Deck-Flip TimingOn July 20, 2020 by Mason Lehto
The reshuffle. It is something that makes Keyforge unique from other card games – there is no penalty for running out of cards, you just flip your discard, shuffle and continue. The deck-flip happens in most every match. Even in the lightning-quick CotA days most matches wouldn’t end before you burned through your deck at least once. In today’s meta, with efficiency and aember control becoming even more prevalent, it isn’t uncommon to reshuffle your deck multiple times in any given game.
The deck-flip is a significant moment in the game that creates strategic opportunities.
It’s also very easy to overlook. How many times have you found yourself holding a useless Exhume right after the reshuffle and felt completely stupid? Nepenthe Seed is one of the best cards in the game…when you have a discard pile. Some of the most impactful cards in the game have power that scales with the size of your discard pile – others are useless when your deck is getting thin. Cards like Eyegor and Neutron Shark get much worse just before the reshuffle (revealing cards will not cause you to reshuffle). A Wild Wormhole with no deck is just an aember.
Playing these cards at the right moment is the first level of proper deck-flip timing – but we can go further.
Keyforge is not a deck-building game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t “build” your deck.
When it’s time to reshuffle, your discard pile becomes your new deck. That might not sound very profound, but it has massive implications.
Shatter Storm, Stealth Mode, Gateway to Dis. These are the type of game-changing cards that you want to draw again. Are you holding a TMTP but won’t need it for a while? Play it for the aember right before you reshuffle. Instead of chaining yourself by holding it, you can draw it later. Imagine this: it’s two keys to two keys. Do you want the Ronnie Wristclocks sitting on your board hoping to reap, or back in the deck ready to be drawn again? If you can find an effective line of play that puts these game changing play-effect cards in your discard pile just before you reshuffle, you are effectively “building” a stronger Keyforge deck.
It’s important to remember that this goes both ways. Is your opponent about to flip the deck? Maybe it’s best to wait a turn before sending their Urchins to the discard pile. Bonus points if you can find a way to force their reshuffle with great play effects still on the table.
If you are facing a deck with Infurnace or Mimicry, you may want to time your deck-flip for another reason. Playing a Fertility Chant against an Infurnace purge deck is usually a terrible idea. However, if you can play it on the turn you reshuffle, your opponent never gets the chance to punish you. Does your opponent want to Mimicry your Arise! for a crazy Hunting Witch turn? Play it on the deck-flip to deny them that opportunity. Timing your reshuffle properly can both protect your important tools from being purged or give your opponent fewer options on their own turn.
After the reshuffle, the value in your deck will set the tone for your endgame.
If you want to be holding the answer when you need it, you need to craft a situation where you can draw that answer. You are largely in control of when your own deck flips. You can hold a card to prevent drawing past your deck, or you could draw a card mid-turn to force the flip preemptively.
- The reshuffle is important!
- Be aware of when your deck will flip.
- “Build“ your Keyforge deck by putting great cards back in your draw pile.
- Understand how the deck-flip alters the power of certain cards.
- Control the timing of your reshuffle when needed.
There are a lot of creative ways to get the most out of this pivotal moment. Additionally, watch for cards that can alter your reshuffles even more dramatically (Screaming Cave, Bear Flute, and Reverse Time to name a few).
The deck-flip matters, use it effectively!