Alternate Formats

Hey there, rulers!!

DM073 here. Back at it again with another article designed to help you get the most out of all your cards, and find fun ways to pull other people into the game. While the main core of the game is the constructed formats played in the Grand Prix or local tournaments, the beauty of trading card games is the ability to come up with new and unique ways to play. These different formats can help to make use of cards that might not see play in your decks otherwise, and can help improve your deck building/playing skills as well! I am going to breaking these formats into 3 different categories: Drafting, Sealed, and Constructed. Each of the categories will include links to example videos or extra information as necessary!

Drafting Formats:

So for those of you who don’t know, drafting is a format where everyone in the group (usually 4 or 8 people) opens up one pack of cards each, picks a card from the pack to keep, then passes the rest of the pack to the next person. This process continues until the entire pack is gone, and then you open up the next pack and do the same thing. The official draft rules can be found here (http://www.fowtcg.com/docs/rules/floor)  for those of you wanting to set up larger group drafts. My focus today is going to be on how to set up a 2 player draft with a unique twist. There are 2 ways that I have found in my experience to be fun and challenging!

The first of these two is called a grid draft. In order to do this you and a friend need to purchase 16 packs of Force of Will (or make 16 packs of 9 cards with your cube, but that is something we will talk about later). You will need to determine who will be choosing first from the first pack however you want before you begin. After you are all set up, open up the first pack (preferably with the cards face down), shuffle them, and then create a grid like the one below, placing the 10th card from the pack face down, and off to the side. This creates what you will draft from this round. 


Once that pack’s grid is established, the first player will pick either a row or a column to draft for their deck. The next player will then choose a row or a column based on what is left, which may result in them only drafting 2 cards rather than a full 3 because of what is available to them/what type of deck they are trying to build. After each player has picked from the grid, the remaining cards are put face down with the 10th card from the pack. The next pack is grabbed and drafted the same way, with the person who went second now choosing first. Simply repeat the process until all of the packs are opened, and then build your decks as you normally would in a draft setting (20 card main deck, 8 card magic stone deck which can be made from drafted special magic stones or basic stones from personal collections, and everything else belongs in the side deck). You and your opponent can decide how rulers will be picked for the respective decks. Personally, I like to say that any ruler from the sets used to draft are allowed. The beauty of this format is that any pack abnormalities get negated by the grid. A god pack would result in both players getting multiple super rare cards for their pool, and an Uber ruler is negated by having both players able to proxy any ruler. If you want to make things a little more competitive or fight for a prize, you can have the winner of the draft keep all of the cards that were left behind after the drafting was done, while both players get to keep whatever cards they drafted.

The next form of 2 player draft involves a little more deception and secrecy and goes by the name of Shadow Drafting. For this format, you only need 9 packs between 2 players. All of the packs will be opened, shuffled together, and then placed face down in a pile between both players. Starting with whoever goes first, that player draws 5 cards, keeps 2 of them, and discards the rest face down. The next player follows suit, and the process continues back and forth until all of the cards are chosen (reshuffling the discard pile into a new stack of cards as needed). From there, you simply build a standard draft deck and see who reigns supreme. In this format, you will not know what cards your opponent may be keeping or throwing away, so you will need to rely more on your personal deck building skills and knowledge of the set in order to succeed. While this format is much more straightforward than grid drafting, the speed and lower cost of doing a Shadow Draft can be enticing to some players.

If you are a collector like myself, or have been playing the game for a while, you might be asking yourself what you can do in order to avoid buying more packs unnecessarily. The best way to be able to enjoy these formats is to build what is known as a cube. A cube is a very large sealed set of cards (usually with only 1 copy of each card, or 2 copies of a less important or powerful card) designed to be used for sealed play or drafting repeatedly. In a sense, you use the cube to build packs for drafting/sealed play, go through the games with your friends, and then put back all the cards into the cube once you are done. In this way, you can get unlimited entertainment and new experiences with your friends, without having to continuously buy packs that you might otherwise not need. While building a good cube list can be a bit daunting, my friends over at Grinning Remnant (http://www.grinningremnant.com) have done a lot of work getting one started that you can build off of: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17UQBwQPR_b-YysGOg8JW6FzPCRQoFb0Jx-72hNsaYb8/edit#gid=0. Definitely check it out if either of these draft formats seem like something you want to do.

Sealed Format:

The next format I have to share with you all is a Vingolf sealed format. While most of the Vingolf sets have seen very few of their cards enter the competitive scene, they remain an opportunity for a very fun, unique, and challenging experience for you to share with your friends. Using a Vingolf set (any of the three) to build two attribute decks with a friend and then compete to see whose list is best is honestly quite enjoyable and I think an opportunity that most of the player base has unfortunately overlooked. The best way to run a Vingolf sealed is to find a Vingolf box and have each of you pick a primary attribute, which dictates your ruler. Then you can each pick one other attribute that your first choice shares a dual stone (or countdown stone, in the case of Vingolf 3) and use that as your secondary attribute. This is probably easiest to decide using Vingolf 3 stones, mainly because each attribute only has 2 countdown stones where it is the primary attribute rather than having a dual stone for each possible combination. Once you have each picked your two, simply build a standard deck, and battle it out as you would in any other format. If you want to add a little bit to the stakes of the game, have the winner take home the sealed foil pack included in each Vingolf box. One thing I love about this format is the fact that you get to try out all of these new cards that you might not have previously even considered for your main competitive deck, and you can find all kinds of cool and interesting combos to pull off in order to win. For an example of what one of these games might look like, check out this video of mine where my pal Paul and I try out the decks we built: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OriLnBObjiA. This is probably one of my favorite alternative formats to play, so I definitely recommend you give it a shot!

Constructed Formats:

The first of the two formats I am going to talk about today goes by many names, Epic Stories, Genesis, etc. All of them have their own slight variations on the rules, but all can be defined as being a multiplayer singleton format. This means that in your main deck and magic stone deck (besides basic stones) there can only exist one copy of any given card. In addition, you may only use cards that have the same attribute as your ruler/rulers (some variations of the game use 2 rulers per player). These limitations create a very unique deck building setting, where cards that you never even imagined making use of become incredibly important for your deck to be able to survive, or those super secret one-of tech cards can suddenly become win conditions all by themselves! Through the hard work, dedication, and play testing of members of the community, a set of rules has been created for a constructed multiplayer format that is incredibly fun to play, but difficult to master. Currently there are talks between creators of the two main versions of this format: Epic Stories and Genesis, to combine and smooth out their rules. Until they do, however, go check out their respective Youtube videos and Facebook communities and try them out for yourself!

Epic Stories video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPXcFc0PAcE

Epic Stories Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/621863067989592/?fref=ts

Genesis video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9K0qShwITA&list=PLRHjMRKXfWFd6LUjCdHdeajMkMHYrmC_0&index=1

Genesis Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fowgenesis/?notif_t=fbpage_fan_invite&notif_id=1492305795807817

The last format I have to share with you today is known as the pauper format and it was designed by a fellow Youtuber by the name of J-Ruler. Much like the previously discussed format, this one takes its roots from similar setups used in other trading card games. With this format, the entire point is to play games utilizing only common rarity cards. This means that you are not allowed to use uncommons, rares, super rares, or special magic stones. Being limited to only using common cards means that your decks are going to be built very differently than a traditionally competitive deck, and your win condition might be something completely unexpected. This is a great format to use to help teach people the game, and is super kind to your wallet if you feel like buying the extra cards to keep a couple of pauper decks built outside of your regular collection.  For a more fleshed out example of the rules, an example deck, and even an example match, hop on over to J-ruler’s Youtube page and check it out yourself (a slight warning in advance however as he does tend to use more adult language).

Pauper deck example and rules: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxcQAuhcwQs&t=144s

Pauper match example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1JLElQIhss

All in all, while Force of Will has a primary competitive format that they focus on and host tournaments for, the cards themselves can be used outside of that format in many different and unexpected ways to provide almost infinite entertainment. Try some of these new formats out and let me know about your experience! I thoroughly believe that you will enjoy them just as much as I have, and who knows, maybe we will play against each other in one of these formats some day!

Until next time Rulers,

DM073


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