Zach’s Top Moments: TCO July Tournament

The TCO tournament on July 25 was well-attended and was exciting enough to qualify as a spectator sport. Mass Mutation decks were legal to bring thanks to the team at thecrucible.online working hard to make it so, which made the format (Best of One Adaptive, or Adaptive Short) particularly challenging and a lot of fun. The current format for these casual tournaments is to play until there is only one X-0 player, who is crowned the winner. I had the pleasure of commentating alongside Cryogen again as we watched the virtual event on his twitch channel, and wanted to share the moments and trends that stood out to me in this competition. All the matches can be seen on the Call of Discovery YouTube channel. If you are interested in helping out TCO in thanks for keeping our game alive during a pandemic, check out their patreon.

1. Keyforge is world-wide and doing just fine

With 56 players representing at least 8 countries, this tournament renewed my certainty that KeyForge will survive the pandemic at least as well as other card games, and there’s a joy in interacting with people in so many different places who love this game. I saw names I recognize from all across the Americas and Europe.

2. Age of Ascension is competitive

Whether a player brought an Age of Ascension deck or found their opponent bringing it, I saw multiple instances of people steering an Age of Ascension deck to victory, especially with a large Mars board. This set is oft-maligned by people who (1) only think in terms of Archon Solo and (2) have never played against Khantphage, Lady General of the Keep, but those who knew just how many chains to bid and how to work these decks took several Ws.

3. KMarch vs lotsa_Muffins

Here’s a gif to summarize my feelings during this match:

KMarch of the Athens Forgemasters and lotsa_muffins of Team Archimedes faced off in a knock-down, drag-out match when they met at the top table, both 2-0. Muffins began the game with 13 chains, taking her own Gabnose, the Chancellor Predator (Mass Mutation) against KMarch’s W.H. Veloslap of the Slimy Academy (Call of the Archons). This match nearly went to time and both players played masterfully, with lots of strong plays on both sides; KMarch took an early and commanding lead, but the game was far from over even once he forged two keys to Muffins’s zero. But don’t take my word for it – check the match out on YouTube!

4. Stormstrong’s mastery of a unique combo

With the introduction of enhancements in Mass Mutation, the “unique deck game” concept has been taken even further with particular cards being unique – or at least ridiculously rare. Stormstrong’s deck The Corpulent Denizen boasts an Effervescent Principle with three draw icons (and a capture icon, funnily enough), a Reverse Time, and a Chronus. When a friend pointed out a particular way that Stormstrong could take advantage of the triple-draw, triple-archive combined with Reverse Time, he quickly learned how to use the combo to archive and draw most of his deck in a few turns with just the right setup. Make sure to watch the match in full to see this show-stopping KeyForge move that Stormstrong developed and then dominated with!

KeyForge is already a special game for the uniqueness of the decks; players are associated with particular decks in the competitive scene, like George Keagle and “Gasoline” Maximiliano or Dunkoro and the Pink Fraud. The enhancements in Mass Mutation have taken this element of excitement to the next level: Stormstrong found a unique card, developed a secret technique around it, then won a 56-person tournament by going 6-0.

What other game currently allows these kinds of stories to happen? The best part is that this is only the beginning for KeyForge.

Zach is a co-host on the KeyForge podcast Call of Discovery, a weekly or fortnightly celebration of all things KeyForge, its community, and the excitement of discovery. Find him on twitter as @zach_legweak.

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Zach’s Top Three Moments from the “Farewell to Worlds Collide” Tournament

Most KeyForge players are still unable to play in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so online tournaments are the best place to experience competitive play. While there is much we miss about playing in person, playing online and participating in the community digitally is the best way to keep enjoying KeyForge until it’s safe to do so in person.

The team at The Crucible Online (TCO, the unofficial and only way to play KeyForge online) recently integrated their fan-made platform with Challonge, a website that manages tournaments. This allows tournament organizers to general game links for each pairing, so that players just click button in Challonge and are immediately entered into their game, forgoing the need for players to coordinate game creation themselves. After an initial test run tournament, they decided to run a larger tournament on Saturday June 27. The format was Archon Solo, Best-of-one, only Worlds Collide decks were allowed, with six rounds and no top cut. I had the privilege of commentating the matches alongside Stuart, a.k.a. Cryogen, who leads TCO’s development.

Without further ado, I present my top three moments from this wonderful event!

1. Sporting Conduct Shown by Everyone

If Cryogen and I were commentating a match that finished early, we would head over to another match in progress. Thus, we saw a lot of match-ends, and I was pleasantly surprised at the sheer volume of good-hearted chats that took place after matches. The vast majority of players partook in more than the standard “gg” after a match; the person who won often said they were sure they were about to lose, or the person who lost mentioned with a good nature the moment they knew victory was out of their reach.

It’s often been said that KeyForge has a fantastic community, and it’s true. Even when all we’re seeing is online handles and chat boxes, many people are keeping up their attitudes and valuing the person across the screen from them.

2. Filipe Gonçalves’s Legionary Wins the Match

If you don’t recognize the name in the title of this section, then you might recognize the handle Jfilipeg. The “Portuguese Fury” is a mainstay of online KeyForge tournaments, and his skill at the game may only be outpaced by just how dang nice the guy is.

We got the chance to commentate one of Filipe’s matches, and he played an early Tricerian Legionary followed by and Imperial Scutum. Normally, a creature doesn’t last an entire KeyForge match, and in the early game your opponent doesn’t have enough aember for a Tribute to be worth it. Cryo and I noted that it seemed like a great target for a Tribute, maybe later in the match – but that creature lasted the entire match, never once meaningfully addressed by his opponent, and the Tribute on that Legionary is exactly what won Filipe the game. It’s a lesson in playing to your outs and also a lesson in identifying threats in your opponent’s board state!

3. Lady Aurore Makes a Statement about Saurians, by Winning

Lady Aurore (who’s no stranger to my tournament recaps) has been tactfully vocal about her dislike of the Saurian Republic, one of the new houses introduced in Worlds Collide. When she signed up for this tournament that only allowed Worlds Collide decks, she stuck to her principles and didn’t run Saurian (though given the dislike, I’m sure she didn’t feel tempted to run them). Instead, she ran a deck called Aquoxyl, the Monk Hacker. By the end of the fourth round, only a single key had been forged against Aurore. She went on to win the tournament, decisively. She brought a Hacker to a Dino fight, and won.

Be sure to check out her deck linked above. It has Orb of Wonder and Lateral Shift, which made for game moments that were really fun to watch such as the most brutal Player One, Turn One play I have ever seen in KeyForge. Aurore’s matches were wonderful fun to commentate, and brilliantly exciting to watch.

The matches that Cryogen streamed have been uploaded to the Call of Discovery YouTube channel if you’d like to experience them. Watch the TCO twitter account and the Call of Discovery twitter account for information on July’s tournament, and you can view the final standings on Challonge here.

Spoilers de Mutación Masiva de la A a la Z: A #2

¡Saludos, Arcontes! Se acerca Mutación Masiva y mi hype no hace más que aumentar. Subió especialmente cuando tuve la suerte de ganar un mazo de Mutación Masiva en el stream de Association Française de Keyforge. ¡Echadles un ojo porque molan bastante! Bien, pues volvemos con los Spoilers de Mutación Masiva de la A a la Z, en esta ocasión la segunda parte de la letra A. Empezando por Ardent Hero veremos un total de 7 cartas de nuevo. Recordad que no voy a comentar cartas anteriores a MM, ya que llevan más tiempo con nosotros y las conocemos. ¡Comencemos!

Ardent Hero: Un muro anti-Mutantes era de esperar en Mutación Masiva, ¿no? Pues este es más guay, porque simplemente no pueden reventarlo criaturas más grandes que él; solo pueden matarlo de un golpe criaturas de poder 4, la mayoría de las cuales morirá en el proceso. Por otro lado, la capacidad de hacer 4 daños sin consecuencias a una de esas grandes criaturas podría venir bien a menudo, porque normalmente no será especialmente fácil matarlas. Además, como podéis ver aquí, hay muchos Mutantes de poder 4 o menos, que a menos que tengan armadura también caerán de un golpe.

Armory Officer Nel: La inclusiva Alianza Estelar tiene espacio para una gran diversidad y sigue sorprendiéndonos con nuevas e increíbles sinergias. Este divertido Alien mejorará bastante a una de nuestras cartas añadiéndole una bonificación de robo, mientras que a nosotros nos dará ventaja de cartas por cada mejora que se juegue. Me encanta la eficiencia, así que ¡será genial ver a Nel junto a unas cuantas mejoras buenas!

Auto-Encoder: Vale, en KeyForge tenemos la opción de descartar cartas para ciclar más rápido nuestro mazo, siempre y cuando sean de la casa activa. Así que si archivamos la carta de la parte superior de nuestro mazo, es decir, obtenemos ventaja de cartas e información oculta cada vez que eso ocurra (da igual si lo hacemos activamente o nos la descartan, digamos, con Subtle Otto) yo diría que estaremos en una buena y resiliente posición. ¡Tengo ganas de poder jugar esto!

Auto-Vac 5150: El Látigo de los Sueños Rotos es genial, ¿verdad? Y esto es algo parecido al Látigo de los Sueños Rotos, pero la cuestión es algo más complicada. Por un lado, en principio esto no puede subir el coste de las llaves de nuestro oponente en cuanto se prepare (a no ser que tengamos archivado algo, claro). Por otro lado, siempre podemos elegir entre hacer que las llaves le cuesten +3 o archivar una carta. Desde el principio – y todavía hoy – pensaba en el Látigo como una gran carta con el inconveniente de no hacer nada más, lo cual hacía muy probable quedarse sin buenos turnos de Dis y simplemente perecer. Auto-Vac, sin embargo, nos ayuda mientras tanto a profundizar en nuestro mazo, lo cual lo hace proactivamente bueno y elimina la dependencia a corto/medio plazo de jugar Logos.

Away Team: De 25 mejoras de Mutación Masiva, solo hay 3 sin bonificación de Æmbar, lo cual hace que este tipo de carta sea especialmente bueno para la carrera de Æmbar. Poder reutilizar todas las que teníamos en esta criatura sin siquiera ocupar tamaño en nuestra mano me parece genial, lo cual se añade a su poder 5 y a un diseño chulo – Solo hay que mirar el triple rasgo: Alien, Humano, Robot, que difícilmente podría cuadrar más con Alianza Estelar. Aunque mucho menos que Nel, también depende de que tengamos (buenas) mejoras, pero en su mayoría serán lo suficientemente buenas como para darnos un Æmbar, y sí, diría que la mayoría son bastante decentes.

Æmberheart: Además de la interacción entre esto, Animator and [CENSURADO], de la que ya hemos hablado, la habilidad de curar por completo a una criatura y escudarla a cambio de arriesgar un Æmbar creo que merece mucho la pena. No solamente podemos curar un Deusillus de un daño que nuestro oponente puede tardar mucho en hacerle, sino que escudarlo a él o a cualquier otra criatura que queramos proteger suena genial.

Æmberlution: ¡Esta carta traerá la diversión a la mesa! Está claro que puede tener doble filo, pero asumiendo un buen conocimiento de lista de mazo, esto puede acelerar el juego un par de turnos haciendo que entren en juego 2 o las 3 casas. Leer bien la lista del oponente (cantidad de criaturas y cómo de útiles / impactantes son para el estado actual de la partida comparadas con las nuestras) permitirá saber en qué momento es mejor jugarla. En sellado, sin embargo, será una locura. ¡Me encanta!

Conclusión y contacto

Pues eso ha sido todo por hoy, gracias por llegar hasta aquí. El próximo Mutación Masiva de la A a la Z será la primera parte de la letra B y empezará por Borrow. Espero que hayáis disfrutado el artículo y que este formato de discusión de spoilers os parezca entretenido. Si es el caso, considerad seguirme en Twitter (@blazing_archon), dar Me gusta a la Página de Facebook de Cosmic Crucible y hacer click en el botón “Seguir” en WordPress. Cualquiera de ellas os las agradeceré mucho, y además os servirán para saber cuándo he vuelto a publicar. Os veo pronto en Cosmic Crucible para el siguiente post. Hasta entonces, ¡que la Forja os acompañe!

A to Z Mass Mutation Spoilers: A #2

Greetings, Archons! Mass Mutation is coming closer and my hype does nothing but increasing. It got particularly high when I happened to win a Mass Mutation deck on Association Française de Keyforge’s stream. Make sure to check them out, they are very cool! So here we go with A to Z Mass Mutation spoilers, featuring the second part of letter A. Starting by Ardent Hero for a total of 7 cards again. Remember that I will not comment on pre-MM cards, because they have been around for longer. Let’s begin!

Ardent Hero: an anti-Mutant wall is something you would expect from Mass Mutation, right? Now, this is more exciting, since it just cannot be eaten away by bigger creatures than him; it can only be one-shot by 4-power creatures, which indeed will die on the processs for the most part. On the other hand, the ability to deal 4 damage a turn to one of those big creatures for free could often come in handy because as big creatures they are not going to be particularly easy to kill. Furthermore, as you can see here, there are many Mutants with power 4 or less, which unless they have armor will be one-shot too.

Armory Officer Nel: The inclusive Star Alliance has room for a ton of diversity and also keeps surprising with new awesome synergies. This funny Alien will make one of our cards way better by adding it a draw pip, while granting us card advantage from any upgrade being played. I love efficiency so Nel will be great to see along with some strong upgrades!

Auto-Encoder: OK, so In KeyForge, discarding is an option to cycle faster through our deck, as long as they belong to the active house. So if we get to archive the top card of our deck, i. e., get card advantage and new hidden information every time that happens (regardless of whether we do it actively or just that card discarded by, say, Subtle Otto) I am pretty sure we are going to be in great, resilient shape. I am really looking forward play this!

Auto-Vac 5150: Lash of Broken Dreams is great, right? And this is sort of Lash of Broken Dreams but it gets a bit more complicated. On the one hand, this cannot tax our opponent’s keys as soon we get a turn with it ready. On the other hand, we can always choose between making their keys cost +3 or archiving a card. From the very first time – and still today – I thought of Lash as a great card with the downside of doing nothing else, which made it pretty likely to eventually run out of good Dis turns and just perish. Auto-Vac, however, helps us go deeper into our deck in the meantime, which makes it good proactively and mitigates the short/mid-term dependence on playing Logos.

Away Team: Out of 25 Mass Mutation upgrades, there are only 3 pip-less ones, which makes the card-type pretty good towards the Æmber race. Being able to reuse all of them that were on this creature without even taking hand slots seems great to me, which adds up to a 5 power body and a very cool design – Just look at the triple trait: Alien, Human, Robot – that could barely fit Star Alliance more. Although way less than Nel, it relies on having actual (good) upgrades, but for the most part they will be good enough to give us an Æmber and yeah, I would say most of them are pretty decent.

Æmberheart: Besides the interaction between this, Animator and [REDACTED], which we have already talked about, the ability to fully heal a creature and ward it in exchange of risking an Æmber seems very worthy to me. Not only can this can heal a Deusillus for more damage than the opponent will be able to deal anytime soon, but also warding it or any other creature that we may want to protect sounds great.

Æmberlution: This card will bring fun to the board for sure! It is indeed potentially double-edged, but assuming a good decklist knowledge, this can speed the game up by a couple turns by making 2 to 3 houses enter play. Reading through the opponent’s decklist properly (amount, how useful and/or impactful they are compared to ours) will result in knowing the best moment to play it according to the game state. In sealed play, however, it will be so crazy. Love it!

Wrap-up and contact

So that was it for today’s article, thank you for getting this far. Next A to Z Mass Mutation Spoilers, featuring the first part of letter B, will start by Baldric the Bold. I hope you enjoyed the article and find this new spoiler discussion format entertaining (let me know in the comments below or anywhere else!). If that is the case, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@blazing_archon), like the Cosmic Crucible Facebook Page and hit that WordPress follow button. Any of those would be really appreciated and, more importantly, will let you know when an article is live. See you soon in the Cosmic Crucible for the next post. Until then, Keep Forging!

Spoilers de Mutación Masiva de la A a la Z: A #1

¡Saludos, Arcontes! Desde el primer día que empecé Cosmic Crucible, siempre he tenido dificultades para ingeniármelas para hablar sobre spoilers de forma que pudiera invertir una cantidad razonable de tiempo a la vez que os daba una buena ración de contenido de una manera mínimamente coherente. Creo que esta vez lo tengo: bienvenidos a Spoilers de la A a la Z.

Funciona de la siguiente manera: Solo hablaré de cartas nuevas; las reimpresiones las conocemos por su experiencia de juego previa, de manera que creo que es un criterio aceptable para no comentarlas en artículos cortos como este. Seguiré un orden alfabético (eso sí, a partir de los nombres en inglés, que me permita comentar cartas de diferentes casas. En general, cada artículo contendrá no más de 10 cartas, que será el equivalente a la mitad del total de cartas nuevas que empiecen por la letra que toque, lo que significa que cada letra se compondrá de dos artículos. Sin más dilación, empecemos con la A.

Access Denied: Mutación Masiva profundiza en el aspecto que hace a las Mejoras más similares a “Auras” en el sentido de que también pueden empeorar una criatura enemiga o algo por el estilo. En este caso, un Æmbar impreso en una carta que desactiva habilidades de Cosechar muy peligrosas (tales como la de Bruja del Ojo, Doctora Ingram, Retórico Gallim…) a la vez que niega la habilidad de obtener ámbar cosechando con ella suena bastante bien, ¿no?

Adaptoid: Enhance es una mecánica muy única que no solamente hace a los mazos (y cartas) todavía más únicos, sino que también cambia (enriquece en mi opinión) el juego en gran medida. Ahora el estado del juego podrá ser sustancialmente alterado antes de resolver efectos de cartas gracias a pips (bonificaciones como las de Æmbar que conocemos) que roban, capturan Æmbar y hacen daño. Dicho lo cual, Adaptoide (un Mutante, por cierto) reparte entre nuestras cartas bonificaciones útiles y otorga una genial y flexible bonificación cuando jugamos una de esas cartas potenciadas. ¿Control de Æmbar y buenas habilidades de “Luchar” en una criatura de Logos? ¡Póngame 3!

Ambassador Liu: Con este Mutante en nuestro mazo, descartar una carta nunca fue tan útil y flexible. Si es de Dis o Sombras, quizá podamos evitar que nuestro oponente forje, obteniendo una ventaja de +2 Æmbar. Si es de Logos o Indómita, obtendremos la misma ventaja pero en términos absolutos, es decir, sin robar a nuestro oponente, y finalmente, si es de Sanctum o Saurios podremos capturar 3. La pega de esta tercera opción es que este Æmbar, si no me equivoco, debe ser capturado en el propio Embajador, ya que el texto no especifica “una criatura aliada”. 4 de poder es un poder relativamente bajo, y la el Embajador no tiene protección alguna (Armadura, Elusivo…). Por lo demás, me recuerda mucho al Arqueólogo Novu, una amenaza con la que hay que lidiar enseguida.

Amphora Captura: Encuentro esta carta de lo más emocionante. En primer lugar, me encanta estéticamente porque se parece mucho a cerámica griega antigua. En segundo lugar, es quizá la mejor muestra de la mecánica Enhance / Potenciar debido a la cantidad y diversidad de bonificaciones que otorga (2 Æmbar, 2 cartas robadas, 2 daño). Si a eso añadimos versatilidad, que como sabéis me encanta, obtenemos una de mis cartas favoritas hasta ahora. Nunca se sabe qué cartas van a obtenerlas, pero seguro que hará que merezca la pena jugar la mayoría de las cartas en vez de descartarlas.

Angry Mob: Esta carta puede ayudarnos a reiniciar nuestra pila de descartes y/u obtener una más como ella, pero en mi opinión tenía más potencial de diseño de lo que el diseño final refleja. Es lenta, solo puede ser relevante si llegamos a usarla. Tampoco tiene habilidades o estadísticas extra relacionadas con Luchar (ni siquiera un +1 de poder por cada Angry Mob en juego), lo cual no la hará demasiado útil de todas formas. ¡Esta carta me enfada! (nah, es broma).

Animator: Sinceramente, cuando pensé en qué esperar de esta nueva expansión, una de las cosas que se me vino a la mente fue “cartas con sabor clásico y no objetivamente opresivas o débiles”. Me encanta Mundos en Colisión, pero siento que muchas de sus cartas no se ajustan a la primera parte, mientras que la mayoría caen o en un extremo de poder o en el otro. Esta libera creatividad y potencial (¡no hay más que ver la interacción entre un [CENSURADO] animado y Æmberheart cuando exaltas el [CENSURADO] para ponerle el 4º Æmbar!). *Nota de Edición: se ha aclarado de manera oficial que todo el efecto de [CENSURADO] se dispara en el paso de elegir casa y como consecuencia de elegir Logos, por lo que este combo no sería válido* Esta carta sabe a nuevo y fuerte – te permite potencialmente escudar un artefacto (o romper uno enemigo luchando) – pero no a desequilibrado.

ANT1-10NY: ¿Qué os parece una Miasma en un palo – completamente funcional – que escapa a cartas tipo Tormenta Disruptora y puede funcionar más de un turno dependiendo de la velocidad a la que nuestro oponente pueda generar Æmbar? Antonio es la caña: un diseño espectacular y una carta muy divertida (excepto para el oponente, claro) que tengo muchísimas ganas de probar.

Conclusión y Contacto

Pues eso ha sido todo por hoy, gracias por llegar hasta aquí. El próximo Mutación Masiva de la A a la Z, que completará la letra A, empieza por Ardent Hero. Espero que hayáis disfrutado el artículo y que este formato de discusión de spoilers os parezca entretenido. Si es el caso, considerad seguirme en Twitter (@blazing_archon), dar Me gusta a la Página de Facebook de Cosmic Crucible y hacer click en el botón “Seguir” en WordPress. Cualquiera de ellas os las agradeceré mucho, y además os servirán para saber cuándo he vuelto a publicar. Os veo pronto en Cosmic Crucible para el siguiente post. Hasta entonces, ¡que la Forja os acompañe!

A to Z Mass Mutation Spoilers: A #1

Greetings, Archons! From the very first day I started Cosmic Crucible, I have always been having troubles to figure out how to talk about spoilers in a way that allows me to spend a reasonable amount of time while also giving you a reasonable amount of content in a way that remains somewhat coherent. I think I got it: welcome to A to Z Spoilers.

Here is the thing. I will only go through new cards; reprinted cards are known by their previous play experience so I think that is an acceptable criterion to not comment on them in short articles. Also, I will follow an alphabetical order, which allows me to comment cards from different houses. Each article will contain no more than 10 cards, which will equal half the total of new cards with the current initial, which means that each letter will be covered by two articles. Without further do, let’s begin with A.

Access Denied: Mass Mutation goes deeper into the Upgrades being more like “Auras” in the sense that they can also downgrade an enemy creature or something along those lines. This continues the trend started by cards like Bonerot Venom. In this case, an Æmber pip on a card that disables deadly Reap abilities (e. g. Witch of the Eye, Medic Ingram, Rhetor Gallim…) while denying the ability to get Æmber out of that creature sounds pretty good to me.

Adaptoid: Enhance is a very unique mechanic that not only makes KeyForge decks (and cards) even more unique, but also change (enrich, IMO) the game greatly. Now the game state can be altered significantly before resolving card effects thanks to pips that draw, capture Æmber and damage. That being said, Adaptoid (a Mutant) spreads useful bonuses among our cards and grants a nice, flexible boost when you play an enhanced card. Æmber control and good fighting abilities on a Logos creature? Yes, please!

Ambassador Liu: With this Mutant in our deck, discarding a card was never as useful and flexible. It being Dis / Shadows can potentially get the opponent off check and gives us a +2 Æmber advantage. Logos / Untamed will give us the same advantage without harming the opponent’s Æmber pool, and finally Sanctum / Saurian will cause it to capture 3. The third option seems pretty weak to me considering the fact that 4 power is relatively low and it has no protection. Other than that, this reminds me a lot of Novu Archaeologist as a threat that should be wiped right away.

Amphora Captura: I am officially so excited about this card. First, I love it aesthetically because it resembles a lot a piece of ancient Greek pottery. Second, it is arguably the best showcase of the Enhance mechanic due to the amount and diversity of pips it provides (2 Æmber, 2 cards drawn, 2 damage). Add some versatility as you all know I love, and you get one of my favorite cards ever. You never know which cards will get them, but it will surely make most cards worth playing instead of discarding.

Angry Mob: This card can help us reset our discard pile and/or get one more like it, but in my opinion it had more design potential than it has been reflected by the actual design. It is a slow card that can only be relevant if we get to use it. Plus no relevant extra fight-related Keywords or stats (not even a stackable +1 power based on the amount of Angry Mobs in play) will not make it very useful anyway. I am angry with this card! (just kidding).

Animator: Honestly, when I thought of what to expect from a new set this time, one of the things that came to my mind was “cards that are classic-flavored and not objectively over/under-powered”. I love Worlds Collide but I feel like many cards do not fall under the first part (classic) whereas many fall either under the overpowered or the underpowered pack. This one releases creativity and potential (You only need to check the interaction between an Animated [REDACTED] and Æmberheart when you exalt it for the 4th Æmber!*). It feels new and strong – you can now somehow get an artifact warded or destroy an enemy artifact by fighting – but not unbalanced.

*Note: I thought it was not, but [REDACTED] is actually part of the Mass Mutation card pool, so the scenario is possible. You still need to find the way to use Æmberheart and Animator in the same turn though. Big thanks to @OneKeyTwoKey from Twitter for noting the mistake. *Editor Note: It has been officially clarified that [REDACTED] works in the “Choose a House” step, which means the combo is not possible.*

ANT1-10NY: What about a Miasma on a – totally functional – stick that gets around Scrambler Storm-type effects and can potentially work for more than a turn? Anthony is just sweet. Awesome design, and very fun card (except for our opponents, that is) that I am very excited to try out.

Wrap-up and contact

So that was it for today’s article, thank you for getting this far. Next A to Z Mass Mutation Spoilers, featuring the last part of letter A, will start by Ardent Hero. I hope you enjoyed the article and find this new spoiler discussion format entertaining (let me know in the comments below or anywhere else!). If that is the case, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@blazing_archon), like the Cosmic Crucible Facebook Page and hit that WordPress follow button. Any of those would be really appreciated and, more importantly, will let you know when an article is live. See you soon in the Cosmic Crucible for the next post. Until then, Keep Forging!

Cooperative Hunting #7: How good is Worlds Collide Shadows?

Greetings, Archons! Long time no Cooperative Hunting, right? I absolutely agree, so I am here again with more content that, I think, both you and I like. This time we we have a look at an interesting question: How has the appearance of Worlds Collide changed the previous situation regarding the power level of Shadows house? As you know, since KeyForge appeared Shadows has always been, by far, the most powerful house. Yes, certain setups of different houses could very well either defeat Shadows decks or make their pilots have a very hard time; however, as far as standard (i. e. non-brutal) deck houses, Shadows was the best indeed. Among the causes of that we could always highlight the impact of the Steal mechanic, which was covered in a previous Cooperative Hunting article.

That, along with the relatively abundant Æmber pips, made Shadows very widely considered the foe to beat by the time Call of the Archons came out. And we couldn’t really say things changed much for Age of Ascension: as a result of timing-modifying mechanics (Alpha, Omega) being the only innovative ones, there was no room for a change in the situation described above: all 7 houses were different, but Shadows was still more powerful. As Worlds Collide entered the Crucible, including 2 new houses, we obviously expected Shadows reign to be over. However, it could have left the throne empty in a silent way, and in my opinion it has not; leaving the Brobnar design flaw aside, which has made it basically a slower Call of the Archons Brobnar with some spicy additions, Shadows is arguably the least favored Worlds Collide house. Let’s find out why.

Probably the most important reason is the relative slightly lower amount of Æmber pips and less efficient Æmber gain: 19 Worlds Collide cards between Artifacts, Actions and Upgrades have printed Aember on them. There are some cards that could be awesome if they had an Aember printed on them, but are actually mediocre due to the frequency in which they are played for no value. That is the case for cards like Inky Gloom, Hit and Run or Into the Night, the first two of which are common. In my opinion the fact that classic cards like Miasma or Scrambler Storm are such solid cards has a lot to do with them having Æmber printed on them, which makes them work well even in the worst case scenarios.

Notice that Age of Ascension count is slightly better: 21 cards. As far as Call of the Archons is concerned, we face 22 cards. Let’s see it the opposite way: How likely is it for us to find a pip-less Action card in Worlds Collide Shadows decks? Graph 1 below shows that it is actually significantly more likely for us to bump into a pipless Shadows Action in Worlds Collide than it used to be in Call of the Archons or Age of Ascension, which clearly impacts on our Æmber gain over the course of the game. For Call of the Archons the number is so low, and the common card is Bait and Switch, which will often steal one at least, while 2 of Age of Ascension cards considered are rare and will not appear that often, while Worlds Collide has the biggest amount of these pip-less cards, only one of them being rare.

Graph 1: number and rarity of Action cards without Æmber pips per set. Data source: Archon Arcana Card Gallery
*Bear in mind that it excludes cards that appear in Table 1 (see below).

Another factor to consider is that Worlds Collide creatures are generally slow. There are only 3 creatures with relevant “Play” abilities, 2 of which appeared in previous sets: Hugger Mugger, Ronnie Wristclocks, Sneklifter. This means that the other 24 creatures need to survive in order to really be able to impact the game. Which takes us to the next reason why Worlds Collide Shadows is worse than the previous sets ones. Furthermore, creatures are also much less powerful: with 2,18 average power. Out of those, 14 creatures have Elusive, 6 of which are Plants (belonging to all of the Worlds Collide Houses except for Shadows itself), which means they have only power 1. Breaker Hill and Weasand also have power 1. It is also worth noticing that Mack the Knife was first released in Call of the Archons. This decreases dramatically their ability to stick in play, hurting the deck’s fighting-based board control.

After summarizing what I think are three basic concepts to understand what the evolution of Shadows house for Worlds Collide is like, let’s find out what our fellow archons from Twitter think about this topic.

Big thanks to Vaultboy for his support ant contribution!

My friend @vaultboy81, who has been following the Cosmic Crucible for a long time, groups the cards that he likes as follows: A. and J. Vinda with a Bad Penny, Chain Gang + Subtle Chain and finally Trust no One and Keyforgery as individual cards. Other than that, they tell us that the steal is much weaker and they feel like the house has lost its identity.

Vindas with Penny are a very easy way to get relevant effects going in a profitable way. Being able to Reap a Vinda on Bad Penny makes it so trigger the effect of Trust No One plus a pip, or that of Subtle Chain, both of which represent stack up very quickly to a considerable swing if unresponded. The same is true for Chain Gang + Subtle Chain, which have the advantage that coinciding in our hand lets us activate Chain Gang’s action as if had entered play ready, which makes it extra powerful. The problem with both is how weak they are. Three sets have amplified considerably the card pool which deals 2+ damage, not only in the form of actions, but also in the form of creatures, which makes Elusive just not quite enough to effectively protect small creatures.

In order to understand that, we jut need to have a look at the other houses card pools: Star Alliance has Zap and the Blasters; Saurian has Stomp, Phalanx Strike, Untamed has Unsuspecting Prey, Musthic Murmook; Shadows itself counts on Mug and Sack of Coins; Sanctum counts on Mighty Lance, Smite; Mars has Tyxl Beambuckler and Orbital Bombardment; Logos has Twin Bolt Emission, Entropic Swirl; Dis has Gongoozle, Pain Reaction, and Brobnar has Pound, First Blood.

And those are not the only ones, which means that it is quite easy for any house to deal with our Elusive 2 or less power creatures on the spot via damage, leaving spot removals (i. e. Hand of Dis) or board wipes aside, as well as excluding cards with target restrictions. And you know what? The situation is only getting worse for those little creatures! Chain Gang has power 3 and not even Elusive, which makes very rewarding keeping it safe until you get to draw Subtle Chain. But that is not possible for every deck, since for those which are not fast enough it will just not be worth.

Regarding the discussion about Worlds Collide steal engine, which is also related to Shadows’ house identity, it is worth noting that the latter is quite focused on stealing Æmber. As we have seen in a previous article regarding the impact of the Steal Mechanic before Worlds Collide, there were 34 cards (CotA + AoA) that stole Æmber, out of which 24 were Shadows cards, and 10 of them were conditional. Furthermore, there were 8 non-Shadows cards among the latter, meaning that, at that point into the game, FFG agreed on Steal being a huge part of the house identity. The fact that a house gist mechanic so to speak was so impactful from the beginning may have added a general feeling of weakness to the aforementioned factors.

Table 1 shows that the previous sets have available twice as many cards that can steal Æmber for sure, only one of them being rare: Routine Job, which also gets stronger the more copies the deck has, with a minimum of 2.

Table 1: Cards with non-conditional “Play” abilities that steal Æmber / set. Data source: Archon Arcana Card Gallery.

Trust No One is interesting. At first glance it is just a 1 off Routine Job – a decent card – but looking at it more carefully, on an empty allied board it is as rewarding as your opponent’s board is developed. However, even that will not do great unless it comes with Longfused Mines / Spike Trap / Sack of Coins or something along those lines to try and decimate the opposing board, or otherwise you will have just taken a turn to steal 2-3 Æmber. In so doing you will suffer though because Shadows house has never had any board wipes other than Longfused Mines. Trust No One feels like it could be strong, but in the specific Shadows context will often not do enough.

Wrap-up

All in all, after this short analysis I think we can at least state as a hypothesis that both Worlds Collide Æmber gain and steal engines available for Shadows are slow and weak respectively, and the game development has proved that it was far from the case for Call of the Archons and Age of Ascension. We have gone through the basic – and unfortunately combined – reasons that explain it. Now, let me clarify something: I think Worlds Collide Shadows contains a handful of awesome card designs which are powerful and pretty balanced on their own. However, many of the latter lack a detail, such as +1 power, Elusive or something that increases their survive ability (for creatures), or else an Æmber pip that guarantees that at least the card can do something slightly relevant instead of being either a good swing or a straight discard. And that, along with natural card quality differences makes Worlds Collide Shadows feel, overall, pretty mediocre. That being said I have not been able to play as much KeyForge as I would like since Worlds Collide came out so what you have just read are my general feelings supported by some data, and most likely insufficient testing.

This, however, does not mean that it is not a funny set; in fact, it is so much fun, and is proving very powerful although, like in previous cases and for any upcoming sets, it is still in disadvantage due to the amount of time the previous sets have been around. So I definitely encourage you to try it if you have not already, and you will be able to play cards like Gambling Den, Hunter or Hunted?, Fidgit and The Quiet Anvil, which can be game changing without even containing the word “steal”!

After-posting contributions:

Gladly, after this article was published, more fellow archons joined the discussion. Big thanks to Hopus le Gnome, an archon who responded this on Facebook:

“I cannot argue with the statistics you brought about the average creature Power or the Æmber Pip but there are stuff that were forgotten in the vision of the globality of WC: Æmber Pips became dangerous due to Infurnace and the Artifact Control that Shadows brings. They are different than in other sets (and maybe weaker) but calling it the “weakest house” is false imo. You wrote about Trust No One and it’s the only good card by itself using the “no allies” condition correctly in a Sealed event, I am afraid to destroy the board of my opponent only because of this card that could do a full Swindle without Alpha and Omega. They also have the funny use of flanks with Kymoor Eclipse (which is basically a weaker Lost in the Woods, I agree) and they make Play effects very strong in a better way than Hysteria or Nature’s Call (even more with Dis in the deck) because before you just basically don’t kill a Play effect creature so your opponent cannot use Exhume on it or whatever.

Thanks for the good work, I am always glad to argue on KeyForge House identity. I personnaly love the more roguish style that WC brought them (than just “stealing stealers”)”

Editor: You are so right, Hopus. As for myself, I did not mean to call Trust No One bad, but just like you say it is the only good card by itself, which is probably not enough to make the house great. However, I agree that “the worst” may not be the correct term to define it, so I hereby take that back. Infurnace was definitely a reason to reduce Æmber pips, but I guess we can safely assume that it makes Worlds Collide Shadows inherently weaker than the same house with more steal. Like you, however, I love innovative card designs such as Fidgit, The Quiet Anvil or Hunter or Hunted?, which not containing the word steal can be so strong (the latter two even have pips!) and are indeed funny. Thanks for your contribution!

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Thanks a lot for getting this far, I hope you have enjoyed the read like I did writing it. If you like the Cosmic Crucible content, it would be amazing of you to follow us on WordPress to get notified when an article is published. You can also follow me on Twitter: @blazing_archon, or like our Facebook Page to show your support, which is of course very much appreciated! Check out my team’s instagram account if you want to know about what we do!

This time we did not get as many opinions to enrich the Cooperative Hunting content, but next time it will surely get better! Meanwhile I am gladly going to try and keep the articles going during the quarantine, so stay tuned. Until then, take care and stay home Forging!

Anomaly Exploiter: Age of Ascension

Greetings, Archons! Those of you who have been following me for some time now might remember what I used to do at first when I started created KeyForge content. I would write Twitter threads talking about a selection of 7 cards including 2 creatures, 2 actions, 2 artifacts and 1 upgrade. I called that Anomaly Exploiter, and the aim of the section was to explore card quality for a given house, excluding cards that were a real bomb at first sight (back then, cards like Library Access and the like). I like the section, first because it reminds me of the times when, out of nowhere, I enjoyed KeyForge so much that I decided to start creating content.

Back then, we only had a single set: Call of the Archons, and we did not really know much about what would the lapse between sets be like. But now that we know that the KeyForge sets appear twice a year and we find out how good a card is relatively quick because of how the community has grown, I think it is time to keep the section going by sets. And since it all started on Twitter threads that still exist, I think it is better to start by Age of Ascension and considering we will not have an Anomaly Exploiter per house, things have changed slightly: this time, and from now on, we are going to look at a list of 4 creatures, 3 actions, 2 artifacts and 1 upgrade from each set, considering it as a whole, not by house.

One thing to bear in mind is that this section aims at non-bomb, good cards, so you might be wondering what makes “bombs” different from the other cards? Well, from we will pick a math criterion: every card with less than 50% win rate (at the moment that the selection has been made, which is March 14th 2020 in the morning) will be eligible for this section. I believe that guarantees the card in question is not oppressive to the KeyForge metagame, while not necessarily implying that it is not good enough. In order to explain how a certain card is good, intra-house synergies will often be quoted, rather than global synergies that may require a certain house distribution. The selection will only be made out of Age of Ascension new cards, although my thoughts on them will take into account any Age of Ascension card regardless of what its native set is.

Finally, cards will be sort by win ratio taken from Decks of KeyForge (%) which does not necessarily mean that it reflects any quality order, but does show some potential. Without further do, let’s begin!

Creatures:

Drummernaut (49.7%): easily the best creature below 50% win rate at this point. A degenerate combo enabler, this Giant literally rocks, allowing the big Brobnar dudes from Age of Ascension to get fully healed (worst case scenario) or maybe even gain up to 6 Aember on an empty board with Ganger Chieftain, as you all know. Furthermore, Brammo makes it the perfect companion when we want to clear an already damaged board and/or a board with squishy, slippery Elusive creatures. It counts towards Grump Buggy and Iron Obelisk, and puts us 6 power closer to a free key with Might Makes Right. Sweeeeeeeet!

Angwish (49.6%): looks great while having a look at the Age of Ascension card pool. First of all, it is a potential +5 Aember tax on your opponent’s keys as well as a good Ortannu’s Binding target. Additionally, Gongoozle can also be used for value, there is Exhume to get it back, and we also have Gub to protect it, making it a very dangerous creature that can quickly eat your opponent’s forge steps. Combine it with upgrades such as Soulkeeper for extra harm.

The Grey Rider (49.2%): this bad boy allows a lot of versatility in the form of Deploy, in exchange of its lower survive ability. Haedroth’s Wall and Lion Bautrem can make it a lot better, whereas Lord Golgotha-like creatures – or any beefy one buffed with a Shield of Justice-type effect are going to make it quite profitable. It is, in short, a creature you have to kill, because it can quickly cause free active house-reaps on an empty board.

Collector Worm (48.8%): a Ward killer thanks to its ability being a “Fight” ability, i. e., resolved after the damage is dealt and therefore wards have been popped. Additionally, it is a real threat in combination with extra uses such as Mars First or Brain Stem Antenna, not to mention its big armored body. A deck that manages to use the Collector Worm consistently can be a real pain by denying the opponent from playing certain creatures ever again, since there is no way to get them back unless Worm’s controller decides to pick up their Archives. Action cards that can force or deny a player from picking up their archives would be a spicy addition!

Actions:

Shadow of Dis (49.9%): a utility swing in our favor in one of the most unique ways that you can imagine: blanking the opposing creatures text boxes, and affecting not only those which were in play when Shadow of Dis was played, but those who enter play during the opponent’s turn. Tempo is by far one of the most important resources in KeyForge, and therefore making the opponent unable to manipulate it via creatures during an entire turn can be obliterating. Creatures like Ronnie Wristclocks or Drumble will suddenly be harmless to your ability to forge a key next turn, whereas any “play” restriction (such as Alpha, or any defining clause of a creature entering stunned or ready will still apply because they actually start working from the hand. “Play” abilities and any other text, however, will be blanked.

Punctuated Equilibrium (49.7%): some sort of auto Logos Maverick granting potential card advantage and recursion. Bear in mind that Age of Ascension Untamed contains a good number of ways to get responses / resources back from the discard pile: Glimmer, Gravid Cycle and the good old Regrowth, which mitigates the discard factor, turning it into a pretty much downside-less huge card draw option for a bursty house that can either get back some of the cards discarded or just get back Punctuated Equilibrium itself to dig even deeper.

Healing Blast (49.1%): can you imagine Virtuous Works also fully healing a creature? Well, that is what Healing Blast can do if you manage to damage a friendly creature for 4+ damage. Worst case scenario it is “just” an Aember pip that reads “Fully heal a creature”, but the fact that you can turn it into Virtuous Works by healing a creature regardless of who controls it makes this card flexible enough to be worth considering here. One Stood Against Many, Mighty Lance or Smite, as well as The Grey Rider count towards cards that can help us fulfill the requirement to get those neat 3 Aember.

Artifacts:

Memory Chip (49.4%): as a matter of fact I love archiving. It is such a unique, bursty way to get card advantage! Yes it has foes to face such as Dysania out there, but due to how KeyForge games play out, archiving can be so crucial that it is definitely worth the risk. Doing it before the end of your turn (as opposed to Titan Librarian‘s ability) doubles up card advantage by making us benefit from it before we draw to refill our hand, all of it at the only cost of choosing Logos as your active house. Big deal, right? Due to how much support the archive got in Age of Ascension, it overrun my first thoughts of it by far turning it into a real win condition, either directly by means of a forge card that cares about cards in hand (e. g. Key Abduction) or just because of making us able to play more cards than the opponent can respond to. Either way, it feels great!

Shard of Greed (49.2%): Shards are as cool as reliant on their ability to stick to the board, which means they are not always going to be as impactful. However, some of them are decent by themselves and even more considering they come along with a minimum of 1 more Shard. That is definitely the case of Shard of Greed and Shard of Knowledge. In this case, an artifact with the ability to reap for one or two Aember looks nice to me, plus the fact that the amount of artifact hate in KeyForge is only increasing does not mean that it shows up in every deck nor every game. A turn with two or three friendly shard in play can get crazy pretty fast and easily turn into a win condition, which makes them specially decent in open environments – i. e., leagues or big Archon events in which you can expect a wide variety of different decks to appear. For those, I like playing a deck with a solid win condition, where “solid” implies that it can do its thing as consistently as possible.

Upgrade:

Backup Copy (48%): An Aember pip plus the ability potentially play a certain creature again in the future will surely be worth the inclusion here. Say, for example that you can play twice a Timetraveller for a ton of value, replay Neutron Shark in order to fight for the board presence, Eyegor to dig through your deck, or Dysania to get rid of your entire opponent’s archive plus nice a nice little Aember burst! Even creatures with relevant constant abilities will be worth the deal, since our opponent would still have to kill that obnoxious Titan Librarian or Director of Z.Y.X. of ours for us to stop Archiving As you can see, there are quite a lot of options, and not that many cards that purge cards from play, which makes this card pretty exciting to play, since “Destroyed” plays around almost everything except for bounce effects and a few cards like The Harder They Come or Oubliette, which due to their power normally have limits that define whether or not they can hit a certain creature. Neat!

So that was it, my fellow archons. Even though I know you may not find this article that interesting because Age of Ascension has been with us for a while now, I hope you enjoyed the read and would like to read this sort of analysis for each of the upcoming sets, including the currently newest Worlds Collide. If that is the case and you enjoy Cosmic Crucible content, it would be so kind of you to follow Cosmic Crucible on WordPress to stay tuned when any content comes up. You can also follow me on Twitter: @blazing_archon if you wish, and like the Cosmic Crucible Facebook page to show your support, which is indeed very much appreciated! See you in the Cosmic Crucible for the next article, take care, and until then, Keep Forging!

Special Rarity in KeyForge: from Call of the Archons to Worlds Collide

Greetings, Archons! Blazing Archon is back with a new article. Good thing I do not need to explain my delay since I somewhat did that already in the previous article. If you are interested, check that out!

I want to make sure Cosmic Crucible and all it implies – content creation, KeyForge friends and interactions, etc. – remains as a part of my life, and I think there is no better way to do it than tackling exactly the topics I want to even though I do not have a lot of experience with them. So this time we will look at Special Rarity cards. This rarity includes fixed and variant cards. The first makes the card appear along with a specific different one: for instance Timetraveller comes with Help from Future Self. Variant cards, on the other hand, are part of a list – say, Sanctum Ambassadors – of which more than one may appear in your deck, but that is not guaranteed. We are not going to refer to all of them, instead we will only talk about multi-house cycles, such as Ambassadors and Shards.

Notice that Special Rarity is a card rarity by itself, which has its very own symbol and appearance rate in a given set, but here we are not only talking about cards that have that have the Special Rarity symbol printed on them, but about the combination as a whole, as well as those cards that always appear more than once in a deck, which do not belong in the Special Rarity strictly speaking, but technically they work the same way since at least there are going to be two of them together.

So what makes this topic interesting? KeyForge decks are unique, they cannot be built, so nothing is more exciting than finding out how to make the most out of your deck. It is easier when you have 4 copies of a certain card in it (*cough* Dust Pixie, *cough*), but sometimes you crack open decks with cards that explicitly interacts with a specific card(s). Not only these cards are, for the most part, undoubtedly cool, but they also tend to be powerful and establish impactful plays when you can pull them off. Additionally, since they create straight, self-evident synergies, there is a trend that pulling multiple copies of the combination does not just stack, but multiplies the house power if the combo is relevant. And last but not least, by creating bonds between cards, they also add coherence to house design on each set.

1-Special Rarity cards: fun and success

First let’s try and go through the most well-known of these through the first three sets. Thanks to them not being as frequent – otherwise they would not be as special – we will be able to go through all of them from Call of the Archons to Worlds Collide. I will introduce them all to you from my experience, and them we will talk about some examples of successful KeyForge decks containing some of these cards.

1.1-Call of the Archons

Our very first set made us discover these cards, and whoah was it awesome. The first case I heard of were the overhyped Horsemen. Horsemen are fixed Special Rares. It is very likely that the lack of experience we all had at the beginning made these seem particularly powerful, while they clearly were not that much. Horseman of Death and Horseman of Famine are my favorite ones by far. The first, as a mini-Arise! that gets no chains helps a lot to break the symmetry in our favor, considering that Horsemen are fighting-focused creatures. Horseman of Pestilence is potentially good, although very list-reliant, and Horseman of War is bad, having an often non-relevant Play ability that should only come up when every other creature has been used, unless you do not mind them (including the active house ones) being forced to fight.

Thematically they are very cool, though, but my thoughts on these is they need to be in very specific deck lists in order to really be good. From my experience, not having 8 of them might even help. This fact is supported by the 4 Horsemen deck Terentia Hopavicious great result at Vault Tour Las Vegas. On the other hand, I have only one Horsemen deck, and it is quite good in my opinion, but definitely not because of the Horsemen. They do, however, make up for a piece of the puzzle which helps the deck clear the board and maintain dominance quite a lot.

Soon after knowing about Horsemen – and getting to the conclusion that, at least at the beginning, they were somewhat overrated, I bumped into Timetraveller decks. Help from Future Self is a fixed Special Rare. which soon became my favorite kind of decks. Starting from its mini-story: a person that is in trouble and gets helped by their “future self” which has come to the past to save the day is pretty cool on its own.

And then you realize the attraction power of these Special Rarity cards when they are good enough: they suddenly become a whole and we might be tempted to collect them. As you all know, Timetraveller makes the deck inherently powerful because it provides card advantage and a huge tempo swing regarding when and how you reset your discard pile. Besides, they don’t even depend on each other in order to be powerful: it grants one Aember and draws two cards, and Help from Future Self tutors up a Timetraveller in any scenario unless they are purged. That combination of factors not only makes them more attractive, but also is the base of their competitive success.

Remember that Rachael Trimble’s Vault Tour Eindhoven winning deck was a double Timetraveller, which clearly highlights the power increase effect that it grants. Out of 6 Archon Solo Vault Tours, two of them have been taken down by Timetraveller decks: Vault Tour Eindhoven by Rachael Trimble and Krakow, by Panagiotis Kyriakou (with a single Timetraveller deck), which proves that the combo is indeed powerful.

Entering the 2+ copies card realm, Routine Job is next. Its quality dramatically increases as you play more copies of them, which is why you would expect 3+ Routine Job decks to be quite elite. However, interestingly enough, the most powerful of these decks (strictly speaking of power level) according to Decks of Keyforge do not have more than 2 copies of them. The first one containing more is a 4 Routine Job deck that is only of power level 5, which is low compared to the amount of 2-Routine Job decks which are power level 6 or greater. Although this card used to be just crushing in a CotA + AoA environment, Worlds Collide and the rise of the steal hate has made it just good, which may be part of the reason why its presence in Chainbound events is not as consistent based on the amount of 1 to 4 power level decks that have Routine Job. A total of 53 3+ Routine Job decks range between power levels 1 and 2, while 21 of those are power level 3, the next one being power level 5. This suggests a low chainbound presence of Routine Job.

1.2-Age of Ascension

The second set kept our beloved Help from Future Self + Timetraveller in as well as Routine Job, not adding a huge amount of new Special Rarity cards. We did get some cool stuff such as Ortannu the Chained, who comes with a couple of those chains, called Ortannu’s Binding (fixed). Brobnar got Grumpus Tamer along with War Grumpus, which is a spicy combo that grants card advantage.

Sanctum got the Ambassadors, a – variant – cool way to cheat in off-house cards, and finally we have Shards, which are rare. When they show up, I think you are guaranteed to have at least 2, but not necessarily 3 in your deck. Like Horsemen, they were somewhat overhyped considering that yes, they get to do powerful stuff that stacks kind of quickly as you play them. Not sharing their houses, however, is a cool part of their design if you ask me, but definitely a nerf to their in-game power. Additionally, the fact that they are artifacts is not always an upside. They used to be so hard to kill back in Call of the Archons, but as the game progresses they are increasignly easier, and Age of Ascension represented that trend quite well, amplifying the artifact control options a bit more.

There is not much to highlight amongst the competitive results of decks with these cards, but they are, design-wise, undeniably enjoyable.

So what do we have up to this point? A total of 4 houses (Brobnar, Shadows, Untamed and Mars) have seen no Special Rarity cards whatsoever added to their pool. Worlds Collide has had the chance to mend this, but how well has it been done?

1.3-Worlds Collide

Worlds Collide, our most recent set, brought a bunch of new Special Rarity cards, featuring additions to every single house except for Mars. Poor Martians are way too hated! Without further do, let’s see what exactly we got. Untamed got Xenos Bloodshadow as well as Toad, which means a very good creature plus a pretty much useless one in the same deck. I cannot tell much about it since I have never seen it in play, but you read it as a sort of Play ability that makes you discard a card, seems decent. Moor Wolf has also been added to the group of 2+ card copies. Judging by the current state of rules, unfortunately, it can only be a decent card. Rule of Six will make our wolves need to survive in order to really do something, since playing, for example, 3 of them in the same turn makes them just virtually enter ready and nothing else.

Dis got the Banes, which are variant cards that embody the hate to different creature traits, being potentially random but powerful if they hit a creature, and gaining an Aember if they do not. They all have a different art, which is awesome!

As for Shadows, it got a bunch of plants: 1 power elusive creatures that gain you an Aember whenever a player chooses a certain house. They fit very well the Shadows theme if you ask me, although they are only sometimes relevant and pretty easy to get rid of. And beside the plants, I would like to have a look to a promising combo of uncommons – they are not rares or Specials, but work in a very similar way. These are Chain Gang + Subtle Chain. Strictly speaking, Subtle Chains can be alone in your deck, but whenever you find a Gang, you will find at least Chain, and some decks even contain two, which makes the combination significantly more powerful. Subtle Chain by itself is good to me, I mean come on, it is a Mind Barb with a pretty significant upside, adding disruption to Shadows as well as a new, funny way to steal the opposing Aember.

Logos got the powerful – and lovely – couple Velum and Hyde, which can turn into a very efficient card advantage engine when they get going. However, they are use-reliant, which means they are kind of slow, since they need to stay alive for a turn in order to really do much. The opponent needs to be able to either kill them both simultaneously (in which case no one gets archived) or purge them, or else they might become somewhat painful to deal with.

As for the new houses, only Star Alliance got some variant Special Rare cards: the Blasters, of which we have 8, featuring some of the most iconic Star Alliance commanders. They have a Fight/Reap standard ability, plus the ability to attach to their legitimate owner for a cool bonus effect. Commanders can show up without their blasters, but not the other way around.

And finally, Brobnar also got some of these cards. Igon the Green is a sailor that, from what it seems, gets its identitiy fully transformed as he travels. Then he experiences something close to death, replacing his thirst for adventure for thirst for blood and sacking, thus becoming Igon the Terrible. Cool concept, reasonable cards, although not crazy. And now we get to the least exciting part in my opinion, the Megas and the Brews. Basically, a Mega creature is a fixed Special Rare, consisting on a “huge” version of a preexisting one that only adds it two +1 counters and nothing else. These always come with a Brew, action that is supposed to cause the grow, and it is fine, except for having a different Brew for each Mega creature and all doing the same. Definitely not exciting, but I hope that is just a learnt lesson design-wise.

Wrap-up:

Having a look at Special Rares in KeyForge, we have learnt the following: not only they are, in many cases, quite good to see, but they somehow tell a mini-story that adds up to your deck’s identity. However, Worlds Collide’s case shows that sometimes they might not even be as good. Megas and Brews took away a big portion of the odds of the set’s Brobnar of being good or at least not becoming a house you do not want to open.

But it is all good, let’s just move on, because the future has us covered for new exciting KeyForge stuff. More specifically, Mass Mutation introduces Enhanced cards, which in a way becomes a sort of rarity concept in the sense that it can potentially make a card absolutely unique. If it ever becomes necessary, we might talk about balance issues, but so far we do not have any evidence. Other than that, we also get titanic mutants into the game, which is also a form of Special Rarity cards. Here are several pieces of content regarding the new set that you may want to check out: A Mass Mutation Gameplay by FFG and an update to the set spoilers by our fellow content creator Brand Minnigh.

To conclude, Special Rarity cards and rares / uncommons that show up following special patterns are a very cool addition to a unique deck game like KeyForge, and a very dynamic chance to keep developing the game by introducing brand new concepts. I hope you enjoyed the read, I would love to read your feedback either on the comments below or anywhere else. If you like this content, make sure to follow me on Twitter: @blazing_archon and it would be amazing of you to leave a like on the blog Facebook page: Cosmic Crucible: Home to KeyForge players. Other than that, be sure to check out Team DTÆ’s Instagram account and follow us to stay tuned of what we do.

Thank you so much for reading, hopefully see you soon in the Cosmic Crucible for the next article. Until then, keep forging!

Cooperative Hunting #6: On how Worlds Collide may impact the KeyForge metagame

Greetings, Archons! Cooperative Hunting is back. With Worlds Collide releasing this week, I am pretty sure it will be metagame-shaking in some way, and I would like to try and figure out how.

Introduction: what we have before Worlds Collide’s release

Before Worlds Collide, we have Call of the Archons and Age of Ascension, two sets which have been confronted way more theoretically than practically, specially considering that the amount of Age of Ascension decks registered is roughly 1/3 of the amount of Call of the Archons decks (350k out of 1,363k on November 5th). We are not going back to the set quality debate, but instead let’s see what each set is like.

Call of the Archons features the following:

  • More Action-based, and therefore, if the deck had any Aember rush potential, faster on average. Additionally, decks tend to have less creatures than the average Age of Ascension, which highlights the previous trend.
  • Less combo-based. It had LANS and LART until the errata, as well as Battle Fleet + Key Abduction, but not much else. Notice that I am not including interactions that are not new to Age of Ascension, such as Total Recall + Key Abduction or Too Much to Protect + any steal card.
  • More Aember-control heavy: it has a significantly higher number of Aember control cards which do not require any condition to be met. This made Shadows (+ Dis) decks strictly better in most scenarios

As opposed to that, Age of Ascension can be defined as follows:

  • More board-based: the creature count is significantly higher on average plus there are some pieces that can do a good work, e. g. Grump Buggy or Might Makes Right. Additionally, a good portion of the most relevant actions of this set are actually Call of the Archons reprints which, again, emphasizes this trend.
  • A lot more combo-based: GenKA and DrummerGanger are great examples of “degenerate” combos that can potentially win the game out of nowhere. Add the right decklists and the list increases: Heart of the Forest, [REDACTED] and Duskwitch can find themselves in a great spot on the right decks. While this is a good symptom of set quality, the odds of getting an actually insane GenKA deck are so slim, and although the same is not necessarily true for DrummerGanger, it is not a game-winning combo at every point into the game nor against every deck.
  • Way less Aember control-based: cards that provide it are circumstantial or have restrictions for the most part and just simply have a lower count.

According to the previous considerations, a concise description of a winning deck in the current KeyForge metagame is quite simple: gain a ton of Aember while preventing your opponent from doing so – i. e., basically steal your opponent’s Aember -, forge out of step and win. Although at this point only Dis does not have a released forge-out-of-step card, the importance of gaining Aember faster than your opponent takes care of it makes us think of 2 houses to fulfill those requirements, and what is more concerning, both from a specific set: Shadows and Untamed from Call of the Archons. Add the overwhelming disruptive potential of Dis from Call of the Archons and you will find a quite likely glance at the top 8 decks of Archon format competitive events so far.

Even though not every tournament is the same, this article does not mean to be any sort of statistical analysis but an attempt to identify general trends in the current metagame and try to talk early about how it will evolve, so I think that does it for Call of the Archons and Age of Ascension.

What will Worlds Collide bring and how is it going to affect the current state of the game?

This is the key question, and in order to answer this one we have the most valuable stuff of this section: our fellow archons’ contributions. Big thanks to all of you for letting me know your thoughts on this, making a new Cooperative Hunting article possible.

Arranging their opinions is never easy, since they all give valuable information from a KeyForge enthusiast’s perspective, but let’s go from the general to the more specific aspects.

Our fellow archons @KeyForgeLeeds and Liam Hall (@MunkeyKungFu) from Twitter share the hope to get local scenes revitalised. KeyForge Leeds compares Worlds Collide being launched to Age of Ascension, which doubled the assistance to their local tournaments. However, in the long term, the deck diversity ended up being reduced due to the quality difference between the average Age of Ascension deck and Archon-good Call of the Archons decks.

Will deck diversity still be an issue, then? Much like our fellow archon and content creator Kurt (@Unzinc on Twitter), I think it will not. I will gladly join his prediction of Ward being Too Much to Deal With (Hey, FFG, new card! 😉 ) for traditional Untamed and Shadows lists. Check out Kurt’s article here and you will find more interesting opinions, including the risks of exalting, Brobnar raising in quality and a lot more!

Our fellow archon Shea Ashbee (@SheaAshbee on Twitter) adds an interesting component: the right set up can be devastating, giving us the example of Nepenthe Seed into Cooperative Hunting to clear Ward on exalted Dinos, then Nature’s Call for value. I will call it a learnt lesson by concluding that since every deck is unique, you want to look at your opponents decklist before exalting for a significant amount of Aember for which you do not have an answer later on. I do not think that changes the fact that in general, Call of the Archons Untamed and Shadows will have a hard time dealing with Ward!

I particularly like the thoughts from Helagus (@Helagus1 on Twitter) and Archonvict (@Archonvict), who share the belief that the metagame will go through serious changes. Which is fine! Were you a casual archon who was fed up with getting 6 feet under by the strongest Call of the Archons decks? Well, now is your time to shine! Get into your LGS, grab a couple (or as many as you want) Worlds Collide decks and start testing them. You definitely will not see Call of the Archons players as comfortable when something prevents them from stealing your Aember or wiping your board.

Archonvict sees Worlds Collide as a very versatile set which can get in the way of most things: from rush to stealing, not to mention unfair combos – The Purge commencement is imminent! – and big tempo plays such as Nature’s Call or Lost in the Woods, or board wipes. Fighting warded creatures will also be a problem in case you do not have direct damage to go with it.

Helagus adds that Worlds Collide takes board presence to a whole new level: not only there are relevant creatures, but also powerful artifacts, as well as great Upgrades. And you know what? That is absolutely right: Worlds Collide brings a handful of awesome Upgrades that will finally make the card type relevant in the game, particularly in the case of Star Alliance.

Nathan, the Vault Tour Richmond champion (@nathanstarwalt1), mentions the oppressive potential of Quixxle Stone, specially along with Heart of the Forest, that is an anti-fun combination indeed, no wonder Alex, runner up at Richmond (@Lord0fWinter1), wants to burn them all, lol.

And to conclude, we have Raúl (@rauluar on Twitter), who also hopes that Worlds Collide ends the Call of the Archons reign. However, as he points out, we do not want a new king but a more balanced metagame between sets!

Wrap-up:

Less than 2 days before Worlds Collide officially releases, we have reasons to think that it is going to change the KeyForge metagame for good, giving us the first fully satisfying new set experience for KeyForge. I did have a great time with Age of Ascension, but I know some people did not, and I understand why: if your local scene is full of Call of the Archons oppressive decks and you can barely win a single game, then you will not feel good, that is obvious. However, we all feel like this time it is going to be different: people is going to trust in Worlds Collide card quality, cracking those decks open and, what is more important, playing them in their local scenes to prove that KeyForge now has more than one consistently good set.

If you ask me, I think that is going to lead to a chance to reevaluating all the decks people have. Decks that basically only controlled Aember used to be great. Justice “Relámpago”, Lord del Cenagal, which got me to a 2nd place in my local Store Championship, is a good example. However, both in terms of gameplay (only controlling Aember can mean exhaustingly grindy games) and in terms of general deck quality (I do not want to find that 50% of my deck is literally useless thanks to cards like Odoac the Patrician or Discombobulator), I will gladly reconsider my concept of best decks for the current and upcoming events.

So here is my piece of advice for you who are reading this: No matter to what extent you thought this, get your mind ready to change the sentence “Call of the Archons is the best KeyForge set” to the past tense. Get to your Local Game Store Worlds Collide release events, grab a deck, start playing and see how it feels. Then, keep testing it / them at your local scene with enough consistency to find its strengths and weaknesses: I feel like a whole new KeyForge era is about to start!

That is all for today’s article. First of all, thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed the article like I did writing it, since my enjoyment and yours are the reasons that make me want to keep writing every article. If you liked it, and would like to stay tuned for more, make sure you follow me on Twitter: @blazing_archon. We also have a Facebook page that you can like / follow if you wish, that would be amazing of you!

Last but not least, you may want to stay tuned to what my KeyForge team does. If so, make sure to follow us on Instagram: @teamdtae. See you soon in the Cosmic Crucible for another article. I will soon start analyzing Worlds Collide decks, so feel free to hit me up with your lists! Until then, #StayForGin!