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Heroes are the heart and soul of Artifact. They let you cast spells, have their own abilities and are generally quite powerful. So how do you deal with them in a most efficient way?

Artifact lead designer Richard Garfield shared some wisdom. In his latest video, the developer talks about the best time and ways to dispose of a hero.

The optimal time for a hero kill

“Eliminating a hero is not always equal. In general, eliminating earlier in the round is better,” Garfield says.

Why is that? The answer lies in the hero mechanic, naturally. Heroes are powerful units that can challenge most creeps in the game. That’s why you don’t want them to take part in the combat phase. Killing them before that time not only removes a lot of stats from the board, but frees a combat slot and opens direct damage possibilities.

The other reason is the connection between the heroes and the other cards in the game. In Artifact, you can only play cards of certain color if you have a hero of that color in the lane. No red hero? You can’t play your game-winning Time of Triumph. Therefore, killing a hero early in the turn limits the player’s options to play cards. Imagine a situation where your opponent only has a single hero in lane. Kill it, and you don’t have to worry about what they do with their mana this turn. You don’t have to think through the initiative flops or how to manage your mana. The turn is fully yours.

“The best way to get rid of a hero is right at the start of the round, before they got the chance to act,” adds Garfield.

Upkeep kills

“One way to do that, which is my particulate favorite is what I call the ‘upkeep kill’. That is when you have an improvement in the lane, or perhaps a hero, which makes it so that before the start of the action phase, a damage is dealt and that damage kills a hero.”

Garfield gives Tinker as an example of the latter. Tinker is a newly revealed black hero, whose signature card, March of the Machines, deals damage at the start of the turn. If this damage claims the life of a hero, the player has gained an advantage without even spending a card or a mana in the action phase.

Related article:

Artifact Lead Designer tells why losing a hero is not so bad

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