Attacking the rearguards seems like a very simple matter. A question of should I or shouldn’t I. However, there are many different factors that can contribute to the decision to attack the rearguards, and they can be very important in the decision making process. These different factors can make or break a game based on the decisions that are made at the time.
As discussed in my Attacking in Order article, you should almost always attack first with a rearguard who would be rendered unable to attack if a trigger happened. While true, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be attacking the vanguard. Since the Vanguard will require only 5k shield, it is almost always generates more advantage on your side by attacking the rearguards, as it limits your opponents guard options, as well as taking away one of their attackers unless they guard it.
Another reason for attacking the rearguards is disruption. By getting rid of your opponents rearguards, you may end up making it so they have less attacks if their hand doesn’t allow them to replace them easily. This can also be used defensively if you do not have a strong hand for guarding, as eliminating the rearguards can keep you alive. By creating holes for your opponent to fill, you are costing them cards from their hand, which can be very important in the late game.
Another time where attacking the rearguard is recommended is when your opponent has triggered that turn and put the trigger on their vanguard. Since they would only need a 5k shield, why allow them to use any extra boosters or draw triggers in hand to accomplish this? Instead, attack their rearguards, possibly crippling their attack power unless they wish to drop a 10k shield. As before, creating holes creates pressure, and by forcing them to keep 5k shields in their hand, you make it so they have less attack power.
Obviously when choosing to attack the rearguard, there are many different factors to take into account. Even the type of deck you are running can greatly affect how you will play out the different situations. The amount of damage that they have can also have influence. The amount of cards in their hand, what your field is like, what triggers they have, your knowledge of their hand. All these things change how you choose to attack. By keeping all the different factors in mind, you can be sure that your influence over your opponents game will increase. Once you have control over how your opponent plays, the game is already pretty much over.