KeyForge and Deckbuilding

Tyrmatfrage

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I just stumbled across a deck that has Annihilation Ritual (artifact that purges creatures when they enter the discard pile), 3x Biomatrix Backup and 3x Dextre. So the deck’s gameplan is to purge all your opponents creatures and swing back when you have a deck and they don’t.

It’s not particularly strong, and dies to event-heavy decks, but I’m amazed the algorithm put together a deck with that package.
 

Asklepios

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There seems to be some algorithm that weights your deck according to the rare picks, I find, so Annihilation Ritual decks tend to have a lot of aember-bearing non-creature cards and at least one Gateway to Dis, plus other control cards. Not sure how much of this I'm imagining, but I've never seen a Ritual deck with a high creature count. Ritual decks tend to be decent and interesting, but rarely overpowering, I find. Other things I've noticed is Pit Lord almost always turning up with Hysteria (which is a good thing, as it'd be nigh unplayable without that combo), and Niffle Queen usually having at least 2 Niffle Apes alongside her.

Generally the algorithm seems pretty solid, but the commonest problem deck it throws up is the Mars low-creature deck, where there'll be 2-4 Mars Creatures and a whole load of Mars cards that affect or refer to Mars creatures in play. Those decks are unwinnable, 80% of the time. Also often see Autocannon overlapping with Coward's End, which can be irritating. The other common mismatch is Full Moon turning up alongside low Untamed creature counts, with some trick in play to allow out-of-house stuff to be played, which rarely pans out nicely. After a while you start to recognise the "bad deck archetypes" that keep turning up.
 

Asklepios

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So, fun story.

Today, a friend of mien who doesn't play the game turned up with a Keyforge starter box. He knew that while the four of us were into the game, we'd never managed to get starters, so were using apps for counters.

He offers to give me it, as a gift.
I say no, no, I couldn't take that. Maybe I could buy it, or better still, maybe he could get into the game. Rest of the gang would rather have a new player than some counters, soare persuading him to give it a go.

He agrees eventually, he'll keep it to himself.

He opens up the box, and says "these decks any good then?"

First deck, meh. It's not awful, but it's pedestrian.

Second deck is Shadows/Sanctum/Mars.
The Shadows has Bait and Switch, has the Seeker Needles with Bad Penny, has other typical Shadows goodness.
The Mars has 9 Mars creatures, and Mars is always better with more creatures. Good ones too.
The Sanctum deck is Horsemen, with a decent creature count too.

The deck is dripping with amazing combos and key cards. Cleansing Wave plus Horsemen could generate a tonne of cash. Mass Abduction and Zookeeper turn archiving into threat removal, and there's no self-archiving in the deck to anergise. Cash control options abound. It's basically just a really, really good deck.

He says:

"Probably wasted on me, you can still have it if you like, I dunno £20 or something."

I tell him hell no, all Horseman decks eBay for £50+, ones with Bait and Switch for a tenner more than that, and a deck this good could even break £75-100. I tell him if he's not gonna play it, he should sell it for a profit.

He's decided he's going to sleeve it and play it first, which for us, is even better. Hope he'll lend it to me for tourneys though!
 

Tyrmatfrage

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After a month-long hiatus from the game, I got to go to a Sealed event, and snagged my first-ever AoA deck! Vega, the Deacon of Bonechapel is Dis/Shadow/Mars with Orb of Invidius, Ortannu, 3 Plague Rats and Total Recall. It’s very combo-dependant, in that it’s powerful if I can draw the right cards together and doesn’t do well if I don’t. By the end of the event I realized the best way to play the deck was really just to play and discard as many cards as I could to assemble my Ortannu/Plague Rats/Total Recall combos as fast as I could. Pretty fun deck to play!

All in all had a blast. Discussion with others during the event lead to the consensus that the overall power level of the AoA decks was lower than CotA’s, but there was a better balance between the Houses and the set in general seemed better designed. What do y’all think?
 

Alter_Boy

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I couldn't get any AoA decks yet, so I had to play my friends with my CotA decks this week. I won every single game and I'm not sure how. The new creatures seem very scary, much better than the old ones, but I was able to amass AEmber and they couldn't slow me down or outpace me. I've purposefully kept myself from spoilers until I see the cards in a game, so I can't give a larger scale opinion on the set.
 

Asklepios

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AoA definitely feels like they've upped the importance of fighting and/or board control, to try to slow down the game of cash rushes and steal-fests. The net result is that games feel more measured in pace than before, and you don't see those super-fast 7-12 turn games so much. I don't think it's so much that the new set is less powerful, more that there's been deliberate card designs in place that slow down the game, and this happens also when tou play new vs old decks.

So the game feels less powerful, but that's not because the decks are definitively weaker, but because there's more control and less rush.

On the other hand, in a sealed environment, I think some CotA decks will often beat some AoA ones, just because not all AoA decks can slow the rush. However, in terms of people picking their best decks and bringing them to tourney, I don't think one set is stronger than the other. I also think that in a sealed deck tourney, it seems unlikely it'll be cross-set, so that mismatch in match-ups will only matter in places like the Crucible online (when they get to implementing the new set, that is).
 

Tyrmatfrage

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I’m fortunate to have a playgroup that’s really into this game. We’re planning to do a sealed auction event (players bid chains for the deck they want to play throughout the tournament, winner chooses which deck to keep) for AoA this weekend, and the person in charge is opening a deck and putting up the deck list on our group chat each day leading up to the event. So we’ve already started the metagame of over/underrating decks to trick others into under/overbidding for the deck they secretly want/don’t want. Event hasn’t even started yet and we’re having a blast with this format!
 
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Asklepios

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I’m fortunate to have a playgroup that’s really into this game. We’re planning to do a sealed auction event (players bid chains for the deck they want to play throughout the tournament, winner chooses which deck to keep) for AoA this weekend, and the person in charge is opening a deck and putting up the deck list on our group chat each day leading up to the event. So we’ve already started the metagame of over/underrating decks to trick others into under/overbidding for the deck they secretly want/don’t want. Event hasn’t even started yet and we’re having a blast with this format!
Damn, there's metagaming and there's metagaming, you know.

I have to say I'm not altogether happy with the idea of deliberately being deceptive to friends in out-of-game conversation for the sake of game advantage, but I guess that's very much down to the implied social contract of any particular social group. May work fine for you guys, but it'd be a dealbreaker in my social circles.
 

Tyrmatfrage

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Damn, there's metagaming and there's metagaming, you know.

I have to say I'm not altogether happy with the idea of deliberately being deceptive to friends in out-of-game conversation for the sake of game advantage, but I guess that's very much down to the implied social contract of any particular social group. May work fine for you guys, but it'd be a dealbreaker in my social circles.
It only works if everyone is on the same page, which we all very much are. The group isn't really all that competitive, we're just doing it for shits and giggles.
 

Tyrmatfrage

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My group did the sealed auction and a lot of fun was had! Interestingly, the deck that everyone was kinda eyeing because it had 6x Rats and a lot of rares didn't do so well - either because it ended up heavily chained or because it isn't actually as good as looks on paper. Meanwhile, the deck that wound up winning kinda flew under everyone's radar (except for the person playing it, of course) - it didn't have many standout rares but was an all-rounder that was decent at everything.

I ended up second place and I'm pretty happy with the deck I got - it's Logos/Untamed/Dis, with Eureka and a bunch of Untamed recursion. So the strategy of the deck is to basically recur Eureka as often as possible. I tried to set up the combo Eureka -> Helper Bot -> Key Charge several times but it always got wrecked by Eureka's random archiving. Anyway, had a ton of fun.
 
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