As we promised in our guide covering How to win at Battlegrounds we want to bring you guides for the heroes that are very powerful, but are not intuitive to play. One such powerful, yet not intuitive hero is Maiev Shadowsong. So here it is, the all you need to know guide to playing Maeiv.
Starting out with Maiev Swansong in Battlegrounds
Maiev Shadowsong is one of my favorite heroes available currently in Battlegrounds. However, Maeiv Shadowsong is a strange hero to play due to her unique ability, Imprison. Imprison locks up a minion, at the cost of one gold, causing the minion to go dormant for two turns. After the dormant period, the minion moves to Maiev’s hand, with a +1 attacking strength buff.
In general, Maiev Shadowsong’s strategy revolves around finding all the pairs you can get your hands on, and tripling into tier five and six minions in the mid-game. Since it only costs a single gold to purchase the minion (after two turns of waiting), Maiev Shadowsong is able to find pairs and triples far easier, at less of a cost to the strength of your current board.
One great use of Imprison is to imprison a pair of minions when we already have one of that type on our board, granting us the completed triple after two turns. When you know you have a triple ready to go, without having to invest more gold in buying it, you are free to raise up your tavern quite safely, sacrificing some turns to get a massive power spike later in the game.
Maiev Shadowsong’s unique leveling curve
Maiev’s hero power Imprison is the reason the hero is as strong as it is. The way the two-turn Dormant interacts with raising your tavern tier makes her one of the strongest heroes available.
In an ideal situation, you Imprison a minion to complete your triple on turn four, or at six gold. While sometimes you find a triple earlier on, it is recommended to hold off momentarily to avoid disrupting your leveling strategy. Holding off usually means you freeze your shop, and buy a different minion in Bob’s Tavern, even if it is less than ideal. The reason for that is the way Maiev’s hero power works out with the cost of leveling up your tavern to give you one of the earliest & consistent tier-five minion access in the game.
- Buy a minion. If a token is available, buy the token, sell the additional token and utilize Imprison.
- Buy the best minion (or a pair), and Imprison the second best option.
- On turn three, we have access to a total of five gold. That means we buy one minion, Imprison another, and have one excess gold. The excess gold is commonly used to reroll your board to find a stronger minion, or to prepare your pair or triple going into the following turns. If you do come across a triple, don’t Imprison it yet. Freeze it instead to avoid ruining your leveling strategy.
- On turn four things become complicated. If all goes according to plan, life is as simple as buying the strongest minion and Imprisoning your triple and raising your tavern to tier two. However, things don’t always go to plan. If you have excess tokens from before, that aren’t part of a pair, sell that one/those ones first to try and find a last-chance triple. If not, our only option is to tavern up, buy the strongest one available, and Imprison the second best option.
- By now we either have one or more pair, or a triple prepared. During these rounds we need to tavern up to tier three to not fall further behind on the game, and utilize Imprison once more to prepare for the upcoming turns.
- On turn six we have two options. Either we have a triple to find a win-condition and we can raise our tavern to tier four, or we are in desperation mode and have to consider raising our tavern or trying to survive until we do find a triple before we lose. The turn six decision depends a lot on the game state, and how much damage your opponents dealt to you so far, which is impossible to give exact advice for, so try and use your best judgement here if you find yourself in this situation.
The key units for Maiev Shadowsong
Now that we know the ideal leveling curve for Maiev, we need to understand which minions are most important for you when playing your early turns. Since Maiev Shadowsong is one of the few heroes in Battlegrounds that stays at tavern tier one for three turns, understanding which minions are best is more important and quite different from most other heroes.
There are three units I prioritize whenever they are available. These minions are Micro Mummy, Wrath Weaver, and Red Whelp. Besides that, tokens are most helpful on turn one, but fall off slightly after that. The strengths of Micro Mummy, Wrath Weaver, and Red Whelp is that they all synergize with other tier-one minions you are going to pick up along the way.
Another thing to keep in mind, that since we are tripling into tavern-five minions, due to how strong an early Lightfang Enforcer or Mythrax the Unraveler are, we aim to have at least three different tribes on the board to come out swinging if we find one of the win-condition minions.
What about the early-game Darkmoon Treasure?
There’s two important spells for Maiev. Since we often completely fill our board by turn four, finding a Might of Stormwind is fantastic. A +7/+7 effective buff is extremely powerful and helps you raise your tavern tier much safer. The other option we like is Rocking and Rolling, the three extra rolls give you a lot of extra chances to find the triple when you want it.
In addition to that, the New Recruit Darkmoon Treasure is particularly bad for Maiev. The extra minion in Bob’s Tavern doesn’t work with Imprison if you lock two minions, losing out on its value for many turns. Because of that, try and avoid it at all cost.
After all of this, the only thing left to do is find a composition dictator, a topic I covered in depth in my How to Win at Battlegrounds guide. Maiev’s best composition dictators include Lightfang Enforcer, Mama Bear, Cap’n Hoggarr, Nomi, Kitchen Nightmare, and Brann Bronzebeard. When you find one of these you can start working towards building your final composition and try to win your lobby.
If everything went right, Maiev has a strong start, weak midgame, and if played correctly, a very strong end game because you were able to get those key comp dictators early and push to complete the build around those units!
I also want to take this opportunity to invite you to Tenacity’s Educational Battlegrounds Community discord, with guides, tons of people to spectate and tutor you – all for free!