I don’t remember what the setup was (especially as I’ve now played another game) but I’ve flooded the left-hand lane with minions thanks to Dimensional Portal, guaranteeing letting me keep my own tower on a sliver of health while ensuring the destruction of my enemy’s. My opponent makes a tactical retreat, using a Town Portal Scroll so they can reposition their hero next turn. It’s a smart move, a significant part of Artifact’s three-board structure.
I follow suit, strapping a Blink Dagger to my Lycan and switching him out to reposition in a more effective spot. My minions slam into the enemy tower, and I draw level in the match.
For me, the mid-lane is a washout. My tower is already down, and with a buffed-up Bristleback, and a black hero facing down my undefended ancient, my opponent is doing pretty well. It’ll take them a few turns and plenty of resources to whittle me down, and what’s more, we both know it. A second Scroll comes out, leaving Bristleback alone in the lane. He does 10 damage, but it the grand scheme of things that’s not so much.
As the action pans to the third lane, it all comes together. I already have decent creep advantage, but not quite enough to swing the lane. Thankfully, I’ve kept Ogre Magi alive long enough that I can use a second Dimensional Portal, giving me even more pressure. And since Lycan blinked in, I’ve got a 17-point lethal on the tower. Theoretically, it might have been possible for my opponent to body-block enough units to save themselves, but the cards aren’t with them, and I claim my win.
I then proceed to flap restlessly around the house, trying to articulate to Christina just how good this game is. Artifact might have its flaws, but for now I’m still in awe of what Valve has created.