Thursday, November 7th
It is the eve of the release of Worlds Collide, and the excitement is palpable! I will be heading to multiple release events this weekend, as well as a Prime Championship Archon, where WC will not be played. The idea for this week’s article is to give my thoughts on the two new houses in a before and after the type of scenario. As many of us did, I was able to get a few decks of WC early, in what is being dubbed as the “Target Prerelease,” and as a result of this, I have had the experience of playing with or against WC over 30 times. From this experience, both playing the two new houses and seeing them played across the table from me, I have developed some opinions about the Saurian Republic and Grand Star Alliance. I wanted to share these early thoughts with you on the eve of the release, and then write about my post-release thoughts the day I’m publishing this article, which is Monday, November 11th. I’m curious if my initial thoughts about these two new houses stay true as I see more variety of decks in action. Now let’s get into it!
Let’s start with Star Alliance, as I have some interesting thoughts/theories about how this house will perform. From what I have played with and seen played, Star Alliance has this— for lack of a better word— “trap” of leading you to call it over and over. With so many cards that have continuous utility having Play/Fight/Reap abilities, I’ve found that once you get a half-decent board, Star Alliance gets called upon over and over. The fact that there are multiple house cheat cards in the house means that you may not play out your hand in the most efficient way possible, but you can still call Star Alliance as your house, utilize the board you have built, and then proceed to play one, maybe two cards out of house due to abilities your Star Alliance card pool provides, plus potentially use one or two creatures from another house on board. This I feel can be a curse and a blessing. You are getting so much out of your board, but at the expense of cycling through your deck at a much slower pace. Helmsman Spears is a great way to circumvent this issue, especially if one of your three houses has a bunch of cards that aren’t useful at any given time.
I believe it will take a lot of experience to learn when the moment to stop calling Star Alliance over and over exists, as you aren’t getting the other cards in your deck that can further lead to you to victory, execute another game plan with other benefits, or dig for answers that may be required as the game progresses. This leads me to the greater concept of trying to determine when the appropriate time is to stop calling on your space people to recognize the need to advance other aspects of your deck. Early game this may not be as big of a concern, but as in my article about sacrificing the present for the future (Link HERE), those concepts my transfer to the way Star Alliance may play moving forward.
The Saurians are front runners for the most anticipated house based on what we have seen so far, both in general card pool and based on the testing from the Target prerelease decks. The very first Worlds Collide deck I opened was a killer Saurian deck which I have now played over 20 times. What I have noticed with the Saurians, from both playing with and against, is their ability to dominate a board. With the Dino Politicians, my initial thoughts are will putting æmber on the board for your opponent to claim be worth the risk for the effects that you are given by the exalt mechanic of these creatures. The answer is yes! For the deck I have been playing, getting æmber on these Dinos is the cornerstone of the end game plan. Imperial Forge is a great card for that third key, allowing you to utilize all that exalted æmber to win the game, especially if you make that push to load up your Dinos right before you pull off said, Imperial Forge.
Also, just like Star Alliance, the Saurians provide a lot of utility once they are on the board, and most of them are quite large bodies which makes them harder to destroy or require multiple creatures on your opponent’s side to trade-off to remove them. If you add Ward to the mix, it makes that task even more challenging. My early take on house Saurian with this deck I have been playing is to play Saurian mid to late game to not have too much æmber on the board. The deck has a logos house which is great for assisting in archiving those Saurians cards for later, but if not, doing some Warding goes a long way! This deck doesn’t have a way to remove the æmber from your Saurian creatures, which can be a huge liability if the Exalting process starts early. Axiom of Grisk is fantastic to help in a one-sided board clear, but if Saurians are as popular as it looks like they are going to be, this card may not be entirely effective. When I played this deck against a bunch of CotA capture heavy decks, it struggled not being able to board wipe with my Axiom of Grisk (x2), showing this to be an issue for the game plan. So to sum it up, the Dinos are super powerful, but so far Exalt has led to the need for some thoughtful play so you don’t get caught with your hand in the cookie jar as the game progresses.
Sunday, November 10th
The Worlds Collide release weekend is over, and I had a ton of fun! I played in two Sealed events, where we received three decks each time and chose one of those decks to play, plus I opened two boxes. Spoiler alert, Saurians dominated this sealed meta. Also, if you haven’t already heard, there was one thing that emerged over the weekend, and this was how cases of Worlds Collide had the possibility of having a very dominant house for each box that was in a given case. There was the Table Top Royale stream where 72 decks were opened, all containing Dis. At the store I was attending events at and purchased my two boxes, Brobnar seemed to be the dominant house present. Not 100% Brobnar in every box, but 80% seemed to be the number. I can now say I have a greater appreciation for Worlds Collide Brobnar than I did before the release. But I am here to discuss how the two new houses showed at the release events I attended, and needless to say, it was interesting!
My experience with Star Alliance over the weekend was very limited. During my sealed events, I only opened one Star Alliance deck out of the six, and it didn’t compare to my Saurian pool. Also, I only recall playing against two Star Alliance decks at the tournaments, one during the Sealed tournament, and the other jamming a casual game. The game I played in the Sealed was against a sweet deck that had a Val Jericho, plus a Quixxle Stone, which was a fun way of stopping my board growing after I cleared his. Again, the ability Star Alliance has to utilize other houses during their turn is impressive. When I played against another Star Alliance deck casually, the same situation occurred as mentioned prior to the release. Once a good couple house cheating Star Alliance creatures hit the board, the ability to call that house over and over while playing out a couple of cards from the other two houses, and utilize a creature or two from the other onboard houses is impressive. The Star Alliance trap I spoke of before was not as present in this game, this was more due to this deck being pretty decent, as well as the player piloting the deck well and not getting hung up on calling them perpetually and playing out the other houses as needed— one of them being Saurian, go figure. I wish I could talk more about the Grand Star Alliance after my release weekend experience, but unfortunately, I didn’t get to see it that much since Saurians were so dominant. I think a solo sealed environment is going to be better for getting to see the other houses shine without Saurians as present, and hopefully, they can hold their own against those Dino Politicians.
The Saurians seem to be showcasing themselves as the bee’s knees after this past weekend. I think I only played one match that did not have Saurians. With a three-deck sealed pool to choose one deck to play with, it made getting Saurians as a deck choice quite high. In the first part of this article talking about Saurians, I mentioned how Exalting was a risk that occurred, but now after seeing more decks and card combinations, there are a lot of ways to protect that Exalted æmber, or utilize it for your own needs. Senator Bracchus is the best way, but as a rare, it is not as frequently going to show up in a deck. Senator Shrix is the more common card to aid in using your Exalted æmber, along with the upgrade, The Callipygian Ideal. All of these allow you to use æmber on your creatures as if it was in your pool. This aspect makes Exalting next level, but if you can’t protect these cards, they will be removed ASAP. The other card that was putting in a lot of work in Saurian for me was The Golden Spiral. Having an artifact with an action ability that allows you to use any creature as long you Exalt it is amazing! Turns out house cheating is powerful, and this set has so many ways to do that, which makes Worlds Collide a lot of fun to pilot. With Saurians being so popular, something that is shaping up in the meta is Regrettable Meteor being a very powerful board wipe, especially in a Sealed environment. Being able to take out your opponents Dino board is a thing! But Ward is also a thing, so board wipes have taken on a new dimension than previously existed in the first two sets. The Ward mechanic is such a great part of the strategy of the game now, and creates some very interesting decisions when you are facing a board that has multiple creatures with a Ward token on them. Until something comes along to change things, I see Saurians being the main stay in WC as Shadows was in CotA.
All in all, Worlds Collide is going to be a great addition to the game. There is now much more complicated decisions to be considered with the board, and how to navigate with and around the Exalt and Ward mechanics, as well as interesting decisions to be had with utilizing your board-state in creative ways. Something that has started to show is the length of games being longer. Partly this is due to the new cards, and all the players getting used to them, the other aspect is now there are many different ways to increase key costs, which now requires more æmber to be generated on both side to forge. WC has definitely taken the strategy of KeyForge to another level, and a lot of this is coming from the additions of the two new houses. I hope this article has created some different considerations to be thought about with the new set and what the new houses provide, and I am personally looking forward to jamming games with a bunch of combinations of new houses and cards. So, as always, may your æmber never be stolen, and you forge your keys promptly. Have a good one!