[Shadowverse] A Guide to Evolution (feat. Swordcraft)

[Shadowverse archive]

The most unique mechanic of Shadowverse is undoubtedly its evolve mechanic. Using your evolution points effectively is key to winning. To evolve is to commit, as evolution points are extremely finite. This guide explains different ways to use your evolution points and introduces a beginner-friendly budget deck any new player can make.


– The Evolve Mechanic –

To evolve to use an evolution point to strengthen a follower on your field. The first player starts with two evolution points and can evolve starting turn 5 while the second player starts with three evolution points and can evolve starting turn 4. In other words, the first player starts with the tempo advantage while the second player starts with the evolve advantage. Starting with the August 14th, 2016 update, the second player will also draw an extra card and have card advantage.

Evolution point

The evolve orb

The evolve orb next to your character tells you if you have evolved that turn, how many total evolution points you have, and how many turns you have left until you can evolve. One of the most important parts of the evolve mechanic is that you only get one per turn!

When a follower is evolved, it boosts its stats, activates any Evolve effects it has, and gains the ability to ignore Summoning Sickness when attacking another follower  Summoning Sickness is the inability of a follower to attack the turn it is played (term from Magic the Gathering). I personally call this pseudo-storm and will refer to it as such. Followers gain +2/+2 if it does not have an Evolve effect and only +1/+1 if it does. However, these Evolve effects are usually very powerful and worth the stat loss.

Evolution Saber.jpg

Evolved followers gain a stat boost and often shiner art.


– Evolve Effects –

Evolve effects are simple to understand. If you want the Evolve effect, spend an evolution point and you get a +1/+1 stat boost, the Evolve effect, and psuedo-storm. For example, Floral Fencer summons a 2/2 Steelclad Knight and 1/1 Knight when evolved for a total of 4/4 in stats for a single evolve point.

Some of the most powerful Evolve effects are on 4 cost followers, which is when evolution is first unlocked. This makes turn 4 a pivotal point in a game as it is when player 2 first has an advantage.

For example, a smart use of Floral Fencer can create a board of 3 followers and destroy one of your opponents with the pseudo-storm of the main Floral Fencer.


– Aggressive Evolution –

One of the worst plays you can make with an evolution point is to evolve a follower just to trade it for an opponent’s minion, unless the opponent’s minion is a high priority target like a Lucifer. This is essentially a 1 for 1 trade, except you are also giving up an evolution point.

Angelic BarrageThe most common play using an evolution point is to summon a follower, buff its stats by +2/+2 and attack into an enemy follower while the buffed defense allows your follower to survive.

However, the last way to use an evolution point is something missed by many players: simply as a +2/+2 buff. Even if there is no other follower, a smart buff on a minion can allow it to survive enemy spells or attacks. For example, a 1/1 Knight will die to an AoE spell like Angelic Barrage, which deals 1 dmg to all enemies, but will survive when buffed to a 3/3. 1 damage does not do much, but 3 damage repeatedly adds up pretty fast.

Novice Trooper

Evolve + Storm

Keep in mind the +2/+2 buff at all times! Evolving in advance can push through damage that may be defended in future turns. That boost in stats can easily lead to a game winning situation by bursting your opponent with on-board followers or a follower with storm, which can always attack the opponent directly, barring any followers with Ward blocking the way.

Remember an evolution point used to destroy an enemy follower is one that cannot be used to deal damage to your opponent, and vice versa. Always have a plan for each evolution point, whether that is a favorable trade, direct damage, or an evolve effect.


– Beginner’s First Deck –

(Portal decklist)

Evolution decklist.jpgIn my opinion, Swordcraft Aggro is the best deck to start with for numerous reasons. First, it is dirt cheap to make in terms of vials as every card is either Bronze or Silver in rarity. Second, it teaches a lot about basic aggression and using evolution points effectively. In this deck, it is often more correct to evolve extremely aggressively to squeeze in damage.

However, there are times when trading favorably is better. Cards such as Vanguard and Sage Commander have more defense than attack, making them better suited for good trades while cards such as Centaur Vanguard and Pompous Princess focus more on attack to destroy your opponent. The deck code for easy import can be obtained from the Portal decklist.

– Key Deck Tips –

  1. 1 cost followers are important because of Princess Vanguard. E.g. the 1/1 Knight made by Oathless Knight is often more important than the actual card.
  2. The deck’s late game is atrocious, so play accordingly. Saving up evolution points for turn 8 and 9 do not do anything when you are playing 3 cost followers.
  3. Use evolve to further your aggressive gameplan. Evolve a follower you just played to get through followers with Ward and punch through to the opponent.
  4. Always check what followers are Officers or Commanders. Normally, higher cost means the follower is a Commander. The most notable exception to this is Floral Fencer which is an Officer. Have Officers on the board before playing Commanders with buffs and have a Commander on the board before playing Cenatur Vanguard.

Some other card options you can make (click picture for Portal link):

Veteran LancerThis cheap follower with Ward can protect low defense, high attack followers. Palace FencerHas a less restrictive buff than Princess Vanguard but dies more easily.
StratagemDraws cards to continue your aggression but is slow with its relatively high cost. PercivalDeals direct damage as a finisher that bypasses Ward. Only good when ahead.

-Example Gameplay Videos-

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