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KeyForge – Many Ways to Play: Formats and Variants

KeyForge is the brand-new Unique Deck Game from Fantasy Flight Games and has taken the gaming world by storm. As with most card games, there are a multitude of competitive formats to explore. Since each deck of KeyForge that you purchase is unique, there are some unique and exciting formats that come along with them.

KEYFORGE ORGANIZED PLAY (CHAINBOUND)

Fantasy Flight Games has released GEM software for retailers which allows retailers to run Chainbound events. These events allow you to track the matches that you play with these decks, and to provide “chains” which will place disadvantages on overpowered decks. You also have the added benefit of earning Aembershards which will be redeemable at a KeyForge Prize Wall in the future.

 

Whether an event is Chainbound or not, it can then either be a Sealed or an Archon Format. These are the two fundamental formats of KeyForge. The Sealed format involves purchasing and opening a brand-new deck at the event. The Archon format involves selecting which deck you bring to an event. The standard way to play for both Archon and Sealed formats is referred to as Solo play. In a Solo tournament, each player uses the same single deck (that they either brought themselves or received at the event, depending on the format) for the entirety of the tournament.

THERE IS A PLETHORA OF VARIANTS THAT FALL UNDER EACH OF THESE FORMATS. LET’S LOOK AT SOME OF THOSE:

Adaptive – Archon. Sealed. 

Players each bring one deck and play best-of-3 matches. For the first game, players use their own decks. For the second, players swap decks and use their opponent’s. If there is a third game, players bid chains to use the deck which won both previous games. 

Auction – Sealed.

After players open and register their decks, the decks are placed on a table. Players bid chains for the right to play with the deck of their choice. At the end of the event, the decks are returned to their original owners. 

Reversal – Archon.

Players each bring their worst deck to the event and swap it with their opponent at the beginning of each round. Decks are returned to their owners at the end of each round. 

Survival – Archon. Sealed.

Players each enter the event with 2 or 3 decks and rank their decks before the first round. Each player starts the event with their first ranked deck. Whenever a deck loses, it is knocked out and can no longer be used. When a player no longer has any decks remaining, that player is eliminated from the event. 

Triad – Archon. Sealed.

Players each bring 3 decks and play best-of-3 matches each round. At the beginning of the round, players each choose on of their opponent’s decks to “bench”, making the deck unusable for that match. It is also important to note that an Organised Play venue can host standard Archon or Sealed events. These are standard swiss-round tournaments that either involve the player bringing their own deck to participate or purchasing and playing with one. The above variants are an exciting twist that can bring about a different approach to KeyForge Organised Play. Ask your retailers about their event offering and suggest any formats that you would like to see happen at your FLGS!

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