Wednesday, December 13, 2006

In the Web of War(craft)

Yesterday, Duy, Jason and I decided to have lunch and Wendy's and then stop at J&J's afterwards to see if they had any new shipments of the WoW card game like they said they would. Lo and behold, this time they had enough packs for us to get 4 packs each and do a real draft. They were pretty expensive though, something around $5.49 each, so about $2 more than a Magic booster. You still get 15 cards in it, though the rarity breakdown is slighty different from Magic's.

So a bit after we got home, we drafted in the living room. Now, for this game, you have to choose whether to play as Horde or Alliance - you can't mix cards from both. Since we only had 3 people, you can probably guessed what would happen; two people would end up fighting over one faction while the third lucks out and gets to take all the good cards and then some of the other faction. Indeed, Jason ended up going Horde while me and Duy had to fight over Alliance. I would hazard a guess that Jason's deck would also probably be the strongest and most consistent out of the three, though we haven't played nearly enough games so far to tell.

Another big thing that sets drafting WoW apart from Magic drafting is that each must revolve around a hero card. Basically, your hero represents you, and any ability cards (spells) you play must be of the same type as your hero, and any ally cards you play (creatures) have to be of the same faction. Since there are 9 classes, and they have varying degrees of useful abilities, you might want to settle on your hero early to be sure of having some ability cards that your hero would actually want to use. Also, just like in Magic, it seems that any limited deck would also need a lot of allies, so choosing your faction early would be even more important, otherwise, you might have to add in some really subpar cards to make sure you deck even reaches 30 cards!

There's plenty of other differences in the gameplay and rules as well, but those were the two that I think most influenced the drafting and made it feel different from the numerous Magic drafts we've had over the years. Although it's more costly than Magic, the game is still really fun to play, and anyone who has an average understanding of Magic should have no problem picking this game up. In some ways, it's even better than Magic. (And I've played Magic for 10 years, so that should be some pretty high praise coming from me :P) The game seems to move a steady, brisk pace, and you never really are sitting around waiting for turns to go by with nothing to do. The recommended number for a draft is 4-8 people, so the 3 of us were hoping that we could get some other people interested in trying out the game and having a "real" draft. I think it would be a good way to get people introduced to the game, since constructed would require both more time and money to do. So, is anyone up for it?


Duy said...

I think you should've mentioned the lack of mana screw. ;p

In the WoW CCG, spells/creatures cost 'resources' to play, which is basically colorless mana. Any card in your hand can be played face-down as a resource, so if you're stuck with a hand of high-cost cards, you could just pitch one that you don't need to get a land (once a turn).
There are also Quest cards that are played as resources (same once a turn limit), but also have activated abilities; meet a certain condition to earn a reward (A simple one for example is "Pay 3 to complete this quest. Reward: Draw a card.").

So basically, it's as if all cards you have can also double as basic land, and you can draft Quest cards which are better nonbasic lands. Thus you won't actually neeed to devote card room for mana for the most flexibility, but you probably should use a few Quests for card advantage...

Theomnifish said...

True, I should have, but I wasn't planning on making this post that long, it was meant to be just a brief summary of some of the main differences between WoW draft and Magic draft. Plus, mana screw isn't really that big of an issue to me, and as such isn't really a big influence in how much I play Magic or any similar game. After all, doesn't any game with randomness have the chance of getting a bad hand?

Yup, quests are really good actually; they're like lands with added abilities. At first I thought that since any card can be played as a land, you wouldn't really need quests...but quests also give you card advantage, which probably is part of the reason why deck is doing so badly - it only has 3 quests. :P

Bao said...

innnnnteresting. Anyway, you can probably figure out that I'll be up for a draft, just to see what it's like, although it sounds much more expensive. I'd like to see how it'll work.

And sounds like Duy will have an enchantment ready for the next Fake draft :P

Is there a major advantage in knowing and understanding the cards before coming into the game?

Will the WOW card game have expansions like Magic, or will it have 0-2 expansions and that will be it?

Theomnifish said...

What enchantment? Something that lets you play any card face-down as a land? :P

Well, there would be an advantage in knowing how to play the game beforehand, but I don't see a huge advantage in knowing all of the cards before the draft. The game is fairly balanced, so each type of card or strategy has a counter for it, so there's no "ultimate strategy" that you draft that will just win all the time.

We don't know about future expansions, but currently, there's been one expansion...kind of. It's Onyxia's Lair, and it's meant more for multiplayer, where one player plays as Onyxia and 3-5 other players try and take her down. The only really good thing Onyxia's Lair has is treasure packs, which contain a decent amount of epic and rare loot.

Theomnifish said...

Maybe we could get Vinh to play it once too? :P

Ambrose said...

Well if it's a novel thing I'd be willing to try, but I don't want to do many packs considering the time it'll take to learn and draft.

But about heroes, do you get one in each pack or are you supposed to get a starter deck so you have all 9?

Theomnifish said...

You get one hero in each pack. Since each person is supposed to open 4 packs, and they recommend you draft with 4-8 people, you should have a fairly good chance of opening most of the hero classes each time, depending on how many people you have.

Bao said...

66 entries in 2004, 10 entries in 2005, 16 entries in 2006. What's your prediction for 2007?

Theomnifish said... prediction is...12 entries!

1 for each month :P