Brian Holland

by Brian Holland

Wizards of the Coast have taken strides over the years to hold back the proliferation of decks that would appear online, and ultimately ‘solve’ a format sooner than the designers intended. 

The countless hours that go into designing the ins and outs of hidden combos and synergies across several sets of Magic are being undone faster and faster, as communities grow in a world more connected than ever before.

Don’t get me wrong, building a net-deck is a perfect way to skip some of the more time consuming aspects of playing a Collectable Card Game. If you’re like me, and deck building isn’t at all your strong point, then why not have one of the world’s best do it for you?

To that end, there is nothing morally inferior about using a net-deck, as some players would have you believe. Those players love the idea of nutting out their own creation, putting hours and hours into testing a build that could subvert the norm- only to have yet another net-deck crush their dreams of winning the National Championship with a deck nobody had heard of.

Limited formats of games like Magic and Final Fantasy are often presented as accessible to new players, due to the fact that you don’t need to bring any cards to the event, and that everyone playing is on an ‘even keel.’

This isn’t strictly true, as a huge skill in any limited format has always been deck building, something that can be very difficult for new players to pick up. KeyForge isn’t a Collectable Card Game, but it presents a new and ultimately Unique way of playing that both removes the prospect of net-decking, as well as the skill set that accompanies a well built deck.

Designed by the now legendary Richard Garfield, playing KeyForge requires only a one-off investment of $16AUS. You buy a sealed deck (the ONLY copy of that deck in the world), and you’re good to go.

The skill required to be good at KeyForge doesn’t come from understanding which cards to include to make the optimal build, neither does it require you to scour the internet for the best list before going out into the wild to buy all the individual cards you need. 

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The best skill to have when playing KeyForge comes only from playing the game. Knowledge of the mechanics, and ultimately the card pool, will be the determining factors when unlocking the Crucible and winning the game.

People have decried the argument that KeyForge is both cheaper and more accessible than any other game currently on the market. Citing that buying a deck is like buying a booster pack, albeit at a much higher cost, and that you’ll have to keep buying them until you find a good one.

A better way of looking at it, is that whenever you buy a KeyForge deck, while yes, it may not be your preferred combination of houses or play style, it is still a deck you can play right out of the box with no further tuning needed. Unlike booster packs of cards, which often end up being 90% copies of cards you do not want or will never use, buying a KeyForge deck means you’re off to the races.

The game is simple enough to learn, so casual players might partake once in a while, or when a new set releases.

The game is deep enough that competitive players will revel in learning the strategies and synergies of the decks they own, and learning the card pool so they know what to play around when facing off against specific houses- and combinations of houses.

While some players are disappointed in the lack of deck building, they should be reassured that the decks they buy and use will be 100% theirs. In that fashion, the game really does pitch two Unique decks against each other- the players who abhor net-decking will still feel a sense of pride and achievement in their deck: A build that nobody else in the world is playing with.

In short, KeyForge really does have something for every type of gamer.

If you haven’t played KeyForge yet, there is no reason not to try it. Even if you have a few games and decide that it’s not for you, you’ve spent less than the cost of a Starter Deck for most other games on the market (and those same Starter Decks often end up in a pile of bulk cards you’ll never use!).

Enter The Crucible today, battle other Archons, and forge your keys! You’ll make new friends and have a blast along the way- and don’t forget to join the discussion on Facebook.

There are so many different ways to play the game, and FFG have really put a lot of thought and effort into providing a variety of formats suited to several different styles of play. Games like KeyForge don’t come around very often. Start playing today, and who knows? Perhaps in 20 years you’ll be regaling tales of how you opened decks from the very first set, much to the jealousy of the kids around you who are learning the game for the first time.


Ask your local Good Games store about their KeyForge events today!

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