Through New Eyes: My Keyforge Journey to the Adepticon Vault Tour 2019
To begin, I would like to say that I wrote this the week after Adepticon, but I didn’t get around to posting it anywhere because it didn’t feel quite right. I was hoping to infuse some positivity following Adepticon, and I hope I still can. I am just glad this write up didn’t go to waste and has found a place as part of some reapout.com content! I hope this will benefit everyone in someway, but especially the newbies and women!
April 5, 2019
I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, but I feel like I have played enough Keyforge since its release to know a thing or two. I guess I proved this to myself when I went 9-1 at the Vault Tour at Adepticon in Illinois with this deck, Iuzvex, the Aggressive Volcano Predator. It was one of the two decks that went 6-0 day 1 and made it to top 4 on day 2.
I am writing this because I know there has been a lot of negativity surrounding that event; it wasn’t a perfect event, but that shouldn’t overshadow the positives (more on this later). I had a blast, and not only because I did well, but because of the people I met.
Before I keep going, I want to tell you about my background and experience with tabletop gaming. I’m relatively new to the gaming scene; I got into gaming 3 years ago after I was sucked in by “Gateway” games like Pandemic and Ticket to Ride so I hope I can inspire new gamers. I love games because I have a blast going on little adventures with my friends, and I enjoy getting to know people through playing games. I’ve grown my relationships with my friends and family through games; board games have even played a huge part in my relationship with my boyfriend and fellow Team Reapout member, Jason (shout out to him for winning the Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) Kotei at Adepticon with Lion!).
I play heavier games now like Gloomhaven, Arkham Horror LCG, Spirit Island, Pandemic Legacy, etc. just to name a few of my favorites. Jason even got me to try Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) LCG when it was first released, which is intense never played a competitive card game before. I played L5R until Keyforge was released, but eventually my desire to play L5R slowly decreased because it is such complex game. To stay competitive in L5R, you need to spend a lot of time playing and maintaining game knowledge, and I have way too many interest and not enough time. This is when I really started to love Keyforge.
To be honest, it took me a month or two to warm up to Keyforge because it felt like I was giving up control without deckbuilding (which is a big part of L5R). Without deckbuilding, some control is lost, but this is what makes Keyforge unique. Once I accepted this, it became so fun! Jason and I weren’t great players at first, but after about a month or two of practicing, we became decent. We started playing in local tournaments at Jay’s CD & Hobby and Mayhem Comics both in West Des Moines, IA. Through these tournaments I have made many friends and we’ve gotten our friends to join us, which is great!
Eventually news of the Vault Tour broke loose, and the seed was planted to attend. The closest one was Chicago, and I thought this was manageable, plus there were L5R events for Jason and my friends to participate in. I was a little intimidated because I had never been to a gaming convention before, but I thought I would give it a shot and try something new.
On Friday of the convention, I played in two side events of Keyforge. I did a sealed survival and went 4-0. Afterward, I did an archon survival and went 3-1. Now I mention these events because I want to share two points.
First, I love sealed events. I love the chance of getting an awesome deck even though I could get terrible deck. I REALLY love trying to figure decks out on the fly. I am hoping to do a sealed vault tour ASAP!
Second, I want to address the thought that people think you need to pay to play in order to be competitive in Keyforge. Sure, people have made some money selling “better” rated decks, but there is always a chance when you buy a new pack, you can get a good deck for a modest $10 or get good decks on the secondary market. I have never paid more than $15 for a deck. With that in mind, I didn’t go in to the vault tour thinking I’d do as well as I did. My goal was to make it to day 2 and have fun along the way. The deck I played with, I had only played 3 times in the archon survival the day before (it lost to a crazy deck), and I thought it was fun! I got this deck of the secondary market as part of a lot and had no idea how good it was, but I thought it would be good to try on Saturday.
At the Vault Tour, I registered the deck I played with, a second deck ,which I could argue is better, and a third deck I had only played once. This is already long, and I’m not going to do a round-by-round overview (not that I could remember accurately), but I am going to talk about some highlights. I had a great time against my opponents. When I went 4-0, I was relieved to meet my goal of making day 2. I won my 5th game, and I felt a little pressure that I could actually go 6-0. I thought about conceding so I could play my “better” deck on day 2, but I didn’t feel like it was in the “spirit of the game” as Jason told me that day. Therefore, I went into my last game trying to win, and I left 6-0 alongside Michael Kutella.
On Day 2 I was pretty nervous. I thought it would be lame if I went 6-0 and lost first round before top 32, but I got a bye. I made it to top 32, top 16, and then top 8. During the top 8 round, I played the most honorable war veteran, Jay Schelke, a fellow Team reapout member, who got a game loss for accidentally snekliftering our Team Captain, Casey Wyzlic’s, War Chest artifact in the previous round. For the record, he did everything a decent and honorable human being would do to get his opponents card back by calling a judge. More impressive, he took the judgment well. With this being an official tournament that was timed, there was nothing more we could do as players to change the ruling. If this was local, I would’ve vouched for just starting over. I wanted to earn my win, if I did deserve it, that is! Now this was one of the negative things from the weekend, but at the end of the day, remember we are all human. Also, count your cards before each game!
I made it to top 4 and lost to a very similar deck that Danny played well! It sure felt like whoever got their Dust Pixie and Nature’s Call combo first would win, and he did! I left during the final because I had to drive home, but I know there was the whole key flip fiasco. I don’t want to ruminate on that, but everyone just remember to flip your keys.
Phew, now I am toward the end of this little blog. Keyforge is great. It’s not perfect, but for the niche it has filled, it is awesome! What I want to spread around is that Keyforge is a competitive card game, but I hope people don’t lose sight of what is really important–the people. When things aren’t perfect, let’s give each other a little grace and spread some joy.
In the end, I’ll remember this: I got to travel to Adepticon with my boyfriend, Jason, and my friends, Tim, Avery, and Cory to play games we love. I met some awesome people at Adepticon-you know who you are and this got me invited to be part of Team Reapout. I got cool swag! I got to eat Giordano’s and Portillos from Chicago. I couldn’t ask for a better trip!
Next up, the Denver Vault Tour!