Nononononono!! Don’t run! I know WoW has something of a stigma attached to it for some people, but this is more about my experiences with a tournament qualifier and the game as a whole, not roleplaying as an Undead Priest named Valerion Shadowpoke or some shit. Give me your time and I’ll tell you a tale of woe and misery, my friend. Well, of being beaten at cards.
A couple of weekends ago, I attended the Realm Qualifier for the World of Warcraft Trading card game and roundly got my arse handed to me. For those not ‘down’ with what the hell I’m talking about, the Realm Qualifier is shmancy fancy lore-speak for tournament qualifier for the World of Warcraft national tournament. Each county is assigned a ‘realm’ (named after areas from WoW) and events are held at hobby shops all over the country. You accrue points based on what position you come in the standings and once you have X points (I think it’s ten) you are qualified to enter the final. My mate Jonny (who hopefully will be joining the ranks of C:SP soon) is incredibly keen on the game and is trying to attend as many qualifiers as possible, even though he qualified by winning the first on he attended. He does shit like this. His wife must love it.
Anyway I thought I’d attend this one as it’s where I live and I enjoy them to a degree. The prospect of prizes never hurts. The reason I say “to a degree” is because I’m fucking awful at this game. I bought the Heroes of Azeroth starter set when it came out in 2005 – mainly just because of the WoW branding – but only got round to playing it in 2008 when I started having regular board game session with Jonny. He got good at it, I didn’t. I don’t think I ever will.
So, in the basement of Comic and Collectables Unlimited inChesterfieldare we, and I’ve brought my Warlock deck. Now, it’s a fairly safe assumption that a few people won’t know anything about the WoW TCG. Everyone should have at least heard of World of Warcraft, but I’ll try to make it as simple as possible and not use too much terminology. My missus hates it when I use phrases like ‘deck out’ and tells me, at length, that not everyone is as massive a nerd as me and Jonny so I’ll tread that fine line between informative and patronising.
Here are the basics: there are 10 classes (Death Knight, Druid, Hunter, Mage, Warlock, Warrior, Rogue, Priest, Paladin and Shaman) and 3 factions (Horde,Allianceand Neutral which is to say Monsters) to choose from to build your deck around. The class and faction basically makes the deck building rules, so for example Paladin abilities cannot go into a Druid deck and a Horde ally cannot go into a deck with an Alliance hero. Horde and Alliance allies cannot go in a Monster deck. The aim of the game is to inflict damage equal to your opponent’s health over the course of the game. The reason I’m explaining this is because currently some of the classes have fallen out of favour and don’t get used as much as others. It’s one of the many things about TCGs that irk me somewhat, but also what’s integral to their ‘evolution’ so what are you going to do about it?
I’m playing Warlock, which is ok in the current climate of the game, but not great and definitely less than not great because it was partly built by me. The other thing that goes against me is I refuse to ‘net deck’.
Net deck is a term which refers to the act of looking up what deck is popular and effective at other championships and play groups and copying it so you can smash your opponent’s tits in and clean up. Of course, you could have the most statistically successful deck in the world but sometimes luck and the card draw is against you or, if you’re like me, if you don’t know how to play the deck you’re going to have a tough time.
Still, there are decks that you see more frequently than others, and they change frequently as the new sets come out. Jonny was playing a tweaked version of a very popular deck, which I don’t have a problem with because he builds decks that are broken as hell anyway and he’s a good player. There was only one deck that day that made me want to punch the person playing it because I fucking hate the deck as when it works it’s impossible to stop. I’ll get to that.
SO! First game wasn’t a game, because there was an odd number of players, so it meant I got a ‘by’ which is a free win and a sit watching other people play. It was the only win I got all day. Sigh. My ACTUAL first game was against a lass named Kitty, which I lost in a pretty poor fashion to.
The ‘theme’ for most decks at the moment is what’s called Ally Rush, which is pretty much as it sounds; you put allies into play as quickly as possible and then use said allies to punch people in the chuff until they die. My Warlock deck tries to control that but doesn’t really succeed because the game is so quick at the moment you’re usually dead by turn 5 or 6. So she’s playing anAlliance(termed as Blue for the faction colour) Hunter which, to the best of my recollection, just ran into my face and decimated me. 3 cards stuck out though.
Firstly, the Hero:
when used in conjunction with this:
is proper stupid. The 2 in the little black circle on the Hero’s text is how many resources it costs to activate the text on the card. You can lay one resource per turn and you can only ‘flip’ your hero once (unless you find a way to turn him back over to flip him again by means of another card).
Quick card anatomy: the number at the top left of an ally card is the cost to of resources play it, the number in the bottom left is the attack value (i.e. the damage it’ll do when it runs into you) and the number on the bottom right is it’s health (how much damage it takes before it dies).
Tesla has Ferocity and Assault keywords. Ferocity means that he doesn’t have to wait the usual 1 turn before being able to attack an opponent that cards without the keyword do. Assault and the number 2 means that he has +2 attack (added to the number in the bottom left corner) when he attacks on the controller’s (in this case Kitty’s) turn. So you play Tesla, run him into the opponent’s hero then, if you have 2 resources available, flip Master Sniper Simon Motherfucker and deal ANOTHER 5 damage because of the Assault keyword.
Then there’s this fucker:
Empower Hunter is just a keyword to indicate you’d get the card’s benefit with a Hunter hero. You can play it with Hunter allies but seeing as your hero is always in play it just makes more sense to use it in a Hunter deck. Anyway, you put this fucker into play and it’s 5 damage to whatever he decides to smack about because of Ferocity. The worst thing is the Long-Range keyword means that any damage that would normally be exchanged to Grumdak by running into something, well, isn’t. It’s a one way street.
There was a little irony as the deck was technically illegal as it ran a card that required the hero to be a Worgan (the race of the character, and Simon is a Human). To be honest it didn’t matter. There was some minor penalty we all agreed on but at the end of the day we were there for the fun. Anyway, a combination of these cards and my slow arsed deck meant that I was left beaten like a red-headed stepchild. You get used to it after a while.