Single sealed – Evaluation

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Keyforge

I apologize for the lack of updates. I have some ideas for topics, but nothing was well formed enough to write about, until today.

Basic Analysis

It doesn’t matter if I’m playing one, two, or three sealed decks event, I always want to know the basic data for my deck. How much aember control does it have? How many creatures? How much bonus Aember?

This is the most basic information I want to know about every deck I play in sealed. When I talk about evaluating sealed decks in two, or three deck sealed, then I talk about comparing decks in order to pick the best one. But when I’m evaluating single sealed decks, I’m looking to evaluate how I will need to play the deck.

Identifying playstyle

When counting bonus aember, you can quickly find how much you’re going to need to reap in order to win. If you have fifteen bonus aember, you know that if you cycle your deck once, you only need to reap a minimum of three more aember to get three keys. With some average stealing from your opponent, you’re looking at around nine reaps.

When you have low aember, say eight, you know you’re going to need to reap ten times at a minimum to win, more likely closer to fifteen.

High creature count usually means low bonus aember as there are simply less creatures that have printed aember on them than artifacts, actions, and upgrades. So a high creature count is also likely to dictate a board based win. You’re going to want to reap.

Lastly, aember control translates to how much time you have to set up your win. Having high aember control means that you have some leeway when playing your turns. You can hold a card back for the better play, and you can take the time to set up combos and craft your hand. Those combos though, need to be very high impact to give up the efficiency of cycling and reaping as much as possible.

Big plays

Single sealed deck evaluation is fast, you usually get about 2-3 minutes before the round starts. While in casual events you’ll see players taking their time and sleeving their decks and looking them over well into the start of the round, I prefer to have my deck sleeeved and evaluated when the round starts. This means I don’t have enough time to look over all the things I evaluate in two or three decks sealed, but I do have time to identify my big plays, and see if they are worth setting up.

Let’s play – First event

Yesterday I played in two AoA three round sealed events, so I have a fresh experience to share.

I purposefully cropped out the decks of keyforge stats, so you can evaluate it yourself if you want to. But there is a link below each picture to the decks of keyforge page.

The Beast that Audits Demons

The Beast that Audits Demons is my deck for the first event. The first thing I notice is the Untamed Logos combo, this in AoA immediately means very little aember control, as both those houses literally have none. I look over the Brobnar and the double Groke are basically my only aember control.

I do, however, see lots of bonus aember, and counting it I find a very respectable fifteen, with a Flaxia potentially bringing it up to seventeen. My creature count is a bit low at fourteen.

I was looking at the Drummernaut for big plays, but it doesn’t have any, the best it could do is heal a Groke, which is a decent play, but not a big one. My biggest play here is double Sutterkin into a big Untamed turn with Key Charge.

Round 1

My meagre creature count can’t hold the board against them, but I managed to get enough reaps in so that I win by cycling my deck and playing for bonus aember. I did manage to get some good use out of Groke with Into the Fray attacking some Elusive creatures.
I think their deck also lacked aember control, which is rough against a deck with fifteen bonus aember.

Round 2

I play down as it is a six player event. My opponent ignores my double Sutterkin allowing me to reap for eleven cards with a wide board, to forge my second key. They have a Grump Buggy out, and I forge my last key for twelve, paying extra one for my key charge.

Round 3

My opponent haphazardly kills one of my two Sutterkins by playing They’re Everywhere, and I note the error of playing it on a flank when I didn’t have to, he then proceeds to kill a creature that was not my second Sutterkin, allowing me to draw 3 cards, which is enough for me to swing the win.

Our six person sealed event had three Grump Buggies and both my second and third opponents had them. I know my round 3 opponent won both their previous games on it, and didn’t draw it against me. If they had drawn it early, the game may have ended differently.

I made the same mistake of undervaluing Sutterkin when I played at UKGE and lost because I didn’t deal with it, so I don’t fault my opponents for not seeing it.

Let’s play – Second event

I come off to the second event with a strong 3-0 record, and feeling confident and having fun. I actually calculated on the way over that even if I win both events, I’m still paying way more per deck than the two display boxes I just bought online, so the only way to get my money’s worth is to have a good time. I’m relaxed, and ready to rumble with whatever I get.

Restuvac Malikov, the Languid and Listless

Restuvac Malikov, the Languid and Listless is my second deck, and just let me take a second to appreciate that keyforge has taught me a new word.
Languid; Adjective; (of a person, manner, or gesture) displaying or having a disinclination for physical exertion or effort; slow and relaxed.
And I thought that the days of card games expanding my vocabulary were passed with my olden days of Magic: The gathering.

It doesn’t take long for my eyes to zone in on the double Drummernaut Ganger combo, plus double Grey Rider. That’s a lot of Rule of Six. Not only that, I have a Coward’s end, making it very easy to set up the board for Rule of Six reaps.

At this point, I already know what my big plays are, and the only thing I wanted to know was my creature count, a very decent seventeen, and my aember control, which is a bit lacking as usual. But I know my game plan, I need to generate aember, control the board, and burst with rule of six when I can.

As I play this deck, I realize it has some really great tools to hold the board, with double Panpaca, Anga and a Haedroth’s Wall, and I even have tools to get back my Rule of Six creatures, with Glimmer and two Regrowths.

Round 1

I play against a new player. I do my best to be friendly and helpful and let them take back anything they want. I then apologize profusely for them having to face Drummetnaut Ganger Chieftain on their first game as I slide easily into victory.

I should have gone back to ask how they are doing in later rounds, I hope they didn’t feel too bad from this loss.

Round 2

I get off my Drummernaut Ganger combo, and they reply with a Carpet Phloxem into a Mars Needs Aember, which gets me off the key. A few turns later they clear everything with Spirit’s End, and none of my creatures live because of the Panapaca, Anga. I still run away with the victory as I set up the same combo a second time by playing Regrowth on my Ganger Chieftain and waiting for my second Drummernaut.

Round 3

I just got everything I needed. Drummernaut Ganger gets me my first key, which they cleared with a Spirit’s Way. But I followed up immediately with Grey Riders for another couple of turns with Rule of Six for the win.

This deck really runs away with the victory, if you let it, and it would take some really strong decks to stop it. So while I did feel I played well, I also had a fair bit of luck opening this.

Let’s play – Back home

I won one deck each event as prize, so I went home to play with my SO that wasn’t feeling well enough to join me at the event. She opened the two decks, picked one to play and handed me the other. I’m writing this, because in the first game we played I won by identifying my big play.

Baroness 'The Wiper' Hale

Baroness “The Wiper” Hale is yet another deck with low aember control, which honestly irks me a bit. But hey, we’re not here to bicker about deck balance.

My big play here is triple Dust Imp into Unlocked Gateway. And sure enough in the first game we played, I’m staring down a mountain of creatures. I decide to go for Dis, playing a couple of Dust Imps and reaping. I then proceed to draw into my Unlocked Gateway the very following turn, lucky, but I also set myself up to win if I drew it. This allowed me to reap with Dis and then clear the board, getting me to twelve aember, and threatening to forge two keys one after the other, which I did.


I’m having a ton of fun playing keyfogre, especially as my SO and I play very regularly these days. I’m still undecided about a deck for Krakow, and I’m running a deck gauntlet to help me decide. I’ll post about it when it’s over, probably.

As always, if you want to be kept up to date, you can follow me on twitter. And if you want to chat, I’m most active on the Sanctumonious Podcast Discord server.


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