Unofficial Variants, Tournament Structures, and House Rules

From Archon Arcana - The KeyForge Wiki

KeyForge lends itself well to a wide variety of variants, tournaments, and house rules. Below are some of those commonly found in the KeyForge Community.

Unofficial Variants

Adaptive short

(Also known as Adaptive Modified or Adaptive Best of One)

This is a shorter, one-game version of the Adaptive variant, where players immediately proceed to choosing and bidding for decks. If both players choose their own deck, they play a regular match. If both players choose their opponent's deck, they play a Reversal match. If both players choose the same deck, they bid chains as in the third game of an Adaptive match.

Modified Triad

(Also known as Triad Best of One) After benching one of their opponent's decks, both players simultaneously pick one of the remaining decks to play in a best of one.

Blind Sealed Reversal

In this variant, players receive a Sealed deck and prior to each round they swap decks with their opponent. The opponent cannot look at the decklist and plays "blind", without knowing the contents of the deck they're playing.

Speed Sigil

In this variant, players play as if there is a copy of Speed Sigil constantly in play, meaning that the first creature played each turn comes in ready.

Unofficial Tournament Structures


There are multiple suggestions for applying principles of duplicate bridge to KeyForge:

  1. blinkingline's version can be found on reddit.
  2. Another version, also from reddit.

House Drafting

Ideally done in pods of 8. A pool of houses is made available to self-ban. As of this writing, 6 copies of each of the 9 houses are available. During each players turn in the draft, they will pick one of the available houses to self-ban, meaning they will not be able to play a deck with that house. Draft continues in snake-draft manner, until each player has banned 6 houses and have 3 remaining. At the end of the draft, each player picks a deck from their own collection, or from a community curated list of decks, to play for the event. During the first and second rounds of the draft, the same house may not be picked twice in the same round by another player. During the third and fourth rounds of the draft, the same house may not be picked twice consecutively. A player may not ban a house they have already banned. In the event a player is 'locked' into a house (by virtue of that house running out in the available pool) they may need to auto-ban houses.

  • An auto-ban will fill in the last available ban slot of a player.
  • In case a player is locked into Mars, they will auto-ban both Saurian and Star alliance if they have not yet banned them.
  • In case a player is locked into Star Alliance or Saurian, they will auto-ban Mars if they have not yet banned it.


Aurore Inara created a tournament structure that rewards players both for their play and their deck and matchup evaluation skills.


Mortivas' Tesla tournament structure sees rounds alternate between the solo and reversal variants.

House Rules

Chess Clocks

KeyForge's asynchronous play lends itself well to the use of Chess Clocks, both as a time keeper and a handicapping mechanism. The winner of the game is the first to forge three keys or have their opponent run out of time.


Chris Steele suggests modifying the rules to read:

"When time is called for the round, the game continues until the active player finishes their next forge a key step or either player forges their 3rd key. If neither player has achieved victory (forged three Keys) by that time, they must follow the steps below, in order, to determine who receives a win for the current game."