I don’t know about you, but I’ve got decks on decks on decks! I’m not talking about in general, I mean decks I genuinely really want to play! But it’s hard to find the time to get reps in with all of them, especially when a select few are getting most of my time so I can truly master the lines of play, as well as create familiarity with them. But let’s be honest, the decks that are not top tier need some love as well. I truly believe every deck is special and has the potential to be a fun experience, unfortunately, if your opponent has a significantly stronger deck it could alter those fun times. That doesn’t mean that deck isn’t fun, it just needs a comparable deck to go up against. This is why casual play is important. So let’s take a look at some of the ways I try to show love to all the decks I have, and the different ways they get played.
The reason for this article is that I realized I have two decks that are great, close to top tier, but they haven’t been played in a minute. Part of that is due to TCO now having AoA available and these are CotA decks— which have received the lion’s share of attention since you couldn’t play AoA on TCO until recently. The other reason is that I have so many non-competitive fun decks that I want to give a spin and unlock. So today I wanted to focus on some systems, or plans-of-action, to be able to maximize the time spent with the entirety of a playable collection. I’m defining “playable” as you the player sees merit in the deck and would like to pilot it. Not purely based on any kind of rating or metric to define the strength of a deck.
This is one of the reasons why my YouTube segment Crucible & Coffee exists. It gives me a chance to take a look at a variety of parameters from my collection as well as play a multitude of decks that meet a given parameter. Another benefit of this is it allows me to keep decks sealed and see if they may have potential before sleeving them up. During Crucible & Coffee, I rarely play my truly top tier decks, as those get more love in real life so the Crucible & Coffee platform gives me a break from that. This also allows me to play with ok to good decks— not great decks, and figure out how to win with them, so when I do play my top tier decks the process feels easier as the card pool is stronger. In the TCO competitive room, I truly believe putting your skills to the test with lesser strength decks helps you become a better player. You are often faced with difficult situations and working around these moments really helps train those KeyForge critical thinking skills, as well as help better prepare you for a sealed environment when you aren’t always piloting a good deck.
Another easily accessible solution to go through your decks is to just spend an entire day jamming on TCO. You could probably get through 7 decks and play each one a few times. That’s about 10-14 games, so not bad, although that may be quite exhausting, and possibly take the fun out of it. The other way is to just play two games a day choosing just one or maybe two decks, and have a system to be able to go through the decks you want to play. This is pretty much the Crucible & Coffee method I currently employ. This method consists of having given each day of the week a house name- MARS MONDAY, UNTAMED TUESDAY, DIS WEDNESDAY, THOUGHT THURSDAY (Logos), FIGHT FRIDAY (Brobnar), SHADOWS SATURDAY, and SANCTUM SUNDAY. This allows me an easy way to know which house I will focus on when I jam a game that day. I just use my Master Vault app or Toy Wiz account to only show me the house of the day, see which deck has that house as a dominant card pool, and choose that one. Makes it easy to narrow things down, and not get hit with analysis paralysis when viewing the collection as a whole, which I’m sure we have all faced when trying to decide which deck to show some love to at any given time. So come up with a system to define what kind of deck should be played on any given day of the week, as I have.
Something else to do is to pinpoint decks that you like the card pool of, but recognize that the deck is not inherently the best, although posses fun combos and interactions. For me, these decks are kept together and saved for playing against friends that don’t play as often as I do, and as a result, are at a disadvantage just based on the amount of time I spend interacting with this game compared to them. Playing these below-par decks in this situation is perfect! It gives your friend a chance to excel with a deck they are getting familiar with, and it gives you a chance to make the most of these decks and find less apparent lines of play that could lead to victory. If you lose, so what! You are helping your friend get into the game more, and those loses with below-par decks will actually increase your victories with your good decks, as previously mentioned. Plus, if you get in a similar situation in a sealed environment, you will be able to better pilot those decks that don’t have the best cards that you normally rely on to win, so this exercise is fantastic for growth, in my opinion.
Don’t be shy about taking some time each month away from the Chainbound Archon and Sealed circuit to play some casual. Not only does it give your wallet a break, but it allows your local KeyForge community to come closer together. In a casual setting, more table talk can take place, and the community can get to know one another better, further fostering the growth of the relationships within your local KeyForge group making it stronger. So don’t underestimate the power of a casual night at your LGS! This type of night with nothing on the line except having good times with your KeyForge pals is the best way to play those decks that aren’t necessarily top tier, but sure are fun to pilot.
This is also a great way to discover that a deck may be better than you originally thought, due to more complicated lines of play that only get truly unlocked as you see more combinations of cards from the deck. In your casual group, you should also allow take-backs to make sure optimal lines of play are occurring so players can see the full potential of a deck. A post-game debrief with your opponent is also very beneficial to help each other maximize the best lines of play, and become more proficient at piloting a deck.
If you have a casual night, and have odd numbers, give three player KeyForge a try(link to my article about this casual format here). It’s so much fun, and really brings people together. It also gives another opportunity to discover a deck may excel in this multiplayer format more so than standard one vs one KeyForge.
As great as getting in those reps efficiently on TCO is, it is also very important to get those IRL reps since that’s the setting the really meaningful games will be taking place. Not having automatic triggers for gameplay happen is worth being aware of, and practicing keeping the game state and maintaining it IRL should not be overlooked. Nothing feels worse than forgetting a useful trigger like a Director Z.Y.X. or Titan Librarian archive.
Now I’m curious how all you Archons go about showing love to the variety of decks you own. Do any of these methods ring true for you? Or do you have a completely different formula/outlook towards this? Please leave a comment below or send me a Tweet: @blvdPAPERFIGHT. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this, and as always, may your æmber never be stolen, and you forge your keys promptly. Have a good one!