World’s Collide was announced a while back now.
The initial excitement of new houses was quickly realized when, pre Gen Con, FFG gave us dinosaurs and spaceships as prospective new toys and told us that old pals Sanctum and Mars were taking a vacation (although presumably not together. That would be a disaster.)
Over the last few weeks we’ve had a chance to see some of these cards in action and although we’re a long way from seeing a full card list for the set, or even for the new houses, we’re getting a flavor for their place in the universe of Keyforge.
Now while philosophical dinosaurs are both intriguing and appealing (how could they fail to be?), I have found myself drawn to the Grand Star Alliance more and more since seeing them played. I like their flavor, I like their ethos, but more than anything else, they just seem so damn nice.
I’ve never been a Star Trek fan. I don’t know if it was the slightly cheesy phasers or the polo necks but the entire crew of the Enterprise just seemed so civilized and condescending. So why am I drawn to a house that is clearly modelled on the ideals of Kirk and his crew? Well, ironically, I think that it’s partly to do with how helpful they are. We lose Mars and I can see why; two space based houses seems too much, but as we bid farewell a house that notoriously doesn’t play nicely with others, The Grand Star Alliance seems to play better with the rest than anyone else.
Logos has always been the best utility house in the game. It built a reputation on getting out of its own way, setting up turns for your other houses to dominate and win you the game: drawing you cards or increasing your hand size, allowing you to play cards out of house, archiving big stuff for combos, digging through the top of your deck to find what you might need. The Star Alliance seems to be shaping up to be a utility house too. Similar in some ways, but with some new variance.
Let’s take a look at a few of the options that have been revealed so far.
So he’s bringing back tech from your discard pile. Initially, I got excited at the prospect of returning ‘robots’. Not because of Star Alliance robots but because of Logos robots. Unfortunately, turns out that there aren’t as many as you might think. Mother is a robot but she wasn’t in the last set so might not be here either. However there is…
Helper Bot. A really useful little guy to recur if you need to so it’s not all lost. Unfortunately, even the new, powerful logos creatures recently revealed aren’t robots either. Star Alliance does have a few of its own, though.
Returning upgrades is a different matter, and there are a few decent ones about. Returning cards from your discard is a very powerful mechanic and if you have Star Alliance upgrades to play in the same turn, it becomes even stronger. Especially if they give you aember for playing them.
OK. So he’s giving you a chance to play anything but creatures out of house every Star Alliance turn. Wow. It’s like Helper Bot squared and then ramped down a little. Either way, this guy is helpful getting cards on the table. The most valuable aspect of this ability is actions. We still need to see what we can combine Star Alliance cards with from other houses to really do some damage but twisting the rules in this way is not to be sniffed at.
Also, If he’s around at the same time as Walls, you can recur an upgrade from another house and play it on the same turn. Nice.
This time we only get Fight/ Reap but still, using a creature out of house is very strong and this just demonstrates how powerful a Star Alliance turn could be. You’re getting value here.
So when we aren’t returning tech from other houses and playing tech from other houses, we can also heal and protect our most valuable creatures too. Again, Play/ Fight/ Reap is strong but Ward is very generous and incredibly frustrating for an opponent. If we get this down with Chan, we can ward our most important creature every turn AND use it.
So that’s a pretty solid start. But what you might not have noticed is that all these cards are commons. You’ll be seeing a lot of these guys and they’ll be helping each other out alongside your other houses in your deck. You’re probably going to be pleased to see them.
So let’s open the box on the uncommons.
Wow. If you weren’t sure what you wanted to bring back with Walls, this seems like a reasonable target. Give your best guy a chance to protect themselves every turn you reap with them is good. Even without Ingram, this lets you keep destruction at bay. Plus, bonus Aember. Woo hoo.
She might not look quite as composed or smiley as her compatriots but her ability is a delight. If you’re digging for something special or just want to get more Star Alliance on the board, this gets you there quicker and lets you ditch dross at the same time. With so many opportunities to play out of house, she gives you a real chance to draw into gold. Watch out for discard synergies with other cards too, as they’re revealed. (Not Baron Mengevin though. RIP.)
Well this is a lovely stall card. You’ll be able to get this to +3 pretty easily and give your opponent something to think about. With recent rulings regarding ‘ownership’ of upgrades still being retained by the player of the card, in theory, you could even play this on an opponent’s creature and still make THEIR keys cost more. Seems mean but there you go.
Wow. This guy could really do some work. We’ve already seen how many play effects there are in the Star Alliance alone without even delving into the other houses. Forging two keys with Chota? Playing two out of house cards with Helper Bot? Warding two creatures with Ingram? How about stealing 2, 3 or 4 with Wristclocks? Yeah. Thought so.
Morpheus seems like the sort of card who has to go and spoil it by making his ability mutual. But he doesn’t. It’s just for you.
And then there’s a rare. Saved for the Captain herself.
So she needs to be in the center of your battle line, I get that. (and I’m still wondering if this only counts if you have an odd number of creatures, or if either of the middle spots in an even number line up will do) but it’s a small price to pay for such a huge ability. She doesn’t just help out on a Star Alliance turn, she helps out on every turn. This essentially gives you license to play cards across all your houses. Think of all the plays you could make if you were allowed to play Key Charge on your Shadows turn or Too Much To Protect after Binate Rupture. She lets you do all those things you’ve been trying to make Jargogle do. And she needs to be hit for 6 to get rid of her. Mark my words, she will be warded on a regular basis and you will have to play around her when you see her in your opponent’s list.
So these guys are shaping up to be an exciting group. Although they have a key cheat card, as yet, I’m not seeing much to convince me that they’ll win a game on their own. But they will amplify your other houses. They’re going to get on the board and then get out of your way. They’re going to turn up and just help out. But most excitingly, they’re going to feel like a completely unique house and offer avenues we’ve not seen explored before.
Or maybe boldly go where no house has gone before?
(I’m so sorry.)