With Christmas just having ended, I look back on my Twenty Forge Days of Christmas advent, and all and all, I feel blessed for the pulls I had during those 24 days. In my Worlds Collide display I used for 12 of those days I managed to pull four of the seven leaders, plus a fifth leader in the one deck I opened on Christmas day. The two leaders I did not open over the holidays were Saurus Rex and Kaloch Stonefather. Three of the four leaders I opened were my first decks to contain them, and those three were Lord Invidius, Captain Val Jericho, and Eldest Bear. As a result, I have now had a chance to jam games using all of the leaders in Worlds Collide, so I thought I would share my thoughts about them, as I think they are very interesting cards within the world of KeyForge.
Why are these cards so interesting? These leaders completely change the way you may play the game, as they require a very specific setup for them to be fully utilized, this being that they must be in the center of your battle line. That being said, for most of the leaders, you want to have them in your opening hand and start getting utility from them for a few turns. Some of the leaders being put on the board turn 1 can completely swing the game in your favor right away if they are not dealt with the next turn by your opponent—I will go into detail about this when I look at each leader individually. Keeping your leader in the center also creates moments where you will look to discard or fight with the intent to destroy a creature, so as to ensure even numbers on either side of your leader and continue to gain the advantage of their special effect. This aspect I find incredibly interesting, as it leads to decisions not normally considered in KeyForge thus far. Now let’s look into each leader more closely.
I wanted to kick things off with the first leader I ever played, Zenzizenzizenzic, aka Zenzi, aka ZZ-Top. The Logos leader allows you to draw two additional cards during your draw step if Zenzi is in the center of your battleline, so powerful! This really ups the speed of your deck and is an incredible turn one play. I don’t have any reservations doing a mulligan trying to get this in hand to start the game as a plan. If this card isn’t answered quick, the advantage gained could easily put the game out of reach, especially if archiving is part of the equation. The two armor really makes this card have some extra legs, and depending on your opponent’s houses, they may need a couple of creatures swinging into it to remove it from the board. In ranking all the leaders, I would put this one at second. I don’t think the ability is the most powerful among all the leaders, but since it takes effect the turn you play it, it puts it above a couple of others in the ranking.
The shadows leader definitely falls short of being in the top tier. The Shadow Council provides an Action ability of steal 2 when in the center of the battle line. The reason this leader falls short is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, even though it is elusive, it only has three power, which is the weakest of all the leaders. Even with taking into consideration Shadows generally has smaller powered creatures, you would think it being a “council” would make it have a higher power. However, it doesn’t, and even one extra power at four would have made this leader slightly more difficult to deal with using direct damage. Secondly, stealing as a mechanic in Worlds Collide holds less weight, as there are numerous cards in the set that hate on stealing, and they appear in multiple houses. I don’t think this could have been done any other way and still have the appropriate Shadows feel, other than increasing the power, but nonetheless, this leader ends up near the bottom of the ranking coming in at sixth of the seven.
Next up is the Saurian leader, Saurus Rex. When in the center of the battle line, it has a Fight/Reap ability of exalting Saurus Rex, then search your deck for a Saurian card and put it in your hand. There has never been a tutor card in the game that allows you to search for non-specific card, so being able to search for any card of a particular house while in that house is absolutely incredible! With the diversity of cards available in Saurian, you can pretty much search for whatever you need given the situation in the game. Very powerful! As a result, my ranking for Saurus Rex among the leaders is fourth. Some may put Rex higher up, but as I go over the next leader, you might agree with my reasoning.
In the number three spot, I have the Dis leader, Lord Invidius. I put Invidius as third due to the ability to take over the game turn two. When in the middle of the battle line, Lord Invidius has a reap ability of taking control of an enemy flank creature and exhausting it. It now belongs to house Dis. I have a deck with this leader, and went 4-0 at a chainbound, getting Invidius in my opening hand three of the four games. Being able to take your opponent’s creatures turn two creates a huge power imbalance. Not only is their battle line getting smaller but yours is increasing, and adding to the number of creatures you can use in house Dis. Starting the game like this, plus being able to destroy the other creature or two can put your opponent so far behind on board it is hard to come back from. Not only this, but you are also completely disrupting the game plan your opponent wants to execute with Invidius in play, as this leader needs to be dealt with ASAP! One of the reasons that I put Lord Invidius third instead of second, is that as powerful as he is, it requires a turn to use. Being five power and elusive does make Invidius hard to deal with, and it is possible to lock your opponent out of the game with this leader, but there is the chance that it can be destroyed before getting any use out of him.
Coming in at fifth is the Untamed leader, Eldest Bear. A five power creature with assault 3. When in the center of the battle line, Eldest Bear gains before fight gain 2 æmber. I’m not disappointed to see this leader in a deck. Even if you don’t get Eldest Bear in the center, you still have a creature with assault 3 which is pretty amazing! Break a ward or destroy a creature and not take any damage, while also getting around elusive; not too shabby. And if you get Eldest Bear in the center, then you get 2 æmber each time you attack, and with Key Charge still apart of Worlds Collide, this can be a great way to help burst into that key cheat. This is a good card, but not as powerful as the leaders ranked above it, in my opinion.
Now we move onto the worst leader, and I don’t think anyone is going to argue about this one. Of course I’m speaking about the Brobnar leader, Kaloch Stonefather. When Kaloch is in the center, each friendly creature gains skirmish. Womp womp. What a letdown. Pretty much the same ability as Panpaca, Jaga, but with more of a condition, albeit harder to destroy. Now I want to talk about how this could have been a better leader for Brobnar. The most obvious ability to add would be “each friendly creature gains assault 1” maybe assault 2 even. I think that that would be very in line with Brobnar, and create a great way to deal with a ward, which also promotes fighting, again very Brobnar. Alas, in the current state, the Brobnar leader is pretty much a six power body.
Saving the best for last, we have arrived at the Star Alliance leader, Captain Val Jericho. When in the center of the battle line, Jericho allows you to play one card that isn’t of the active house. Wow! An incredible turn one play. Moving forward, not only does this give you the advantage of playing one more card out of hand, further increasing your ability to cycle through your deck, but you are also changing the odds of what you draw. If you have a hand with only one card of another house, get rid of it for a more potent turn with another house next turn. Or, you can play a card with a great reap/fight ability of another house, so when you call that house next turn, it is good to go! The possibilities of how you can manipulate the way you play your houses has so much flexibility. Amazing versatility with this leader and house cheating, plus the fact it takes effect as soon as Jericho is played, makes this the most powerful of all seven leaders, in my opinion.
The house leaders have definitely added a lot to the game of KeyForge, I’m curious if we will see these moving forward, but also getting to see new leaders for houses yet to come, and the other two that have rotated out. Let me know if you have a different ranking for how you view the leaders, or any other thoughts on how they perform. Feel free to reach out to me on Instagram or Twitter @blvdPAPERFIGHT, and as always, may your æmber never be stolen, and you forge your keys promptly. Have a good one!