Deck of the Week – Episode 3

Speedy Gonzalez

September 2019

Hello and welcome back to the deck of the week column! Each Friday, I’ll highlight a new deck: a recent winner of a premiere event, a deck that personally intrigues me, or maybe even a deck suggested by you, my awesome reader! Leave comments below if you have any deck suggestions.

So far, I’ve looked at two decks on opposite ends of the power spectrum: a Vault Tour runner up and the lowest SAS-rated deck in the world. I’ve been trying to find “weird” or interesting decks to highlight for the third installment just to keep things on a riveting rotation. Something that I thought might be beneficial to us all as players is to look at decks that push the boundaries of the way the game is played. With that in mind, I set out to find the most efficient deck in Keyforge. A few DoK searches later and I saw “The Hexing Book Burner of Redcanyon” staring back at me – here’s the link to DoK.

What is “Efficiency”?

Efficiency is one of the measurements that goes into the new AERC calculation. Decks of Keyforge offers the following description: “Efficiency is increased by effects that allow you to play extra cards. It is reduced by cards that prevent you from playing or drawing cards, like cards that give chains or Bad Penny. 1 point is approximately equal to drawing two cards or archiving a random card.

In the Deck of the Week column, I hope to eventually find other decks that push boundaries of other aspects of AERC. The reason I wanted to start with efficiency is that while it is pretty compatible with my play style, it is not easy to understand the importance of deck efficiency or how to value it versus other measures such as aember generation or disruption. Hopefully pushing this mechanic to the brink will teach us something valuable about the role it plays in our game.

Overall stats on this deck: 91 SAS, 68 AERC (27 efficiency). Considering that this is the highest efficiency deck in the world, I was initially surprised that the AERC wasn’t higher. This was quickly explained by the low aember control (2) and creature control (3) rankings. This deck seems to be pretty all-in on efficiency, so that’s important to keep in mind.

So, what makes it so efficient? Triple Yurk, triple Labwork, triple Professor Sutterkin, double Helper Bot, Exhume, and Punctuated Equilibrium. Wow. I’ve been wanting to play a Punctuated Equilibrium deck, so I’m really excited to try this out. 

Beyond the efficiency, there are other things to like in this deck. Untamed has a few powerful cards like Mimicry, Regrowth, Glimmer, and Full Moon to pack a punch. Dis offers a board wipe and a Lash of Broken Dreams to control the tempo of the game. Logos has…well Logos has pretty much just efficiency cards.

The downside of this deck? Very low aember control – the only cards that can keep the opponent off of a key at 6 aember is Lash of Broken Dreams and maybe Mimicry depending on what the opponent has in their discard pile. That is going to really limit the ceiling for this deck. The other major problem that I see is a rather low expected aember. Playing lots of cards is great, but if they aren’t giving you aember, then they aren’t really helping you win the game. There are 17 creatures in this deck and they are pretty evenly distributed, so it is possible that this deck can win via board control. Still, my impression is that this deck would struggle at the highest levels of competitive play. 

Let’s See it In Action!

But enough hypothesizing! Let’s see what this thing does in action. To do that, I took the deck through three competitive games on the Crucible. Let’s see if things play out as expected. For those who are not interested / able to watch the videos, I’ll provide a brief written summary of each match on how the deck played out in our matchup. 

Game 1:

Game Summary: I have kind of an awkward starting hand, which isn’t helped by my opponent getting off to a blazing start with Help From Future Self into Timetraveler with a Backup Copy. Bursting up to 9 aember after turn 3 with a Eureka puts the opponent dangerously ahead due to the lack of aember control in my deck. I finally manage to get a decent board advantage, which is immediately met by a pretty one-sided Unlocked Gateway. My opponent reloads with their Timetraveler and follows up with a 9 aember-burst Untamed turn that clinches the game. I think opponent high-rolled a little bit, but I think this game is a good demonstration of both the value and drawbacks of playing a deck that primarily relies on card efficiency.

Game 2:

Game Summary: I get off to a good start on-board and get a Titan Librarian online. My opponent responds with a Spirit’s Way, some big Sanctum bois, and a Witch of the Wilds that I don’t have an answer for. I get a little ahead of myself playing Mimicry to clear their board and miss a couple reaps – whoops! I also miss an aember from Full Moon ☹ – not my best game, sorry folks. It ultimately doesn’t matter a whole lot because my opponent plays out some large Sanctum bodies that this deck has absolutely no way to deal with. Despite churning through a lot of cards, I’m unable to dig my way back to an Unlocked Gateway in time. This game really highlighted the lack of creature control in this deck. I definitely didn’t play optimally, but in this case I don’t think it really had any impact on the outcome. Again I was able to churn through the deck a lot and play tons of cards, but they just were not very effective in helping me win the game.

Game 3:

Game Summary: This was a pretty grindy game with lots of interesting decisions. Opponent makes a critical error, not realizing that using their Lash of Broken Dreams allows me to steal 1 and take them off of a key. This causes both of us confusion for a minute because I didn’t realize it either. I’m able to Mimicry their Control the Weak to basically skip their turn and forge my first key. My opponent being under the weight of 6 chains also allows me to establish a dominant board position through card advantage. I get to draw 5 with Sutterkin and Helper Bot for Mimicry on their Control the Weak to lock in my third key. What I didn’t realize is that my opponent had been sandbagging his Untamed cards for a few turns and they came up a couple aember short of Key Charging for the win.  Note: I did play rematch with my opponent and won, so that’s something.

Conclusion: 

The deck struggled more than I expected, considering that it is the most efficient deck in the world. I admit that some of that was likely due to me making some less-than-optimal plays, but I still came away with better insight into the value of efficiency. It seems to me that efficiency can’t be judged in a vacuum the same way that I would guess expected aember and aember control can be. Efficiency seems to really be a support factor – it is only as effective as the cards it is helping you to play or dig in your deck to draw. It is really a secondary factor that needs to be balanced against the perceived value of the average card in your deck. The deck I played this week didn’t have many high-value cards that did much other than archive or draw cards which, again, is not the direct objective of the game. 

I hope you found this as informative as I did – I’ll definitely be looking to push the boundaries of the game again in the future. I have a store championship coming up this weekend that I am very excited for – I might do a tournament report on r/KeyforgeGame so keep an eye out for that. As always, I appreciate any and all feedback or suggestions for decks to highlight in future weeks!

Thanks, and go forge your weekend!

Key_Cowboy

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