Krakow Vault Tour: The personal
So I decided to consolidate the side events and my personal experiences into a single post, as I really want to get into my article series about keyforge formats. And a lot of the side events were more social than competitive, so it fits together nicely.
Do note that this post is going to mention some gender politics, inclusiveness and LGBT+ stuff. If that’s not your jam, that’s completely fine, just skip this one.
Let me start off with a story. Back at UKGE I played in an 8 person Archon pod. My second game I was matched up with Francesca, a 12 year old girl. I played She who Unloads on Covenants and I beat her. I was extremely delighted a young girl like herself felt comfortable playing keyforge at a premium event. FFG and the keyforge community have managed to make a very inclusive game, and it made me happy. I was also really impressed with how gracious she was, both in playing and in losing. At the end of the match I handed her a sealed AoA deck, she protested a little but than very excitedly accepted. I wanted to make it memorable for her.
It worked. Francesca also attended Krakow vault tour. She came to say hello at the first opportunity and asked for a rematch. I was quite busy playing all the events until the last day where I got knocked out at top 16 and had plenty of time. We sat down to play and she handed me a sealed AoA deck too!
I played She who Unloads on Covenants against the AoA deck I gave her a couple of months earlier. She played well and beat me! Then I opened the AoA deck she gave me, reviewed it with her, and played it against a Timetraveler deck of hers. I won.
I just love this story, and I will repeat it as long as people listen. Ilana (my SO) and me also invited Francesca to play with us in the last team event, AoA sealed. We had a great time.
Success as a teacher
One of the best feelings as a content creator is to hear people that attribute some of their success to my writing. I’ve had people at UKGE come up to me and say that my articles coming up to the event really helped them.
This time was even better, as Katarzyna came up to me during the sealed event saying she read all my posts and it really helped improve her game. She finished 4-2 in the sealed event which is awesome, and as well as I did in my first sealed vault tour. But then she proceeded to finish top 16 in the Archon event! I’m very happy I could help her get there.
Many people I’ve talked to were happy to see women, girls, and non-binary people like myself show up at keyforge premium events, but it is even more empowering to see them at top tables.
During one of my games sitting at table 1, playing against Theresa, a person boasting an Ace (asexual) flag pin came up to us and said it made them extremely happy to see us at the top table. I felt the same way. I am a little sad I had to knock out two women at top 16 and top 8, and I wish we could have played different opponents and all get higher.
Playing at top tables also awarded me the opportunity to play on stream, which was an awesome experience. It didn’t make me nervous, only more aware of the mistakes I’ve made. Having footage of my game to review is also great.
Lastly, I was interviewed based on being a minority and making top cut both days, which felt a little odd because it’s the first time that’s ever happened to me. I was told “We’ve realized it is a bit boring only interviewing white men”. I was happy to oblige. Matt was an excellent interviewer, and even though I completely forgot to say a few important things, such as my pronouns and thank my team Sanctumonious for their support, I’m happy to have had the opportunity.
Matt later asked me my pronouns in order to post the video on the FFG Organized Play facebook page, which made me feel welcome.
At UKGE I introduced myself as Aurore for the first time (my given name is Itai). It was an ideal place to try it out. Lot’s of introductions, many to people I’m not going to see much of. It went extremely well, and I started using Aurore in my personal life upon return home. This time I was going to introduce myself and my pronouns, but I ended up not doing that. It felt a bit odd. However, since my SO was with me this time, and talked about me a lot, referring to me as She/Her, a lot of people knew my pronouns just from hanging out at the event.
I’m not very adamant about my pronouns, but I have started correcting a few people. I only correct once. I let them know those are the pronouns I use, if they get confused or choose not to respect them, that’s fine by me, but I put it out there.
Aside from Francesca and Katarzyna, there were lots of awesome people. I usually do rather poorly with socializing with new people, but having my SO with me, who is better than nokia at connecting people helped a lot. That, and spending a considerable amount of time at top tables.
I’d like to thank everyone that was there and chatted with me, played with me, watched me play, and just hang out. It has been a blast, and it has been that way because of all you amazing people playing this fantastic game.
A special shout-out to Dan Jung the head judge, and the rest of the staff, who are all excellent people without which this event would not be half as good as it was.
One of the major changes from UKGE, is they added team events. Team events are the absolute best. One player deemed captain sits at the center, while the two lieutenants sit at their sides. The captains may freely communicate with their teammates, which is just such a unique experience. The result of the three games are aggregated into a best of 3 result for the match.
We played two team events with Ed, the new producer of Call of Discovery podcast (go check it out). We went 3-1 at the AoA only one and Ilana beat Dunkoro. Dropped the CotA one at 1-2 as it was getting late and I was completely out of it. Lastly we played team sealed with Francesca, and finished 2-2.
Opening six decks and picking three to play, and who gets to play what is a lot more nuanced and strategic than just picking the best deck out of three. It also means you can’t rely on one good deck to carry you to the top. I really hope to see Team Sealed as a main event at a Vault Tour one day. I really enjoyed it.
Aside from the team events, I participated in an AoA only archon solo, taking Charflare as warm-up for the main event. I’ve played it over 100 times online, but only a handful of times offline, and I needed the practice. I went 4-0 and it really bolstered my confidence. I also played a 2 deck sealed survival, and went 4-0.
My third game was the most memorable in the entire event. I managed to get 2 keys before my opponent completely dominated the board. However, having played Bellowing Patrizate, all their creatures had 1 damage on them. While they calmly and coolly cycled their decks for the third time, having twenty or more creatures on the board, I set up my plan.
A well timed Mars Needs Æmber into a Carpet Phloxem took them off their last key, while putting me in check. Having seen them cycle their deck three times, I knew they had no answer, and I won.
Contact and afterward
This game wouldn’t be as good as it is without the community and sportsmanship, you are all part of what makes me want to play this game as much as humanly possible.
Next up I plan on writing a series of articles about the different formats in keforge. Spoiler alert: I don’t think adaptive is the be all end all format for keyforge.