Bartle’s Taxonomy

Guest article written by Jared Warthen

My dear readers, welcome and thank you in advance for checking out Void and Moon where you can get quality articles on a regular basis. Not only mine, mind you, but the other writers are talented and can give a bit of insight. To start with, my name’s Jared and I’m fairly new to Force of Will, like most of the readers here in the [United States]. I started back in May of this year, and I’ve been loving the game. Ever since getting owned at Houston and placing 65th, I rebounded to take 1st [in Swiss] at the states event in Jacksonville, FL over Halloween. Now that you know who I am, I’d like to speak with you about why we each play Force of Will. We’ll be looking at some deeper philosophical stuff, so if that’s not your thing, please let me know in the comments and if Cathy is nice enough to invite me back, I’ll happily do something more actively play-centered.

RezSo, where we start today will be with an old discovery in game design known as Bartle’s Taxonomy, or the breakdown for people who play games. Traditionally, this is done for video games, but I personally see a lot of correlation that this could pertain to Force of Will, or any other card game really. In the interest of time, I’ll save the back story about Richard Bartle and cut to the meat of this. When Bartle was developing the first MUD (think World of Warcraft’s great-great grand-daddy), he was asking his first few hundred testers why they play, and he found that they fall into four distinct groups: Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killers.

Achievers

We’ll start with Achievers. In Bartle’s initial breakdown, these are the people that play for all the extra stuff. Beating that Mythic Raid? Yup. Capped out Gamerscore? You got it. Random achievement that 1% of players have? These people have it. These are the players that strive to be the best, and do more than the average player. In Force of Will, we know who these are. These are the players you see constantly top 8’ing ARG and WGP events. These are the major names like Stephanie Shaw, Ken Robert, and Zack Tufford. These people travel for all the events and test the ever-loving crap out of everything they build, they’re the players that organized play and events exist for. The thrill of the competition drives them to kick ass and take names.

Explorers

FariaNow, your Explorers are the people that want to push the limits. You know that player at your local group who’s always testing some crazy build out of left field every week and still succeeding? That’s the Explorer. Bartle’s analysis was that these people were looking for things that surely wouldn’t have been accounted for, and get a really nice surprise when they find so much as a note from the dev that they were acknowledged. These people are the rogue-decking fiends that end up establishing the meta. They take a crazy idea and modify it until it works, then tune it until it wins. These are the players I absolutely love because I know full well that I’m not one. Every once in a while I’ll have a good deck fall in my lap, but I very rarely see a card and immediately think of how to break it.

Socializers

Socializers, on the other hand, are the mouthpieces for the game. These might be people that work directly with ARG or FoW central, like Jordan Blanco, Matt Kozmor, or Robert Hebert. They can’t exactly play in major events because of their position, but they still play and enjoy the game, and do everything to talk about it. While they’re doing this, new players are joining constantly, and the community only grows and shines because of it. To you, my Socializers, keep up the great work. Keep the game growing, and keep finding new players. We all appreciate it, as it brings in new players of all types.

Killers

FifeFinally, Killers, or Player-Killers as they were in Bartle’s original breakdown, exist to exhibit their will over the opponent. These are the players that find sheer joy in completing a hard-lock on the opponent, like Ipank Riphat’s Alice World deck. While the deck itself wasn’t abusive in an overpowering sense, I think Ipank feels just a nice bit of joy from the Schadenfreude when he plays the deck and absolutely locks someone out of the game for what becomes their loss. The tastiness of their salty, salty tears of the victim lingers on the lips of the Killer. These players don’t just win, but they take sheer joy in knowing that they have absolutely dominated their competition. Granted, taking joy in that doesn’t make you a bad person, and they’re absolutely an essential part of any game.

In closing, everyone has a different reason they play, and I’d like to hear from each of you. Please leave a comment below telling me why you play. Do you fall into 1, multiple, or even none of these archetypes? Thanks again for taking the time to read this to the end, and as thanks, here’s the “Good Knight Alice” list that was played to an undefeated win at Jacksonville.

Ruler: Alice in Wonderland/Alice, the Drifter in the World

Main Deck Stone Deck Side Board
3 Thunder 2 Magic Stone of Heat Ray 1 Blazer Gill Rabus/Blazer Gill Rabus
3 Flame of Outer World 3 Magic Stone of Scorched Bales 3 Deathscythe, the Life Reaper
3 Stoning to Death 1 Magic Stone of Moon Shade 2 Lumia, the Saint Lady of World Rebirth
3 Artemis, the God’s Bow 1 Little Red, the Pure Stone 2 Jeweled Branch of Horai
2 Marybell, the Steel Doll 3 Magic Stone of Heaven’s Rift 1 Flame of Outer World
3 Laevateinn, the Demon Sword 1 Thunder
3 Dream of Juliet 2 Hastur, the Unspeakable
3 Seth, the Arbiter 3 Bloody Moon
2 Bedivere, the Restorer of Souls
3 Gawain, the Knight of the Sun
4 Guinevere, the Jealous Queen
4 Perceval, the Seeker of Holy Grail
4 Lancelot, the Knight of Mad Demon
1 Susanowo, the Ten-Fist Sword

BedevereI openly admit some of the sideboard choices are questionable. Had I done it again, I would not have run Bloody Moon, as the reason I had them sideboarded was for the Scheherazade control that uses Moojdart, the Fantasy Stone. As the deck falls apart without it, Bloody Moon is a perfect silver bullet. I didn’t see the deck all day though, so it was essentially a waste. Also, Seth is hands down ridiculous in the meta. Played a couple of incarnate decks that just couldn’t deal with his recursion, especially when he finds a twin and keeps coming back, himself.

Kickstarter Funding Reached!

THANK YOU on speech bubble price labels

Void and Moon recently launched a Kickstarter to raise money for prizes at a Force of Will event in Warner Robins, GA. We are proud to announce the complete funding of this project, with the help from the following community members:

Michael Weatherford
Reuben Becker
Danakor
Vincent Spezzo
Jared Warthen

Thank you for helping grow the Force of Will player base through your contribution. Leaders like you truly inspire us to share this wonderful game with friends!

As reward, these project supporters will have an opportunity to write a guest article for Void and Moon. Make sure you stop back to see the awesome articles they come up with!

For more information on the event at King Con, click here.

 

 

Force of Flavors

There are so many delicious flavors out there: chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, Schrodinger’s cat. When discussing flavor in a trading card game like Force of Will, players are referring to how a card’s ability and effect are represented artistically both with the image and the card’s name. The creator’s of FOW certainly have a breadth of experiences, pulling flavor from many fields of study. Take a look at some of my favorite flavorful cards, and how representation of their abilities sync perfectly with chosen art and names.

Do You Want to Play a Game?

Deep-Blue-the-Phantom-BoardMany players have begun to notice a trend among the Alice rulers, resonators, and imagery. Alice ruler types include bishop, pawn, knight, and queen. The image on resonator Alice, the Guardian of Dimensions depicts these chess pieces as well. It is only fitting then, that the regalia paired with Alice follows this theme. The artwork on Deep Blue, the Phantom Board (shown left) is a gorgeous depiction of a chess board in Alice’s fantasy realm, but the flavor doesn’t stop there.

The name for this card, “Deep Blue”, is a reference to a computer developed by IBM in 1985. This chess-playing computer was the first artificially intelligent technology to beat a world champion chess player, both in games and matches. The match was so well played, that competitor Garry Kasparov accused IBM of cheating through human intervention between games. A documentary was even made to cover this controversy, titled  Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine. Now you can recollect on this piece of history the next time you choose Alice as your ruler.

Curiosity Killed the Cat

SchrodingerA new card joining Force of Will in the upcoming December release, The Twilight Wanderer, is Schrödinger, the Fallen Black Cat. This cat takes on many forms. Alive and in play, it provides a source of will and benefits for your J-ruler. Remove the cat from play, and in death it will protect your ruler from harm. So which will you use this regalia for: life or death?

Schrödinger’s cat is a popular thought experiment created by Austrian  physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. The idea proposes that if one places a cat in a box, and closes the lid, one cannot know if the cat is dead or alive in the box until the box is opened. Until that time, the cat can be thought of as both dead and alive. This metaphor was used to parallel ideas on quantum mechanics and quantum superstition. So when you place Schrödinger, the Fallen Black Cat into your deck box after your next match – is the cat dead or alive? You’ll have to play in round two to find out.

I Didn’t Vote for You

Excalibur,_the_God's_SwordKnights of the Round Table quickly became a deck favorite in the Force of Will community with the release of The Seven Kings of the Lands. According to Arthurian legend, King Arthur met with a group of brave knights around a round table. The round table symbolized that everyone seated was equal in status. Knights we have seen appear in FoW so far include Bedivere, the Restorer of Souls, Lancelot, the Knight of Mad Demon, Perceval, the Seeker of Holy Grail, and others. King Arthur was made into a ruler for the Valhalla release, (see Arthur, the King of Knights) but has yet to be remade in New Frontiers format. (I’m not counting Arthur, the Dead Lord of Vengeance, he’s a zombie.)

There have also been two regalia’s created to parallel this legendary story. Excalibur, the God’s Sword and Excalibur, the Spirit God’s Sword both represent King Arthur’s legendary sword that provided him with status. There are many stories about how Arthur came to own this sword. Aurthurian romance suggests that it was pulled from a stone revealing the one true king. However in French prose it is said that a lady in a lake gave Excalibur to the king. Force of Willian legend says that the sword came from your hand, and was cast so that you may win the game and become King of the Force.

 

There you have it; references to science, history, literature, technology and more all here in your favorite trading card game. Try researching the names of your favorite cards. You’ll be surprised what you can learn from Force of Will!

Playing Elves in SKL by Calvin Lai

Hi all! My name’s Calvin, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be invited as a guest writer for Void and Moon. I’ve been playing TCGs for a while now, mostly Yu-gi-oh and MTG, but I’ve fallen in love with Force of Will. I really enjoy creating decks and understanding meta’s, so I hope I’ll be able to display what I’ve learned to help you all!

The Origin of Elves

With the time that has passed since The Seven Kings of the Land was released, everyone is starting to get comfortable and familiar with new interactions, leading to more and more creative decks. I love this spirit of innovation and so I’d like to talk about cool ideas for deck building! For this article, I’ll be discussing an old deck that I think might make a comeback: elves.

Christie,_the_Wind_TrackerBack when Moon Priestess Returns came out, a build surfaced that revolved having Christie, the Wind Tracker as a Ruler and utilizing Silver Bullet to create a wind toolbox. It ran the elves available at the time, along with Moojdart, the Fantasy Stone and resonators like Elvish Exorcist, ending the game with a field full of Elves and multiple Fina, the Silver Player. When more and more elves got released, notably Fiethsing, the Magus of Holy Wind, Guide of Heaven, and the most important one, Christie, the Warden of Sanctuary, the elf deck found itself with more tools to play with. Unfortunately, we found ourselves in a format that revolved around the fast-paced Bahamut decks, and the deck was unable to keep up at all, requiring at least four to six turns to prepare.

A New Twist on an Old Favorite

With the release of The Seven Kings of the Land, the elf deck gained ways beat the early game power it had so much trouble dealing with before, and use their superior board to overrun the opponent with gigantic Elvish Priest. In today’s meta many decks have made appearances, varying from extremely fast ruler-centric strategies like the 28 Regalia Cain, to Knights of the Round Table rush, to mid-range decks like Valentina, Pricia, and Arla, to finally late-game oriented control decks utilizing the power of Vlad.

I’m going to split this deck list into cores, because I’d like you the reader to take these pieces and use them as a springboard to deck build with. There certainly isn’t any sort of ‘best’ build, but this was my interpretation of how to deal with the meta. The elvish core consists of:

4 Elvish Priest 4 Christie, the Warden of Sanctuary
4 Fina, the Silver Player 3 Guide of Heaven 
2 Fiethsing, the Holy Magus of the Wind

Christie,_the_Warden_of_SanctuaryElvish Priest helps you ramp up. Christie with Fina are good win conditions, so these three cards fully deserve a full play set [of four] in the deck. Two Christie resolved on the field means that you do not have to worry about any sort of targeted removal anymore, locking your opponent out of interacting with your field (outside of battle). In a control match-up, that is devastating. Guide of Heaven is essential to access these pieces, but too many can result in a hand that curves out too strongly. I’d like to see at least one in order to start building hand advantage, and it’s a very useful elf. Only two copies of Fiethsing are played solely because her cost is great, and many of the decks out there are too fast for us to put Fiethsing to use. However, it’s still great ramp, a great body and great at stalling out important turns.

The green control package consists of:

3 Xeex the Ancient Magic  3 Absolute Cake Zone
 2 Law of Silence

Xeex is staple to deal with troublesome resonators, as well as making sure your field doesn’t die to removal. Absolute Cake Zone serves the same purpose, but is used to deal with opponent’s counter spells and spot removal. Finally, Law of Silence is key in landing our Christie’s out into the field, as well as making tempo plays, essentially blocking out an aggressive opponent’s turn.

Finally there are the non-elvish wind resonators that I feel are almost staple to the deck:

3 Gretel 4 Ratatoskr, the Spirit Beast of Yggdrasil

Ratatoskr,_the_Spirit_Beast_of_YggdrasilOnly three Gretel are run simply to not conflict with Guide of Heaven’s effect, as well as not clogging your hand in those aggro matchups. Often one Gretel is more than enough. Ratatoskr, a shiny new card from SKL, doesn’t really deal with aggro decks, but serves an insane utility role in the deck. The ability to quick-cast our elves has great implications: we’re able to dodge spot removal by quick-casting in Christie or Fina; we’re able to make efficient use of our magic stones in comparison to a control deck by quick-casting in our resonators at the end of our opponent’s turn. (They have to use magic stones from their turn in order to deal with our previous turn.) Finally we are able to keep recovered magic stones for our control spells to deal with threats, instead of tapping out and leaving an open turn for our opponent.

These three components are our basic green engine, and serve as the main core to the deck. From here, we have access to new cards and colors to play around with.

Two Rulers to Choose From

At this point, we need to consider what Elves really needs. We’re a late game board-centric deck, so we need to figure out ways to survive against early aggressive pushes, whether they are ruler based or resonator based. Welcome our newest friend: Blazer Gill Rabus. Here’s the Blazer core:

Ruler: Blazer Gill Rabus J-Ruler: Blazer Gill Rabus
4 Flame of Outer World 4 Thunder

Blazer allows us to run burn removal safely and lets us branch out of green without losing the color consistency to hit those pesky double green spells. As a bonus he’s able to deal with a J-Ruler himself, either swinging by for a tempo play or simply deal with the threat itself. However, Blazer has trouble dealing with non-J-ruler oriented decks, and elves had a better ruler for this kind of format before: Christie, the Wind-Tracker. The Christie core:

Ruler: Christie, the Wind-Tracker J-Ruler: Helsing, the Vampire Hunter
4 Silver Bullet 2 Glinda, the Fairy
1 Wiseman of Winds 1 Xeex, the Ancient Magic

Christie allows us access to the green toolbox; Silver Bullet. If you are playing at a locals that doesn’t focus on extremely aggressive early pushes, I’d recommend main decking this core and tucking Blazer’s package in the side deck. Silver Bullet greatly boosts the consistency of this deck, and makes plays more flexible. As a result, we lose much of the removal, so we’ll throw in a Xeex to help out. Glinda is great for the control matchup against Vlad, and Wiseman is always live thanks to Christie always being an elf. An 800/600 body isn’t anything to joke about, especially when it gets boosted by Fina.

The Magic Stone Deck

Finally, here’s what I think the stone line-up should look like:

 4 Magic Stone of Black Silence 1 Little Red, the Pure Stone 
 5 Wind Magic Stone

As a pilot of this deck your goal is to survive through to the late game, gain card advantage off of Christie, the Warden of Sanctuary and Guide of Heaven, and end the game by pushing with huge resonators boosted by one or two Fina. This is extremely hard to deal with once the Christie lock has been established. If your opponent isn’t knowledgeable enough, it’s easy to put out at a measly 4 magic stones.

Look Out for These Threats

Dark_PulseThis deck isn’t without weakness. Board wipes like Flame King’s Shout, Dark Pulse, and possibly Awakening at the End can hurt you greatly. Always be on the look out for that turn 3 or 4 play and keep those possibilities in mind. Absolute Cake Zone is a must, especially after siding. Also, Target Attack is especially threatening. While cards like Gleipnir, the Red Binding of Fate aren’t a problem once you establish the lock, Target Attack given by Artemis, the God’s Bow or Excalibur, the God’s Sword or by a resonator can result in losing your Christie lock. It’s important to reserve cards like Elvish Priest or Ratatoskr in the late game to act as chump-blockers (so that they can’t be targeted by removal spells and the attack gets through).

Play-Style Tips and Tricks

1) The MOST important play you will make is landing your Christie lock in one turn. During this turn, your Christie’s are extremely vulnerable to the stray Thunder, so be extremely wary. Law of Silence is great for this!

2) Remember that you MUST survive. Against decks using Cain, land the Christie combo ASAP in order to get hexproof chump blockers going. It’s incredibly important that the Cain doesn’t just use up leftover mana to get his attack through.

3) This deck has a great match-up against mid-range and control. With Christie, the Wind-Tracker, Fina negates all your opponent’s resonators’ symbol abilities like swiftness and flying. Your board becomes too difficult for Vlad to deal with, as long as you keep an eye out for that stray Flame King’s Shout or Dark Pulse.

Guide_of_Heaven4) Guide of Heaven is a tricky card to play, just keep in mind what’s left in your deck and make the decision to use the effect first, then draw, or draw first, then effect.

5) When and what you search with Guide of Heaven and Silver Bullet make a huge impact on your success. It’s not called a green toolbox for nothing. Searching too early limits your options and searching too late is, well, too late. Sometimes, searching a Ratatoskr or Gretel is the best play.

Thanks for reading my article. This is my first time writing an article for anything, and it’s been a pleasure theory-crafting, building, and testing for this article. Keep exploring new deck ideas, and break the meta yourself! There’s no such thing as a perfect deck.

-Calvin Lai

Exploring Sexism in Fantasy Artwork

SEX·ISM /’sekˌsizəm/ noun
prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.

If you haven’t come across this subject yet as a TCG (trading card game) player, consider yourself one of few. Sexism is a hot topic in the gaming world for two main reasons, the first being that it is a male-dominated market historically. Second, the imagery used in the fantasy genre is notorious for portraying scantly clad female characters. There are many avenues one can explore when discussing sexism in the gaming world. I have chosen to focus on the art in Force of Will and, what I believe, is a lack of sexism overall. Please note that this is an opinion-based article.

Biology is Free From Sexism

I am a science student studying to be a doctor, and while this concept may be obvious to me, I understand that it is not as clearly grasped by the community: showing breasts in art is not sexist. Body parts by themselves with no context are not sexist. As described in the definition that began this article, sexism requires action in the form of prejudice or discrimination. Simply showing human anatomy in art is not sexist. The context of the entire image may end up being sexist, but what the character pictured is wearing has little to do with it.

JinxI would like to take a moment to highlight another game that tackled this topic. League of Legends (LoL) has many female characters, most with similar anatomy. None of them are imagined with overly exaggerated breasts, but there is a fair amount of cleavage in LoL artwork. The character Jinx was introduced in 2013 and was the first LoL female character with A-cup sized breasts and no cleavage. Many fans applauded Riot Games for creating a “more-realistic” looking character. Jinx is considered the opposite of sexist imagery, and yet I propose that she falls into the same category, visually, as most Force of Will characters.

Little redA prime example that has already been the subject of controversy in the FOW community involves the art of Little Red, the True Fairy Tale. Many players have spoken out calling this card sexist and inappropriate because of the cleavage and large breast size of the character. When comparing this art to Jinx, they are exactly the same. Both characters are smiling, playful, and the focus of the image. Even their clothing is similar: the top garment has a deep v-neckline, the bottom garment is very short and both characters wear thigh-high stockings with garters. They even both have two ridiculously long braids!

It is astounding how one image is praised so highly for NOT being sexist, while the other is altered so it is “appropriate” for tournament play. The only difference between Little Red and Jinx is breast size: biology. There is absolutely nothing shameful or sexist about the female body. Breasts alone are not sexist: context is key.

Sexism in Body Position

How a character is positioned is where most sexism comes from. Force of Will has, in my opinion, avoided this controversy almost entirely (with one exception, shown at the end of this article). A male or female can be objectified in fantasy artwork using improper body position. It all comes down to context: what is the character’s meaning in the image, and how is that portrayed through body position? If the art does not line up with the character’s intentions, then the image can be considered sexist.

SpiderWoman1MiloManara-337x480A very popular example involves cover art for Marvel Comic’s Spider Woman in 2014. This cover was removed almost instantly, when the comic community scolded Marvel for releasing an image of a female in a highly submissive position, wearing nothing but what looks to be body paint. It was also suggested that Marvel should have “known better”, because the artist they hired was known for erotica in his art. Out of context, this appears to be textbook sexism.

My opinion? This art is not sexist. Spiderman himself has been illustrated in several awkwardly questionable positions, but that’s the point. These characters are supposed to be reminiscent of spiders. In the picture shown here, Spider Woman is creepy-crawly-crawling up the side of a building just like a spider would. In the context of the character and the story, this art does it’s job. I would question Marvel’s intention of using this as a cover image if women are the target audience. It is still important to realize that while an image may not be sexist, the general public will still perceive it as such.

Featuring Males and Females in the Same Art

Body position runs a fine line with being sexist when men and women are featured in the same image. In my opinion, Force of Will has done a fine job depicting men and women as equal in the art. Many players of Magic: the Gathering did not feel the same way during the release of Avacyn Restored. This set coincided with the storyline that pinned characters Liliana Vess and Garruk Wildspeaker against each other in epic battle. Each character had their own enchantment card featuring their triumph over the enemy.

TriumphofCrueltyLet’s first take a look at Liliana’s victory in Triumph of Cruelty. Focusing primarily on body position, this art is pretty tame in regards to being sexist. Liliana has defeated her nemesis Garruk as her zombie servants drag him into the foreground. In context Liliana is the victor, Garruk was overthrown, and both characters are in a position that portrays exactly that, and nothing more.

TriumphofFerocityIn opposition is Garruk’s victory, Triumph of Ferocity. Initially this art caused much controversy as players considered the image perpetuating rape culture. Liliana is being completely dominated by Garruk which does follow the context of the story, but the male figure is holding her down in violent dominance; her legs spread apart. Many players believed that a true “triumph” would picture the end of the battle over an obviously male-dominated mid-battle image. The idea here is that the “triumph” is in a male being stronger than a woman, rather that in defeating an enemy.

My goal in bringing these two images into the conversation is not to spark discussion about if Triumph of Ferocity is actually sexist. Rather this is a good example of how position plays a stronger role in determining if a picture is sexist than exposed body parts. The violence in the Triumph images is warranted as in the context of the story. Ask yourself, is it necessary that the characters be positioned this way in order to portray their battle? Are there other options that would still fit the context of story, yet leave the idea of “man vs woman” out of the frame?

Does Gender Bending Solve Sexism?

There is a new trend in the fantasy world to re-imagine male characters as women, and vise versa. The idea is that simply switching the gender alleviates the possibility of  artwork being sexist. This is of course assuming that the viewer knows that the character is “gender bent”. Force of Will explored this concept with the release of the Vingolf: Engage Knights set. This set featured many strong male historical characters gender bent as female.

Vingolf

Personally, I don’t think gender bending frees art from being sexist, but it does introduce an important truth that gender is an identity. Men and women can be equally offended by an image, even if their gender is not the one pictured. Gender bending ensures equality between the sexes, and reinforces that it is okay to identify with either gender. Playing devil’s advocate, one can also pose that the Vingolf rulers are sexist towards men, suggesting that a historically strong male figure is not interesting enough for a fantasy card game: sex sells over historical accuracy.

Bringing It All Together

Let’s take the time to dissect some art pieces from Force of Will cards and determine if they are sexist. Keep in mind the topics we’ve discussed: is the character pictured in a context that is relevant and makes sense to the story? Is the characters position one that is appropriate? Are the body parts shown simply that, body parts?

jeanneUp first is Jeanne d’Arc, the Flame of Hatred. This character is deep in battle fighting for her cause. She is a ruler and thus the main feature of the image. Her body position is facing forward, ready to fight and eye sight is focused front. Her hands are holding weapons relevant to the battle (rather than fiddling with her hair or with a finger in her mouth). This character is posed and ready to strike, and gets an A+ from me: this image is not sexist.

Next up is a selection of questionable Vingolf characters. These alternate art variants aren’t wearing much clothing, suggesting that maybe the characters have little to offer aside from sexuality, but are they sexist?

Vin

Similar to Jeanne, all three characters are facing forward with eyes on anyone who could engage battle. Both feet are planted on the ground and all three characters are fully capable of defending themselves. The clothing seems questionable as far as appropriateness. Being that the theme is fantasy, it is difficult to say what a musketeer would “typically wear” to battle. Let’s rule this one A-: probably not sexist.

cat2As you can see, the main focus when judging if fantasy artwork is sexist has much more to do with body position than anything else. With that in mind, lets take a look at the worst offender in Force of Will: Cheshire Cat, the Grinning Remnant. This character is facing away from on-coming assault, but there is nothing wrong with an in-action pose. The truly questionable part of the image is Cheshire’s rear-end. It is positioned in a way that is unnatural, and much more provocative than expected from a warrior that is ready to block oncoming attacks. You can see how this card’s image is more ambiguous than the others, and could be considered sexist. The twist? Cheshire Cat is a male character, as noted by the original artist. I’ll give this kitty a passing grade of B-: could be considered sexist by the viewer, but not the artist’s intention.

Why Does Sexism Matter?

In relation to the trading card game community, it is very important that you stay alert to possible sexism in artwork. Growing your local community is the most important thing in a game’s survival and fruition. Being sensitive to how new players perceive the game will help grow your player base. I’m not suggesting that cards be censored, or that we ban cards with sexist imagery. Simply understand that your opponent may be sensitive or uncomfortable with the artwork, and show them other options that they may be happier playing in their deck. Respecting your opponent is just as important as practicing for the next big event.

Card Review – Blazer Gill Rabus

blazersplat

The players at my local store having been going NUTS over the new ruler from The Seven Kings of the Lands: Blazer Gill Rabus. Rightly so, because this ruler brings a fantastic new twist to Force of Will play and deck building. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this card, and why I think it is going to be the chase card of the newest FOW set.

Blazer as a Color Fixer

So far building a magic stone deck has mostly consisted of determining the correct ratios of different colors. How many dual stones are enough to get the colors you need when you need them, but without over doing it and running face first into Split Heaven and Earth? Split has been a card of controversy in the community, and Blazer Gill Rabus as your ruler could very well be the answer. Now players can run two colors very safely, maybe even three.

Blazer2The downside: one of the colors you play has to be red. Luckily some of the best removal in the format is red, such as Thunder, Rapid Decay, and Flame of Outer World. And don’t worry: you can still J-activate Blazer and your stones will continue to produce red. (Check out the back side of the card here.) Just make sure he isn’t killed, because as an astral ruler Blazer does not allow your magic stones to produce fire will. If you’re not so excited about forcing yourself into playing red, don’t forget that Liberator of Wind is a great option to help with tricky magic stone decks.

As a final note on magic stones, Blazer is your new best friend in limited format. There are no dual stones in The Seven Kings of the Lands, which means your draft and sealed decks are going to be full of basic stones, and only basic stones. If you’re lucky enough to open a Blazer in your pool, strongly consider running him. A two color deck will always have the color it needs, and a three color deck is very doable since your magic stone deck in limited only needs to be 8 stones.

Blazer Against Bahamut… or Any Other Ruler

We know, we know. Bahamut, the Dragon King is the most unbalanced ruler of all time and should be banned forever. That is the perspective many players have taken since the regional qualifier in Texas, when Bahamut decks ran rampant. Lucky for us, Blazer pretty much shuts that ruler down, as well as any other ruler that is causing you hardship. (Dracula, anyone?)

blazer3When you J-activate Blazer, he disables your opponent’s ruler. This means no imperishable, no gaining imperishable with Bahamut, and no “blanking” from Abdul. Wait, wait…no blanking from Abdul? But Abdul says “enter” abilities don’t trigger. Good catch fellow player, but Blazer’s ability isn’t a true “enter”. When a card reads “enters your field” it is different than the ability “enter”. So Blazer away, and destroy your opponent’s ruler with haste! I would also recommend playing Deathscythe, the Life Reaper along side Blazer. This new regalia from Seven Kings will keep your opponent’s ruler from gaining imperishable in other ways, such as from their own Laevateinn, the Demon Sword.

How to Defeat Blazer

So now you’re probably thinking, “Wow this ruler is the best ruler of all time, he’s going to be worth a million dollars.” I’ll see your overpriced chase card, and raise you…the mirror match. Yes, turns out Blazer is not his own best friend. You cannot J-activate him unless your opponent’s ruler is J-activated first. Which means two Blazers equals a stand off.

You of course can’t bank on the mirror match if you want to beat this guy, which is where my favorite ruler comes in and finally has a great opportunity to shine in the new meta. Yes, I’m talking about Crimson Girl in the Sky. Her J-ruler side, Little Red, the True Fairy Tale, cannot be targeted by darkness or fire spells or abilities. Blazer is going to have a very difficult time handling her. He is both darkness and fire and therefore cannot target her with his destruction effect. Almost all Blazer decks are going to be locked in playing red, which means Thunder isn’t an answer, neither is Duel of Truth or Flame of the Outer World. So suit up your Tinker Bells and Fairy Tales, because Crimson Girl’s time to shine has come!

I hope you all enjoyed reading about the new boy in town. Check back for more card reviews from the new set!

ARG State Championships

Alter Realty Games is proud to announce our inaugural Force of Will State Championship this fall on Saturday October 31, 2015.

All State Championships are open to anyone and will offer one player to walk away with the State Champion title and an exclusive playmat and those finishing in the Top 8 will also win a collectible Top 8 playmat. Additional booster pack prizes will be awarded based on the number of entries and scale as more players equals more prizes!

FOWhalloweenADforstates

PrizeChartBoosters

ARIZONA
Sun Valley Gaming
Phoenix Convention Center
100 N 3rd St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(480)340-7787
EVENT WEBSITE: www.sunvalleygaming.com
ARKANSAS
Game Goblins
1121 S Bowman Rd. STE C7
Little Rock, AR 72211
(501)224-4263
https://www.facebook.com/gamegoblins
COLORADO
Enchanted Realms
6799 Bismark Rd Suite A
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80915
(719)418-2187
www.enchanted-realms.com/
FLORIDA (1 of 3)
Jacksonville Game Center (North Florida)
5800 Beac Blvd Ste 109
Jacksonville, FL 32207
(904)502-6201
www.JacksonvilleGameCenter.com
FLORIDA (2 of 3)
Firefly Games (Central Florida)
9253 Seminole Blvd.
Seminole, Florida 33773
(850)217-8617
shinyfireflygames.com
FLORIDA (3 of 3)
Pro-Play Games (South Florida)
821 North Military Trail Ste A2
West Palm Beach, FL 33415
(561)508-2916
www.Pro-PlayGames.com
GEORGIA
Quest Comic Shop
225 Lovvorn Rd
Carrollton GA 30117
(770) 832-0172
www.questcomicshop.com
ILLINOIS
Xtreme Games LLC
2082 E Grand Ave.
Lindenhurst, IL 60046
(224)372-7560
www.xtremegamesonline.com
INDIANA
Realms Games
2545 Prairie St.
Elkhart, IN 46517
(574)350-7299
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Realms-Games/650727171609787
KANSAS
Goblin Games
3003 Anderson Ave Suite 1001-F
Manhattan, KS 66503
(785)317-7048
facebook.com/goblingamesmhk
KENTUCKY
Parallel Worlds Gaming
9870 Linn Station Rd
Louisville, KY 40223
(502)690-4172
https://www.facebook.com/ParallelWorldsGaming?fref=ts
LOUISIANA
Rocket’s Hideout
6616 Jones Creek Rd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70817
(225)291-8020
http://www.rocketshideout.com/
MARYLAND
Tournament City Games
467 West Patrick St. Suite 8A
Frederick, Maryland 21701
(301)401-8202
http://tournamentcitygames.com/
MICHIGAN
Gamer’s Gauntlet
Hosted at Youmacon @ Cobo Center HALL E
1 Washington Blvd Detroit, MI 48226
(586)4126677
www.GamersGauntlet.net
MISSOURI
Spanky’s Card Shop
9914 Holmes Rd. Ste B
Kansas City, MO 64131
(816)941-2702
www.spankyscardshop.com
NEBRASKA
Ground Zero Hobbies
7940 Fort Crook Rd
Bellevue NE 68005
(402)210-9045
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ground-Zero-Hobby/120366967980881
NEW HAMPSHIRE
Comics Plus
865 second St. Unit 1b
Manchester, NH 03102
(603)204-4235
Comicsplusnh.com
NEW JERSEY
Top Deck Games
55 Haddon Avenue
Westmont, NJ 08108
856.858.2700
topdeckgamesonline.com
NEW YORK
Game Champ TCG
15 Maplewood Pl
Staten Island, NY 10306
(718)979-4760
WWW.GameChampTCG.Com
NORTH CAROLINA
Game Theory
Pleasant Valley Promenade
6260 Glenwood Ave, Suite 109
Raleigh, NC 27612
(919)787-4449
http://www.gametheorystore.com/
OHIO (1 of 2)
Alter Reality Games Event Center
2413 Medina Road
Medina, OH 44256
330-952-0936
www.alterealitygames.com
OHIO (2 of 2)
No Limit Gaming
1217 East Stroop Road
Kettering, OH 45429
(937)938-6442
http://www.nlgtcg.com/
PENNSYLVANIA
The Encounter
811 Union Blvd.
Allentown, PA 18109
(502)690-4172
https://www.facebook.com/EncounterComics?fref=ts
RHODE ISLAND
Game On
943 Namquid Dr.
Warwick, Rhode Island 02888
(401)739-4263
https://www.facebook.com/gameonri/info?tab=page_info
SOUTH CAROLINA
Final Round Game Shop
4225 Ladson Rd.
Summerville SC 29485
(843)873-2992
www.finalroundgameshop.com
TENNESSEE
CM Games
7600 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN, 37919
(865)773-9427
cardmonstergames.com
TEXAS (1 of 3)
Tournament Play Center
1114 W. Main St
Lewisville, TX 75067
https://www.facebook.com/events/974242995971586/
TEXAS (2 of 3)
Mother Ship and Games
2121 W. Parmer Lane, #119
Austin, TX 78727
(512)291-7399
http://mothershipatx.com/
TEXAS (3 of 3)
The Stronghold Games
1601 W. Business 83
Weslaco, TX 78596
(956)274-4880
https://www.facebook.com/thestrongholdgames?fref=ts
VIRGINIA (1 of 2)
Curio Cavern
6701T Loisdale Road
Springfield, VA 22150
(703)347-6474
www.curiocavern.com
VIRGINIA (2 of 2)
Atlantis Games & Comics #3
9649 1st View St
Norfolk, Va 23503
(757)502-8954
http://www.atlantis-comics.com/
WASHINGTON
Magic Knights
1717 Nortthwest Blvd Suite 2A
Spokane, WA 99205
(509)381-5123
https://www.facebook.com/MagicKnightsLLC?ref=bookmarks
WEST VIRGINIA
AFK Games
134 Goff Mountain Road Suite 2
Cross Lanes, WV 25313
(304)481-1503
http://afkgames.com/
WISCONSIN
Chimera Hobby Shop
820 S. Main St.
Fond Du Lac, WI 54935
(920)922-8338
ChimeraHobbyShop.com

Deck Tech – Puss in Boots

Bahamut got you down? Trying to find something new and fun to play that beats mono red rush? Puss in Boots is the ruler for you! Check out the video and deck list below for this great deck idea!

Ruler: Puss in Boots/D’Artagnan, the Bayoneteer

Main Deck Stone Deck Side Board
4 Tinker Bell, the Spirit 3 Magic Stone of Wind 4 Absolute Cake Zone
4 Ryoma Sakamoto 4 Magic Stone of Gusting Skies 4 Susanowo, the Ten-Fist Sword
4 The Little Prince 1 Little Red, the Pure Stone 3 Lumia, the Saint Lady of World Rebirth
4 Glinda, the Fairy 1 Feethsing, the Holy Wind Stone 4 Temple Monk
4 Fiethsing, the Magus of Holy Wind 1 Almerius, the Levitating Stone
4 Aramis, the Three Musketeers
4 Athos, the Three Musketeers
4 Gwiber, the White Dragon
4 Laevateinn, the Demon Sword
1 Ame-no-Habakiri
1 Longinus, the Holy Lance
2 Crucifix

Top 5 Cards in The Millennia of Ages

By Tyrone Cleveland

My name is Tyrone and today I’ll be listing the top five best cards from the most recent booster set, The Millennia of Ages. When we speak in terms of card evaluation, there are words we tend to use loosely for the sake of general understanding. But today I’m going to try and delve a little deeper in hopes that everyone reading knows what to look for when determining whether a card is good or not.

#5 – Fiethsing, the Elvish Oracle

Fiethsing,_the_Elvish_OracleAt the number 5 spot on list, I have Fiethsing, the Elvish Oracle. For 4 Will, we’re getting a 600/1000 body with quickcast and a pseudo cancel ability. As Fiethsing gains knowledge counters, she often becomes a problem against most decks as her cancel ability causes your opponent to have to awkwardly play around her. Not to mention her 1000 DEF makes her one heck of a wall for low to the ground decks to get around.
Now some may wonder why she’s at number 5 on the list if she’s so good. Well when evaluating the current state of the game, 4 will can be quite expensive. Some decks in the current meta are very fast and may take away from her power level. As far as future potential goes, I feel as though she’ll always be a card to consider. She’s already powerful as a stand-alone card, give and take a few changes to the meta and who knows, she may end up being a staple.

#4 – Dark Pulse

Dark_PulseNext on the list is, personally, my favorite card from the set: Dark Pulse. If anyone knows me, they know I love removal cards. Upon reading Dark Pulse for the first time, I immediately noted that it is an instant. Removal at instant speed is already very powerful. Potential mass removal at instant speed? You can go from being against the ropes to completely blowing your opponent out. So why is this only number 4 on my list? Well it’s similar to why Fiethsing is number 5; will cost.
The aggressive decks in the current meta are very fast and rely less on resonators and more on J-Rulers. Are there exceptions to this? Of course. But in turn, the card becomes very situational and almost unplayable against decks like Baha Blast. In all, it’s a sideboard card at best as it is powerful, but very situational.

#3 – Susanowo, the Ten Fist Sword

Susanowo,_the_Ten-Fist_SwordWe’re inching closer to number 1! But don’t move too fast, Susanowo and all of his swords want to say “HI!” But in all seriousness, Susanowo is a house all by himself. At 6 will, he is quite hefty. A 1200/1200 with swiftness, pierce and deals damage to a resonator equal to his attack power. Again, he costs a lot at 6 will, making him incredibly slow in most cases, but when staring down dragons like Bahamut, the Dragon King or Gwiber, the White Dragon, he’ll only cost 3 void will. Susanowo has the potential shape the complexity of a game with that type of power. What else can I say?

#2 – Nyarlathotep, the Usurper

Nyarlathotep,_the_UsurperOkay, so my runner up for first place was a tough one, but in the end, it had to be Nyarlathotep, the Usurper. So initially, Usurper costs 4 will (2 darkness, 2 void), but with “Incarnate” at her disposal, you can slam an 800/800 body down as early as turn 2. In addition, you get perfect information by seeing your opponent’s hand and taking their best card. Discard effects are already strong as stripping your opponent of cards before they get to use them can completely shut down their game plan. Selective discard provides additional depth as you not only take a card from their hand, but you have insight on what cards you have to play around at least for the next few turns.
The ability to advance your board state while crippling your opponent by stripping them of their resources will always be powerful strategy in any format.

#1 – Cthuga, the Living Flame

Cthugha,_the_Living_FlameFinally. We made it to the number 1 spot. It’s probably the most loved and hated card in the set, but it’s deserving of that attention from both spectrums. Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome Cthuga, the Living Flame. As we’ve seen the current meta shift to a more aggressive state recently, it was blatantly obvious which card from MOA played a pivotal role. Just like Nyarlathotep, Cthuga also incarnates, which turn his mundane 3 will, 500/500 body into basically a 0 will. 500/500 body. Not to mention Cthuga has swiftness, so being on the play with this guy in hand usually just turns into free damage. As I stated earlier, Cthuga is an important piece to our aggressive meta since it is a staple in red decks, most importantly Baha Blast. Tallying damage up before your opponent takes their first turn is incredibly powerful in every sense of the word and it can often be the difference in a lot of match-ups.

Honorable mentions are Scheherazade, the Teller of Crimson Moon, Ame-no-Habakiri and Fetal Movement in Outer World.

So what do you all think? Did I do a spot on job or did I leave something out? Be sure to share and discuss. Thanks for reading and I hope you all enjoyed.

Vingolf Box Opening

Curious to see what comes in the Vingolf: Engage Knights box set? The video below has the answers! Vingolf is a great product for players new to the game as it includes cards that are staples in tournament play, new cards unique to Vingolf, 5 rulers to start your collection, and 2 of each dual stone! You can build multiple complete decks with this product alone, so grab a friend and try Force of Will!

(The video cuts off at the end. The only thing that isn’t shown is the 2nd copies of the unique Vingolf cards, and the 5 foil cards I opened in my bonus pack. Scroll below to see what I opened!)

BonusPack