I have to say, I am a big fan of disruption in KeyForge! I find it slightly ironic that the word DISruption, starts with “Dis.” Maybe that was done intentionally; a question for Brad for the future. When it comes to disruption, Dis does seem to lead the charge, and I find myself really enjoying these types of decks and that style of gameplay. I must say though, playing a deck that disrupts and controls your opponent can feel kind of scumbag in friendly local meta. I discovered this the other week when I played a deck that had Lord Invidius + Collar of Subordination + Obsidian Forge, and Star Alliance house cheating. To make a long story short, if I had Lord Invidius turn 1, my opponent was instantly on the back foot and playing catchup the rest of the game, which in turn completely derailed any plans they had when they looked at their opening hand. These games were not fun for my opponents, as they were at times faced with not playing any creatures since I would inevitably just be taking them, and at the end of the day there were feels bad moments from these interactions, and this deck I’m talking about has been taken out of the rotation for local play.
This led me to think about playing a strategy that makes your opponent have to respond to what you are doing and throw any game plan they had out of the window. It can really create an awkward situation that they must respond to — think Restringuntis lock. So for this article, I wanted to dive into this idea further, and also look at some possible counter-strategies if you are up against this.
First off, what is defined as a disruption play? For myself, I would say it is a card that completely shifts your opponent’s play strategy. House control, board control, or æmber costs could all contribute to what could be considered a disruption play. Some are more permanent than others, but other action card disruption can be so powerful in that that one moment creates a shift and your opponent falls behind.
Some of the more difficult permanent disruptions could be through an artifact threat such as Heart of the Forest, Proclamation 346E, Quixxle Stone, or a Fangtooth Cavern. All of these change the strategy you could have been playing, either through æmber cost increases, throwing a wrench in æmber rush plays, or board state inhibitors, which make what creatures you play now come into consideration. These I believe are the toughest to deal with, as artifact control is one of the least common cards within a deck, usually having only one or two, if that. This answer being so limited, you sill need to draw into it when the threat enters the board, truly making artifacts a disruption threat that can go unanswered. This really begs the question of what to do with an artifact removal card when you draw it and the artifact hasn’t been played yet.
Creatures that provide disruption happens in so many different ways. They could provide disruption with their activated abilities and they must be answered ASAP or your opponent gains an incredible advantage. They could also have a passive ability that is directly affecting your ability to execute your game plan, which could be your ability to steal in a steal heavy deck, in which case Gargantadon and Odac come to mind, really putting a halt to that style of play. The good news for this is that dealing with creature cards that cause disruption is much easier than any of the other forms. This is due to removal cards existing in abundance, and the ability to use your own board to your advantage as removal as a potential option, albeit still causing some disruption as you need to answer the question posed by your opponent before you can move forward with your own plays.
On the action side of disruption, there are many instances where this comes into play, some quite blatant, others more subtle. The two most obvious ones are Control the Weak, forcing you to call a house, potentially time-walking you out of a turn, and the other action card disruptors are the action prevention cards, in Stealth Mode and Scrambler Storm. This disruption can stop an action card being played while you are in check or another crucial action card that can answer a question you are posing. Even anti-fight cards are disrupters, especially when you have some tasty Dino targets acting as æmber piñatas. Any time you make your opponent have to work around the obvious play is or answer to what you are doing is a fantastic part of this game! Nothing like a curveball to swing the game in your favor.
Working around all these disruption cards can be no small feat. If you are aware of how detrimental that can be to your gameplay, and there is such a thing as an answer to them, it really comes down to how badly you want to prevent that. Is it worth it to chain yourself to be able to respond? This is not an easy answer. But if you do play/discard that response, know you are giving your opponent the green light to play those knowing you can’t possibly answer as directly as before until you cycle your deck, and only you as the player can weigh out the risk of doing that. Obviously archiving the answer until later is most ideal, but not always available. So tread wisely when you know you can be put in less than favorable position by giving up that card. Now if you don’t have that answer, and it is a must-have to continue your game plan, then you better start cycling as fast as possible to dig for what you need to move forward.
There are so many disruption cards in this game, especially with the introduction of Worlds Collide. I’m certain they will grow as new sets are released, providing even more shenanigans for us to contemplate. When it comes to disruption cards, for me personally — and I’m sure with most people — it’s a love-hate relationship, because you sure do love making your opponent jump through hoops, and hate having to jump through said hoops yourself. But KeyForge is a game of action and reaction, it just depends who acts firsts and disrupts the other player’s game. I’m Blake, aka Coach, aka blvdPAPERFIGHT, signing off; so as always, may your æmber never be stolen, and you forge your keys promptly. Have a good one!