Karen of The Final Swindle contacted me about a new leaderboard-type way to play KeyForge she came up with called Chain Gang. The premise is that the first player (called the seed) picks a variant and finds someone to play it with. Then that player finds someone to play it with and so on and so forth (like a Chain Gang, get it?). This happens with two variants simultaneously for a week. At the end of the week, the longest chain in a variant wins!
Lacking 1v1 Variants
When I had to pick a variant I realized we’re lacking some good options for 1v1 games. Adaptive is a good option, and so is sealed. But for Archon, it seemed like players would bring a strong deck, and due to lack of a meta, the result of that game would be a bit up in the air and might feel a little random.
There are variants out there that work with multiple decks, such as Triad, which can certainly be played 1v1. But for a pickup game, bringing 3 decks might be a little too much effort.
My first thought was to play Oubliette. But Oubliette doesn’t really work outside the scope of a tournament. Getting an auto-loss in a 1v1 pickup game is very silly. Not only that, but overlapping houses carries a lot less risk when there is no tournament to win.
So what if we can get a similar house combo feel as Oubliette, without having to build a lineup? We could. House draft!
- Randomize the first player.
- First player starts by drafting one house.
- Second player drafts two houses.
- Continue back and forth until both players have 3 houses.
Each player brings a deck of the 3 houses they drafted and that’s it!
Snaglet’s Mirror will most likely have Logos and Dis drafted among the first two houses. If you wanted to see fewer of those houses, you could add some bans.
There are a couple of ways to do this, which I have not tested.
- First player bans a house and then continue as normal Snaglet’s Mirror with the first player drafting two houses after player two drafts one.
- Randomly ban a house before picking for further diversity.
People said it would be difficult to play this live, as you’d need to bring a lot of decks. I suggested you could draft houses before going to your LGS. This is not a variant intended for tournament play, just a nice fun game between friends. Although it could work well for leagues and leaderboards!
Try it out and let me know how you like it! And if you want to play Snag’s Mirror, come play in The Final Swindle discord.