Inevitability – MTG takeaway
Yesterday some fine people mentioned some MTG articles that while use MTG as examples are applicable to many more games. It is very stimulating to read about those MTG concepts and see how they apply to KeyForge. So this is the beginning of the MTG takeaway series.
My first one is this very vague theorycrafting article that isn’t fully digested. But I need to get it out and I might revisit it in the future with some examples from actual games.
What is Inevitability?
“If one player is virtually guaranteed to win the game if it goes long enough, we say that that player has inevitability” is the quote from Reid Duke, who wrote the article on Inevitability in MTG. To elaborate in my own words, Inevitability comes from a matchup being such that if you control the flow of the game for long enough you are virtually guaranteed a win.
It is important to note that Inevitability is not in a deck, but rather in a matchup. While you may have inevitability against one deck you might not have it against another. And indeed some matchups, or I dare say, most matchups, don’t have inevitability at all.
What does Inevitability look like in KeyForge?
Inevitability in KeyForge is different than in MTG because in MTG you have a finite number of cards, due to losing if you ever hit the end of your deck, but in keyforge you have infinite cards. So in KeyForge there is no state of game where your opponent has used up all their Æmber control and doesn’t have any forever, they only don’t have it until the reshuffle.
So there would be two kinds of Inevitability, one is Temporary until the reshuffle and one is permanent.
I have already mentioned a situation where Æmber control has run out in your opponent’s deck, this produces an inevitability, provided you’re able to generate the Æmber faster than they can, or you do have sufficient Æmber control to stop them. Furthermore, some decks are able to burst inordinate amount of Æmber, if your opponent is out of Æmber control, or even just out of scaling Æmber control like Too Much to Protect, there exists an inevitability.
Another situation you might run into is The Sting, which can also produce inevitability. Due to the skip forging step, you generally have to be ahead on keys to reach inevitability. But once you have that Sting down, it puts your opponent in a very awkward position, either they don’t try to generate Æmber, or they let you have a lot of Æmber. Lose-lose. Some decks can get out of it with various cards like scaling Æmbercontrol or Miasma, but if those cards have already been used?
Well in the case of the Sting, there is a potential out. You could forgo generating Æmber until you reach the reshuffle and redraw your answer. This waiting for the reshuffle to generate Æmber is not something I’ve seen happen, and is pure theorycraft. It is much more likely that if you don’t generate Æmber, then your opponent will simply sacrifice the Sting and try and win the normal way, which I guess works too. In either case, this feels like temporary inevitability to me.
Some decks out there can reach a game state where it is no longer possible for your opponent to win, and I’m not talking about lockouts. Infurnace, along with cards like Hysteria and Exhumes can potentially purge sufficient cards from the opposing deck that it no longer has the tools to win. Usually if a game goes long enough for Infurnace to purge about half the opposing deck, the game is over due to Inevitability. Provided the player playing the Infurance chose the correct cards to purge.
Another kind of Inevitability is combos. Martian Generosity Key Abduction is one of those combos that if it goes off, the game is over, quite literally. The Inevitability comes from the matchup though, not the deck. If your opponent doesn’t have good ways to disrupt the combos, then all that is left is to see if the GENKA player can make the game go long enough to win, inevitably.
Inevitability doesn’t not mean a Guaranteed win
While I write this, and shuffle the idea in my head, I keep making the mistake of thinking that Inevitability means one deck is Guaranteed to win in a matchup. It’s not, what it means is that the longer the game goes on, the more likely they are to win. Inevitability is largely the domain of control decks, and those haven’t been making a strong showing in KeyForge, so far.
Unlike in MTG where you can include a powerful inefficient card in your deck that can produce inevitability on it’s own, KeyForge doesn’t have that. But KeyForge might have specific card combinations that can act as that very powerful single card. How about Martian Generosity, Mars First, Proliferator? Those three cards together can produce a very strong inevitability, as the player playing them has the potential to hold their entire deck in their hand and repeatedly use Martian Generosity without any real way for the opponent to stop them, unless of course they have Punctuated Equilibrium or Dysania.
The rest of the deck can be a set of cards that stall out the game, preferably cards that remove a Æmber from the opponent’s pool, like maybe a Shatter Storm. Eventually, using the abundant resources provided by Martian Generosity, it will eventually win, against most decks.
Why is Inevitability important?
Well if one deck has Inevitability, then the other deck must force the game to end early. This means, for example you might want to burst to 12 Æmber even though your opponent has an Interdimensional Graft in their deck, if the Graft deck has Inevitability. Because the deck with Inevitability doesn’t actually care about the 6 Æmber they get, the only thing it cares about is reaching the late game. So if you burst to 12 Æmber and they don’t graft, you’ve shortened the game considerably. And if they do graft? Short as well!
Now KeyForge doesn’t usually produce highly specialized decks, so often times a deck gaining 6 Æmber off a graft would be able to just play midrange KeyForge, playing value cards in order to win. In that respect you might need to be careful. Still, if they have inevitability, then you’re better off taking the risk, than playing into the late game, where you are all but guaranteed a loss.