Buying Yourself Another Turn

This past Saturday I had the privilege of playing in a local sealed event. The event was made up of 12 people, was 4 rounds of 35 mins each, and cut to top 4 to play for the fancy Wild Wormhole

playmat. Opening my deck I thought I had a fighting chance to win the playmat, however I came up short due to some, perhaps, costly misplays that could have went the other way. I didn’t win the playmat, however learned some more valuable lessons about how to better play KeyForge.

The deck that I opened for the tournament was Dyrfinna, Silver Vortex Dignitary. When I got my sealed deck I opened it and perused its contents slowly while sleeving. The first thing that jumped out to me was the Logos has some serious archiving abilities in its Random Access Archives, Sloppy Labwork, and 2 Ganymede Archivist. The second thing I noticed was its abnormally high number of artifacts, which is great with Carlo Phantom! The deck also included my personal favourite The Warchest. Other notables are 2 Spectral Tunneler, and 2 Seeker Needle.

The first match I played was back and forth. My opponent was in Shadows, Sanctum, Mars. I will fast forward through the match to near the end where my opponent and I both has 2 keys forged. It was my turn and I had 2 Aember to his 1 Aember. I was able to generate 3 additional Aember on my turn to get up to five. I had Titan Mechanic at with one damage on the flank so I pass turn with check feeling pretty safe as my opponent had just played Shadows, I figure my Aember is safe. My opponent calls Mars and proceeds to Activate his Mothergun revealing 4 Mars cards (!) from my hand and putting all damage onto my Titan Mechanic (smart). I couldn’t win next turn. He then proceeds to play Ether Spider, Grabber Jammer, and a card I don’t remember. Emphasis on those two however. He reaps one and is up to two Aember. I’m not doing so well. On my turn I go Shadows do double Seeker Needle the Ether Spider, Subtle Maul, and Nerve Blast. I attack into the spider a bit to increase its damage to 5. His next turn is Mars again, reaps up to 6 Aember, checks, passes. I’m hooped. I’m staring down a board on my side where I can’t generate any Aember for myself, without killing the spider. If I want to kill spider I have to go Shadows. If I go Shadows I can’t steal any Aember and my opponent wins. My Brobnar wasn’t providing any support to stop my opponent from winning. Logos?

On board for Logos I had 2 Spectral Tunneler and Ganymede Archivist. In hand for Logos I had Wild Wormhole. You always have to play to your outs and I believed Logos was my best shot to prolong the game and not lose. I could draw into one of my Dextre or hit something else with Wild Wormhole. I call Logos for the turn and activate my two Tunnelers onto Ganymede Archivist so I can draw two cards. I pick up my first card and my heart sank. Old Bruno. I don’t recall my second card but it definitely wouldn’t have prolonged the game for me. Especially if I had cast Wild Wormhole first. Had I cast the Wild Wormhole first I would have played Old Bruno off of it to capture 3 and bought myself another turn and a shot at victory. Now I wasn’t able to foresee this but it begs the question which play was the correct one to make. Perhaps you have some insight dear reader.

I played my Wild Wormhole which resulted in no help so I extended my hand and conceded. 0-1.

I win the next two games.

The last game I played was against a player called Bryan. Bryan was 3-0. Undefeated. Over the last three games I think I had figured out what my deck wanted to do. Play logos creatures, archive all my Brobnar for a big Brobnar turn, and control the board with Shadows. I was ready for the end boss challenge, Bryan.

The game was a grind. Bryan and I were back and forth for the first several turns until I pulled ahead. I had a great Library Access turn where I got lucky and flooded the board with Logos creatures, particularly my new found friends in double Spectral Tunneler // Ganymede Archivist combo. The next few turns I was in race mode and 100% on Logos as Bryan couldn’t stabilize my strong Library Access turn. Using my sweet combo, I was drawing a two cards a turn and archiving two (Brobnar) a turn. Reaping for 4. Pass. And on board I was ignoring Bryan’s struggle to stabilize and I was winning the race. All was looking good for me to win this match and get into the Top 4.

all aboard the combo train!

Bryan had eventually caught up so I played out all my archived Brobnar to take care of his threats. I’m about to win next turn and Surprise! Bryan plays Hysteria….. 🙁

By this point I have 4-5 Brobnar Creatures out alongside my 4-5 Logos creatures, including 2 Dextre and my Ganymede Archivist bros. All returned to my hand. Bryan has 2 keys and 3 Aember of his own. I am at 5 Aember. Pass turn to me and I’m staring at a hand packed full of Brobnar and Logos creatures. I call Brobnar as I can generate the most Aember with it and put the pressure on my opponent to have an answer to my impending third key generation and game win. I Brobnar, create 3 Aember up to 8, have 4 Brobnar creatures on board, and am once again feeling good.

Bryan calls Dis again. Plays Charette

to capture 3 from me. I’m back at five. Oh, I forgot to mention, because I totally forgot at the time when I was playing, that he had a Lifeward in play. He sacs it and now I cannot play creatures on my next turn. Bryan passes his turn at 6 Aember. Unfortunately I’m staring at a mitt full of Logos creatures, namely Dextre, that I cannot play to stop him from winning the game. I have no card draw in hand, no out, and a board full of beefy Brobar that won’t help me. I’m toast.

Looking back, I think the lesson here was to play Logos on my turn to capture some of Bryan’s Aember. Even though he wasn’t about to win the game at his current Aember count, knocking him down a couple would put pressure on his next turn and would have bought me another turn at least to figure out my win. I should also pay attention to my opponents artifacts more closely. Thinking a little about the impacts of not playing creatures on my following turn may have had me alter my game plan a little. Had I played Logos, I could have captured 2 of Bryan’s Aember. He still would have played Charette to capture 3 of my Aember but he wouldn’t have been at 6 Aember on that turn like he was. I would have had another turn to play, and, although I couldn’t play creatures, been able to effectively reap, draw cards, archive cards, and bring myself closer to a win instead of being in lock for a loss.

Both scenarios were difficult to predict. In my first game I couldn’t know that my opponent would play Ether Spider

to lock me out of generating Aember into my pool. I couldn’t have known the Old Bruno was on top of my deck for Wild Wormhole. In my fourth game of the day how was I to know that my decision to play Brobnar and continue to race for the win instead of slowing down to control my opponent’s Aember supply would prove detrimental to my success in the tournament? Was I at the mercy of variance in these games or did I make misplays in both circumstances? Such is the game we play.