Friday, 26 August 2011


In my house there is a computer. Every time I sit down at it with the intention of writing something, I get distracted; by MWS, Wikipedia, forums, or Steam.

It's been a month and a half since the last meaningful update! I have four half-finished articles that I'm probably not going to bother publishing as they're largely irrelevant. Their subjects:

- 2011 Spectral Safaris, in Stoke and Nottingham

I attended two of these! First up was Stoke-on-Trent, with a surprisingly low 14 players; I pulled Horde Warlock (to a chorus of "The best deck!" which it plainly isn't) and went 2-3 after losing the fourth round to a topdecked burn spell after forcing the discard of my opponent's Gargoyle, and the fifth round to a bad matchup (Priest) vs a skilled player (Shrewsbury Joe).

The other one was Nottingham Chimera, where I pulled the Horde Shaman (to a chorus of "The worst deck!" which it really is), and went 3-4. My Safari misery continues for another year!

- Chesterfield Draft

There's a store in Chesterfield which has recently started running Battlegrounds, so on the weekend of the Twilight of the Dragons release I figured I'd head down there to meet the players and get my hands on a few more packs.

They were drafting 3x Twilight, so after a quick explanation of the rules of draft as none of them had done it before, we sat down and I drafted a Warlock deck featuring two Twisted Elemental and two Selora, and a Chaos Bolt (which was largely underwhelming). We played four rounds for no discernable reason, I won them all with basic card advantage play (Selora is so, so good) and took home the enormous prize pool of two packs.

Fun day though and a lovely bunch, and have since returned there to drop off a load of spares and have a few more games. I believe they ran a Lazy Peon tournament on Thursday which I was very sad to not be able to attend.

- My First Block Decklist

It wasn't very good.

- Comments on the new Set Rotation

This is the thing that's been the most awkward to comment on. My unpublished take on the subject was slightly skewed - having not only spent almost £200 on a couple of hefty collections of cards, the night before the announcement was made I had just ordered three Flint Shadowmore for the upcoming Core rotation.

Ok, let's roll back a little bit. For those who don't know what's happened, or don't play the game, there are two constructed formats in WoWTCG - Classic, and Core. Classic lets you play with any card ever released, and Core lets you play with a certain number of cards, based on set rotation - as newer sets are released, older ones are removed from legality.

This October, Throne of the Tides (Set 16) releases, and under the current Core rotation method, when it released we would have the following available:

- Scourgewar Block
- Worldbreaker Block
- Throne of the Tides Block

When The Announcement was made, things changed a little bit. Instead of the three-block rotation we were expecting, we were actually getting two-block rotation:

- Worldbreaker Block
- Throne of the Tides Block

This meant that the Flint Shadowmores I'd just bought would be rotating out of Core in about two and a half months, as well as all the lovely Scourgewar cards I'd been working hard to acquire over the last year. Naturally I was pretty annoyed at this, and the general consensus around the internet largely echoed my feelings. There were some great conspiracy theories going around too, about how it was a ploy to get all the cards designed and manufactured by Upper Deck out of the game quicker, and so on.

The official reason for this change? The metagame is stale. Ever since the release of Fields of Honor, it was tough to argue against playing Eye of the Storm in your deck. If you were part of the Alliance, this just happened to work really well in conjunction with Adam Eternum. Any deck running allies would also run Tuskarr Kite, which debuted in Scourgewar; not to mention Horde decks needing a really good excuse to not run Broderick Langforth, not to mention all the incredibly powerful abilities that we've been playing with for well over a year now.

When you look at it like that, the change doesn't sound quite so bad. Of course I'm still not so happy about the sheer amount of money I've spent on these cards with the expectancy that they will be usable in Core for another year, but a month or so down the line I've come to terms with it and am having a great time with the Block format, and it would appear the playerbase at large feel much the same way as there has been a huge spike in the number of unique decklists we're seeing compared to the past, where a Warrior deck would eventually be refined into whatever version of Death Wish was doing the best.

Cryptozoic have stated that they intend to provide support for Classic in the future - there's four rounds of it during day one of Worlds, and there will be at least one Darkmoon Faire that is Classic format, but the big thing for me will be whether there is any low-mid level play of the format. I have a lot of old cards and I don't really want to have to leave the country to get any meaningful play out of them.

Card drawing is still a bone of contention with the new cards - the Twilight Citadel/Etched Dragonbone Girdle is quite egregious when compared to the power level of the new quests, but that's for another day.

Enough on that. I'll come back to it soon, though if you desire further listening, take a listen to the rather excellent EMERGENCY PODCAST from the ZG Podcast crew - lots of interesting viewpoints from all over the spectrum of players, curated and handled well by two guys and some bacon sandwiches.

Coming in the next couple of days: NEW CONTENT

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The New Core Rotation

Have you seen the announcement?

Last night I wrote altogether far too much on the subject, largely fueled by all my lovely Scourgewar cards being practically unplayable in a few months' time. That's all going in the bin and I'll have something a little more reasoned on the subject in a couple of days - it's Battlegrounds at Ripley tomorrow and it'll be a hot topic, so will have more opinions rather than just my own to key off.

Be right with you.