The introduction of lanes to the play mat creates an additional layer of strategy in The Elder Scrolls: Legends. When placing a card, you’ll need to carefully consider the full board. Which creatures are in which lanes? Which lane will your creature potentially have an advantage in? If you ignore a lane in favor of another, what, if anything, are you sacrificing? With the addition of special lane types, you’ll also need to account for each lane’s rules and effects. Understanding what a specific lane does in a given game, along with which creatures you place within them, can change the entire outcome of that game.
There are more than 20 special lane types in The Elder Scrolls: Legends, and each one has a unique effect on how your games will play out. Here are some basic details and strategies for a handful of the lane types you’ll encounter.
Shadow: This is the most common special lane and the default right lane in most matches. Shadow lanes provide cover for one turn to any creature played in them (with the exception of Charge and Guard creatures), preventing them from being attacked until the next turn.
If your opponent has a 4/4 creature in a normal lane, you’d be foolish to play a 2/2 creature in that same lane – it would almost certainly be destroyed on the opponent’s next turn when they’re able to attack it. But if these creatures were in a Shadow Lane, the creature would be impervious to attacks until your next turn. This gives you the ability to buff your creature with an item or spell – or place a Guard in the lane to draw the other creature’s attention – rather than simply losing it in combat right off the bat.
Hall of Mirrors: Whenever the Hall of Mirrors lane is empty, a copy of the next creature you play will automatically be deployed there. If you already have a creature placed there, nothing will happen. But if the Mirror lane is empty, and you play a 4/4 creature…bam, two 4/4s! This is, of course, true for both players.
Mirror lanes can provide a good deal of strategic depth. If you make sure your opponent always has at least a single creature in the lane, they won’t be able to reap its duplicative properties. Keep in mind, they will likely be attempting do the same. This can create an interesting dance, as you and your opponent are constantly trying to decide when to place a card in the Mirror lane, and when to try to remove each other’s cards.
Graveyard: The Graveyard lane is similar to the Hall of Mirrors, only instead of getting a copy of your creature, you get a 1/1 Skeleton whenever a non-Skeleton creature in this lane is destroyed.
Both the Mirror Lane and the Graveyard lane create an interesting tension. While you want to deploy your creatures to these lanes to generate sometimes sizable advantages, this often means that the normal lanes are left uninhabited - another factor that can usually be used to your advantage. Any lane that generates a creature advantage should be thoroughly looked at, because if you’re not taking advantage of it, your opponent will be.
Champion's Arena: In the Champion’s Arena lane, the first creature you attack with each turn can attack an additional time. This should cause you to pause before deploying creatures here, especially if your opponent already has something larger in the way. You’d hardly want to summon a 1/1 creature into this lane if your opponent already has a 3/3 creature there. Not only would you be losing your 1/1, but you would take an additional three damage, causing a pretty sizable health loss you might not otherwise face. On the other hand, not deploying the 1/1 might lead to you taking six damage. You’ll need to carefully weigh all your options.
There are two types of creatures that will really benefit from the Champion’s Arena lane: big creatures and creatures with charge. Creatures with charge have the obvious benefit of being able to attack the turn you summon them...twice! One thing to keep in mind: Often in The Elder Scrolls: Legends you’re making a choice between attacking your opponent directly and attacking their creatures. These decisions can create two very different situations in a game. The Champion’s Arena lane has the distinct advantage of often letting you do both by attacking the player directly first, then taking out a troublesome creature with your second attack. This allows you to consistently deal damage to the opponent rather than simply resorting to damage control by sweeping up their creatures.
Plunder: The Plunder lane is one of several truly random lanes. Whenever a creature is summoned to the Plunder lane, it’s equipped with a random item. This could be anything from a +1/+1 Improvised Weapon, to the much heartier +5/+5 Dwarven Armaments, or even a +1/+2 Hackwing Feather that grants you the Regenerate ability, restoring your creature’s health between each turn. The sky (or rather the game’s extensive item cache) is the limit. As you never know what item your creatures will be equipped with, the Plunder lane is difficult to plan around. You’ll have to think fast and constantly adapt your strategy.
As you can see, lanes can have some pretty crazy (and varied) effects on your games. Being able to master each of these different effects and use them to your advantage will serve you well. You never know which lanes will pop up in your next Arena bout.