Article

Vault Tour Near and Far

Written by Andrew Grandstaff

Top 16 decks from Eindhoven
Winner Logos Mars Shadows The Captain of Barrackslaunch
Second Logos Shadows Untamed Schlosserin „Sirene“ Stafford
*Top 4 Dis Logos Shadows “Steel” Gisaelll, Hall Forest Keeper
*Top 4 Dis Mars Shadows Beulah l’Abondante, Meurtrière du Fjord
*Top 8 Dis Shadows Untamed Torch the Ponderously Immovable
*Top 8 Dis Mars Shadows Javamash Browning, the Warded and Iron
Top 8 Dis Mars Shadows Guild-keeper Cutduce Bruno
Top 16-8 Brobnar Sanctum Shadows E. Talbot, Skeptiker der grauen Insel
Top 16-8 Dis Logos Shadows Master Datalogic, the Blank Techie
*Top 16 Sanctum Shadows Untamed E. Trekker, Urtcrete’s Swift Professor
*Top 16 Brobnar Logos Shadows Hunter “Escorpio”, el Somnoliento
*Top 16 Dis Logos Shadows Kapitänin „Bestie“ Yarborough
*Top 16 Logos Mars Untamed Sonicthrip Xhoo-Lhi, Pupa
*Top 16 Mars Shadows Untamed Y. Incognito, Adviser of the Armed Sector
Top 16 Brobnar Dis Shadows K. Rook, Icengopolis’s Cautious Baker
Top 16 Dis Sanctum Shadows Farflinch, Spawn of Justmon
*Did not appear in any chain bound events prior to the Vault Tour.

The first set of vault tours has ended and I have a lot to say about them. There are a lot of positive things that happened and there are some things that could be improved. We have gained a lot of information about the current meta of Archon and Sealed. At the same time we are also missing a substantial amount regarding decks played outside of the Top 16 in Eindhoven. All of the events had live streaming at one point, but there was a lot left to be desired. Our first look at the prize wall in person has come and it’s about what we expected. There were some cool new things, but we will have to wait and see how much changes by Vault Tour Schaumburg.

Before diving too deep into things I want to thank Cascade Games, and Asmode for doing a great job organizing, running and covering these events, Wossy for his commentary of the Vault Tour Eindhoven, and a big congratulations to Rachael Trimble and Yaro Tkatchenko for their victories.

The biggest issue with the vault tour content was the lack of a permanent centralized location. There was a massive amount of content from Wossy commentating both days, Red Hawk doing interviews, and infographics about the break down of decks that made day 2. If you didn’t follow the Keyforge Facebook group closely you might have missed the day 2 information and some of the interviews. This is all the information I could find on facebook. This should be collected somewhere that they won’t get lost infographics of day 2 top 4 winner. I got lazy all but 1 interview, the last interview. The few rounds of Seattle as far as I can still are only on twitch and will disappear in soon. Thankfully Wossy has moved all of his commentary to his youtube channel, unfortunately, the said can’t be said for the raw stream that Wossy was rebroadcasting on Asmodee_nl’s twitch channel.
That said there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to coverage. While there were streams they were not advertised at all until they were actually happening. Live events require some planning to watch. If you want more views you need to give people a chance to plan around it. Even if Asmodee or Cascade didn’t know if it was all going to work I would rather show up to a dead stream and check back regularly than scouring the internet all day to find where to go. Use social media to keep people informed. Another big problem was the lack of commentary for the Seattle Vault Tour and only the last 3 rounds from day 2 were streamed at all. Those three rounds were even harder to watch because they were trying to show off how cool the gaming table was, but the L.E.D lights were terrible. Please turn them off during the game and if you are contractually obligated to keep them on please at least keep it on a constant color. It looks bad, causes glare, and unnecessary eye strain.

Another easy thing that could be done to improve the experience is to have something filling the time between rounds. No one had any plans for content between rounds only still images and ads for Keyforge. Low effort simple slide shows are still used today during Magic the Gathering live streams there is no reason this couldn’t have been done for the first two Vault Tours. After that I would recommend having a computer set up where you can at minimum capture audio send it to the stream. Start interviewing anyone that will give you the time of day. Preferably people that are still in the tournament, but if that can’t be done I’d love to hear from staff members about the challenges they are facing running and organizing the event. The AMA from the Marshal of the Seattle Vault Tour was one of the most upvoted post on the Keyforge Reddit that week.

The final complaint I have about the coverage of the first Vault Tours was the lack of information regarding the decks that entered. We only have the information posted to the FFG Organized Play Facebook and a list of all the decks with 5 or more power. There is no real way to figure out which decks didn’t make it out of day 1. The best I can think to do is to filter decks with 3 or more power with 0 chains this will mostly cover the decks used in the Seattle tour, but 9 or the top 16 in Eindhoven also had 0 chains before the event. Who knows how many people entered with an unchained deck. With that out of the way let take a look at what the meta of the top 16 from Eindhoven. First off there were fifteen Shadows decks, nine Dis, seven Logos, six Mars, five Untamed, three Sanctum, and three Brobnar.
Most Common Cards in each house

House Card name Total copies Decks appearances % of decks that house % of all decks
Brobnar Headhunter 5 3 100% 19%
Dis Dust Imp 8 6 66% 38%
Logos Dextre 6 4 57% 25%
Logos Library Access 5 5 71% 31%
Mars Yxilo Bolter 9 5 83% 31%
Sanctum *Protect the Weak 3 2 66% 13%
Shadows Bait and Switch 13 13 87% 81%
Untamed Full Moon 7 4 80% 25%

*Sanctum had a tie with 5 cards the other 4 are Raiding Knight, Staunch Knight, Bulwark, and Champion Anaphiel.

It is probably worth noting that Timetraveler/Help from Future Self and Nepethe Seed are the only non-common cards to break the top 5 most common cards by house.
From this we can tell that Shadows was very dominate in this format and Bait and Switch was very popular if not influential. This was probably expected, but what I did not expect was Mars’s performance and specifically the Yxilo Bolter. The third most popular card by house and second most out of all of them is surprising for a 3 power no play effect creature. The winning deck even had three of them. Looking back now I can see that there are a lot of 2 or less power creatures that need to be removed if not purged. Shadows second and fourth most common cards, Relentless Whispers and Nerve Blast, provide almost the same effect. The question here is if removing small elusive creatures is so important how come Ulis the Zookeeper didn’t show up at all in the top 16? The problem is that 2 power bodies are a liability. Unless the card is worth a two aember swing on play and then some (ex. Hunting Witch(6), Urchin(13), Dust Imp(8)) it’s probably not good enough. Basically if your creature dies to Relentless Whispers it better be worth the 1 extra stolen aember. A great example of this is the difference in Bad Penny to Dextres. There are more Dextres in the top 16 then there are Bad Penny even though Shadows shows up in twice as many decks. I think Dextre’s 3 power body and play effect may have been good in this meta that is full of these 2 damage effects.
What didn’t show up also gives us some interesting information.
I restricted this list to commons and uncommons only.

Brobnar

Only 1: Screech Bomb, Grenade Snib, Bumpsy

Missing: Burn the Stockpile, Mighty Javelin, Relentless Assault, Smith, Tremor, Firespitter
A lot of the key aember control cards seem to be missing, some of the bigger board control and aember gain cards.

Dis

Only 1: Drumble, Library of the Damned, Stealer of Souls

Other notable facts: No Dis deck played more than 1 Control the weak(2 decks), Lash of Broken Dreams was only played in 3 of 9 decks.
The big tempo/control cards are missing(Drumble, Lash, Control the Weak) if purging is important like the bolters suggest Stealer of Souls should have made a bigger impact.

Logos

Only 1: Mother, Scrambler Storm

Notable missing: Positron Bolt, Sloppy Labwork
Surprising to see both Sloppy labwork and Positron Bolt here considering they are almost strict upgrades to Labwork and Twinbolt Emissions.

Mars

Notable missing: Crystal Hive, Uxlyx the Zookeeper

Only 1: Battle Fleet
I though for sure a big Crystal Hive turn would be what Mars needs to win, but with the dominance of Bait and Switch and Too Much to Protect it makes sense. I already talked by the lack of Zookeeper and finally I thought Battle Fleet was the Mars Library Access.

Sanctum

Notable missing: Doorstep to Heaven, Commander Remiel, Blinding Light
More important aember control and board control. Blinding Light should have been good in a Sanctum light meta.

Shadows

Notable missing: Mooncurser

Only 1: Miasma, Hidden Stash
It’s strange to me that Mooncurser didn’t make an appearance when Umbra did. At the same time Macis Asp only appeared in 1 deck. Shadows other big tempo card Miasma seems too good to be missing considering how it can set up a Bait and Switch or Too Much to Protect. The same goes for Hidden Stash and archiving these cards for maximum value.

Untamed

Notable missing: Key Charge, Nature’s Call

Only 1: Mimicry, Flaxia, Chota Hazri
Untamed is the most surprising to me. Many people consider Nature’s Call to be one of the best cards in the game. I also thought Key Charge and Chota were suppose to a good answer to Shadows stealing.


My take away from all this is first you probably don’t need two houses that are good at aember control. The big aember loss cards from Brobnar and Sanctum show that Shadows can do most of the work. Card draw and archiving is probably not as big as I thought especially if your deck is already full of high value cards. This is based on the low number of Library of the Damned, Hidden stashes, and both Labworks. It looks like a deck wants to reach some sort of critical mass of card selection or else it’s just not impactful enough. Finally, seriously question any two power or less creature without a destroy or play effect.

The biggest problem with all of these conclusions is that I only have access to the deck lists of the top 16. It’s really impossible to tell what the meta was like that led to these decks being there. I hope FFG releases the names of all of the decks that participated in the vault tour. It will give us a much better picture of how prevalent Shadows was, if any full combo decks existed, how much artifact hate was brought in. Why did these 5 Brobnar and Sanctum decks make it to top 16 when the rest didn’t?

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