Essay:Why AOA is the best set of the first 3
My name is Richard Haeder. I am a musician. I play alto sax, bari sax, string bass, and bass guitar. KeyForge to me is a way to interact with people with shared interests, even if they are 10 or more years older than me. I am 14 years old. The game I played before KeyForge came out was Pokemon TCG. Sure, there were people my age, but that just drove up the competitiveness in a less-than-friendly way. So I switched to Keyforge and found the community is more like a family. In this article I will be discussing Age of Ascension and why I think it is the best of the first 3 KeyForge sets and some strategies on holding cards. Let’s get to it.
My View on Keyforge
Here are some viewpoints I have on KeyForge in general.
Playing Out of Hand
When I first started KeyForge, I noticed that people hold cards too much. Not exactly holding a TMTP or Key Charge per se, but I find people would stick with a board of 4 Dis creatures and just use that while I am cycling through my deck and handcrafting away. I found that 99 percent of the time when you are playing more cards out of hand, you will be forging more keys. Now, this got all screwed up with Saurians and Star Alliance where boards are everything. But I usually try to play my hand every turn.
Holding Multiple Cards
Unless your deck relies on a card, like Martian Generosity or Key Charge (in Heart of the Forest decks), or a scaling steal in a CotA deck, why hold it? I mean sure, it can vary from game to game, but most of the time you want to cycle. An example of a time I would hold is in my Key Hammer/Phase Shift/Interdimensional Graft deck, where it kind of needs that combo. There are plenty of examples where I would dump key cards, like a Key Charge, or a Glimmer, or a Helper Bot with nothing to play.
AoA and Why it is Better
There are plenty of reasons why AoA is better. For one, you can get almost exactly a CotA shadows deck in AoA, just better. The lockout decks are endless, OTK (one turn kill) decks are common, and the card draw is pretty insane. Let’s get into a house breakdown.
Aoa mars is the best house to ever exist, when paired with a Martian Generosity, or with Logos. The number one reason is Key Abduction. This card is just bonkers. It can pull off wins that shouldn't happen. When combined with Logos or MG, you can win almost every game. My other favorite AoA mars card is Collector Worm. For being common, it is extremely powerful. It can take down big creatures and archive them, so your opponent doesn’t get them back. There are even a few Mars archive cards, like Knowdrone and Thinkdrone.
Logos in AoA is very good, when you aren't facing a Dysania. The amount of archiving and speed cards is what makes the set good. To start, Titan Librarian. This guy may seem bad at first, but, when you put it next to a taunt, he can do work. The fact that you archive AFTER you draw is extraordinary because it gives you more options. Next is Eureka!. Eureka! can be tricky. Sometimes it is a discard, but is a very good play if you want to thin your hand. Gaining 3 Æmber AND archiving 2 cards is phenomenal for an uncommon. Helper Bot is an amazing creature. It can be brought back with Regrowth, played lots with Hysteria, and is just a better Phase Shift. Not really much to say about it other than it's pretty good as it can thin your hand. Professor Sutterkin. Oh boy, where do I even start? Let's assume it lives to start. You can easily draw a few cards with 1 and have a really big Logos turn followed by a really big next turn, or, with 2-4, you may even draw your deck. This is really useful with things like Key Abduction, and just having your deck in your hand is never a bad thing. You can protect it with a taunt, play it ready with a Duskwitch or Speed Sigil. Then again, if it dies, well, it's dead. Can’t do much if it’s dead.
Brobnar is my least favorite set in AoA, however it is still good. Things like The Flex and Lollop the Titanic can be really bursty, and when paired with things like Haedroth’s Wall or Blood of Titans, it can be even better. That's just the start of AoA Brobnar. You can’t forget the Grump Buggies, the Gangernauts, and the Æmber and board control. Burn the Stockpile is always a good card to have, especially when paired with Grump Buggy. The random commons can be useful, like Brammo to kill any small threat, Drummernaut to heal a Brobnar creature, Lollop for a big beating stick, etc.
There's lots to say about AoA Dis. For one, there is so much DISruption (haha, get it?). Things like Binding Irons, Streke, Tezmal, the Imps, and more. There is also lockout potential with Gold Key Imp, which i will discuss in the archetype portion. There is enough board control to go around, like Pain Reaction, Three Fates, Key to Dis, Banish, and Cull the Weak. Æmber control is not lacking either. You have Charette, you have Lash of Broken Dreams, you have Shooler, and there's more but if I list every card you will be looking at a 300 page book report, not a KeyForge article.
AoA Shadows is on par with CotA shadows in my opinion. You still have TMTP, Nerve Blast, Ronnie is a new option, and there is still Routine Job, to list a few. There are some pretty good commons/uncommons, like Knuckles Bolton, Yantzee Gang, Perplexing Sophistry, and Gamgee to say a few. It is a bit more creature heavy in my opinion, but that’s fine. There’s not really not much to say here, Shadows is always gonna keep on stealing, and not really gonna die in my opinion.
Heart of the Forest. Pretty much it. Just kidding, AoA Untamed actually has lots going for it other than HotF. To start us off, we have Glimmer. Glimmer is like a Nepenthe Seed, but better and worse. It is better because you don’t have to wait to use it, it can be brought back with Song of Spring and Regrowth and Nature's Call, but is worse in that it is not an Artifact with an Omni. Also, Untamed can provide answers to everything except Æmber control and disruption. For that, you have a Lifeweb. And a Lifeweb. And that’s about it. It is good at everything else, though. It can rush, hold a board, recover cards, cheat keys, etc. it can even create lockout games, with Heart of the Forest.
Sanctum is the board of AoA. You have Taunts, you have big bodies, and you have loads of Armor. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. There is Doorstep, and lots of capture creatures, like Bordan the Redeemed and Aubade the Grim. The taunts usually have useful effects like Challe the Safeguard, with Deploy. Plenty of board control to go around, and you have got yourself a great house. And don't even get me started on The Grey Rider. Grey Rider is a really good Gangernaut, and a just a better Ganger Chieftain. My favorite Sanctum card from AoA is probably Barrister Joya. When placed next to something like, a creature with Protect the Weak, or any taunt, it can be really hard to get around. Free Markets is a good Æmber generation card, and Smite is also a good card in the common/uncommon category that can be really useful to clear small creatures. Begone! is at the very least an Infurnace-proof Æmber pip, or a semi-board clear at times.
Archetypes in AoA
This section explains some of the obvious archetypes in AoA. Keep in mind that I can’t cover every deck because every deck is unique, but I will cover the basics.
The most well-known AoA archetype is GenKa. GenKa is where you have one or more Martian Generosity, and one or more Key Abduction. The goal is to either reap a bunch in a creature heavy deck, draw a decent amount off of Martian Generosity, and forge for free with Key Abduction. A decent amount of cards depends on the deck, so play your deck to figure out when to play the MG.
The best Brobnar archetype is this by far. You have the ability to generate endless Æmber, and can make the opponent's keys cost tons. I haven't played this at all, but if someone who has wants to contact me at StrangeGizmo#8964 on discord and I will put your thoughts on this article.
Gold Key Imp Lock
I will say that this archetype is not really an archetype, it is just a gimmick. But, if your opponent has no key cheat, and you have one and a way to kill the Gold Key Imp, it works about 80 percent of the time if you need to pull out a win. You start by getting to check and playing the Imp. Then you kill Imp later and key cheat. Then again if they don’t have 2 keys you are winning anyways so just keep it that way.
Heart of the Forest
Heart of the Forest is by far my favorite of them all. When I used to play the Pokemon TCG, I played mill/lock decks for 90 percent of my tournaments. This reminds me of that and some of the concepts transfer over. One thing I will say about playing in a tournament setting is PLAY FAST. If you don’t play fast, you lose. By fast I mean almost no thought, like a robot. The basic way the deck wins is by 1. Winning normally. 2. If your opponent gets ahead, play Heart of the Forest. Then wait until you have your combo pieces for your deck, forge your 2nd key naturally, and then use a key cheat to forge the third. Not to say you can’t win by other means with a HotF deck, but this is the main one.