by IDGT & Practicekat
Players often ask - What dinosaur do I lead with? This decision has certainly been made tougher in the 2.0 era of JWA. And it has never been more critical to strategy than it is in current gameplay. Choosing a wrong lead can often end your chances of victory from the start.
The Perfect Lead
There is no such thing as a constant “perfect lead”. That is always changing. From day-to-day. As with all other aspects of battle in this game, adaptation and adjustments are constantly occurring. Look at the weekend skilled tournaments, for example. Some creatures that are awesome on Friday are usually rotated out by Sunday. Players learn to adjust and counter them. The meta is ever-evolving.
When choosing my lead, it is predominantly determined by deck composition. Did I draw a swapper? Do I have something to deal with their swapper? Aside from when you are on a bad RNG streak and get the same weakest deck twenty times straight (sigh) - most decks are different. It is unrealistic to expect to get into a rhythm with one leading dino. So being versatile and flexible is important.
Multiple Class Creatures and the First Matchup
Creatures that fit multiple classes are often good leads. Trykosaurus, Magnapyritor, Ardentismaxima, Geminititan are all good examples. They generally have an “answer” for just about anything and can usually put you up early. My usual “go-to” is Tryko. It is built with high attack to do the most turn-1 damage as possible because that is all I might get. It is not always important to win the first head-to-head (H2H). Sometimes putting your opponent in range of another creature will allow you to set-up. In the above situation, once Tryko falls, you can now bring Magna out for the revenge kill and then have fierce rampage ready.
Build and Know Your Opponent
In higher arenas- know your opponent. The same opponents are generally played on a daily basis. Make sure to recognize their dinos and learn their nuances. Beware the slippery slope though- because a lot depends on build. Is my Magna slow? Is the opponent’s faster? If so- is the opponent prone to open with their Magna? All these things need to be considered. This is where versatility and flexibility come in. There isn’t a perfect lead for every opponent. Sometimes saving your speedster for the end is best. Other times you may need the bulk at the end to deal with your opponent’s speed.
The Hit & Run
Dinosaurs with hit & run abilities can also make good leads. They can lay down some damage and get out quickly. Be cognizant; however, of what you have next in line. You do not want to hit & run to a dino that can potentially “eat a rampage” and die. Sometimes I lead with a creature just to clear out the opening and allow for my hit & runner to run to an SIA creature. This combo is often deadly.
What About a Closer?
A good closer is just as important as an opener. Closers usually fit one of two roles. High damage & bulk or speedy with decent damage output. And of course, there is also the occasional swap-in (DC!). A lot of creatures change from arena to arena. So it is really hard to determine the best possible options for everyone. Each update these options tend to be modified as well. New creatures get a role and that can alter what worked in the previous patch. Since 2.0, the arena has been changing much more rapidly, which does cause a bit of turmoil. But- it’s actually refreshing.
With the meta changing so quickly, an important thing to remember is that you generally have to do the same if you want to keep up. But sometimes doing the crazy or unusual choice will throw off your opponent. Certain “non-meta” creatures can perform extremely well because your opponents’ may not be built to handle them. It’s not always critical to follow the meta for one or two creatures on your team. Also, slight adjustments in boosts can often make dinos perform just as well as before. Play with what you like and what you know. We hope this insight into decision making on a leading dinosaur leads to improved success in the arena for you. As always- Good Luck!
Thank you again to practicekat and IDGT for providing this invaluable insight! If you have questions on team building make sure to join our discord where we have a large community of players willing to help you out!