Episode #12 – A Worlds Collide Love/Hate Relationshop: Part III

So it all comes down to this.  Today is the final day before Worlds Collide, the latest and grandest expansion set for our beloved KeyForge, officially releases to the masses!  Over the past few weeks I have taken a closer look at some of my favorite cards from the new set, along with some that I am just not seeing as being incredibly useful or sought after as cornerstone to the next great archon deck, and this week I will be wrapping up that series by taking one last look at the houses of Untamed and the brand-new Star Alliance.  Sadly, however, this will also be my last KeyForge-related column that I will be writing for the foreseeable future…

The reason for my KeyForge sabbatical is quite layered, with some of it involving a few personal matters that I feel should take precedence over any hobby, even one as great as this game has turned out to be, but for the most part I am feeling that I have lost a bit of the joy I initially experienced in learning this game and teaching it to my friends and family, and that I want to get back.  I’ve also recently experienced a bit more tournament play recently, and while I still stand by the fact that the Minnesota KeyForge scene as a whole can go toe-to-toe with every other community in the world on both a competitive standpoint and an inclusive one, it still feels a bit out of place to be traveling over and hour to play cards without a solid group that I can call me own. Making those trips solo and not having a close-knit group to pal around with at tournaments does take a little bit of the fun out of the entire adventure, so the main reason I am taking a bigger step back from KeyForge as a whole is to cultivate that love amongst a few family members and friends who want to learn the game and play more consistently.

I feel that I will obtain a greater love for the game overall, and should possibly even forge a few allies in my tournament endeavors by focusing on a weekly play group with those nearest to me first, with the potential to branch out and possibly jumpstart a local scene in my area of Minnesota.  Online play is still currently fantastic, and making the trip down to the Twin Cities area for the major tournaments will still be a focus, but having that group that you can call your own is still fairly important to me, so that is what I will be working on creating over the next few months. Will I make a return to writing my weekly column in the future?  Possibly, but I am not putting a timetable on my return to the Archon’s Corner at this point in time, and I’m sure they will find a legit article contributor to take my place rather quickly. And I think with that, let’s get going on this final installment of the Worlds Collide love/hate relationship!!!

For anyone not paying attention to me the last few weeks, the rules of this piece are quite simple: I will be choosing cards from Untamed and Star Alliance representing each rarity level in the game (common, uncommon, and rare) that I feel are going to be something really special with this new release.  I am also going to throw two cards under the bus from each house, labeling those as my “hates” from the new expansion, but as we all know in the world of KeyForge, every card will have its day. I just don’t see some of them as having too many of those days. And to wrap-up everything up for the week, I am going to toss out an anomaly of my choice to ramble about for a bit.  So, without further ado…let’s get to it!

Untamed Cards I LOVE in Worlds Collide

Ghosthawk
Common – Creature (Beast) – Power = 2 – Armor = 0
Deploy.
Play: You may reap with each neighboring creature, one at a time.

This one right here is a game changer in Untamed, and not because it makes that particular house better, but because it is one of the truly great support cards in any house out there currently.  I have always been and always will be a fan of fast aember gains, with cards like Dust Pixie and the almighty Fuzzy Gruen topping my list of personal favorites, and while Ghosthawk doesn’t contain a true aember bonus, dropping this card into even a small battleline is netting you two quick aember upon reaping with each of its neighbors, and that is just the beginning!  Any card that allows you to use another creature outside of the called house can be huge, and this guy lets you do it twice. And knowing some of the other cards in the set, especially some of the creatures in the Star Alliance house, this could potentially set off a chain reaction of house usage stemming from a simple power level 2 creature. I can see decks with multiple copies of this card turning Untamed into a major support house for a deck, and that is definitely something I will be scouring lists to acquire.

Mab the Mad
Uncommon – Creature (Faerie) – Power = 2 – Armor = 0 – Aember Bonus = 1
Reap: Shuffle Mab the Mad into your deck.

I already mentioned how I love creatures with aember bonuses, so I felt I had to put this guy on my list.  I look at this one as a self-recurring Dust Pixie of sorts, where you get a small aember boost for playing it, and then the next time it is used you gain that reaping aember and it pops right back into your deck to repeat the cycle.  Simple, yet elegant. Another card where multiple copies will be a very welcomed sight, and in all honesty it could help the idea of the Untamed support house even further by gaining some aember, developing a board state, and then potentially utilizing that reap ability out of turn to gain a little more and put it back in the deck for a later go.  I was wondering when we would see some more Dust Pixie-like creatures, and with this addition I finally get my wish in a way.

Xenos Bloodshadow
Rare – Creature (Human, Witch) – Power = 4 – Armor = 0
Elusive. Hazardous 6. Poison. Skirmish.

This one is about as burly as it gets for a creature, as even the game creators themselves decided that it needed to be partnered up with potentially the worst card in the game (which I will mention in my hate column).  A power level 4 creature isn’t usually something you would write home about, but anything higher than that would have made this one God-like. First off, that power level is accompanied by being elusive, which puts it into the top tier of elusive creatures based on its power alone.  Next, they gave it hazardous 6. Yes, that right there is going to keep most creatures at bay, as just to do damage to Xenos Bloodshadow they will need to be a power level 7 or better, and running any creature into this monstrosity is most likely going to spell doom for the opposing creature.  Oh, and I forgot to mention the poison aspect, so yes, it is almost a certainty that anything doing battle with Xenos is going to be marked for destruction. But they weren’t done yet with this one, why not give it Skirmish as well, making it a super-powered Macis Asp with bonus abilities. If you like creatures that fight and stay on the board to dominate, this one is a masterpiece.

Untamed Cards I HATE in Worlds Collide

Nepeta Gigantica
Rare – Artifact (Item) – Aember Bonus = 0
Action: Stun a creature with power 5 or higher, or stun a Giant creature.

I’ve never been a huge fan of situational cards, especially situational cards that don’t offer you an aember bonus for playing them, but at least this is done in the package of an artifact, so it might not be completely worthless.  There are quite a few things I don’t like about this card aside from no aember bonus being offered, and the first of those is the fact that this is not an omni-artifact. Being able to stun a big creature each turn no matter what house you are playing would warrant this being a rare in my opinion, and a solid one in that, but only being able to use it a third of the time with such a specific stipulation included is just not ideal.  Being able to stun a big creature is helpful, so there is use here, but it is very situational. I also find it funny how the giant piece was added, which honestly can only affect a handful of cards that already wouldn’t be covered by the power level 5 mandate, but that could change with future sets. Either way, a one-stun-per-turn artifact that only targets the big boys is not a card I will be seeking out when searching for competitive Worlds Collide decks.

Toad
Special Rare – Creature (Beast) – Power = 1 – Armor = 0
Toad cannot reap.

This one doesn’t even seem fair, but in keeping with the tone of the column over the past two weeks, this card is the worst.  A power level 1 creature that can’t reap. There isn’t really much more to say, but you have to imagine there must be some master level KeyForgers out there that are already plotting out ways where Toad can single-handedly win a game, because that would give you some pretty ultimate bragging rights.  I do enjoy how the creators made this a conditional card of sorts, in that if you open a deck with Xenos Bloodshadow, who is so good and fighting work of art, needed something to counteract it in its own house build, so Toad was included. That idea is fantastic and I’m really hoping that theme finds its way into more and more houses and sets in release to come.

Star Alliance Cards I LOVE in Worlds Collide

Stealth Mode
Common – Action – Aember Bonus = 1
Play: Your opponent cannot play action cards during their next turn.

This one seems slightly like cheating, as this is essentially just Scrambler Storm in a new house (very much like Subtle Chain is just Shadows version of Mind Barb), but taking away the ability to play a huge action card that an opponent has been sitting on can win a game, so I felt that this card was the best common of the bunch.  Since the Star Alliance house is very much like Logos in that it is an amazing support house right out of the gate, it makes total sense that they have a Logos action card that can disrupt an opponent severely. With so many creatures that come with play/fight/reap abilities, and with many of those comboing in nicely with other houses, being able to have a big Star Alliance turn and then to drop the bomb that is Stealth Mode can easily forge you a key without being able to be stopped, and that could also prove to be a game-ender as well.  Competitive decks with a few of these at their disposal could prove to be deadly, especially if the other two houses bring the pain!

Lay of the Land
Uncommon – Action – Aember Bonus = 1
Play: Look at the top 3 cards of your deck and put them back in any order.  Draw a card.

Another very Logos-esque card, I love being able to draw additional cards, and having the ability to choose which card I will be drawing is an even better bonus, so I am a huge fan of Lay of the Land.  This is very similar to the card Eyegor from Age of Ascension, but I prefer this one for a few reasons.  First, the aember bonus is always a plus. Second, you don’t have to discard the two cards you don’t want, this time you get to rearrange them in anyway you feel is best.  Third, after drawing the card you want right now, you still have that glimpse of the future in knowing the next two cards that are coming. This could add quite the advantage late in the game, especially if you are holding out hope that you draw into the card you need to finish off your opponent.  And even if that card isn’t on the horizon, you can still plan out your next turn accordingly based on what you know will be entering your hand after this turn subsides. Another great support card in what is shaping up to be a great new support house.

Quixxle Stone
Rare – Artifact (Item) – Aember Bonus = 1
If a player has more creatures in play than their opponent, they cannot play creatures.

Unlike last expansions game-changing artifact, Heart of the Forest, I really like the idea of the Quixxle Stone and how a deck can hold this card as its main source of power.  If this card is found in a deck with minimal, yet very important, creatures and goes up against a deck that relies on board control, this card can be a major roadblock that they will need to work to overcome in order to survive.  If a deck does not have a way to remove artifacts, this card will force a lot of opponents to begin to deplete their own board state intentionally, and I can see this card being a major thorn in the side of anyone running a solid Saurian house.  It is definitely a double-edged sword though, as the ability works for both players, so dropping this one down will definitely need a plan in place to make it truly work and be great, but I could see the Quixxle Stone being a deck arch-type that a handful of players will be bringing to competitive events, mainly to disrupt the natural order of the game’s usual creature dumping mentality.

Star Alliance Cards I HATE in Worlds Collide

Book of IeQ
Rare – Artifact (Item) – Aember Bonus = 0
Action: Reveal the top card of your deck.  If it is a non-Star Alliance card, it’s house becomes your active house.  Otherwise, end your turn.

Initially I thought this card might be both a fun way to elongate a turn and add an element of suspense and randomness to the game in the process, and almost considered it for one of the “loves” from above, but after giving it some more thought, I just don’t like it.  First, it is possible to pull off some majorly awesome things if everything works out on the reveal, so the potential to be magnificent is there. In practice though, it will take a lot of board setup and plotting to really make it worth utilizing, and with quite a bit of artifact hate in this set, all of that work could be for nothing.  If you have a big Star Alliance turn and are still sitting on a handful of cards from your other two houses, maybe even with a few of those cards already in play, the card can make for quite a turn. But, you have to keep in mind that the card you reveal might not coincide with the house you wanted to play along with Star Alliance house, so to really benefit from this you will need a good board presence involving all three of your houses.  If this is doubled with Lay of the Land and you know what is coming up next, that could change things slightly, but still a lot of work for the payoff to be worth it.

United Action
Rare – Action – Aember Bonus = 0
Alpha.
Play: For the remainder of the turn, you may play cards from any house for which you have a card in play.  You cannot use cards this turn.

This is a strange card indeed, and to me it just outright feels like a lost turn with a potential card dump, but maybe I am looking at it wrong.  First off, the Alpha drawback is huge, so you can’t put together a solid turn of using cards and then drop this one, which would make it over-powered for sure, so I understand the thinking there.  Now, if you have a board state comprised of your three houses and a handful of great actions, this card can change the game a bit. You even have the option to drop creatures from all of your houses potentially and setup a great next turn, but aside from that, the drawback of not being able to use any cards for a turn is too great of a risk for me personally to want to take.  It is a very situational play, and without even giving you an aember bonus, I could see this card being straight discarded often. If it works and you have the luxury of holding off a turn, definitely use it, but if it is going to hold you back for a turn while your opponent gets to keep moving forward, this card isn’t going to be a great play, and that doesn’t happen often in the world of KeyForge.

Anomaly of the Week

Timequake
Action – Aember Bonus = 1
Play: Shuffle each friendly card in play into your deck.  Draw a card for each card shuffled into your deck this way.

This is easily my favorite anomaly out of the ten that made their way into Worlds Collide, and not just because I enjoy the reverse-Wild Wormhole art.  I think if this card finds its way into a deck that can support it correctly, this could be just as powerful as Martian Generosity, and we all know how quickly a game can change when drawing a massive amount of cards.  This will take some setup to get going, and you will need to have a board state that is not only sizeable but also that you are willing to shuffle back into your deck, but if those two things lineup, you could be creating pure magic with this card.  I’m also a fan of how this references each friendly card, not specifically creatures or artifacts or even upgrades, but all of them. Shuffle them back in after using the cards you can, and draw a new card for each one you just returned back to the deck.  Thinking about what a typical board looks like throughout a game of KeyForge, I would say on average you would probably be drawing no less than 5-6 cards off this play, which wouldn’t be ground-breaking by any means. But if you have a huge board and you start the turn by using that board to reap/fight or manipulate your opponent, and then you drop the Timequake, you could be replenishing your hand by 10 or more cards, and that is where things can get ridiculous.  I would love to find a deck that not only contains a copy of this card but is competitive enough to warrant playing consistently, and if I was picking an anomaly to look for that could be a game-changer, I think it is Timequake.

And that is going to bring this 12-episode masterpiece that I call The Random Ramblings of Raspberry Eyes to a close!  It was fun while it lasted, and while I’m not officially retiring from the article writing circuit, it could be some time before you hear my name again as it pertains to KeyForge content creation.  For anyone who has stuck with me for this long, thanks for reading what I’ve been writing, it does mean a lot, and I hope everyone out there continues to forge ahead as this game evolves and grows better and better with time.  It’s been fun to say the least, and hopefully my time away from the game will only increase my ultimate love for all things KeyForge. And with that, I’m Raspberry Eyes, signing off and reminding you all to ramble on!

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