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I Forge my Second Key, and so does Fantasy Flight Games

Max Linskey May 30, 2019 17

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Fantasy Flight Games has released a new set of Keyforge, Age of Ascension. Bad news for wallets, but good news for anyone excited to dive deeper into the world of Ӕmber and Archons!

Age of Ascension is an expansion that adds over 200 cards to the game, while also pulling some cards from the already established list (around 150). This will add new combinations to old favorites, changing how some factions interact with the Crucible (which I’ll touch upon later). It also has new mechanics to learn, some which limit actions after use and others that add to a card’s utility:

AlphaYou can only play this card before doing anything else this step – These new abilities make Age of Ascension all about timing. Alpha is a card that can only be played at the beginning of the turn, prioritizing its effects before continuing to other cards. Effects like this limit card that can become more beneficial if played later in a turn, something that is nice to see FFG doing, even if it does reduce the overall utility of a card.

Deploy This creature can enter play anywhere in your battleline – A welcome change to how creatures are played, Deploy let’s the controlling player choose exactly where they play a card, ignoring the flank rules. This is especially handy as the effects tied to creatures with Deploy tend to benefit those around it (adding power or fighting alongside it, for example).

Omega After you play this card, end this step – This is the card you play at the end of your hand turn, essentially the bookend to an Alpha card, but also the stop sign for the player to now focus on what’s happening on the board. This type of card is probably one that would be too strong without the modifier. FFG really took a step back and decided where power lies in the game and a good way to limit or contain that power without removing cards or coming up with a more complicated rule.

Deck construction is an interesting beast for Keyforge. While the “billions of combinations” claim never totally came to fruition (meaning there could be some crazy combinations that just were never released due to printing and demand of the game, among other factors), there is a general consensus that the way FFG went about randomizing the decks worked fairly well. Nothing will be changing on that front, with the exception of new cards being added to the list. Something to note, however, is that a slight modification to deck construction will be made, but this is only to ensure the best for the players. Each Age of Ascension deck is guaranteed to not be totally compiled of the cards brought over from Call of the Archons. Essentially, everyone who picks up a new deck will be able to play with new cards, and there may be some old friends mixed in as well. A very welcome caveat for sure, as this piques interest even for those who played the first set. Age of Ascension feels like an extended expansion to the game rather than a completely new set (in the same vein that Magic adds a few sets to each “block” before changing it up).

Another quick note, while there is a main list of cards carried over from Call of the Archons, there is a tiny chance that one may emerge into your deck. Much like Mavericks crossing the House boarders in the initial set (which they will be continuing to do), Legacy cards will be popping up in Age of Ascension decks to return and continue their fight in the Crucible.

If players are interested in the lore of Keyforge and the Crucible, Age of Ascension expands on each House’s goals and desires, which can be seen in some of the new cards. Houses are taken in different directions as we see them continue to interact with each other and better their forces. Brobnar creatures can be seen taming animals, while new beasts are added to the Untamed and Mars ranks. Logos continues to see scientists and experiments help their cause and demonic entities and nasty tricks come through for Dis and Shadows, respectively. Sanctum continues their righteous quest, adding knights and defenses but also some nasty offence as well. It is nice to continue to read into the lore knowing there is some semblance of story unfolding in the world, as this Age of Ascension is looking at the aftermath of some of the initial Archons from Call of the Archons reaching ascension after forging their keys. Now it is the next wave of Archon’s turn to do the same, or try anyways.

Regardless of everything added to the game, I’m seeing this expansion as something that the general public may collectively have less interest in than the initial release. I may be wrong, but I believe the core of the player base is already invested in the game, and with the average player carrying anywhere from 7 to 15 decks (estimate, not an exact number), I’m not sure these same people are going to spend more for an equal amount on Age of Ascension decks. (Thanks Team Covenant for your podcast and discussion on the topic, as I wholeheartedly agree with you and also enjoy your insight/deeper knowledge on the subject.) I would love to be wrong and for the same zeal for the first set to shine on into this one, but really only time and talk on the internet will tell. Maybe old players will convince new players to join into the fun too, now that the 2-player starter pack has better quality tokens and removes the seemingly unnecessary starter decks (that can’t actually be played as real decks). In a few months time, numbers can be tallied and waves of release of the new decks can be counted as players register their decks (you should if you haven’t, this is an excellent resource).

Should this new expansion go exceedingly well, what does the future hold for Keyforge? Will the next set release by the end of 2019? (winter/holiday?) If it is released, could we maybe see new houses or will it follow MtG and have three sets before the introduction of a new block? If you have thoughts, ideas, or answers to these questions, feel free to comment here or on social media! I’m always up for discussion, especially a card game I’m so invested in.

As always, see you in the Crucible!

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