The Rise of Sealed

Published On: January 12, 2024

Opening a new KeyForge deck and exploring the intricacies of its unique mix of cards is one of the most exciting parts of the game. It’s a moment of discovery that is at the heart of the KeyForge experience, and it was a critical part of designer Richard Garfield’s vision for the game. The Archon and Alliance tournament formats give players opportunities to demonstrate their skills honed through long practice with strong decks. Yet the discovery aspect is largely absent from those formats.

Playing those first few games with a new deck can be very rewarding; there’s no better way to learn what a deck can really do than by playing it. Playing competitively with new decks is also a skill in its own, and it deserves to be honored at the same level as playing well with known decks. Sealed deck play places a great emphasis on the discovery aspect of KeyForge. Each participant in a sealed deck event explores their own unique assortment of cards for the first time, and discovers interactions that have possibly never been seen before. For many players, sealed deck play is the ultimate expression of KeyForge’s unique magic.

Players made it clear to us throughout 2023 that their love for sealed deck play was strong. They showed up to events early to participate in sealed deck side events, often in greater numbers than some main events. KeyForge Celebration saw massive numbers at its main sealed deck event, and received praise for “finally making sealed deck play matter.”

Therefore, with much fanfare (and fireworks in the Crucible), Ghost Galaxy is proud to announce that Sealed will join Archon and Alliance as the third official competitive format in 2024!

That means that sealed deck play will feature prominently at all levels of main tournament events throughout the season, and culminate in its very own World Championship event at the end, crowning a World Champion in 2024 alongside the Alliance and Archon World Champions.

Defining Sealed

Experienced KeyForge players know the basics of sealed deck play: A number of unopened KeyForge decks are brought by each player to a tournament, players open their sealed decks before the first round, and selects/creates a deck to use in the tournament.

Selecting a single whole deck in sealed play has been in the past known as Sealed Archon, while using the Alliance deck creation rules has in the past been known as Sealed Alliance.

Going forward, official KeyForge Sealed play format will be played as follows:

    • Players bring between one and three sealed decks (player’s choice) to the tournament. The decks must be from the same KeyForge set, while the set itself may be designated by the event.

  • After opening the deck(s) players then decide upon their tournament deck. This is done by either:
      1) Selecting an opened deck without modification or
    1. 2) By creating an Alliance deck from the house pods contained in the opened decks.

We have made additional adjustments and edits to the Sealed format explanation on our Tournament Format and Rules page.

Unified Sealed

We have before stated the importance of limiting the number of official formats to keep Organized Play focused and to avoid fracturing the player base. In addition, we also had to consider some real-world limitations, in that supporting four high-level tournaments within a 3-day tournament event is not practical for larger tournaments. This is why we have made the decision to select a single unified sealed format at the official competitive level (as opposed to running both Archon and Alliance Sealed formats).

This official Sealed format (which was “Sealed Alliance” in the past) allows those players who wish to field a single, unmodified Archon deck to do so, while players who want the agency of engaging in deck construction may do just that. As such, we believe that the widest number of players are served by this unified format.

The Road To Organized Play

We’re incredibly excited to welcome Sealed into competitive KeyForge in 2024. It will see its first play at the KeyForge 2024 Store Championships, to be held in March 2024. If you are a retailer, go sign up for a Store Championship kit and get your players ready! If you’re a player, let your favorite local game store know that KeyForge 2024 Organized Play (now with 100% more Sealed!) is almost here. You may read more about our 2024 Organized Play schedule here.

See you in the Crucible!

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