast Actions then the defending player may play any Fast Actions. This continues to repeat until the defender chooses to not play any Fast Actions. The defender always has the last chance to play Fast Actions, so if the defender plays a Fast Action and then passes, the defender will still get another chance to play more Fast Actions even if the current player does not play a Fast Action.
Once both players have passed, the defender assigns 0 or more champions to block the entire group of attacking champions. If at least 1 champion is assigned as a blocker, than none of the champions will deal damage to the defending player. (This is complicated by airborne, unblockable, and breakthrough.)
Once blockers are declared, repeat the same process that occurred after attackers were declared: current player may play Fast Actions, defending player may play Fast Actions, etc.
Once both players have passed, damage is assigned. The controller of the champions assign the damage. So, the current player would determine how much of the attacking champions’ offense is dealt to each defending champion, and the defending player would determine how much of the defending champions’ offense is dealt to each attacking champion.
When to Attack
You (almost) always want to attack with your champions before spending your gold.
At the start of the turn, you know all of the champions you have in play, and all of the champions your opponent has in play. If you see an attack you can make that is advantageous to you currently, make it. Your opponent will either have to play something to stop you or take the damage.
Example 1 (Lone Attacker)
The most simple example is if you have a champion in play and they do not. If you have a Medusa in play and they have nothing in play, attacking guarantees that you will either do 6 damage to them, or they will need to do something to prevent it.
They could either remove Medusa by breaking/banishing/bouncing (returning it to hand) it or ambush a champion in to block it. Once they have committed to something, you can then potentially have an answer for it.
Scenario 1 (Opponent Ambushes in a Champion)
Say they ambush in Lurking Giant.
Since they have spent their gold, you know that they can’t spend a gold on anything else that turn. Now, you can play Bitten (or any other removal) on the Lurking Giant. The Lurking Giant is removed, both players have spent their gold, assuming your opponent can’t do any 0-cost Fast Actions, you have spent your turn doing 6 damage and maintaining your lead.
Both players have 1 fewer card in hand, you have an expended Medusa and a prepared zombie token, and your opponent lost 6 health.
If you had spent your gold before attacking, playing Infernal Gatekeeper for example, you would not have been able to remove Lurking Giant. In that situation, your Medusa would have broke against Lurking Giant. This would have the left the board with you having Infernal Gatekeeper and a demon, your opponent having Lurking Giant, and you losing 1 card. You also wouldn’t have inflicted any damage.
Scenario 2 (Opponent Uses Removal)
Since your opponent has spent their gold, you play Avenging Angel and attack. Your opponent has no 0-cost Fast Action(s) to stop the Avenging Angel, so you deal 6 damage to them, gain 6 health, and your opponent can’t attack you on their turn while Avenging Angel is expended. Both players have also used/lost 1 card.
In that situation, your opponent would have used/lost 1 card to remove 2 champions. They also would not have lost any health, and you would not have gained any health.
Example 2 (Multiple Attackers)
Attacking before spending your gold is even more important when you have more champions in play than your opponent. The greater your advantage on board, the better it is for your opponent to play a board clear. If you attack with your small champions first, you are almost guaranteed to do at least some damage to your opponent.
If you attack before spending your gold, your opponent can only block 1 of the champions, or they can board clear early.
Scenario 1 (Opponent Board Clears Early)
You declare 1 demon token as an attacker. Your opponent immediately plays Stand Alone. You choose to keep either your Infernal Gatekeeper or your Triceratops. Since your opponent just used a board clear, you choose to keep Infernal Gatekeeper. You choose not to attack with Infernal Gatekeeper (since Sea Titan can block it), and you spend your gold on Raxxa, Demon Tyrant.
After spending the 1 health for Infernal Gatekeeper, you end up with 4 (6/6) demon tokens, Raxxa, and Infernal Gatekeeper. You lost 2 demons and Triceratops, dealt no damage, and your opponent still has Sea Titan.
Scenario 2 (Opponent Holds onto Gold)
You attack with a demon token, and your opponent plays nothing, letting it damage their face. You then attack with the next demon for the same result. Now, you choose to attack with Triceratops since Infernal Gatekeeper can provide more value.
If your opponent blocks the Triceratops, you could let the Triceratops break and then attack with Infernal Gatekeeper. In this situation, you dealt 17 damage that turn and lost a Triceratops. Both players still have their gold.
If your opponent doesn’t block, you can choose not to attack with Infernal Gatekeeper. In that situation, you dealt 18 damage, didn’t lose a champion, and left both players with their gold.
In either situation, you could choose to play something now or pass your turn.
If you play something now (Like Murderous Necromancer), you get further ahead, but make yourself more vulnerable to board clears like Stand Alone. You would be more vulnerable because your opponent’s single card, Stand Alone, would remove more resources. If you played Murderous Necromancer with Loyalty and spent a health to Infernal Gatekeeper, the Stand Alone would remove 3 zombies, 3 demons, and leave you with either Triceratops, Infernal Gatekeeper, or Murderous Necromancer.
If you pass, and your opponent plays Stand Alone before you spend your gold, Stand Alone would remove 2 Demons and Triceratops leaving you with Infernal Gatekeeper. You could then play Murderous Necromancer with Loyalty and spend a health to Infernal Gatekeeper. In that case, you have 3 Zombies, 1 Demon, Infernal Gatekeeper, and Murderous Necromancer.
If your opponent doesn’t spend their gold or play any Fast Action, the turn will end, and you will still be ahead on the board.
Relevant Supplementary Articles
When to Spend Your Gold Before Attacking (Coming Soon)
How Many to Attack with Simultaneously
You (almost) always want to attack with 1 champion at a time.
There a few major disadvantages when attacking as a group:
- If any attacker doesn’t have airborne or unblockable, the entire group is treated as if they don’t have it
- If even 1 champion blocks the group, all of the champions in the group are blocked
- Cards like Spike Trap affect all attacking champions
If you attack with 1 champion at a time, you are more likely to deal damage to your opponent.
Example 1 (Chump Block)
Scenario 1 (Attack with Everything at Once)
You attack with all 6 champions at the same time. Your opponent is able to declare their Thrasher Demon as a blocker. Thundarus‘s airborne is ignored because not all champions in the group have airborne, and Knight of Shadows‘ unblockable is ignored since not all champions in the group have unblockable.
All of the damage from the attackers is dealt to the Thrasher Demon (so it will break), and the Thrasher Demon can assign 1 point of damage to Thundarus, Knight of Shadows, and Kong. Due to Thrasher Demon‘s “Break any champion damaged by this card” effect, Thundarus, Knight of Shadows, and Kong break.
In this extreme example, by attacking with everything, you lost 3 1-cost champions, your opponent lost 1 0-cost champion, and you dealt 0 damage.
Scenario 2 (Attack One at a Time)
You attack with Thundarus. Your opponent has no airborne champions so they take 10 damage. You then attack with Knight of Shadows, since Knight of Shadows is unblockable, your opponent can’t block it and takes 9 damage. After that, you attack with 1 human token, your opponent chooses not to block it, so they take 1 damage. You do this twice more with your two remaining humans tokens and inflict 1 damage in each attack. Since your opponent still has Thrasher Demon, you choose not to attack with Kong.
You dealt 22 damage and lost no champions.
You (almost) never want to attack in groups.
Example 2 (Pack Attack)
You have 5 wolf tokens in play. Your opponent has Triceratops in play. You can either attack as a group for 10 damage, which would break Triceratops (and all of your wolves), or you can attack one at a time.
Scenario 1 (Attack with Everything at Once)
You decide to attack with all 5 wolves at once. You want your opponent to either let all of them through, or block and remove the Triceratops. Your opponent blocks. After blockers are declared and before damage is dealt, your opponent plays Lightning Strike and breaks one of your wolves. Neither of you play anything else, so you deal 8 damage to their Triceratops and it survives. The Triceratops does 10 damage to the wolves, breaking all of them.
Since your opponent was able to pick off 1 wolf, the group lost its critical mass. With 1 0-cost card, your opponent broke all 5 of your wolves. Aside from removal, this same effect could have been achieved by buffing the Triceratops with cards like Rage or Great Horned Lizard.
Scenario 2 (Attack One at a Time)
You decide to attack 1 wolf at a time. Your opponent doesn’t block the first 3 wolves attacking alone and takes 6 damage in packages of 2. They block the 4th wolf with Triceratops, and then play Lightning Strike when the 5th wolf attacks.
In this scenario, you got 6 damage through and still have 3 wolves left. Your opponent has their Triceratops left, and they still spent 1 card.
Relevant Supplementary Articles
When to Attack in Groups (Coming Soon)
When to Chump Block
“Chump Blocking” is when you block an attacking champion with a smaller one. The attacking champion won’t break, the defending champion will break, but you won’t take any damage.
You (almost) never want to chump block with a 1-cost champion. If you can’t break an attacking 1-cost champion and you have a token, you (almost) always want to chump block.
If you chump block with a 1-cost champion, you can fall behind in champions on the board. If you chump block with tokens, you protect your health and don’t lose much.
Example 1 (Emergency Chump Block)
You just spent your gold playing Inheritance of the Meek on your opponent’s turn, clearing the board. They then spend their gold on Rampaging Wurm and attack for 14. You play Plentiful Dead to get a zombie token.
Since your opponent doesn’t play anything before blockers are declared, you declare it as (chump) blocker. Neither player plays anything so your zombie breaks to Rampaging Wurm‘s 14 damage, Rampaging Wurm gets tickled by the zombie, and you take no damage.
Example 2 (Airborne Lethal)
You have Ice Drake in play, Inner Peace in hand, spent your gold, and are at 16 health. Your opponent has no champions in play, 4 cards in hand, 3 health, and spent their gold. They play Draka, Dragon Tryant, revealing Flame Strike and Flash Fire for loyalty 2->blitz, and attack with it.
Scenario 1 (1-cost Chump Block)
You choose to chump block. You have such a big lead in health currently, not chump blocking would bring you down to 7 health, you know your opponent has Flame Strike in hand, and you know you have a Fireball and Rain of Fire in your deck. So, your Ice Drake breaks, but you are still at 16 health.
On their turn, they attack with Draka. You play Resurrection to draw 2 and return Inner Peace to hand. You draw Thundarus and Ceasefire. Since you didn’t get an answer to Draka, you take 9 damage going down to 17. They play Strafing Dragon, revealing Flame Strike and Jungle Queen for loyalty 2 and 5 damage to your health, bringing you down to 12. Then they attack and bring you down to 6.
On your turn, you draw Guilt Demon. You play Inner Peace, since you know your opponent can kill you with Flame Strike, bringing you up to 16. Then you play Guilt Demon and attack. Your opponent plays Lightning Strike on it. You try to pass your turn and your opponent plays Flame Strike to your face, bringing you down to 8 health.
By chump blocking Draka with your Ice Drake, you were able to survive for 4 more turns, but you didn’t draw any answers or direct damage, so you eventually lost to Draka anyway. If you would have had luckier draws and/or your opponent had worse draws, you could have won.
Scenario 2 (Don’t Chump Block)
You choose not to chump block. You know not chump blocking will bring you down to 7, and your opponent could kill you with Flame Strike on your turn. But, since you have Inner Peace, you could play that before attacking, and then potentially get Ice Drake to attack for the win.
In addition, you know your opponent has Flash Fire, which could bring you down to 5. The only 2 0-cost cards in the game that can do 5 damage are Brave Squire and Dark Knight. Since you could block Dark Knight with Ice Drake, the only way you lose on this turn is if your opponent has Brave Squire in hand.
For your turn, the only way you won’t deal lethal damage with Ice Drake is if your opponent has either an airborne, ambush champion, or a way to draw and put an airborne champion in play (Surprise Attack or any draw card + Watchful Gargoyle/Muse etc.).
Not blocking is a risk, but you are unlikely to die this turn, and you are likely to win on your turn. In order to lose, your opponent would need to be lucky enough to have one of the few possible answers available. You don’t need to rely on getting lucky draws.
Relevant Supplementary Articles
When to Chump Block with 1-cost Champions (Coming Soon)
When not to Chump Block with tokens (Coming Soon)
When to Play Combat Tricks
You (almost) always want to play your Combat Tricks after blockers have been declared. The obvious exception to this is playing an ambush champion that you want to declare as a blocker before blockers are declared.
As the attacker you want to wait because how your opponent blocks can determine which combat tricks you want to play, if any. In addition, if you play a buff on an unblocked attacker after blockers are declared, the defender cannot change their mind and block the now buffed attacker.
As the defender you want to wait because your opponent might buff their attacker, and then you can use 1 card to answer 2 or more cards, the champion and the buff(s).
Example 1 (Token Buff)
My favorite example is when you have Mighty Blow in hand, you have at least a token and 1 more champion in play, and your opponent has at least a token in play.
You could either play your Mighty Blow before or after attackers.
Scenario 1 (Play Mighty Blow Before Blockers are Declared)
You attack with your wolf token and then immediately play Mighty Blow targeting it. Your opponent chump blocks it with their human token and takes no damage. Then you attack with Kong. Your opponent doesn’t declare any blockers. After the declare blockers step, you pass initiative and your opponent plays Bitten on Kong, breaking it.
So, after both players spent their gold on their turn, you removed an opponent’s human token, did no damage, and gained a zombie token. Your opponent lost a human token and effectively turned your Kong into a zombie.
Scenario 2 (Play Mighty Blow after blockers are declared)
You attack with your wolf token and pass initiative, your opponent wants to save their human token to chump block Kong, so they don’t declare it as a blocker. Now that blockers have been declared (none), you play Mighty Blow on the wolf token. Your opponent can’t chump block it at this point, and they can’t break it because it is unbreakable, so they cast Bitten on Kong and take the 12 damage from the buffed wolf token.
In this scenario, you still have 2 zombies and lost your Kong, but you also did 12 damage. Your opponent does get to keep their human token though.
Example 2 (Lying in Wait)
You are at 22 health. Your opponent attacks you with Raging T-Rex. You have no champions in play so you declare no blockers. After blockers are declared, your opponent plays 2 Brave Squires on Raging T-Rex. Now, you play Lying in Wait and remove 3 cards for the price of 1.
Relevant Supplementary Articles
When to Play Combat Tricks Before the Declare Blockers Step (Coming Soon)
When to Play Burn Removal in Conjunction with Combat Damage (Coming Soon)
Included above are the main considerations for Epic combat. Below you can find articles that cover in smaller and/or rarer situations. Articles denoted as Coming Soon have not yet been written. So, if a particular one catches you eye, let me know in the comments, and I will prioritize it.
Bluffing (Coming Soon)
Breakthrough (Coming Soon)
Chump Attacking (Coming Soon)