… and the score is tied. AK’vuk-47 ist blocked at the rim, Bohst’er is stripped off the Fireball and Deron Harper misses a shot. Even late Treyiks from Korvus and Okurg Bloodlick don’t help, the Siegemasters go home with a win.
Dang! My “hometown” Jazz have to go back to Houston.
For those who couldn’t follow the references: I was a basketball player and really am a NBA fan. Unfortunately it’s not easy to follow the games - they usually are in the middle of the night, and rarely seen on TV. This morning my daughter got up early enough for me to catch the last minutes of the Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets game - and I have been a Jazz supporter for over 20 years now, not sharing most of my countrymen’s love of the Mavs (if I had taken better care of my former coach, now president of the German Basketball Federation, I would probably have had a better chance to meet Dirk Nowitzki in person, but I didn’t).
What does this have to do with Warlord and Ordo Phoenicis Ascendentis week? Nothing and all, I might wager. My first games of Warlord (playing Gnorrow Yaw vs. a friend’s Slayer the Unkind) were like NBA playoff games - in the last second they could have gone either way. I loved that! That little card game (I am always for the underdog - never even played Magic but lots of other second tier games) pushed my adrenaline level so bad, that it reminded me of my basketball playing days (With my college team I did become German Vice Champions in 1993 - but that’s not comparable to the level of competition in the NCAA). I got so totally hooked, I used my relationship with Fantasy Flight Games to go to London to both help them out demoing at GenCon UK 200… err, 1? And to play in the Warlord European Championship, organized by none other than stalwart Sy Hughes and his SELWG crowd. I got thrown out of the tournament by Vince Turner’s Rogue deck, showing me the power of Black Steel Daggers and Gloves of Mischief (Nest of Vipers hadn’t arrived at my store at that time - until then my switch deck of Uthanak/Krun/Sceth Hellbringer had a chance to make the final cut). Instead of playing in the cut I had a game vs. David Williams I’ll never forget - in a “buzzer beater” game I managed to become the first player in Europe to beat Al’drich von Grøssynkiir.
Both of these points serve as examples where I come from and what I love about the game of Warlord and what I strive it to be: Pure fun.
The direction to enable frontline clerics in part comes from this. In my opinion drama ensues from the fact that your Warlord is the best character in your army (usually), but you need to risk him, to bring about his best. No reward without risk.
The other element of the game is the challenge system. It’s where the cards get added value - supposedly bad cards suddenly become key cards in decks designed to beat a certain puzzle. This always added to the game and made Warlord much more “affordable” than other collectible card games.
The challenge system has been great, but after the first memorable ones, who remembers the next? Beating Al’drich was great and back in the days those cards were traded for some incredible amounts of money. Beating a Qor-Teth or a Kcal’den were feats to brag about. Just challenging a Medusan Lord was something to aspire to, lest beating one.
And now? Dragon Lords and Overlords are a dime a dozen, even Medusan Lords have seen a lot of inflation with the player run Medusan Lords. Those in turn have suffered in quality - some fun ones got beaten within several challenges - others are deemed too strong to waste a Dragon Lord on them. We are going to tighten the reigns: Some Medusan Lord runners have asked me to retool their Lords for Warlord 4E and I’ll be happy to do so. But beyond that the highest level of Warlord challenges is going to be reserved to Design Team members and me, at least in the beginning. Of course with a spread of Jeremiah in Oklahoma, Richard in California and Tommy in Texas, we do get a decent coverage of events in the US beyond GenCon. Keep in mind, though, that they volunteer their time and it’s entirely up to them (after coordinating with me) where they want the top challenges to make an appearances.
Why am I writing “top challenges”? That’s because the system is going to change somewhat. One big problem in the past has been that some play groups got the Overlords en masse, were near to Cons where they could win Dragon Lords or even challenge Medusan Lords. Others felt left out of the system. The previous answer was creating the Dragon Lord program, where dedicated volunteer runners ideally would bring Dragon Lord challenges to the remotest villages. Unfortunately this was part of the reason for the aforementioned inflation.
So what is going to change? We are still going to have multi-tiered challenges. You will (mostly) need to achieve a lower tier in order to challenge an upper tier. There is something new - or ancient, as you wish, though: The return of the Treasure trait.
Have a look at this hypothetical card:
Similar cards like this will be added to the challenge system and given out in “treasure chests”. When you are eligible to win a Treasure, you draw yours from the treasure chest. And no, if you play them and lose, you don’t have to give them to your opponent.
For the most part they’ll not be interesting for tournament decks, but they have some new information on them - a gold piece (gp) value. In any given challenge you might still win the Overlord, but there might also be secondary prizes to win in what you could think of as side quests.
This is already my longest post evar, so I’ll leave what to do with all those gps snatched from the Dragon’s lair to your imagination - for now…