NKFL season 18 wrap up

I have played NKFL season 13, but I didn’t have the energy to pick a lineup back then so I went with a meme lineup of 6 LA+TT decks. It did not go well. Some of my LA+TT decks are very wonky and my opponents took advantage of it. It soured me on the format, and I dropped.

Recently I joined the NKFL Sealed season 2, which was fun. I’m not writing a wrap up of that because honestly, I don’t have much to say. I played a bunch of sealed games, finished 2nd in my group, got knocked out first round of playoffs if I remember correctly. It’s a good way to enjoy some sealed, but I don’t think it’s where Hexad shines. I had a good time and I’m playing in season 3.

But NKFL Sealed rekindled my interested in Hexad, so I joined the main league. Here is my experience in season 18, and John Ziegler also wrote about his experience in NKFL Season 17 if you care to have a read.


For those who don’t know, in Hexad you bring 6 decks. Each player reviews their opponent’s decks and proceed through those steps making simultaneous choices.

  1. Ban one of their decks.
  2. Safe one of your decks from being banned.
  3. Ban one of their decks.

Now each player is left with 4 decks and must play 3 games, each with a different deck. It’s not a best of 3, so even if you win 2 games you play the 3rd.

Overall number of wins account for your standing with keys forged and keys given up being a tie-breaker.

The league is split into divisions, when I joined we had 2 Gold, 3 Silver, and 4 Bronze divisions, and I joined in Bronze as to be expected. Next season there is going to also be a Diamond division at the top and an Iron division at the bottom.

Players move around from division to division based on their performance the previous season, if they wish to continue playing.

Deck Selection

I don’t have that many decks I feel very confident about so picking 6 decks provides quite a challenge. I ended up picking the 5 decks I felt most comfortable playing and thought are good enough for an uncapped event., then waffled on the 6th deck for a couple of weeks until I settles on a bit of an unusual pick. Those are the decks in the order of how confident I felt about them at the time.

1. Natural Philosopher Bazi Biz-Toth

I don’t know if Bazi is the best deck I own, but it is the best deck for me. I won the Belgium Grand Championship in 2019 playing this deck. It is a no brainer. It has a big Sanctum board that is backed by an LA+TT combo to get them on the board. And while this is nowhere neat the strongest Shadows suite out there, it works very well with the rest of the deck.

2. C. T. Ward, Escriba de la Belleza

C. T. Ward is one of my absolute favorites. It performs way better than it looks and has some neat little combos like placing a Neffru under Jargogle and then playing Unlocked Gateway. But the reason it shows up in so many of my lineups is because the decks I tend to play don’t have a lot of board clears, so it’s helpful to have a deck with double Unlocked Gateway and double Carpet Phloxem against those pesky Saurians.

3. Falconsight the Listlessly Eagle-eyed

While I usually prefer more combo oriented decks, I do enjoy playing control. Falconsight is a deck that has inevitability against many decks. If the game goes on long enough it will take away all your tools to deal with it, produce an insurmountable board, and take it to victory. I have issues playing this in tournaments because the games run long and the clock threatens to run out, but I have much less of an issue in leagues.

4. Flare the Conspicuously Philanthropic

Flare is my second favorite LA+TT deck. I initially overlooked the deck due to lack of aember control, but it can produce a Scrambler Storm lock into a winning Key Abduction, or simply steal games with a looping LA turn. Unfortunately, this deck just shrivels up and dies against big board decks, which means it is no longer viable in Archon Solo. I do like running it in Triad bo1, where I can choose to play it into favorable matchups, and I figured I could do something similar in Hexad.

5. Elwood O. Atomlet, the Absolute Zero

Elwood is a deck I opened myself fairly recently. I haven’t run it in any tournaments, but my win rate with it on TCO is pretty high. Plus, people are scared of high sas and Martian Generosity, so I was hoping people would ban it. I think it’s a good deck, and I wanted to give it a chance to shine.

6. Ortan, the Recluse of Vilealley

I had a few choices for my last deck and I was really unsure what to pick. I ended up settling on Ortan, a deck I have used quite a bit in various oddball formats like Oubliette and has always performed well. It also has a high win rate on TCO, and it has some powerful niche cards in it like Master of the Grey, “Borrow”, and Punctuated Equilibrium which can cause some trouble. I wasn’t confident in this pick, but I didn’t like my other options any better.


I can’t give you a rundown of every match I played as I barely remember any of them, but I finished first in my group, so I must of done something right.

Yeah, this is Bronze, but those opponents are no slouches. I had some very tough matchups and ended up winning 2/3 of my games. Today I was playing a new deck I opened which I want to put in my lineup next season, so I decided to take a look at how my decks performed in the league to figure out which deck gets benched.

When I started the league I marked the decks by how confident I was in the picks. Bazi, Ward, Falconsight, and Flare all got green. Ortan got Orange, and Elwood got Red. But how did it play out?

Season 18Natural Philosopher Bazi Biz-TothC. T. Ward, Escriba de la BellezaFalconsight the Listlessly Eagle-eyedFlare the Conspicuously PhilanthropicElwood O. Atomlet, the Absolute ZeroOrtan, the Recluse of Vilealley

I tallied up the times each deck got banned, won, and lost. I figured a deck drawing a ban is as good as a win, so Wins + Bans – Losses should give me a good idea of my best performers.

I was very surprised that Elwood outperformed Bazi, getting 5 bans and a win. That deck is definitely staying. I don’t know if my opponents next season will keep banning it, but I am fairly confident it can also win it’s fair share of games.

Bazi being a high performer is no surprise, and Falconsight drawing bans by having Infurnaces in it isn’t either.

Ortan is the real MVP in the lineup, stealthily getting 4 wins and going under the radar. Ward did it’s part, although it is not a high performer.

Flare, on the other hand, seems to be a disappointment. While it did manage to draw out some bans, it seems my opponents made an error, as it just doesn’t win. Goodbye Flare, I guess you’re only good for Triad bo1 where I can more reliably predict the good matchup.


If you’re reading this before 5th of January 2023, you still have time to join Season 19 of the NKFL. And if not, you can probably sign up for whatever the next season is. So go sign up and join the fun.


Aurore is a competitive KeyForge player and the founder of Timeshapers. She's a programmer and a content creator by trade. Her hobbies are woodworking, game development, board games, writing, and of course KeyForge. Follow @MaterialPoetics

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