Gen Con 2019 Vault Tour Archon Recap

Gen Con 2019 Vault Tour Archon Recap

It’s GEN CON! My favorite time of the year, and my favorite thing to do ever! And this year included a Vault Tour! My fiancee drove, allowing me to sleep on the way down. We got in very early because I can only assume she drove very fast. I get my package from Will Call and head on over to the FFG OP booth to try to get my free deck box. I’m told I’m just in time because they only have 4 left. I put “Gasoline” Maximiliano, Dungeon Keeper in it. However, for the Vault Tour I played Cutthroat Quigley instead.

A week prior I got some friends together for some testing. I needed to see if “Gas Max” still has the chops to take down Vault Tours. In this testing, a friend beat Max with Quigley… REMATCH! Same thing happened the second time. I throw my second best deck at it. Quigley won again.

Well…that doesn’t happen. They end up lending me the deck. That can be a fluke, right? So I set up a practice session with some other high level players on the crucible. It beats them too. This deck could be the real deal.

Card advantage isn’t typically a large part of KeyForge as each player always refills their hand every turn. It’s the reason I value Archiving cards over drawing cards usually. But when you draw at the end of turn, as Mother and Howling Pit work, what happens is you have a better choice of plays the following turn. Coupled with Succubus quite often my hand size was 9, and my opponent’s would be 5. I’d be playing 4+ cards a turn, my opponent’s would be playing 2-3. This not only allows me to play more, and better, cards each turn, but it also allows me to cycle through the deck quite quickly, making board clears not that big of a deal. Mother’s 5 Power makes her surprisingly difficult to get off the table, especially in multiples. It helps that Succubus offsets The Howling Pit for my opponent as well. I found that even in games where I was down 2 keys, I could use this card advantage to crawl back to a win often drawing what was left in a small deck and cycling cards like Too Much to Protect. With more practice sessions and an insane record with it in testing, I chose Quigley for Gencon.

I felt pretty good that morning as I prepared for round 1. They post matchups and we get ready to start the Vault Tour. I begin by looking at my opponent’s Archon card, and mirror match? Well not exactly, because every deck is unique right? But we were both on the Mother + Howling Pit game plan. Each of our hand sizes were generally between 9-12 on any given turn. I was usually ahead due to my Succubus. We do well keeping track of the correct number of cards for our hands, but eventually my opponent draws an extra card when my succubus is out. We catch it right away, but because his hand size should be 9, with 10 cards in it, he doesn’t actually know which was last. We call a judge and he gives the following verdict: I look at his hand and choose a card to shuffle back in. I choose Wild Wormhole, as the hand otherwise can’t stop my plan, and the Hail Mary lucky Wormhole is his only chance really. I end up winning after that. The game was actually a blast. Playing with so many cards is exciting and both of our turns had much bigger potential than normal.

In the next few rounds Quigley’s weaknesses become apparent. Bounce effects and Key Charge. By returning my creature’s to hand, it basically negated any card advantage I had gained at that point. It also wasn’t as though that was the only card my opponent played that turn. My choice would be either to repeat my last turn, play all the Mothers back to the table, or try to keep up with the changing board state. Either way I wasn’t going to be able to empty my hand to draw past what I did last turn to cycle through my deck fast enough. Bounce is fantastic in KeyForge as it almost doubles as a discard spell in that it prevents draws at the end of the turn. Doubly so if you can bounce multiple different houses at once, which Hysteria, Nature’s Call and Light’s Out all do. I quickly found my hand cluttered with Mothers preventing me from getting to any actual action against my opponent. These were not the style of board clear I was expecting. 

My final record is 3-2 and both losses were to timely Key Charges. Despite Quigley having a good amount of steal, people are figuring out how to combat it. Key cheating is a good method. Your opponent can’t steal what you don’t have. You can fight back by firing off your steal effects when they are at lower aember, but that doesn’t do much for Too much to Protect. 

I find out that a bunch of the other top ranked players have gotten knocked out or had to play against each other. That’s how tournaments go. There’s luck in your match-ups, not playing against your friends, and even luck in dodging certain opponent’s decks or skills. Persistence, skill, and luck are all key components to winning tournaments. 

This is the point where my advice is usually “Play the rest of the rounds for the experience, Aember Shards, and ranking” but not at Gen Con, the “Biggest Four Days in Gaming”. There were too many other things I wanted to do. Dropping from the main event, I enjoy the rest of the show and hang out with friends. No regrets even though someone now ties me for second because of it. Although, I know I won’t keep my spot forever, that doesn’t mean I will just let it go. I will be at Vault Tour Collinsville. 

Everyone was nice as always, especially my opponents. I met up with Team Reapout and look forward to writing articles for the site! I plan to focus on high level play and strategy. Let me know any topics you’d like me to cover!

You can find George Keagle in the KeyForge Facebook group, or on other social media like Discord as compacta_D

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