Online sealed chain auction!

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Keyforge events run online tournaments in the most inconvenient hours for someone like me who is in GMT+3 time zone. And yet, for this sealed chain auction event, I set an alarm for 3:30 AM.

The format

Keyforge has two formats that reduce deck strength factor and maximize player skill, those are Adaptive and chain auction. I have joined an online league for Adaptive, and have written a post about my first match in the Adaptive league.
Sealed Auction basically has every player bidding on the deck they want to use. The one big advantage this has over Adaptive is that there is no problem playing best of 1 afterwards, while Adaptive requires best of 3.
The official Sealed Auction has a bit of a flaw in it’s design, since you are required to bid 0 on your own deck if it is called. So if you opened a really bad deck, and happen to be called first, you will end up with your bad deck. You will have no opportunity to bid on another deck, and you’re at the mercy of the other player’s ability to force each other on the correct amount of chains, without an ability to affect it.
Likewise if you open a really strong deck, and happen to be called last, nobody can bid on your deck. If you just pass on all bids, you will get your own deck for 0 chains.

Luckily, the good people that contributed to thinking about the format and develop a bot to run it, have figured this one out, and did not force anyone to bid 0. So if everyone passes a deck it goes back in the pool. This also has a flaw, but a less prominent one. If there are 2 or more decks left that nobody wants, then they can pass forever. But this is easily solved by just randomly distributing those decks, or forcing the owner to bid 0 on the second round.

Deck Assessment

Great practice for Birmingham. While it is obviously not Age of Ascension, having to evaluate 8 decks in the span of about 7 minutes is a good practice run. I took an audio recording of myself speaking out loud during deck assessment, here is an edited transcription.

Decks up for auction, in the order they were bid on:

Berylshadow, the Technician of the Factory
I start up by a general creature count in each house, I note the 5 creatures in mars, and then get to sanctum and see the horsemen. I stop my creature count and look over the house in appreciation. I note the doorstep and that it doesn’t have any dead cards, and I like the quality of the creatures. I move on to shadows and note the Evasion Sigil. I just say “interesting”.
I then try and find my aember control. I look differently at aember control out of hand and from board. So it’s just Grabber Jammer potentially with a Squawker to get them off 7, and a Doorstep. This means I must have board control and keep it in order to keep my opponent off keys.

Discibal Shield-Patch, Madre
I note the two Pile of Skulls in excitement, but then see I only have 3 Brobnar creatures, which is definitely not what I want to see in Brobnar in general, and with Pile of Skulls in Particular. I go over the other house and note the creature count. Just 4 in Logos but 7 in Mars, and they are good ones. I start noting aember control, Effervescent Principle is great, Screechbomb is decent but not out of hand, and Dextre.
I then compare it to Berylshadow and say they are both pretty shitty, but I conclude Berylshadow is better.

HRH “Switchblade” Barfield
I immediately note the three Arise! in Dis, along with only 2 creatures and a Key Hammer and say the Dis is shitty. I don’t even take the time to fully analyse it, as I just straight up don’t like it, and rank it last below the other 2.

Warlord R. Extrodation
I go over the Brobnar and I like it. It has a solid creature count and 3 out of hand Aember control. I note the Howling Pit and that I don’t know how I feel about it, it’s a double edged sword. I note that it doesn’t have Aember control in Logos, but has them in both Shadows and Brobnar, and it also has Miasma. Just based on having Aember control (and key control) out of hand, this deck ranks highest, so I move on.

Teeming “Lobo” Gormflaith
I go over Brobnar and note it is decent. I then see the two Shield of Justice which are usually accompanied by too few creatures, but this deck actually has a fair number of Sanctum Creatures. I say this may be the best deck yet. I start looking at Aember control: Lomir, Burn the Stockpile, Sequis, Tabris. I end up ranking it second, just because of the Strength of Shadows in the Warlord deck.

Capo “Cane Pazzo” Megaton
I note the Earthshaker and particularly note I think there are a lot of small creatures in the other decks. I note the Kelifi dragon and say it will never hit the board because the deck doesn’t have Loot the Bodies. I go over the rest of the cards and Note Sneklifter in particular, a great Artifact control card. I place it third.

H. H. Kragpoppy of the Ochre Battlement
I note the three Smaaash and Burn the Stockpile, it’s a decent Brobnar selection. I note the Bait and Switch and Too Much to Protect are nice, but Key to Darkness is dead. I like the 3 Regrowth with Chota. I place it above the Kelifi Dragon, and note I have 2 minutes left. I also note we got more than 5 minutes that were planned, I’m already about 7 minutes in.

Parsons, Armory Major
Since my time is short, I go over everything quickly. I note the high quality of the Dis and Mars creatures, and the utility in Shadows. I quickly conclude it’s the best deck here.

Final Ranking

I go over the top decks and reorder them. I still think Parsons is the best. I move Warlord up to second best because of the Board clear and that we saw lots of decks that want to hold board. I go over Teemin that is currently ranked third, and say I’d be happy to play it. I definitely move stuff around. I wish I had a screenshot of my final ranking. Based on memory and recording of the bidding, this is my ranking.

I end up with:
Parsons, Armory Major
H. H. Kragpoppy of the Ochre Battlement
Warlord R. Extrodation
Teeming “Lobo” Gormflaith
Capo “Cane Pazzo” Megaton
Berylshadow, the Technician of the Factory
Discibal Shield-Patch, Madre
HRH “Switchblade” Barfield


Auction opens with Berlyshadows and right off the bat 6 chains on a deck I have ranked 6th. Dennis goes up to 7. I later found out they just wanted to play with Horsemen. Deck goes to Dennis.

We had a little trouble with the bot, but next up is Discibal my 7th ranked deck. I pass, and a bid of 3 comes in. The rest pass. Deck goes to SithofAngmar.

Next up HRH my 8th ranked deck. People pass until Noam bids 0 and gets it for 0.

Now we bid on Warlord, my second ranked deck. We get a bid of 0, then 1, then I bid 2, and get immediately outbid by 3. everyone passes. Mathnut gets it for 3.

We bid on Teeming, BHawk bids 2, and gets outbid by dapper with 3 and gets it.

We bid on Capo and we all pass.

H.H is up. I bid 0, Infract bids 2, BHawk bids 3, Infract bids 4, BHawk bids 5, and Infract gets it for 6.

We bid on Parsons, which is one of only two decks left, the other being Capo. I start with 0, BHawk goes 2, I go 3, they go 5. I stop to think. I know they passed on Capo so I figure they really want this deck. I don’t want to play it for 6, but I don’t really want to play against it with Capo if they’re at 5. So I bid 6, and they go to 7. I later really appreciate this decision when I meet BHawk in the finals.



I have a recording of the games, and at some point I’d like to go over them and see if I played well. But a short Summary.

Game 1 vs Mathnut, playing my third ranked deck with 3 chains. those chains make a difference. But my favourite part of this game is that I get Miasma’d, and I respond with Kelifi Dragon. My first time ever seeing it on the table.

Game 2 is against Noam, piloting my last ranked deck with 0 chains. I get board control early and keep it the entire game. They do manage to forge 2 keys, and I finish while sitting on a Gatekeeper and Magda in case I have to stop his keys. I win mostly because they never drew their Gateway.

Game 3 is against BHawk with his 7 chains deck which I ranked highest. They open strong and I vie for control of the board while they struggle under the weight of the 7 chains. They do get their Gateway in time to clear my board as it’s 1 to 1 in keys, but that just puts them back under the weight of the chains. I regain some of the board and rush for the third key, ending 3-1.




I love this format and I’m looking forward to playing it more. I feel like I bid well in the auction ended with a decent deck for 0 chains and making sure my opponent paid for their decks. I wonder how game 3 would have ended if they only had 5 chains, or how it would have gone for me if I got Parsons for 6.


Aurore is a competitive KeyForge player and the founder of Timeshapers. She's a content writer by trade and aspiring game designer. Follow @Timeshapers1