Hello ladies and gentlemen, Harrison here with another Final War article for you. If you haven’t heard of Final War before, you can check out my coverage here, here and here (and also Toby’s fantastic interview here). Final War is a combination Trading Card Games and Living Card Game produced and developed here in Australia. It blends the story-telling elements and tropes of old-school roleplaying games such as Dungeons & Dragons with modern card gaming techniques, such as tactical card positioning and resource management.
Since Final War’s release at PAX Australia 2016, a series of tournaments have gone on all around the country, leading up to the Grand Melee Tournament next month at Pax Australia 2017. At the Grand Melee, players will be competing over three days for a first prize of $20 000, with the tournament having a total prize pool of $50 000. As one of the few Final War players in Brisbane, I will be attending the Grand Melee and attempting to take home the first prize.
As part of the Grand Melee, qualifying players have been sent the latest product to be released for Final War; the Epic and Veteran Onslaught Sets. These sets each contain a copy of all of the Epic, Legendary and Heroic cards that have been released for the three currently available Warlords, as well as a selection of generic Heroic cards. For any sort of competitive play to exist, this is exactly the release that Final War needed.
Thundergoat, Thundergoat. Does whatever a Thundergoat does.
Each card released in the Onslaught sets comes with a special faction symbol. Cards marked with this special symbol have additional deckbuilding restrictions attached to them. In addition to the normal deckbuilding rules of only allowing a single copy of each card at Rare and above in your deck, you may only use two Elder, four Legendary and six Heroic cards from the Epic and Veteran Onslaught sets in your constructed deck.
This opens up a huge amount of deck building opportunities. Now, with a combination of the Onslaught starter kit and the Epic/Veteran sets, you have access to the full range of high-power level cards without having to buy booster packs. This makes the access to cards much more like that of a Living Card Game, which in my opinion fits Final War better. Since the high rarity cards – Elders, Legendaries and Heroics – are so much more powerful than the low rarity cards, you are better off immediately replacing them with the high-power cards in the Epic and Veteran Sets.
‘Eh, needs more skulls’ – Khorne, probably.
However, because you want to play almost every Elder and Legendary you can in your faction, you very quickly run into the restriction placed on the Epic and Veteran Sets. Even having opened well over a hundred booster packs myself, I am still finding myself with holes in my collection. This forces me to choose between which Elders and Legendaries I want to use, which actually adds a layer of skill to deckbuilding in Final War, other than just jamming in every high-rarity card you have available.
With regards to competitive play, the release of the Epic and Veteran sets are … interesting. Players who are fully committed to competition will have already opened a large number of packs, looking to build the best possible decks. The additional high-rarity cards will help to fill gaps in your constructed deck, while for players who don’t care about competition they no longer have to open packs to make stronger decks. However, the deckbuilding restrictions for tournaments are very confusing, and may serve as a barrier to entry for players. I do believe that if Final War had been released using an LCG-like distribution system, it would have seen greater success and been more popular. Given that you are only allowed a single copy of Rare and above cards in your deck, it can be very disheartening to open functionally useless duplicates of Legendary and Elder cards. Non-randomized card packs would have solved this issue, and made playing games of Final War more interesting, as everyone would be able to compete on a more even playing field.
Thank you for reading ladies and gentlemen, and I will be back soon with a further update on my Grand Melee preparations.