As your reading this, if it’s Saturday, I’m probably playing Archon Triad in the Vegas Vault Tour right now! So, with that in mind, I thought why not write about how I prepped for this event. The idea behind this article is that hopefully, it will have some points that can be taken away for any of you prepping for a Triad event. But before I go any further I must acknowledge a few fellas who helped and encouraged me along this journey; none other than Dan (Danissome1 from Sanctumonius) and Joe (x073d), two great players with incredible knowledge of the game. Both of these fine gentlemen provided stiff competition on TCO, selected a variety of decks to represent the meta in its different forms and ran me through this gauntlet of decks. The result of this helped shape the Triad I am playing today and prepped me for the Vault Tour main event. Having both Dan and Joe as quality players for testing, as well as knowing they are in my corner helping provide analysis of how I played, what I could be up against, and the pitfalls within those types of decks, was such a great resource and it felt really good to have their support and encouragement. I can’t thank you gents enough, it was such an honor, and much appreciated!

First off, when I went to choose my decks originally, the first deck I choose is my best-rated deck that is a complete control deck. It’s a tried tested and true deck for me, so it made the cut without a doubt. The next two decks were the ones that needed to be experimented with, and a few got swapped out through the testing process. At first, I had chosen a deck that had crazy burst potential with two key cheats and recursion for those, plus I’ve had games where I’ve forged three keys in one turn. But as I tested the deck more thoroughly, I found it had huge consistency issues, and it had to be swapped out. The third deck from the original selection was a fantastic Genka deck, courtesy of Joe, who opened up his collection to me. The testing process with this deck was amazing! I learned so much about Genka decks through playing with and against them, but in the end, this deck was swapped with another deck. As great as this Genka deck was, I felt the Triad was missing some answers to questions that could be posed, so this deck got swapped out, but not for a lack of quality. 

Round two of the deck selection, I traded a couple of decks with my man Rick from HFFS, to get a spicy deck perfect for my triad, tons of æmber control in every house, super control-type deck, totally my style fo play that Rick identified the moment he opened it. The deck that replaced the Genka deck, I discovered in Joe’s collection while playing against it in testing. It is a toolbox of a deck to answer a lot of things in the meta. Artifact control, æmber control, board control. A great deck and I discovered it plays very different than you normally would with a KeyForge deck, which was a great learning process. So now I was looking at a Triad of AoA decks, and I felt I was missing the element of CotA in the lineup, so I decided to crack open a box of CotA I had in storage for a long time. Some great decks came out of the mix, but nothing that really provided a Triad contender. What to do, what to do. I went to my LGS and with a last-ditch effort, grabbed six CotA decks. Low and behold, I cracked a banger, as the gents of KeyFort say. My best ever CotA deck! A fast fun, banger! So I dropped the deck I traded for as I already had a control deck in the lineup, and subbed this deck in. Now with my lineup complete, the real testing began.

When testing from this point onwards, my plan was to play all three decks one after the other, but since two of the three were newer, and I had fewer reps with them, I gave them more attention- not to mention Dan and Joe both felt my best-rated deck is a huge target to be benched. So that, coupled with the fact it has considerable more games played under its belt, meant it was played less. During this testing phase, Dan and Joe were helping me identify any weak elements within the decks and started creating some parameters of what should be looked for when I go to bench my opponent’s decks. I’m not going to dive too deep into this aspect, as it is unique to each player’s lineup, but for the most part, I was looking for decks that had a few cards that could really hinder a game plan. So if you playtest for Triad and find you lost to a particular deck, note what you felt was a big obstacle in that defeat. Was it a few cards in your opponent’s deck? A combo? Or was it just good old variance went against you. If it was the latter, don’t be too put out by it, but think back to how your cards came, and what really caused the issue so you can mitigate that moving forward. Sometimes your late game cards can come really early, and in this case, you may need to pivot a certain strategy and start playing out as many cards as possible to get them back again sooner. The point is, post-game, it’s important to take some time to debrief success and failure. Joe was instrumental in asking me these types of questions when I reached out to him post-game(s). Especially when it came to his deck he lent me, as he had much more experience with it.

As I played my Sanctumonius Triad league games, an interesting turn of events took place, and in my last two league matches, my opponent did not bench my best-rated deck but instead chose a different one- which I was not expecting. The first time it happened, I benched a deck that would be a problem for this specific deck I received from Joe, only to find out that was the deck my opponent decided to bench. Then the second time it happened it was due to my opponent having a deck that would get wrecked by that same deck. This threw me off a bit, but I was glad to have had this experience, so as to better prepare myself going forward. So with that in mind, part of my initial strategy was to always play my best deck first, to get that early win, and to have an advantage moving into the next game. But both of my decks left from this scenario were good, and I found that that might not be the best game plan. So moving forward I decided not to always go with my best-rated deck first, but maybe play the other one as the leadoff. That being said, I think throughout this VT Triad, I will probably see all my decks get benched at least once.

The process of preparing for this Vault Tour has been an amazing experience. I truly feel Archon Triad is the highest level of gameplay in KeyForge, and a true test of your skill as a player. There are so many different strategies to choose from within deck selection. All fast, all control, decks that pose a question that must be answered, like Heart of the Forest, or Proclamation, or bring a deck that is the answer to certain questions, knowing that it is likely you will face that throughout a tournament. The possibilities are truly endless, and at the end of the day, it’s up to what you feel most comfortable with. On top of that the ability to read three Archon cards, evaluate those decks and their threats, as well as which of the three is best to bench, is in and itself a tremendous skill, not to mention following that up with piloting your own decks superbly. The strategy in benching a deck can take on so many levels, and only you can know what deck is the biggest threat to your gameplay. 

I hope this article has been helpful for you moving forward and prepping for a Triad tournament. Feel free to reach out and leave comments below or through Twitter.I would love to hear how you have or will be prepping for an Archon Triad tournament. As always, may your æmber never be stolen, and you forge your keys promptly. Have a good one!

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