The Magnificent 7: 7 Ways to Evaluate a Deck Effectively

Finding the deck that can fight like 700 can be harder than you first think...

Written by Carl Woodwiss

Images used from Decks of Keyforge


I'm almost sure that if you are reading this, you'll be aware of Decks of Keyforge. However if you are not, DoK is a spectacular resource for all things Keyforge. At its very core, DoK has a complex and sophisticated algorithm for ranking deck effectiveness. This, alongside intuitive deck breakdowns, trading and selling of decks and a strong deck search function makes DoK an incredible piece of kit! If you haven't already, I would strongly recommend exploring Decks of Keyforge.

Let's get into it, and let's be frank from the beginning... there is no perfect way to rate a deck. If that upsets you and you were looking for a magic wand, I'm sorry. Don't waste your time reading this any further!

However... if you are interested in some of the factors I take into account when evaluating the effectiveness of a deck for a tournament, or just in casual play... strap yourself in, clear your schedule and let's get into the agonising pain of 'this deck has a high SAS score, why can't I win with it?!'.

I have 7 things I tend to do when looking at a deck. Even though your deck probably won't score highly on all of the below... they should all probably be considered:

SAS Score

I always start with the SAS score. I hear it all the time. 'I don't trust SAS scores'. Hipsters!

With the amount of time, effort and consideration which goes into SAS scores by the SAS Council, they cannot be ignored. They give a very clear indication in a 'black and white' view of the effectiveness of the deck.


Do I think every high SAS deck is good? Of course not. Are there some world beaters in the mid 70s? Of course there are, but you have to start somewhere. SAS is probably the best place in my opinion to start as it gives a rounded, pragmatic and informed view of your Keyforge deck world.

AERC/Synergy Score

So we've looked at the number at the top of the pyramid, but what does that actually mean? On a scale of true science to the science behind my percentage score evaluations, where does that SAS evaluation sit? I am going to say... 84%.

SAS is good, but unfortunately I'm going to probably say my first negative thing about current SAS scores. I preferred the old way of valuing card strength and taking little account into synergies. It made good players work harder on working out if a deck was actually viable.

Now we have a combination of AERC and Synergy.

AERC is actually AERCFDP but that is more of a mouthful than certain Logos Leaders! It is a very functional view of the deck on how it works operationally. AERC looks at Aember Control, Expected Aember, Artifact Control, Creature Control, Efficiency, Disruption and Effective Power. I am not going to detail here in what each does, but if you would like to read more there is a link to the DoK page here.

Synergy, as I am sure you can guess, is a more theoretical view of how the deck should interact with itself. For example, having a Senator Shrix with high capture cards would be quite synergistic. However herein lies my problem with synergy.

My personal view is the higher the AERC, the more consistent the deck and less likely to suffer to 'bad draw syndrome'. If a deck has a lower AERC but has a bumped up SAS because of the synergy rating then yes, the deck would be excellent if drawn correctly, but may suffer from being stuck waiting for the perfect hand.