History of Spoils Constructed format
by Terence Dorman
Check here for part 2.
There has been a lot of talk on the forums about the current constructed metagame and how it may change with the addition of Seed 3: Fall of Marmothoa. While I can't say for certain how the new cards are going to change the meta, I can talk about how the meta has morphed over the years.
Since Open Beta released in 2006, The Spoils has undergone numerous metagame changes, as any good collectible card game does. There have been shifts from aggro to control decks, mono-trade to triple-trade, and even legal to illegal.
While some of you reading this may have experienced these decks first hand, there are many new Spoils players popping up all over the globe that were not around for the early sets. This article is meant to educate all you new players about how constructed Spoils has transformed since its inception in 2006. Consider it a history lesson.
Writer's Note: Since there is a lot of ground to cover, I'm going to break up this history lesson into two parts. This, obviously, is part one.
The Spoils had arrived! Bursting on to the scenes with their innovative Open Beta program, The Spoils sent boxes of product around the globe to introduce stores and players to this exciting new game. Not wanting to give away the farm, though, Open Beta was an incomplete set (200 cards of what would later be 220) featuring unfinished sketch artwork and cards that were subject to change.
This did not stop a competitive scene from sprouting up, however. Even with Open Beta as their only “release,” Tenacious Games launched their STE Program during the Open Beta phase, holding numerous tournaments with exciting prizes. This caused both casual and tournament players alike to start building the first constructed metagame.
While many interesting decks were created during the Open Beta period, one deck shone bright above all of the rest. Dan Sotelo's (strmtrpr81 on the forums) innovative Research Investment deck dominated the tournament scene up until the release of First Edition: Part One, losing only to unfortunate circumstances such as threshold problems.
If you all think that the current Research Investment OTK deck is a problem then Dan's Open Beta version is the stuff of nightmares. Before First Edition: Part One, Research Investment was a much more powerful card and could be abused far more than it can be right now. If you don't believe me, see the picture in this article showing its original threshold and text.
Dan's deck capitalized on how overpowered this card was with a simple combo. He would use Research Investment, All Nighter, and Invent to build up his resources, similarly to how the current OTK deck functions. Then, at the end of his opponent's turn, he would launch a gigantic Micromajig Avalanche, providing himself with as many Micromajigs as he could afford.
Depending on the situation, Dan would then start his turn with either a Tactician's Vacation or Degenerate Molestation to make sure his opponent had no counters to what was coming. Once that was resolved, he would finish his opponent by buffing his Micromajigs with a Dragon's Anthem and punching through for victory.
While I cannot say this for sure, this deck was so powerful that it is likely the reason Research Investment was changed between Open Beta and First Edition: Part One. As you all know, Research Investment is still powerful, but is nothing compared to what it could do during the early days of The Spoils.
First Edition: Part One
With Dan's deck de-clawed and the addition of twenty new cards, Part One changed everything Spoils players knew about the constructed scene. Some decks carried over and remained viable, such as Voidal Poisoning token decks and Banker Beatdown, but none of them could hold a candle to what eventually emerged.
Appropriately titled “Deck Murder,” a Warlord/Rogue/Banker hybrid emerged that began to dominate the competitive events. The idea was simple: take all of the power house cards from the three “aggressive” trades and throw them into one deck. While many would think that threshold would be a problem for a deck like this, somehow it worked.
Abusing characters like Mau Tough, Menacing Mauler, and Pluck, Deck Murder would simply slam face first into any adversary. It can probably be considered one of the earliest versions of a Spoils rush deck, although it rushed in with big beefy characters rather than an onslaught of smaller ones. Couple this with the best kill cards from the three trades that have them and you have a scary combination.
While Deck Murder will probably be remembered as the most prominent and effective deck of the Part One era, there were a handful of other decks that showed competitive promise. As I mentioned before, Voidal Poisoning token decks existed right after the release of Part One, be it with a mono-Arcanist build or an Arcanist/Rogue hybrid.
Banker Beatdown, a mono-Banker deck, was also very popular as it was simple and fun to play. It functioned on playing the bigger characters afforded to Banker at the time and making up for their influence “costs” through the many Banker means of gaining influence. The general idea is that the Banker characters were more resource efficient if the influence loss could be managed, and in many cases this was absolutely true.
Be sure to check back next week as I'll continue the history of constructed Spoils!
Check here for part 2.