Brian Holland

by Brian Holland

Since Richard Garfield himself took the stage at GenCon18 to talk us through how in partnership with Fantasy Flight Games, his vision came to life, we’ve been on board and always longing for more decks, more aember and of course, more cards.

On May 30th, the Age of Ascension begun! Over the weekend, thousands of new decks were opened across the globe- each of them completely unique-, and with each new deck came a new world of possibilities, new strategies to master, and new ways to pursue the opening of the Vault!

I spoke a few members of the Australian KeyForge community, including Brice Varan, Ben Dawson, and “Marty.”

Varan, a self-proclaimed ‘KeyForge Addict’ and prominent community member, runs Yo Mama Mastery, a group dedicated to growing the KeyForge community here in Australia, and live streaming games. ‘I’ve been playing KeyForge since before the game was released,’ Varan said of his obsession. ‘When print-and-play decks and were all we had!’

‘I was really big into Star Wars: Destiny,’ said Ben Dawson, a member of the KeyForge community who’s been playing since just after launch of the game. ‘I planned to get casually into Keyforge (“I’ll just buy one deck, that’s all”). But that didn’t quite work out.’keyforge

Marty, a long-time gamer with a background in Magic told me that he is most excited for the “hunt.” ‘I’ll need an Age of Ascension deck that suits my play style.’ He told me. ‘I’m also excited to see how the Age of Ascension decks measure up against decks from the first set.’ 

Like any card game, the lead up to a new release is an exciting time. As we’ve seen with Pokemon, Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh!, players love to see the new cards as they’re released- always eager the theorycraft and figure out which decks these new cards will build.

KeyForge, being a Unique Game, means there is no deck-building. As such, the ‘spoiler season’ leading up to the second KeyForge release, while exciting, has had a noticibly different effect on the community that in other games.

‘I’ve purposely tried to avoid spoilers so I have a purer sealed experience.’ Varan said of his excitement for Age of Ascension. ‘I’m most excited about seeing more new cards like “Ortannu the Chained” who can tutor back each copy of “Ortannu’s Binding” from your discard pile.’

‘The thing that excites me most about Age of Ascension is the mystery and excitement of learning/finding all new cards and combos.’ Dawson told me. ‘I’ve taken maybe a weird approach to KeyForge where I refuse to read up on every card, which means most games and most decks I open I’m encountering cards I’ve never seen before!’ 

Unlike in games that have traditional ‘constructed’ formats, KeyForge allows you to learn just how your deck works. While it’s helpful to understand the cards that can pop up on your opponent’s side of the table, and how to play around them, there is no constructed ‘meta-defining’ deck. 

This approach makes a new set a truly unique experiece in the world of card games- and it’s honestly the best time for new players to try out the game

‘It’s a perfect time to get in!’ Marty said. ‘Both players new and old are about to explore the set and combos together, also it’s when older players like myself will be playing the sealed format as we want more decks- You can never have to many decks. I have over 50 decks from Call of the Archons,’ Marty went on, ‘and still don’t have some things in my decks and I enjoy hunting for them. Enjoy the game no matter if you’re in it to play casually or aim to be competitive.’

‘My advice for new players looking to get into Keyforge is to attend the next sealed event!’ Varan said. ‘Regardless of your tournament performance you are guaranteed to walk away with at least a new Archon deck and the playing field is very even with every player learning how to pilot their new deck at the same time.’

‘Take the dive!’ Dawnson added. ‘This game has the lowest barrier to entry for any game ever. You can pay $15 and be as competitive as anyone else in the game.’

‘Keyforge is chaotic and that’s what I love most about it.’ Varan went on. ‘You can be behind 2 keys to 1 and still find a crazy line which you’d never considered before which wins you the game.’

Australia has a steadily growing and passionate community dedicated to inclusiveness, exploration and discovery. These groups of super-fans are primed and ready to welcome new players into the game, particularly if you’re expeirence KeyForge for the first time with Age of Ascension. keyforge 2

‘Keyforge takes everything that makes card games difficult/tedious/frustrating to play, and throws them out the window.’ Said Dawson. ‘The “time to fun” is almost zero. You can buy into the game for the first time and immediately start playing with a unique combination of cards that no one has ever seen before.’

‘I like the randomness,’ Marty said. ‘Yes, I don’t mind to deck build in other games, but just being able to walk into a store and buy a deck no one else in the world has excites me.’

‘Also,’ Marty added. ‘Ask your store if they know of a community group you can join. In Melbourne for instance there is a Facebook group run by the players that help each other.’ 

Lastly, Marty said; ‘bring on the Australian Championships!’


Keen on trying KeyForge? Decks and Starter Sets for Age of Ascension are available right now at your local Good Games store!