Only once in the past have I written an angry article about KeyForge, when the Archimedes ruling made entire boards get archived by a board wipe. I didn’t know Archimedes was going to be fixed, but I am very happy it did. Now with the acquisition of KeyForge by Ghost Galaxy, we have a far worse disaster on our hands: Alliance.
What is Alliance?
In Alliance players use three 12 card pods, each pod a single house from a single deck, and combine them to form a new deck. There are currently no restrictions besides the houses needing to be different.
The new format announced by Ghost Galaxy is one that some community members tested a long time ago before the pandemic in search of ways to use middling decks that have one strong house instead of letting them collect dust in the closet. Back when this was tested the vast majority of players were against it, and it quickly died out. I am sure some players are still smashing random decks together on their kitchen table. I’m sure it’s fun if you don’t try to make broken decks.
A competitive format is naturally going to draw out the best possible decks, which means not using middling decks at all, but rather creating super decks from the best decks out there. Decks so powerful I doubt we can call them KeyForge.
The broken decks
Community members (myself included) already put together some Alliance decks to show how ridiculous they can become. I didn’t put much thought into mine and yet they are ridiculously powerful. I can’t imagine what power level you could get to if you hunted specifically for pods that compliment each other on the secondary market.
Here are my three decks:
I’m a combo player, so naturally I threw together a combo deck first. Here is a Library Access Timetraveller backed by Battle Fleet Key Abduction and double Nepenthe Seed. When this deck gets rolling it will immediately win. I don’t own a Martian Generosity Key Abduction deck, but if I did I’d swap the Mars house for that.
I don’t own Lateral Shifts in three different houses, but playing the two I have multiple times with some Nepenthe Seeds seems like a good compromise. Are you sure you need that card? I think I’ll take it.
Lastly, why wouldn’t I just lock my opponent out of the game. This deck will use Library Access Timetraveller to set up Perpetual Scrambler Storm or Control the Weak by using Novu Archeologist to archive and replay them every turn. Star Alliance has double Stealth Mode for good measure.
There are so many ridiculous combos you can make, like United Action with Library Access. Who needs anything else when you can just play every card in your deck?
Alliance is broken and it cannot be fixed
Even if you introduced a ban list and set restrictions Alliance is broken. It’s broken at the core because it is not KeyForge. You’ll be forced to use Opaque sleeves to even test decks. Your Archon’s identity will be lost in an amalgamation. And not only that, all the cries that KeyForge is pay to win (It’s not, in my opinion) are going to skyrocket, because who can compete with the people buying off powerful decks with clear weaknesses and mashing them together to create monsters?
The idea was to allow us to use decks hidden away in our closet collecting dust. Alliance does not solve this problem it, it exacerbates it. The weak decks with non-perfect house pods will see even less play.
The community has spent the last two and a half years crafting formats that allow middling decks to be used. My personal favorites are Newton, Tesla, and Versatile Pairs. But there are other options, even Adaptive, which I hate, is better than this abomination. There are so many options out there, why pick the one format that was tested over two years ago and died?
What about Sealed Alliance?
While I personally don’t think it is necessary, I have no real issue with Sealed Alliance. It’s not going to break very often if at all. Getting a pool of 2-3 decks and picking 3 of the houses in those decks is likely going to even the playing field and create a more fair run up to playoffs. But the final 4 are still going to be largely decided by who opened the better decks.
If GG want to run Alliance as a one time thing, see all the wackiness that ensues, that would be awesome. They already said they may run some tournaments with Unchained decks. Very cool. But proposing this as a standard of premier play is just so detached from reality I am having trouble writing coherently.
I don’t want to see Alliance become a standard of competitive play and I can’t go to the tournament to show my protest. I have signed this petition. If you feel like I do, I encourage you to sign the petition and to send a message via Ghost Galaxy’s contact form so we can be heard.