Welcome to Knowledge is Power!
Welcome to reapout.com a Keyforge community and the first edition of Knowledge is Power. Our goal is to explore, enjoy, and grow the game. Age of Ascension is right around the corner and I’d like to discuss some of the things we can all do to help ascend the game that we love. I have learned quite a bit these last few weeks about local meta games, vault tours, and the gem system. Quite a few people have reached out to me expressing their feelings about the game, where its headed, and what can be improved. As many of you who follow Keyforge closely likely know, I made the finals at the Denver Vault Tour. It started out with the survivor format and switched to adaptive in the final match. I lost to my own deck Bombfoot, the Aeronaut of the Pike in games 2 and 3. If you haven’t followed as closely, or more than likely have had a hard time finding Keyforge content regularly, I’m Brooks “Spacejamed” Clark. I represent Team Reapout and we are very excited to bring you weekly content in one place. If you look around the site you will find a store with sealed product for those having a hard time finding decks at LGS. Also opened decks, for those that like particular houses or card combos, and accessories to help improve your Keyforge gaming experience. We will also be working to bring you deck openings, play testing videos, set reviews, and lots of other content for Keyforge for all skill levels and types of players. Let’s get started with the topic I have had the most questions about in my private messages since Denver. And no its not teams!! It’s the limitations of the GEM system.
I mentioned Vault Tour Denver a little bit in my intro, lets dig deeper into that. As I walk into the convention center around 9:45 am for a 10:30 am scheduled start I notice an extremely large line of Keyforge players wrapped around the hall. Cascade Games has literally 1 kiosk for 140 players to scan 3 decks each. To make things harder, they have a stand around the camera that skews the view like looking through window blinds, making it take 1 to 3 minutes per player to register for the event. Even after most of us have been preregistered and paid for weeks in advance. Around 10:15 the organizers realize there is no way this event is going to start on time and somehow locate 2 more kiosks with the same terrible camera problem, at least it helps speed up the process. So almost an hour after the scheduled start time we finally get to play Keyforge. The format was for 6 rounds or 3 losses, whichever comes first, once a deck loses its gone. 140 players preregistered for the capped event and 131 sat down to play to play round 1. Things go smoothly for a few rounds then in rounds 3 and 4 bugs and errors in the gem system come to light again. Some of the players who have played earlier in the day say round 1 had been paired again now with their 2nd or 3rd decks. While the decks are new and not the same match up, it still doesn’t seem fair to play the same opponent in the swiss rounds twice. After all this is sorted out some of the players in the event have now been dropped after only 2 losses and are not allowed back into the event. As compensation they offered a sweat shirt. Like come on! Most of us flew into Denver, spent money on hotels, and now the system is kicking people out before they have even lost 3 games or played 6 rounds. What if you saved your best deck for last? Your 2 wins away from day 2 with your best deck. Now take into account that in round 5 if you are paired down or in round 6 if your opponent wants to play their 3rd deck, which could be their best deck, they are likely to concede to you. I personally conceded round 6 at 4-1 to get to my 3rd deck, so it’s not unlikely the way the system is set up. These people paid hundreds of dollars to attend this event and then the gem system determined if they continued or not. That’s not ok and it needs to be addressed and fixed. We then get to day 2 of the event and things are going smooth again. I make it to the finals where it’s now adaptive, which is fine, as I knew going into the event it was adaptive for the finals. How does the GEM system not know the finals is adaptive? Why does Bombfoot 3-0 the finals but take the loss on the master vault? Its literally his only loss ever in organized play, a 3-0 win with a chain, but the gem recorded it as a loss. Sure, Nathan should get the shards but isn’t the goal of the master vault to track the better decks? The leaderboard is for the better players? Why does GEM not recognize these things? I have reached out to Josh Massey the organized play program manager for comments multiple times over the last couple weeks through email and phone calls. I have gotten zero response. It shouldn’t be that hard to add triads or other variants to the GEM either. We already sign slips at the end of each round with what player won, they need to just add in a tracking system for the decks and at the end of each round have the players also mark which deck they played. Triad is deep and has a lot of play to it, I was very excited when Denver was first announced as triad. I was also very let down when I heard it was survival where I might have to concede 2 rounds to play my best deck on day 2.
Most of you might be saying “how does this affect me”or “why should I care” or “I never want to go to a Vault Tour anyways”. The problem affects all of us and stuns the growth of the game. It limits the options stores have for weekly or monthly offerings if you want to collect amber shards in the app. Even though Chainbound events are designed to not lead to stale formats and they are doing a great job of that, they have still limited the game to which decks you can play. Sure, the majority of the decks can win games as long as they are played correctly, I think everyone agrees some decks are statistically better than others. The idea of Chainbound is to be casual but the way Keyforge is currently being promoted, is that it is not. Most places are trying to charge $5 or $10 for an entry fee and then dividing that out to the top players of the event in a rich get richer type of capitalistic manner. This is in no way a casual way to play the game. While set ups like this are great for players like me and many of the other reapout.com players, it’s not good for the long term health and growth of the game. Chainbound events should be casual. Local Game Stores (LGS) should pick up an organized play kit once a month and during the 4 weekly free play Chainbound events, hand out a chain tracker to anyone attending for their first time ever. Then use the rest of the contents for a monthly, more serious, event with an entry fee of $5 to $10. Then use the mat as the main prize give away with the rest of the contents to some of the top finishers. Giving out a door prize so everyone has a chance to grow would go a long way too. These play kits are priced in a way to promote this. If everyone wants to run a sealed Chainbound charge entry of buying a deck. Promote growth of the game not sharks. Vault Tours are for the sharks. Without the GEM allowing for players to collect shards playing formats other than sealed and archon is leading to stale formats even though the meta game is shifting. The guy who now has the 3 or 4 best decks in the area dominates and no one else comes back. It takes to long for chains to build for the avg player to see the difference from week to week and when you can just rotate decks it makes it seem even longer. I personally think the Chainbound system is fine it just needs to be improved and formats expanded in the GEM system. It also needs to allow for shard collections during reversal, triads, house specific events. What do I mean by house specific events? With talk of the next seasons kit being a certain house, I have heard some of the LGS in Denver area talk about hosting a monthly event where everyone is required to have that house as one of the 3 houses for the event. It can’t be sanctioned for shards unless your skewing the Chainbound system. These are just some of the limitations of the current system that affect everyone not just the people who attended Denver. Hopefully Asmodee, Cascade Games, and FFG will take note and make improvements going forward. The game is young and needs time to develop. Growing pains are bound to be present. Will Asmodee be willing to hear and respond to the community? It remains to be seen.
I don’t mean to sound all doom and gloom, Keyforge is healthy and doing well! I just wanted to publish this in a place that it might draw attention to the right people. Most of these feelings aren’t mine alone, they are a collective of people throughout the community. Players from my local play group, Team Reapout members, and many others who have reached out to me on social media and expressed their dissatisfaction with GEM. I am only the outlet for these feelings and am using my own experiences as examples. As members of the community we need to make sure we are engaging, interacting, and teaching new players in a positive manner. For this game to succeed and grow into a long term hit, every community member needs to feel included. If they leave game nights even in defeat and feeling like they won the evening just from enjoyable game play, positive personal interactions, and forming of long-term friendships we’ve all done our part. I’m sure many of you have made lots of friends through gaming over the years draw from those experiences and build more. A great foundation has been laid with Call of the Archons. With Age of Ascension within 3 weeks of dropping in store there is bound to be new players at your LGS wanting to get involved. Be helpful, respond to questions, and include them in your group conversations with your friends. Now is a great time to help grow your local community so you have more nights a week to play the game you love. We all want this game to have staying power, and the outlook is plenty positive. The game play is very interactive, unique, and deep. Keyforge has already been recognized in many gaming magazines, online publications, and even won awards at gaming shows. Next week Dave will be jumping into strategy articles with Keyforge archetypes, Coleen will be bringing reviews of both USA Vault Tours she attended (sorry seattle she missed you), and as a team we will be bringing you in house testing videos with various formats and decks. So, check back often for more Keyforge content, as we strive to bring you the most up to date information in one place. Subscribe to our twitter @TeamReapout and Facebook page for up to date information.
That’s all for this week, next week I’ll be back with another edition of Knowledge is Power, and take a look at the newest set of Keyforge to discus some of the cards that have been spoiled so far. Remember to do your part, lets grow this community! If you have any feedback, suggestions, articles or just want me to know something that’s important about Keyforge feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and as the content manager I will do my best to get it where it needs to go. See you next time fellow Keyforgers and REAPOUT!