Episode #10 – A Worlds Collide Love/Hate Relationship: Part I

I love football.  That is an indisputable fact of my existence.  Beginning at the start of training camp in August and ending with the culmination of the Super Bowl, my Sundays are comprised primarily of watching football.  Being a Minnesotan, born and bred, I grew up cheering on my beloved (and somewhat cursed) Vikings, and that is where my primary focus lies when I watch America’s game each and every week, but going back a little over a decade, my father introduced me to something magical: the world of fantasy football.  After helping him run his team during the 2007 season, which coincidentally was the same year that the Vikings (and my father) drafted future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson, and I was completely addicted from that point on. I gathered up a handful of friends and family members, and we are currently in the twelfth season of our league, with the majority of that core group still going strong all these years later.

Now, as a fantasy football aficionado, I wait each and every week to read Mathew Berry’s latest advice column, which he affectionately has referred to as Mathew Berry’s Love/Hate, and for anyone who is familiar with his work, you would know that I have attempted to model everything I do with Archon’s Corner and this column on the groundwork that he has laid out.  I also try to push my column out religiously on Thursday afternoons, just like my article writing idol does, so I figured that while we patiently await the official release of KeyForge’s latest expansion in Worlds Collide, I would pay even greater homage to my fantasy football hero.  For the next three weeks, while I myself painstakingly train for both a Store Championship this weekend and a Prime Championship the following, I will be examining the best (and worst) cards from each and every house making up the Worlds Collide release.  So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

Hello and welcome to another titillating episode of The Random Ramblings of Raspberry Eyes!  I’m your host, the calculatingly cunning Raspberry Eyes, and this week we will be taking a deeper look at a handful of cards from Worlds Collide, specifically focusing on the houses of Brobnar, Dis, and Logos.  Unlike many of the past episodes of this particular column, I have decided to give myself certain rules on how to go about the dissection of this massive expansion set releasing at the beginning of November, mainly to help save the little bit of sanity that I still have left.  For each and every house, I will be choosing a Rare, Uncommon, and Common card that I love from the new set, and then I will be reluctantly throwing two cards from the latest expansion under the metaphorical bus. I’ll also end each week by talking about an anomaly of my choosing, which means it could be on my good list or my bad list, and I will repeat this process until every house has had their moment in the sun.

Before I get going, it is important to keep in mind that I truly believe each and every card in KeyForge is important and will definitely find a time to shine if given the perfect circumstances, but we all know there is usually a card or two in each deck that finds the discard pile with no play effects more often than naught, and those cards will be the victims of my hatred.  I also feel it is important to note that I will be dropping some spoilers within the confines of this column, so if you are one of those strange folks who refuses to acknowledge the existence of these new cards prior to that first legal week in November, you still have time to turn back! And last but not least, note that I am taking all of these cards at their individual values and won’t be looking into each and every combo that these cards could potentially become a part of, so the strengths and weaknesses in my eyes are based solely on how I see those cards playing in any given deck.  Alright, here we go!!!

Brobnar Cards I LOVE in Worlds Collide

Barn Razing
Common – Action – Aember Bonus = 0
Play: For the remainder of the turn, your opponent loses 1 aember each time a friendly creature fights.

We all know that what Brobnar does best is fight.  The entire house is made up of big and nasty giant-sized creatures, many of whom gain some type of advantage or play effect after fighting or destroying an enemy creature.  Brobnar doesn’t typically have a ton of cards that can control an opponent’s aember, and aside from a card like Burn the Stockpile, the element of surprise is usually lost upon the few cards that do cause an opponent to lose aember in some form or another.  This particular card is somewhat of a reverse Warsong, but if you have board control with a plethora of those big Brobnar creatures at your disposal, the potential is there to take an opponent off a key and then some. The real beauty in this card is that it works in the same fashion as the aforementioned Warsong in that the creature only needs to fight, not survive or even destroy an opposing creature, for the effect to trigger, so I feel this card has the potential to potentially save a game late in a matchup.

Overrun
Uncommon – Action – Aember Bonus = 1
Play: If 3 or more enemy creatures have been destroyed this turn, your opponent loses 2 aember.

In sticking with the theme of aember control, I felt that there weren’t a lot of cards in this rarity category that yielded much of a mention outside of Overrun.  First, you get the nice aember bonus, which you can never complain about and still adds value to a card if you have to burn through it early. Second, if you are able to combo this card with a card like Barn Razing or something else that has you attacking and destroying enemy creatures, it is very easy to imagine some scenarios where you can knock an opponent off a key and reset them back to zero in their aember count.  Brobnar loves to fight and destroy creatures, and this card rewards you even more for doing so, and it will be a rare deck indeed that wouldn’t mind having this card in the house Brobnar mix.

Old Boomy
Rare – Creature (Goblin, Scientist) – Power = 2 – Armor = 0
Reap: Reveal cards from the top of your deck until you reveal a Brobnar card or choose to stop.  Deal 2 damage to Old Boomy if a Brobnar card was revealed. Archive each card revealed this way.

While Brobnar may not have had a ton of aember control cards prior to the release of Worlds Collide, there were two other areas of KeyForge gameplay that the house lacked even more: stealing and archiving.  While Brobnar still isn’t out to steal much at any point in the near future, Old Boomy at least offers a chance, albeit a wacky and random one, to do a little bit (or a lot) of archiving.  After reaping, you essentially get to go on a Sound the Horns-style Brobnar hunt, except this time around your objective is to go as long as possible without finding something from the Brobnar house.  You can push your luck in this game of Russian roulette as far as you want to, but even if you get a bit too ambitious and end up destroying Old Boomy in the process, you still get to archive every single card that you revealed!  Just imagine the possibilities of this endeavor if you have the majority of your Brobnar cards in areas outside of your remaining deck, and you could build quite the archive very quickly. While Brobnar specifically might not have a tremendous use for a large archive of cards, the other houses in your deck might, and large archives can usually lead to monster turns and additional keys being forged outside of the forge a key step, which we know can be both game changing and game winning.

Brobnar Cards I HATE in Worlds Collide

Nogi Smartfist
Rare – Creature (Giant, Scientist) – Power = 5 – Armor = 0
Fight: Draw 2 cards.  Discard 2 random cards from your hand.

When I set out to create this episode and the subsequent episodes including the remaining six houses to follow, this was immediately the card I saw as one of the most obvious hate candidates in all of Worlds Collide.  Now, we all know how every card will have its day, but in the benefits of surviving a fight and triggering Nogi Smartfist’s ability are few and far between.  If you wouldn’t be discarding those 2 cards at random and fighting allowed you to cycle through your deck with some control, the card would be a fantastic addition to any Brobnar deck, but as it is written, you draw 2 and then immediately discard 2 cards…at random.  There will definitely be moments when using this creature to fight works out, but it feels to me as it could result in a major tease more often than nought, and you almost always have to fight with Nogi early in the turn as the less cards available in your hand just increases your chances of drawing those 2 cards and then having to dump them anyways.  Overall, just not a fan of this one, especially at this rarity level.

The Big One
Rare – Artifact (Weapon) – Aember Bonus = 1
After a creature is played, put a fuse counter on The Big One.  If there are 10 or more fuse counters on The Big One, destroy each creature and artifact.

The Big One is a fun artifact in theory, but in practice the randomness as to when it will go off is not very appealing to me as a player.  Brobnar loves to have that board control element, so self-destroying the entire board is usually not the best option to take, and that in turn makes playing this a major game of cat and mouse between you and your opponent.  The one major saving grace of this artifact is that it also destroys each artifact in play, which also eliminates The Big One itself, but the fact that your opponent can utilize the card to their advantage just as much as you can seems like too grand of a gamble to take in attempting to win consistently.

Dis Cards I LOVE in Worlds Collide

Infurnace
Common – Creature (Demon) – Power = 4 – Armor = 0
Play: Purge up to 2 cards from a discard pile.  Your opponent loses aember equal to the total Aember bonus of the purged cards.

My favorite house has and always will be that of House Dis, and when I first saw and read this card, I immediately knew this would be my favorite card in the set.  This card is a Creeping Oblivion on a creature, and while you don’t get the aember bonus for playing it, the added benefits of being a power level 4 creature and the fact that you can cause your opponent to lose aember while purging some of their best cards from the game makes it a monster!  Dis decks that contain multiple copies of this card are going to be some of the most sought-after decks on the competitive scene once Worlds Collide is officially allowed in organized gameplay, and with quite a few other cards in Dis that gain advantages based upon the amount of purged cards, any purge-based combos are going to find Infurnace as a staple of that deck arch-type.  I love this card and will be hoping to pull some incredibly competitive decks containing it for my own personal arsenal and collection.

Borr Nit’s Touch
Uncommon – Action – Aember Bonus = 1
Play: Reveal the top 5 cards of a player’s deck.  Purge a card revealed this way. Shuffle the other revealed cards into that deck.

In once again sticking with a house theme, this time focusing on that of purging, I felt that this particular card was slightly stronger than it’s creature counterpart in Borr Nit.  With the added bonus of an aember along with that ever-important element of surprise, even if this action is a one-time occurrence as opposed to the potential of multiple uses out of the creature, I feel it is just a bit stronger overall.  The card itself can be game-changing if you happen to stumble across a key card in your opponent’s deck when revealing those five random cards, and with the sealed format getting a slight boost in the form of the monthly leaderboard organized play incentives, being able to take a look at an eighth of your opponent’s deck and then to purge one of those cards can offer a huge knowledge advantage.

Snag’s Mirror
Rare – Artifact (Item) – Aember Bonus = 1
After a player chooses an active house, their opponent cannot choose the same house as their active house on their next turn.

I’ll be completely honest in the fact that I really didn’t see any rares in House Dis that blew me away, so I went with an artifact that if strategically played in a specific match could essentially lock an opponent out of a house.  The downside of this exchange is that you could potentially lock yourself out of a house in the process, but needing to think one or more turns ahead of your opponent if playing similarly-housed decks adds an entirely new element to the game, and being a fan of Dis means I am all for it!  I also like the fact that you get the aember bonus just for playing it for those rare instances when you are up against an opponent’s deck that doesn’t share any houses with your own. I don’t see players specifically seeking this card out and finding a deck that supports it on it’s own, but I do see this card being a fun addition to an already strong Dis house in a Worlds Collide deck. 

Dis Cards I HATE in Worlds Collide

E’e on the Fringes
Uncommon – Creature (Imp) – Power = 1 – Armor = 0
Elusive.
During your turn, after you discard a Dis card from your hand, you may purge a Dis card from a discard pile.  If you do, steal 1 aember.

I struggled to find two cards to put on my Dis hate list, and that might be because I have a Dis bias, but I eventually decided that this card should be one of my choices for two major reasons.  First, I just wanted to make note of the amazing word play and flow within the text of the card itself as it reads out phonetically like a tongue-twister (and please don’t get me started on how to pronounce Dis, I will forever refuse to pronounce it as anything other than how it appears).  Second, and the major reason why I feel this card doesn’t have a lot of practical use, is that you need to do too much to activate the steal effect. Sure, you are able to potentially steal a tremendous amount of aember and swing the game in your favor if you happen to have a hand full of Dis cards, and the effect gets even better if playing against an opponent who is also running Dis as you can discard from your hand and purge from their discard pile, but the situations where all of that goes according to plan are going to be few and far in-between.  I am still curious to test this one out in actual gameplay, and I feel that here I might completely eat my own words in E’e on the Fringes effectiveness, but I gave myself rules to follow for this column and so many of the Dis cards in the set seem super-solid and just slightly more useful on a consistent basis than this particular imp.

Obsidian Forge
Uncommon – Artifact (Item) – Aember Bonus = 1
Action: Sacrifice any number of friendly creatures.  Then you may forge a key at +6 aember current cost, reduced by 1 aember for each creature sacrificed this way.  If you do, destroy Obsidian Forge.

All of us competitive KeyForge players know how important being able to forge a key outside of the forge key step can be, but sometimes the stipulations required to gain that key advantage are just too great, and that is what I feel has happened with this particular artifact.  Once again, you get the aember bonus for playing it, so it isn’t a total waste of a card, and the odds of your opponent benefitting from it are slim to none, but it just takes a lot of setup to pull off and it just can’t happen consistently with most decks. Before anyone points out how this card could end a game with a moderately-sized board and a few Dis creatures able to reap, compared to other forging cards, the cost is huge.  Compare this to something like Might Makes Right in Brobnar, where you can potentially forge a key by sacrificing 4-5 creatures and not having to spend a single aember in the process, and with Obsidian Forge you are looking at sacrificing 6 creatures just to forge a key at cost, which means you would need to sacrifice nearly a third of your deck to forge a key for minimal to no cost. Overall though, with this being the worst card I could find in House Dis, I think it is safe to say that this already strong house has grown even stronger with Worlds Collide.

Logos Cards I LOVE in Worlds Collide

Tautau Vapors
Common – Action – Aember Bonus = 0
Play: Draw 2 cards.  Archive a card.

I love to play decks that allow me to cycle through my deck fast and effectively, and I feel that Tautau Vapors does just that in this all-in-one utility card package.  This card hearkens back to my days of playing the Pokemon TCG in that it is very reminiscent of the trainer card Bill, with a slight bonus. Logos decks with this card in multiples are going to get moving incredibly fast, and with the ability to draw 2 cards and then archive any card from your hand, you not only cycle through your deck quick but you also set yourself up for future success in the process.  An aember bonus for playing this action would have put this card as the best in the set, but I completely understand why that wasn’t included as it would have skyrocketed the popularity of an already popular house and everyone would have been playing decks with multiple copies of Tautau Vapors. This will be another card I will be looking for in multiples if Logos is part of a competitive Worlds Collide deck equation.

Discombobulator
Uncommon – Upgrade – Aember Bonus = 1
This creature gains, “Your aember cannot be stolen.”

It was a bit difficult choosing a Logos card at this particular rarity level, but since I hadn’t chosen an upgrade of any kind yet, I decided to go with Discombobulator.  I’ve always thought that the Sanctum creature The Vaultkeeper was an incredibly underrated card, especially with the Shadows house being so prevalent in competitive gameplay, and while that entire house may have been phased out this time around, the spirit of The Vaultkeeper lives on in this particular upgrade and gets even better in my opinion.  Now you have the option to drop this creature effect on any creature you control, so if you have something that is going to be tough to destroy, your aember could be safe from being stolen for most of the game, and that can completely derail the strategies of some of the most competitive decks currently dominating organized play. Not to mention you get an added aember bonus just for playing it, so this one could prove to be a deck destroyer if played on the right creature and at the right moment.

Mimic Gel
Rare – Creature (Shapeshifter, Mutant) – Power = 0 – Armor = 0
Mimic gel cannot be played unless there is another creature in play.
Mimic gel enters play as a copy of another creature in play, except it belongs to house Logos.

I’ll be the first to admit that I chose this one based on nostalgia once again, this time going all the way back to my introduction to MtG with a deck that included Clone.  It is obviously apparent that this particular card was meant to replicate that idea completely, but in KeyForge that idea is even more powerful as there are no costs to play or use cards, and the only difference from Mimic Gel and the original creature that was mimicked is the fact that Mimic Gel stays a part of House Logos, and that can break the game wide-open!  I also thoroughly enjoy the fact that Mimic Gel can mimic any creature on the field of battle, so if you happen to have a particularly powerful creature on the board, why not make it two? It will be very rare for this card not to have an impact on any game that it is played in, and knowing you have this available will always have your opponent second-guessing their own creature plays if they know it could come back to haunt them later on.

Logos Cards I HATE in Worlds Collide

Sanitation Engineer
Common – Creature (Cyborg, Scientist) – Power = 4 – Armor = 0
Hazardous 1.
Reap: Discard a card from your hand.

Just as it was difficult to find cards to hate in House Dis, finding two that I didn’t find very useful in House Logos was just as hard, except for a different reason.  While I find Dis to be stacked with some fantastic cards at all rarity levels, Logos seems to be a bit more average across the board, with nothing game-breaking but nothing terrible either, and Sanitation Engineer is a prime example of that fact.  A power level 4 creature with hazardous in this particular house is a decent addition, as Logos isn’t known for having too many formidable fighters at its disposal, but that is pretty much all it is good for. Yes, you can obviously reap and drop a useless card from your hand to help the Logos idea of cycling through your deck, but if you are getting rid of useless cards consistently, you may have some deck flaws in general.  Therefore Sanitation Engineer has to be a card that I am not going to be thrilled to find in a Logos deck over so many other solid cards.

Data Forge
Uncommon – Action – Aember Bonus = 1
Play: You may forge a key at +10 aember current cost, reduced by 1 aember for each card in your hand.

On first look, this card appears to be a copy of Key Abduction, except this time around it’s part of House Logos, which almost makes me think that Logos absorbed the two phased out houses from the first two sets.  Key Abduction is always a fun card to play and some of the strongest combo decks employ its use quite effectively, but the major component missing from Data Forge is the fact that you have to set this card up independently through archiving and drawing to forge that key for cost or less.  This can absolutely be done through Logos and their penchant for archiving cards, but you will definitely have to do some work to make it happen, so it is very much a Key Abduction lite in that regard. Still a useful card if it finds its way into a deck capable of archiving many cards quickly, but just not as great of a card as it initially appeared to be.

Anomaly of the Week

The Red Baron
Creature (Cyborg, Pirate) – Power = 4 – Armor = 1
While your red key is forged, The Red Baron gains, “Reap: Steal one aember.”
While your opponent’s red key is forged, The Red Baron gains elusive.

And now we have reached the final portion of this week’s column, in which I get to choose an anomaly of my own accord to ramble on about for a bit.  This week’s choice…The Red Baron! The implications of this card as a reference on what is coming in future KeyForge expansions is both strategic and random all at once.  Gone are the days when key color had no impact on the state of the game, and with the release of Worlds Collide, players around the world will have to get into the habit of forging their red keys last, just incase their opponent has The Red Baron as a deck anomaly of their own.  And for those lucky enough to find this card in a deck of their own, that red key is going to be the first to flip each and every match. I really like this concept in Worlds Collide, as it will make everyone cognizant of key color before it becomes a much grander theme as future expansions are released, and to top it all off it definitely appears that a sea-faring house complete with pirates and tide changes is just around the corner, which is automatically going to push my love of House Dis to the limits!

And that will wrap things up for another week of The Random Ramblings of Raspberry Eyes!  Make sure to come back for next week’s edition as I examine the houses of Shadows and the brand-new dinosaur-themed Saurian, possibly adding a few more loves and hates for the newest houses to find their way to The Crucible.  I would definitely love to get some feedback on this week’s episode and my particular card choices, either agreeing with me are deciding that my opinions are complete and utter garbage, as it is always a good time discussing the potential for new cards to change the game we all know and love.  And with that, I’m Raspberry Eyes, signing off and reminding you all to ramble on!

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