The villain of every game, no, not that obnoxious dwarf player dealing 20 damage per fight, is the cheeky scam comp. This setup is by far the most underutilized in the game and is one every good player needs to add to their repertoire. This is a guide aimed towards intermediate and advanced players but will also teach fundamentals everyone can learn from.
It’s important to distinguish what type of “scam comp” I will be focusing on in this guide. A lot of players refer to evil pumpkin comps as scam comps but that is not what we’re talking about here. Rather we shall be delving into the intricacies of a comp such as the one featured in the screenshot below. This guide will discuss identifying when it is correct to play scam comp, how to execute it and specific tricks and things to look out for against each specific matchup.
Units considered as scam cards generally refer to Medusa, Cupid, Rotten Appletree and various dragons. Southern Siren, Wretched Mummy, Monster Book and Pumpkin can also be considered a type of scam card but are not the ones we will be focusing on today. These cards are “scam” units as they allow you to win fights without necessarily having a cohesive board and can trade at least one-for-one (and sometimes more) with characters which have greater stats than they do.
These scam units are often utilized by adding a couple to any sort of board. It gets really spicy when your best option is to play a board with only scam units and attempt to have them hit as frequently as possible.
A full scam comp will generally consist of a backline full of Medusas and Cupids with a frontline full of zero-attack minions. There are also a number of treasures that synergizes with the comp but one of scam comp’s greatest strengths is that it doesn’t require treasures like the majority of builds do. The zero-attack minions should preferably be Soltaks and Appletrees but can really be anything such as Sleeping Princess. Their purpose is simply to soak up hits whilst allowing your Medusas and Cupids to hit without interruption. It’s imperative to keep their attack at zero and avoid buffing their attack in any way. Below is another example of what a scam board may look like taken from one of Endozoa’s games who is the first person I ever witnessed playing this comp.
This idea of having zero attack characters allowing only a few select ones to hit has started to see more widespread adoption with the rework of Sad Dracula. It can also be employed when playing The Great White Stag as a way to have a minion in slot 1 but still have stag hit first in slot 2 thus allowing it to buff two minions. See an example below of myself playing zero-attack minions to create an unusual, yet extremely powerful mid game board which maximizes free ranged hits.
There are generally two conditions in which you can place highly in a game. Either you out-stat your opponents and create a more powerful late game board than they do or you preserve your health by killing as many minions as possible each fight (not necessarily allowing you to win, although sometimes you can, but rather just outliving the majority of players).
Learning how to identify which is your best chance for success is a crucial skill in getting the most out of each game. This doesn’t just apply to full scam comps but also when deciding between individual characters (eg. playing a seventh Dwarf in your Dwarf comp or cutting it for a Cupid in slot 5 instead). Practice mentally remembering what your opponents’ boards are and then predicting what they will pivot into and how strong they will likely be when you next face them. A lot of the time you will be very unfavored if you try to beat them with stats and so your best chance is to try to scam them with a cupid or medusa.
Now let’s take this to the next level. When is it correct to completely ditch playing anything that resembles a normal powerful late game board and play pure scam? There are a few indicators but the main ones will be any of the following:
- You’re behind in levels and stuck on level 5 when others are on 6.
- You’re unlikely to be able to acquire level 6 treasures.
- Opponents already are or on track to have late game setups that will dominate anything you can pivot into.
- You’re bleeding health and need to stabilize quickly to die more slowly than others.
- You’re approaching the end game with a mix of random strong minions you used in the mid game that have no synergy nor setup to pivot into a premium late game comp.
A well crafted scam comp will often allow you to place higher than you would have otherwise and in certain matchups is even considerably favored. Although you’ll frequently pivot into scam comp when behind and trying to increase your odds slightly, it can sometimes be correct to force even when you’re ahead with other options. Very favorable matchups include those without tokens or ranged supports that rely purely on large minions such as Dwarves or Treants.
You already know the basics of playing a combination of zero attack minions paired with Medusas and Cupid, but there are other factors and questions to be considered too. When playing this comp you should think of it as a race between you and your opponent of whether you can get enough hits with your scam units before they manage to get through your front line.
Here is a list of things you should prioritize when playing this comp:
- At least six attack on your Medusas so they one-shot statues.
- Some attack on your Cupid so they can one shot ranged characters such as Grumblegore and Court Wizard. Attack on cupids also helps against comps where characters have much more health than attack (particularly Godmother comps in the midgame).
- Treasures such as Mittens or Sarcophages that allow your Appletrees to trade one for one and not just tank (see more in the treasures section).
- Playing combat spells every fight. This comp is quite cheap to assemble as you don’t really need to triple minions so you get a lot more value trying to spend money looking for spells.
- Getting extra health on your zero-attack minions. This can be done by tripling them, playing buffs, or even with some treasures. This will often be unimportant in matches where large minions are always going to one-shot them.
Should you play more Medusas or more Cupids?
How many of each you play changes each fight depending on your opponent’s board. Cupids can often be more powerful than Medusas as they can kill two minions per hit. However, Cupids sometimes can’t kill anything if the opponent has ranged minions or minions with high health and low attack. The other issue with Cupid is that it loses 1v1’s if it is your last character alive. Medusas also have inherent risk if your opponent has a way to buff statues and sometimes won’t win the fight fast enough even killing a minion per hit. As you can see it is quite complex but with experience you will understand when to prioritize each unit and generally one of each is always a good place to start.
How should you order your back line?
This also depends on various factors. The first thing to note is that you should always put Cupids first if your medusas aren’t big enough to one shot statues. Otherwise you will waste Cupid’s attacks as it will simply cause their backline to hit into statues not killing anything. Besides that it depends on if you want to prioritize Medusa hits to transform their Good Boy, or perhaps you want to prioritize Cupid to snipe their Pumpkin, Bearstein or Echowood before it gets too much value.
When should you triple your minions?
One reason is for the extra stats and treasures but another is that it allows you to play three copies of that particular minion. This can be very useful, especially in scenarios where Cupid is weak and you need to play three Medusas. The obvious downside is that tripling two Medusas or Cupids doesn’t change its effect and your end result is having one copy of the character instead of two until you find more.
What are some common mistakes to avoid?
Pretty much anything that gives your frontline attack. One example would be an aura effect from a treasure that you just need to replace before pivoting to full scam. Ones that are easier to forget though are things like Coin of Charon, or perhaps you have a hero power you overlook like Fallen Angel’s or Charon’s. Something else you must avoid at all costs is playing Gingerbread Party in the early to mid game as this will completely prohibit you from ever being able to pivot to this comp.
There are several ways to counter Scam comps which you should be aware of. Let’s now list some of the ways scam comp can fall apart and then in subsequent sections we can talk about tech characters and treasures which can be used to help mitigate these.
- Buffing Statues: Anything that buffs statues can be problematic. Particularly Monkey’s Paw and the level 6 supports. If they have too much attack your Medusas may die upon hitting statues. If they have too much health they will be able to soak up additional Medusa and Cupid hits causing you to be too slow to kill all their characters.
- Ranged backline: This can be harder to beat as your cupids will be less effective against them.
- Robinwood: Robinwoods can really ruin your day as not only are they ranged units but they can also make your backline have zero-attack. This can be problematic if your Medusas then go to zero-attack and you only have cupid which can’t kill off all the ranged minions or Echowoods with disproportionately large stats compared to the rest of their board.
- Eye of Ares: Yeah… just go next as you watch in horror as all your trees decide they are no longer pacifists and kill themselves.
- Fog: If your Cupids have only one-attack fog will round it to zero.
- Rotten Appletrees: These reduce your Medusas HP to one so they die to statues even just buffed by things like power orb or needle nose daggers.
There are additional characters that can be beneficial to have versus certain comps.
- Oni King: A great option to play with double medusa when against token comps with Monkeys Paw or Supports. This buffs the Medusas allowing them to one shot statues with high health and makes sure they live after hitting into statues with attack.
- Lightning Dragon: Can be a fantastic option if the opponent has a vulnerable backline and you don’t have enough cupids or their frontline’s attack is too low for Cupid to be effective. The other thing about Lightning Dragon is that it doesn’t count as one of your attack turns. Instead, you get a free hit which can be great when considering how it is a “race.”
- Doombreath: Awesome in slot one especially if you have a random magic sword or their minions are small. Just keep in mind that they can tech in a Soltak (also applies to Lightning Dragon).
- Harvest Moon + Riverwish Mermaid combo: I would generally avoid playing this combo in full scam as the extra attacks mermaid gives is normally negated when she herself attacks. Furthermore, she makes your board far more fragile for little to no upside.
There are a few obvious combat spells you can play which will give value, but one less obvious, but perhaps the most powerful, is actually Cat’s Call. They summon once your frontline dies further protecting your backline giving your Cupids and Medusas extra free hits. You should be aware that Cat’s Call can also be used in this manner with other comps too where you have carries (such as big ranged minions) in your backline. Cat’s Call can be especially good at tanking in any board when playing against opponents who have ranged carries in their backline.
One combat spell you should be wary of playing as Scam Comp is Pigomorph. This may seem counterintuitive but it can actually ruin Cupid hits and has no impact if a Medusa were to hit that target. It can still be impactful to play though because it can reduce the attack of a character that would one shot your frontline and can remove minions your Cupids would be ineffective against.
One of the most compelling arguments to pivot into scam comp is that it functions well without having any treasures and thus will often be your best option if you won’t be able to triple level 6 minions .That being said, there are still some treasures that will make you stronger and less vulnerable to certain comps.
- Exploding Mittens: The best treasure as it allows your Appletrees to trade one-for-one and not just be there to purely soak damage. Even without Appletrees, it can still be useful to kill off small minions or buffed statues that survive with a couple of hp.
- Spear Of Achilles: Great as you get a lot of procs on your three main minions which can allow them to kill statues and ranged minions they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
- Sword of Fire and Ice.
- Hermes Boots: Attacking first can be a huge deal (think back to how it’s essentially a race).
- Wild Growth: Quite unnecessary, but can certainly increase your board’s strength if you create some huge treants to tank multiple hits.
- Deck of many things: This can be an okay treasure as it allows you to cast an additional combat spell. It is risky though as there are a couple of ways it can give your minions attack causing you to immediately lose so only take it if you think you REALLY need to highroll extra hard to win.
In conclusion, full scam comp is widely underutilized and it is likely your best option in a large percentage of your games, especially in this fast Dwarf-heavy meta where it can be hard to find level 6 treasures. Even if you feel you can win by out-statting your opponents I would encourage you to hard force scam occasionally to get a feel for it. It’s definitely a setup that experience benefits as you acclimatize to what you can and can’t beat. Keep in mind that even if you won’t win you will generally only lose by a couple minions playing this comp minimizing damage.
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you learnt something new! Please let me know if you have any feedback and what you would like me to write about next. Be sure to check out my recent Youtube video where I play a perfect example of scam comp on the new Sad Dracula: