I had this information scattered around, and I decided to post it here, in one straightforward, condensed location. This is so that other players, especially new players, will be able to get into advanced, competitive game sooner and offer the rest of us a fun challenge! Here are things I think we should all keep in mind when building strategy into our deck and when tactically dealing with situations mid game:
1. Card Advantage (Does the card trade 1-for-1 ?okay? or 1-for-0 ?bad? or 1-for-2 ?excellent?; Sandra, Belladonna and Lightning Strike are two clear examples of awesome 1-for-2 trades. If you can get a card to count for two or more, then you are on the right track. Obviously, cards that let you draw give you a great advantage in that they slim down your deck and give an immediate card advantage, like Research or Blood Frenzy. However, be careful of playing cards like Bad Santa which actually can benefit your opponent more than it benefits you, since playing it when both players have empty hands actually nets you a -1 card advantage because you both gained three cards but you paid one. Unless Bazaar is part of your long term strategy, be careful in using it since it gives you both a -1 card advantage and a loss of tempo, since your opponent gets to take advantage of the extra draw before you).
2. Tempo (Sometimes cards don?t give you a card advantage but they give you some tempo, letting you outpace your opponent. Examples include ?Here Be Monsters? which trades 1-for-1 but grants you a tempo advantage. You might think that Rain Delay falls into this category and that it makes up for the 1-for-0 card disadvantage by granting you tempo, but in reality, Rain Delay just slows you down since it takes time and resources to cast it which could have been instead allocated toward strengthening your defenses, instead of just stalling the game and putting yourself at a card disadvantage. Sandra Trueblade is the best example of tempo since it not only slows your opponent down but it leaves you with an ally to attack with; she is a Puwen Bloodhelm and a Here Be Monsters in one card at a lower resource cost).
3. Board Presence (This is really important since attacking allies get first strike. Portal is a great card for facilitating Board Presence since you are able to kill enemy allies before they get a chance to attack you.)
4. Resource Curve (This is basically a subfield of tempo, which basically reminds you to not have too many expensive cards or too many cheap cards but to balance your deck such that you are doing something appropriate to how much resource is available to you on each turn).
5. Damage (So in the end you win the game by dishing out enough damage to kill your opponent; nevertheless, this is your long term goal. The more important goals, your short term goals, are card advantage, tempo, and board presence. In fact, don?t think of damage as a separate long term goal, just think of these short term goals (tempo, card advantage, and board presence) as indirect but highly effective means of working toward this long term goal. In other words, starting a game off by hurling a Fireball at your opponent hero is usually a bad idea since, although you are dealing 4 damage, you are putting yourself at a -1 card advantage. Cards like Fire Snake that can?t survive enough to trade one-for-one are really bad. On the other and, Belladonna is great because she gives you the card advantage to establish your presence in the long term, and she is an intimidating ally with 4 attack. Dropping a Sandra grants you both tempo and card advantage. Sandra gives you the tempo to dish out more damage before your opponent is able to set up defenses, since they are now down one resource, and she also gives you a card advantage, since Sandra is two cards in one).
6. Minimum Deck Size (Lastly, every competitive player should really keep a no more than 30 card deck, since the more cards you add, the less of a chance you have of getting to your best cards. Getting to your best cards sooner aids in all of the above).
A final note: The fascinating thing about Shadow Era is that you can make a deck that is strategically balanced in both card advantage and tempo and then you can tactically choose to play one or the other (and use the other?s cards as your resources).