Monday , 25 September 2017
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Bracket #15: Looking Forward

Bracket #15: Looking Forward

First, I would like to congratulate The Rope for a resounding success in last weekend’s Sealed Deck SolForge TournamentThe Day 1 champion solidly defeated Badmoonz, the Day 2 champion, in the final match.  Both decks combined Uterra Packmaster and Echowisp with a selection of Tempys and Uterra supporting cards, but in the end The Rope’s Echowisps were just too much for Badmoonz to handle.

Overall, the tournament was a resounding success. Almost 60 people ended up participating.  While both day’s champions played decks that approached the standard Growth deck that was dominant before Set 1 was released, many other players had at least some success with a wide variety of different deck designs.  Stoneblade Entertainment’s Brian Kibler and Justin Gary both stopped by to play some matches, and we gave out $5 store credit door prizes (that SBE generously provided) to several lucky participants.  On behalf of Forgewatch, I would like to thank all of those who participated.

This Friday, Forgewatch, in cooperation with SBE, will be hosting the first Set 1 Constructed Deck Tournament, and we hope to see a large turnout there as well.  Once again, SBE has provided us with $5 store credit door prizes to hand out, and this time forum badges will also be given to the Top 4 participants.  Also, the Top 4 will be eligible to participate in a future Invitational Tournament, which will pit the top players from several different tournaments against each other.

Of course, this week we saw the full release of Set 1, so I thought it would be a good time to go over a few things that you can expect from both me and Forgewatch over the coming months.

First off, we’ve had a ton of new cards dumped on us; as a result, the metagame will be in a state of flux for awhile, as people figure out which deck archetypes are strong and how to get the most out of them.  That process should take awhile, but as we play more games and hold more tournaments, one of my goals for this column is to give you a sense for what those dominant deck types are.  This is my primary reason for paying such close attention to the tournament scene—so that we can figure out who is being successful and why.

Towards that end, I am very excited about this upcoming tournament.  To be honest, I have no idea what kinds of decks will prove successful.  But starting this weekend, I will begin to analyze and categorize the most successful decks.  Up until now, there have only been a small number of truly successful deck archetypes; with the full release of Set 1, I hope that number will explode.  So expect my next several columns to be dedicated to trying to puzzle out these new archetypes, and eventually I hope to publish a reference guide.

A second goal for this particular column is to encourage players to experiment.  I hate a stagnant metagame.  In the near-term this won’t be a problem, and I’ll have my hands full just trying to explore the intricacies of the new Set. But in the long run, expect me to spend some time promoting deck designs and cards that are not popular, but which may disrupt the metagame.

Finally, I would like to briefly mention what you can expect from future Forgewatch-sponsored tournaments.  For the time being, we will run mostly standard Constructed Deck tournaments—at least one per week, although possibly more if there is demand.  Most of these will allow all cards to be used, although we also have plans to run an “Unheroic” tournament in which Heroic and Legendary cards are banned.  If that format proves successful, we will surely run more of those as well.  Additionally, once we are able, we will run both Draft and Sealed events at regular intervals.  (Noetherian is maintaining a thread dedicated to upcoming tournaments; if you want to stay informed, I suggest that you keep an eye on it.)

We will try to keep most tournament run-times between 3 and 4 hours, although we will certainly run some future events that are both longer and shorter.  We’ll do our best to shift around tournament times in order to accommodate people from different time zones and with different schedules.  We’re also still figuring out the best way to run an efficient asynchronous tournament.  While it would be impossible to offer any single tournament that was accessible to all players, our goal is to offer a menu of options so that everyone can participate at least occasionally.

All of that being said, as someone who has participated in organizing five of these events so far, let me say that running these tournaments is not straightforward.  As a Tournament Organizer (TO), I have a number of sometimes-conflicting priorities. In particular:

My primary goal is to ensure that the tournament is as fun as possible for as many people as possible.  That’s why we favor Swiss tournaments, in which all participants get to play in most rounds, over Single or Double Elimination tournaments.  It is also for this reason that we try to keep tournaments running on schedule; I would rather have one player take a loss every now and then, rather than force a delay upon everyone else.

My second goal is to ensure that the outcome of each match, and of the tournament as a whole, is as fair as possible.  I don’t like it when people feel that the result of a tournament rested upon blind luck, a bad decision by the TO, or a technical difficulty.  It is also for this reason that we have a zero-tolerance policy on cheating.

Balancing these two goals is often hard. Knowing when to give a player a few more minutes to finish a game, and when to call time and move on to the next round, is not an easy thing.  Neither is preventing cheating without maintaining a police-state-like atmosphere.

We are still experimenting with different tournament formats, and will continue to do so for awhile.  Neither Noetherian nor I were happy with running Swiss rounds that were best-2-out-of-3 last weekend, so this week we are trying eight single-game Swiss rounds instead.  If the rounds go quickly we might up it to ten or more; if the rounds go slowly, we might back off to only five or six.  Similarly, this weekend we are cutting to a Top 4 to determine the champion; in future tournaments we will try cutting to a Top 8 or even a Top 16, if participation is high enough.   Our plan this weekend is that rounds will last 20 mins, but once again, we will adjust that time frame as we get a better sense for how quickly the vast majority of tournament games last.

We are also experimenting with in-tournament communication.  For this tournament we are using the forums for announcements and giving players the choice between a pre-established Steam chat room or e-mail for private communications.  We have discussed other possibilities, including using IRC or setting up a private internet chat room somewhere.  Once again, we will see how this weekend goes and adjust future tournaments accordingly.

All of which is to say that we beg your patience while we figure these things out.  We want the tournaments to be as fun and fair as possible, but in the process of making them so we will surely make mistakes.  The best we can do is to learn from them and move forward.

About mnmike2002

mnmike2002 (aka Mike Edwards) is a writer and blogger. When he's not writing, he's probably either reading (history books or fantasy novels) or playing video games (mostly RPGs). He's published one book so far: Democracy Despite Itself: Why a System that Shouldn't Work at all Works So Well, co-authored with Danny Oppenheimer. He lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife, Sarah.

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