Keyforge Competetive Musings

The Fantasy Flight FAQ for Keyforge has already spilt the beans that there will be organized play with our favorite new Unique Card Game by Richard Garfield. As a competitive CCG player who also is very excited about Keyforge this is great news! Let’s dive right in and see what the available information implies about this great new game’s competitive scene and why we should be excited out it.

One of the first thing’s I hope is discussed in the community is what decks being unique means for the competitive scene. I think that it’s a little bit hard for people to wrap their heads around what “Unique” could mean as it pertains to game play in a competitive environment, so I want to cover that first.

People seem a little concerned that nothing will change with people hunting for the best deck with the unique card game model. I think this is a mistake. To find a best deck in a card game where you are playing against another person there has to be a focus. The best deck is focused on shutting down , going around or under a given set of strategies. The best deck’s subvert other strategies that are present in a given field. I honestly believe that is not statistically possible in Keyforge. Let’s try to look at an example of whats possible in a game I am very familiar with, Magic The Gathering (MTG).

Currently in the Modern (magics most popular format) metagame of MTG, the Humans is king. It represents 7.95% of the field according to Mtg Goldfish. But what does it actually mean? If you went to a MTG tournament tomorrow you can assume that around 8% of the people will be playing Humans. At a 25 person tournament, that means there will be 2 people playing the best deck in the format. When you put it this way, the chances of you playing against the best deck and it ruining your experience are actually quite slim. If you play a 5 round event you might play against it once. This is an example from a game where players actively search for the best deck or build decks to beat the best deck when everyone has 100% access to all the cards in the game at any given time.

So now lets look at how Keyforge could compare.

In Keyforge decks are unique. Decks will be made up of a set of 3 houses from a pool of 7 possible houses. You have a 1 in 35 chance to open a deck with any given configuration of houses. Each deck takes 12 cards from a pool of 50 card’s available to its house and a smaller chance of taking “maverick” cards from another house. Decks can also have multiples of the same card. Knowing this, getting the exact right cards you believe are best will be inconceivably difficult. Let’s be super optimistic and say that the best deck here will be 3% of the field at a given tournament for argument’s sake, just based of scarcity. That means in a field of 100 players at a large tournament 3 people will be playing the best deck. Still worried?

You shouldn’t be.

In the conference call for their first quarter earnings filing in 2016, Hasbro’s Chairman, President, and CEO Brian Goldner had this to say about Magic: the Gathering:

Magic recently achieved the milestone of 1 million active players in our organized play system.
We also have 65,000 players who play in premier events streamed to “e-sports” audiences. This is an area we are investing in to both grow the number of events and the player base.

Wizards of the coast has stated that there are currently 20,000,000 people who currently play MTG around the globe! That is only 5% of the player base playing in a competitive environment. Let just say the same ratio holds true for Keyforge. You better believe that the casual crowd will take a massive chunk out of the best decks present in the game, just by purchasing the game to play at the kitchen table.

I honestly believe that the chase for the best deck will be a futile endeavor if you want to play Keyforge competitively.

So then what do we do instead of chasing the best deck? I think we need to look more toward the limited formats for guidance both for the bring YOUR best deck and limited formats that I think Keyforge organized play will offer.

In future articles I hope to dig a little deeper into how I think competition minded players should think about Keyforge heading towards it release with limited in mind.

So please! Check back soon for more articles about this highly anticipated game called Keyforge: Call of the Archons.




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