KeyForge ChainBound Events FAQ

April 23, 2019

Do I need to know how to play beforehand?

It is strongly recommended that you learn how to play before entering a Chainbound event. Keyforge, however, is simple enough that you can learn very quickly from another player. You can also download a copy of the latest rulebook here.

OK, I know how to play now. What do I need to do before I arrive?

Every player needs a Master Vault account. You can sign up for one here. If you are 13 or older, you can do this on your own. If you are younger, a screen will appear asking for your parent or guardian’s e-mail information so they can give you permission to create an account.

Once you have an account, you will need to access the QR code associated with it for the event. Calling it up on a smartphone is good, or you can print out a screenshot of it and bring it with you to the event. Try not to fold the QR code or let it get faded; these things will make it harder to read.

How many decks do I need to bring?

Although the Vault Tour and other events often have formats that involve up to 3 decks, a store-run Chainbound event only requires one deck. Which deck that is depends on whether the event is Sealed or Archon.

What are the differences between a Sealed event and an Archon event?

If the event is Sealed, your entry fee includes the cost of one deck, which will be provided for you at the event. That deck is the one you will play for the duration of that event.

If the event is Archon, you may bring any deck you have access to and play that deck for the duration of the event. Since you already have the deck, the entry fee is usually lower for Archon events.

In both cases, you must use the entire original deck. This means you can’t add, remove, or swap cards out from other decks. This includes the Archon card, the one card that doesn’t get shuffled into your deck and contains the list of all the cards in the deck as well as the deck’s unique QR code. The store will scan the QR code along with your Master Vault QR code to identify you as the pilot of that deck for the event.

Is there anything I should not bring?

Fantasy Flight’s tournament rules prohibit the use of dice for anything, so don’t bring them.

Can I use someone else’s deck in an Archon event?

Yes, as long as the owner approves. The event officials probably won’t check right away, but if they hear complaints from the deck owner, they are not likely to be very happy with you. In Keyforge, stealing is limited to Æmber, and that can only be stolen when a card allows it.

What are rounds?

Rounds are opportunities to play Keyforge at the event. A Chainbound event at a store will consist of 3 rounds if there are between 4 and 8 players in the event. If there are 9 or more players, the event will consist of 4 rounds. (If there are fewer than 4 players, the event can’t be run as Chainbound.)

In each round, you will be assigned to play against another player. If there is an odd number of players, one player will not have an opponent and will instead receive a _bye_. Your store will tell you whether to play one game or a best of 3 series and when to begin playing. Rounds are timed, so if a game or series doesn’t finish in time, the store will tell you when to stop as well.

What happens when time runs out in a round and the game or series isn’t over?

If it’s a series and you are in Game 2 of the series, you stop playing immediately. You have converted the series into a single game round, and whoever won Game 1 has won the round.

If it’s a single game round and you haven’t finished it, or if it’s a best of 3 series and each player has won a game; the active player (meaning the person currently taking their turn) finishes the turn. Then, if there is no winner, the other player takes one last turn. If there still isn’t a winner by the normal rules of the game, the winner is determined by the following procedure:

  • Each player who has 6 Æmber or more removes 6 Æmber from their pool and forges one key. This can only happen once per player in this process (so a person with 12 Æmber does not forge 2 keys, for example).
  • If one player now has more keys forged than the other, that player wins.
  • If both players have the same number of keys forged, the player with the most Æmber in their pool wins.
  • If both players have the same number of keys forged and the same amount of Æmber in their pool, they each choose one house and count the number of creatures they control of that house and the Æmber bonus of cards in their hand from that house. Whoever has the higher total wins.
  • If that total is still tied, the person who started the game wins.

I just lost a round. Am I eliminated?

No, you are not eliminated. Chainbound events are run Swiss style, which means you can play every round regardless of how many you have won or lost. After the first round, though, the computer will pair as many people as possible with others who have the same record as you. If the computer can’t pair you with someone with the same record, it will choose someone with a record that is close to yours.

What if I want to leave early?

If you want to leave early, you may do so. We ask that if you do leave early:

  • Please let the officials know, so they won’t waste time trying to look for you after you are gone.
  • If you have already been paired with another player, please go to that player and formally concede, so they can go do other stuff instead of waiting for you.

Why is this event called Chainbound?

Chainbound events measure the power of decks. When a deck proves worthy in a Chainbound event, its Power Level can increase, and it is required to start each game in future Chainbound events with a certain number of chains already on it.

How does my event result affect chains and power level?

First, chains gained or lost and power level increases that take place as a result of an event result don’t apply in the middle of an event.Second, they are applied to the deck, not to the player.

To determine how the event result affects chains in future events, use the following rules. They assume that the deck has played all rounds of the event.

  • A deck with zero or one loss (meaning a 3-0 or 2-1 round result in a 3-round event or a 4-0 or 3-1 result in a 4-round event) gains chains equal to the number of rounds won. Look at this number of chains on your chain tracker card and see how many cards will be denied at the start of each game at the next event this deck plays in. This number becomes the deck’s Power Level, unless it already had a higher Power Level.
  • A deck with zero or one win (meaning a 0-3 or 1-2 round result in a 3-round even or a 0-4 or 1-3 result in a 4-round event) loses one chain for its next event. This does not result in a loss of Power Level; Power Levels never go down.
  • A 2-2 round result in a 4-round event does not change the number of chains or the Power Level.

So what are chains?

Chains are explained in the rulebook, and certain cards can add chains to you or your opponent as part of their effect. The following is a brief summary of chains:

  • Chains and their effect are recorded on a chain tracker card. Each Starter Kit has two chain tracker cards, and many stores offer chain tracker cards as part of their prize pool.
  • When a player with chains would draw one or more cards, they draw fewer cards as indicated on the chain tracker card. Each time a person is denied one or more cards as a result of chains, the number of chains is reduced by 1.
  • Chains that are in place at the beginning of the game also limit how many cards a player draws for their opening hand. This causes one chain to be shed at the beginning of the game.
  • A mulligan results in one card fewer being drawn in addition to the hand size reduction from chains. A second chain is not shed for taking a mulligan.

Something went wrong during the game. How do we fix it?

Store events have officials that can sort out problems during the game. This can be anything from not understanding how a card works to players forgetting a card is in play and doing something forbidden by the card. In short, if you aren’t sure of what’s going on, you can call an official for help. Many people rely on their opponents to help them out, but opponents have a conflict of interest; they want to win, too, and as a result they may give you the wrong answer.

What are the main types of officials I might see at an event?

All events have an organizer. This is the person who applied to have Chainbound events run at this store, and therefore has the ultimate control over what happens. The organizer decides the format of the event and whether a problem is serious enough to warrant removing someone from the event or the play area.

Some organizers bring in a marshal. This person is the final rules authority at an event. If the organizer does not have a marshal present, they will handle that duty in addition to their organizer duties.

Many organizers bring in one or more judges. When there are judges at an event, the judge is the person who first responds to the table and makes a ruling to get the game moving again. If a player believes the judge has made an error, they can appeal to the marshal (or organizer, if there is no marshal).

How do I get an official to come to my table and resolve an issue?

Since most events will have a judge, these are commonly referred to as judge calls. To make a judge call, raise your hand, and in a loud but respectful voice, say, “Judge, please.” Keep your hand raised until the judge has arrived to deal with your issue. If you do not get a response in a reasonable amount of time, call again. In such a case, if you see someone heading toward an official, you may ask them to help get a judge’s attention.

How do I get the marshal or organizer to review a ruling?

Let the judge who made the ruling know you would like to appeal. The judge will get the proper official to your table as soon as they are available.

Can’t I go straight to the marshal or organizer?

No. The Supreme Court doesn’t hear all cases; only those that have been to the lower courts and still have issues that need resolution. Judges are your lower court; please use them.

Will there be prizes?

That’s up to the organizer. They should make an announcement at the start of the event about that.

Anything else I should know?

Yes. The officials are here for two reasons. First, to make sure everything is fair for everyone. Second, to make sure everything is as fun as can be while still being fair. Helping officials achieve these objectives will make things easier for everyone.


Enjoy the article so far? Recommend it to your friends and peers.