The Winds of Change Brings The Spoils Again!

Published On: October 27, 2022

When Ghost Galaxy took control of KeyForge this past summer, we quickly determined that Winds of Exchange needed a little more development work before setting sail into The Crucible. To that end, we assembled a group of volunteer Archons, or playtesters as others would call them, from the KeyForge community and started forging keys with new decks to test. This process went on for a couple of months, and we got a lot of great feedback from everyone involved.

As important as this development and playtesting work was for Winds of Exchange, Ghost Galaxy could not wait for it to be completed before starting its marketing efforts. We needed to move forward with our planned appearance at Gen Con and with our Gamefound campaign, which meant we were spoiling cards for a set that technically wasn’t finished. An implausible idea for many, but we pressed ahead. Before setting on this course though, The team decided we would not let our marketing interfere with any development changes to the set we felt were necessary. If a card was spoiled and then later had to change for any reason, we would simply have to spoil the card to the public again!

Now that we completed development work on Winds of Exchange, it’s time to realign some expectations about the set. Don’t worry, we haven’t changed that much, we swear to the Church of the Opened Eye.

The Great Renaming

During the final stages of development, we decided that many of the new token creatures needed to be renamed because their original names were identical to traits commonly used in the game. For example, having a token creature named Knight that also had the Knight trait created the potential for confusion. Therefore, that token creature’s name became Defender. Additionally, one of Ekwidon’s token creatures used to be named Scout, but that name had already been used in a previous set.

Mars faced a similar problem with one of its token creatures: Rebel also had the Rebel trait. But, there were also a few other Mars creatures with the Rebel trait. In this case, we chose to change the trait for all of them to the more thematic term, Ironyx.

Æmberling similarly used to have the Æmberling trait, but we chose to change its trait to Sylicate for lore reasons.

With all that in mind, here are all the previously-spoiled creatures that either got a different name or a different trait:

Trouble with Tangaika

Every house in Winds of Exchange has a special rare card that forces the deck’s token creature to be something specific. In the case of Unfathomable, that card is Tangaika and its loyal minions: Cultists.

During the past couple months of playtesting, people kept reporting that Cultist decks just weren’t working. The requirement of needing five Cultists in play before you could bring out Tangaika was too much. Tangaika was rarely getting into play, and even when it did, it usually wouldn’t last long due to the abundance of creature control in the set. In short, Cultist decks weren’t fun.

The solution was to rework both Tangaika and Cultist, and also add a third card to the group: a special artifact that we won’t spoil today. For now, here is a look at the new versions of the previously-spoiled cards:

Disciples Unleashed

Speaking of unfun things, recent playtesting also demonstrated that Sanctum’s special token creature Disciple needed some help. Originally, Disciple said “Disciple cannot be used if it has a non-Monk neighbor” which was supposed to be its tradeoff for having a token creature with 3 power and 2 armor. In practice, this just didn’t work. Most Disciple decks had to work very hard to maintain a battle line sufficiently staffed by adjacent Monks; it was fragile, and the payoff just wasn’t there.

This time the solution was pretty straightforward: Change Disciple’s base stats to 1 power and 0 armor, and have both stats increase when it has Monk neighbors. Now, even if you only have one Discipe in your battle line, it can still at least be used for something.

After Fight and After Reap

Ghost Galaxy attended Gen Con this past August, operating a modest booth in the Exhibitor Hall. During the four-day show, we demoed KeyForge and KeyForge Adventures to hundreds of people. Special thanks in large part to members of the KeyForge community who devoted some of their convention time to helping run the demo games. Many of the people who received demos had never played KeyForge before, and one of the things about the game that consistently tripped up these new players was understanding the timing and resolution of “Fight” and “Reap” effects. This confirmed a feeling that had been building inside of us for a while: the game needed an update to its card language. If there ever was a time to do it, it was now.

“Fight” abilities really mean “After Fight”. That’s how the timing actually works for those effects, so why don’t the cards just say that? Besides, the game already includes dozens of examples of cards with “Before Fight” abilities. “After Fight” would also reinforce the idea that the creature needs to survive the fight in order for the ability to resolve.

“Reap” doesn’t have as many potential timing problems as “Fight”, but there is at least one very important timing consideration that players need to understand. You get the Æmber from reaping before the “Reap” ability resolves. Therefore, describing these abilities as “After Reap” makes sense.

We have revised the entire KeyForge card pool and changed all instances of “Fight” to “After Fight” and all instances of “Reap” to “After Reap”. We will be publishing an updated rulebook before the end of the year that will include a general errata for all previously-printed cards to reflect this change. Here are the revised versions of previously-spoiled cards that show this:

Power and Rarity Tweaks

Many times, a simple change makes all the difference. Data analysis of hundreds of thousands of deck lists showed that Ekwidon had the lowest average creature count in the set. There were a lot of reasons for this that we won’t get into now, but we wanted to get Ekwidon’s creature average more on par with the other houses in the set.

We addressed this issue with a rarity swap: Belligerent Guard changed from uncommon to common, and Shopping Spree changed from common to uncommon. This also gave us a good reason to lower Belligerent Guard’s power to 8, which makes it more in line with other large Giants of the past.

The Card That Didn’t Survive

Art Project was an Ekwidon action card that unforged an opponent’s key. The card made a brief appearance in our Gen Con preview video. This was a controversial card amongst the playtesters, and we discussed many possible revisions, but we never settled on a version of the ability that felt good. In the end, Ghost Galaxy decided to cut the card from Winds of Exchange. All is not lost though. Art Project may be revisited in a future set.

A Few More Things

Finally, we have a handful of previously-spoiled cards that changed for one reason or another during playtesting, but don’t fall into a neat category. After the changes to Cultist and Tangaika, Cadet needed a new ability that didn’t involve wards. Edict of Nerotarus proved a tough card to write; we went through several revisions in an effort to make the ability as clear as possible. Election was originally a bit boring because the “Nay” effect (destroy Election) was always getting chosen over the “Yay” effect (destroy each creature). Mk2. Generator was originally a slow card in a house that had a particular deck type that really needed efficient token creature generation. Phalanx Leader’s art had it facing the wrong direction relative to its original ability.

Still With Us? Let’s Celebrate!

We look forward to seeing how each of you interact with these changes and yet to be seen cards in the near future. One of those times is at KeyForge Celebration 2022! Players can still sign up to attend, but act fast. The Archon list continues to reach closer maximum capacity!

– Team Ghost Galaxy

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