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Benchmark deck explained

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In my recent article about the Obfuscation variant I am developing I mentioned using a benchmark deck. It seems a lot of people were looking for a more in depth look at how this works, so instead of answering to everyone individually, I decided to elaborate.


There are variants out there that might punish you for bringing too strong or too weak a deck. Well, aside from Obfuscation the only one I know of is Tesla.

In Tesla, you bring any deck and then during the event, you alternate between Reversal and Standard. Mortivas runs two Tesla events on Mondays, and since we play roughly the same people weekly, we have developed a meta. This meta is basically people knowing roughly what power level of deck to bring so they have a chance of winning in both Archon solo and Archon Reversal.

The problem is what happens when you have a Tesla event without an established meta? Nobody knows what an “average” deck is in the other players’ minds, so you sort of guess. But you could guess too low, and not have a chance in the Archon rounds or guess too high and not have a chance in the Reversal rounds.

Tesla is a weird beast though and if you bring a deck that is too strong or too weak you also punish your opponents in the rounds you inevitably win. But that is a different problem I am not trying to solve today.

Obfuscation has a similar issue. If you bring a very strong deck, you won’t be able to get points for your wins. If you bring too weak a deck you’re not likely to win any games, having a similar result.


The benchmark deck is an idea proposed on the Sanctumonius discord after the first Obfuscation test league. By showing everyone a deck, you’re helping everyone zero in on that vague meta.

The meta we have established in weekly Tesla events is not strict, it’s a pretty wide range of decks that would play well with each other. Decks don’t automatically beat each other if there is a small power gap, it just shifts a little from a 50-50.

The benchmark deck doesn’t need to actually participate in the event because it is simply a lighthouse, showing everyone a rough point to gravitate towards. Players don’t need to find a deck that has a 50-50 chance to beat it, but rather anything around the 45-55 or maybe even 40-60 would be fine.

The benchmark deck can be of very different power levels. Want to play a Tesla event with really strong decks? Just pick a vault tour winning deck as a benchmark. Want to play really weak decks? Display a reversal deck. It’s a very flexible solution. I chose to draw a random deck as benchmark for the Obfuscation league, but you could hand pick it.

Contact and afterword

Hope this helps clear things up! There are still a few hours until the Obfuscation league signup is closed, so hop over to the Sanctumonius discord server hop over to #timeshapers channel and check out the pins.

Likewise, I’m still running a double elimination bracket low sas tournament on Thursdays. So join the discord and find the #timeshapers channel to join in on the fun.

As always, you can follow me on twitter for updates. And join us at the Sanctumonius discord server if you’d like to chat with me, or join an awesome community of KeyForge players. 

We’ve also started the Timeshapers Podcast, so find it on your favourite platform, and if it isn’t there, please leave a comment so we can get it on there.


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