Competitive Keyforge from a Casual Player's Perspective

Written by Dan

How I got into Keyforge and My First Tournament

Hi, I’m Dan 37 from a small town…you have probably heard of it, Scarborough…and yes there is a fair but it doesn't sell parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.  I’m dyxpraxic and slightly autistic, so I tend to see the world backwards.

I’ve been playing Keyforge for around 12 months but still consider myself to be quite new to the game. This is my story…..




Back at Christmas 2018, my partner bought me a deck, a Christmas present, an inexpensive present for the budding TCG player considering my partner knows nothing about the hobby (she still calls my cards and models toys). The new-ish game for me to try.  However being engrossed in Star Wars Destiny, it got put to one side after being looked at.  A bit of background now; I’m not a meta player in any game I play. I'm one of those players who turns up at local tournaments with stuff which should work on paper but never manage to convert on the tabletop.  I’m the guy who ends up pulling the silly pose on the tournament promo photograph.  I’m the role player who bashes down the door hoping to say “Asta La Vista goblins” only to roll a 1 on stealth and everything go stupidly wrong.

Yes that Is a wooden spoon!

I’m a Dad of 2 children so most of the games I play are done on a budget, I’ll never own every model or every card and I am used to finishing bottom of every tournament I play in.  Being part of a Star Wars destiny community with single childless players kinda puts you at a disadvantage, as no matter what deck or combo you build, it will never be considered strong.  So after many nights losing at Destiny, Blood Bowl, X Wing and Warhammer Underworlds my friends from my local games society and I needed a break from our usual role play and gaming schedule.  We discovered we all had decks we had for a game we had never tried and were not up to date with (playing so many FFG games keeping up with everything is exhausting).  We all broke out our CoA decks used our Destiny tokens and suddenly started playing this game intended to be a bit of fun and a time filler. Me and my friends Gareth and Tina, began to play and I really enjoyed our evening.  One of my weaknesses has always been deck building, it takes me a long time to figure out how stuff works and play test and play test every deck or squad for a game I’m playing till I finally get it right….takes a while.  I suddenly found with Keyforge I didn’t need to worry about deck building, or owning every card which for me made the game super enjoyable.  We played and even on nights away from the games society I’d play round my friend Gareth's house. All 3 of us agreed to put Keyforge on the tournament roster being committee members and swiftly organized a introduction night.  

Keyforge bridged the gap between model, card and board gamers. A few people played and enjoyed the game (possibly as a break from their own norm).  I then bought the AoA core set which included 2 more decks which I swiftly took to my friend Gareth's where I played discovering how my decks worked. One of the things I thrive off is the adrenaline rush from winning and I suddenly found I could win games, through either luck, bad plays or some decks perform better against others.  I became engrossed in the world of the crucible, and looked on my phone discovered Crazy Killing Machine, asking for tips to improve my fumbling game style.  I noted how friendly the community was and the amount of CoA and AoA decks at my friendly games store (Tau Gaming). The community rolled on..there were new tournaments to win across many game systems, a chance to earn coveted prize support..but who am I kidding. After a few games over the summer and early autumn the first ever Scarborough Games Society Keyforge tournament loomed…as one of the few serious local players I felt this was my time to shine.  I had chosen my deck… took it to work and obsessed over plays, worked on my winners pose made it to the tournament and boom in my excitement i'd brought the wrong deck but still felt like a god, having organised players and demoed the game.  3 Games and i'd finally win something and lord it over the local TCG community.  The first game was tight. It could of gone either way but lost because of a non random..random discard.  Tip: shuffle your cards covertly and don’t just move some cards around starting with the most important. The second game was over quickly after a Key Charge speed Mars deck, and to top it off when paired against the mum of another player who had only played once I got greedy with Interdimensional Graft and Binate Rupture combo…had it (whoop whoop) thanks 18 ember…..only for the same combo to be bounced over.  The tournament was even won by a Destiny player who had just bought a deck…and then he gave it away after he won!

Gutted, oh well there is always Destiny….months went nothing from FFG, oh vault Tour…. .

Then after some soul searching and long days bored at work I started to read the pages on Facebook, discovered the amount of resources, Decks of Keyforge etc, I became obsessed with the numbers on SAS and AERC.. surely I’m not that bad its my deck.  Note: I don’t think about the numbers a 66% SOS deck does not win 66% of the time!.  As a community games of Keyforge are sparse, people simply prefer the established Magic or fumbling Destiny.  My love for Destiny declined as I was simply not getting the rush of winning, and as the months ground on I just didn’t feel it any more.  By the time the announcement came I had decided that I was selling out.  I'd found what I wanted all along, to win and a community that even though I had not contributed to, I could see was friendly and polite.  All my decks became a staple in my work bag, even though not playing i'd simply stare and make combos up.  Then, to my surprise Keyforge was included as a tournament at Meeple's Summit - A small board game convention I volunteer at.  

'Great', I thought although I had not physically played for months I thought i'd stand a good chance at winning.  No not to be, the e