Swapskeys (better name pending?)
This is a new variant for Epic: The Card Game. The concept isn’t new, but it turns common deckbuilding/drafting strategies on their heads, and opens the door for a fun, new way of playing Epic. The concept at its most simplistic terms, is swapping decks with your opponent before playing.
Depending on what format you want to play, after you create your deck, you will swap decks with your opponent, and then you will be forced to play with the deck they created, against the deck you created. Give both players enough time to look at their new deck before starting, and then start as normal. I call this format Swapskeys (spelling?).
This format forces you to rethink your strategy from the very start, before going back to try and win with a subpar deck. I think it sounds wonderfully different. My hope is that it will allow certain cards to see play that usually do not, as well as cater to a different set of deckbuilding skills.
Every player naturally uses the skill of what cards don’t fit in a deck, but this makes you actively search for them, rather than know when to avoid them.
Another great thing about this format is that since it’s such a simple concept, it can be applied to every aspect of current Epic play. You can try and construct the worst 60-card deck ever. You can Dark Draft and go for the worst cards and combos you can, while trying to stick your opponent with amazing cards that you will eventually get to use. You can deal out random 60 cards, or those random 60 sheets you can get at tournaments, and then draft your horrible concoction. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a lot of fun.
For example, this first pack for Dark Draft would be much different if you were playing Swapskeys:
Now you don't have to be so depressed when you pass your opponent packs!
One recommendation, in terms of construction, is that I would think the best way would be to make a 30-card deck, singleton only, with a minimum of 15 champions in it. You can choose to abide by regular deck construction rules or not, I don’t think that matters as much. The reason for this is to stop someone from just taking all events, and turn the matches into a race to draw out first (it still may look like that, but at least there will be some champions to go for the win). Another reason is that with only 30 cards, you won’t be spending a ton of time before the game looking through your new deck before playing it.
I, personally, think that Dark Drafting this format would be a ton of fun, and could lead to some very interesting games.
The one negative about this format is that you have to let your opponent handle your cards. This can be a huge turn-off for some people. But then again, if you play Dark Draft, someone is using someone else’s cards already, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Another related, but slightly different way of playing this, and what initially inspired me to this format, is what is called Reverse the Whip. I got this from the game, Heroscape, from someone who probably got it from somewhere else, but I am not sure. In this format, you play a tournament, preferably constructed, except that when you cut to the top 4/8, you switch decks with your opponent for the match. You now have to beat the deck that got you to the top cut. This leads to some interesting deck-building quandaries. Do you purposely hinder your deck, in the hopes for an advantage in the top cut? You had better make sure you make it that far. Do you just try to build an amazing deck, and then hope for your superior playing skills to take you the distance? Or maybe, you come up with a unique deck that only you can pilot, and hope your opponent can’t figure it out? Could be interesting.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments. Any further suggestions? Advice on a better name for the format? I could honestly see this format becoming something official, as it does require skill, and a different skill than what has been used for Epic so far (in a more indirect way), and White Wizards has said they wanted their big tournaments to showcase the biggest variety of skills in the game.
I hope you enjoy this new format(s) and I hope you enjoyed this article. Until next time, happy gaming!