Set Discovery – The Spoiler Free Approach
My very first vault tour was at UKGE Birmingham, the release of Age of Ascension. I wanted to be competitive, so I had to learn the cards as best I could. This time though, I did not have any important sealed events coming up, so I decided to remain spoiler free until I got to play with Worlds Collide.
Remaining Spoiler Free
My favourite discord server Sanctumonious remains spoiler free for a long time, having a dedicated channel for new set talk. But even after the new set was scannable, and they decided to allow it everywhere, I had little trouble blocking out all the conversations about the new set by just not reading it. I did catch a few card names or effects, but none really stuck with me.
Overall, remaining spoiler free was not very hard.
Blind Speed Sigils
At Krakow my SO played some speed sigils, and they decided to do a blind one. Both players open and sleeve their decks without looking at them at all, and then played them. No mulligan allowed and no peeking at the archon card either! She really enjoyed this format, so once we got home we played some with sealed decks I bought.
I personally don’t love the format from a gameplay perspective. It’s a bit too tactical and takes away my ability to form a strategy. But as a way to discover decks it’s pretty great. It forces you to play each deck at least once, and it gives a completely different sense of discovery as you draw cards slowly and really consider them. A tip, doing this on TCO is great, don’t need to sleeve and unsleeve a bunch of cards.
I decided this was a good way to discover some new decks, so when I got my hands on a target leaked starter set, I immediately sat down with my SO to jam a game. It was really fun, and drawing those Star Alliance cards and going “Holy shit, this is crazy!” after every draw was a blast. Probably my favourite way to play an unknown set.
Pick 1 of X
At Dutch Grand Championship we got to play in our first sealed Worlds Collide event. We joined up with Dan Jung that was there as a player rather than a judge, and headed to the tables. And I got to say, picking a deck out of a set that is unknown to me just doesn’t feel very good. I don’t know the cards or the interactions. Sure, I can pick based on Æmber pips, aember control and creature distribution like I usually do, but that’s not really the best form of discovery.
So here I am, discovering new cards without playing them, and kind of defeating the entire purpose of remaining spoiler free. If I wanted to just read the cards, I could have done so as spoilers came out.
My personal preference would be 1 deck sealed for discovery and not pick 1 of X.
After that teams event, I decided to crack the rest of the display case I bought and look over the lists. I must say though, this had no lasting effect on me, and I barely remember any excitement from looking over the cards. The most excited I got was my 4 Moor Wolf deck. I would much rather discover those individual cards as they were leaked and discussing them with friends rather than looking them over in a deck.
Share the Excitement
Another way to discover new cards is for someone to tell you about them. People knew that I was spoiler free, so they asked if I’ve seen card X yet. This was after I racked some packs and played some games. I decided to let them spoil it for me, as I seemed to have already caught the majority of commons and uncommons, and waiting to discover rares by popping or playing would take forever.
Sharing the excitement of others as they talk about their new favourite card is awesome. It is a really fun way to have a discussion about a card, and another reason why simply being exposed to cards as they pop up will be my way going forward.
I know a lot of people were very happy about it, but for me it was awful. I was avoiding spoilers and everyone I knew was talking about the new set a full month ahead of time. By the time I got to play with the set, I had missed hours upon hours of discussion about new cards. And it seems as though FFG were still strictly enforcing the street date in europe, while Worlds Collide went rampant in the US. Not cool FFG. Not cool.
As a content creator I have missed out on writing about new stuff as it came out. People asked for my opinion on the new set before I have seen any cards. So remaining spoiler free has robbed me of my ability to stay up to date, and my readers alike. I would rather be writing a report on the new set right now, but I guess it’ll wait a few more days.
While I am not going to be playing any important sealed events any time soon, Worlds Collide is going to be legal in Belgium Grand Championship. Not spending the past month talking about the cards has put me at a decisive disadvantage against anybody who has. I still have no idea how much of the field is going to be Worlds Collide, but I do not feel prepared to face it. Being competitive is about taking any advantage you can get, and I forfeited mine.
Contact and afterward
For me personally, avoiding spoilers was not worth it. That one game of blind speed sigil that was awesome was not worth the cost. Moving forward, I am going to let spoilers come at me. I might not go hunting down every spoiler, but not block them out either.
I’m still not sure if I’ve seen all the anomalies. Just the other day I saw Orb of Wonder for the first time. That was pretty awesome.