Greetings, everyone. This is Frank Closser, and recently the gentlemen over at TCG Scrubs reached out to me. They’re trying out the Epic Stories format this week, and asked me to give a rundown of the format for those interested. It’s a format designed to give players a deck-building challenge, and facilitate the kind of fun and over the top games you can’t help but share stories about later. It uses the same basic rules as Force of Will, with a few additional rules layered on top of them. Let’s start off with the changes it makes in gameplay (I’ll provide a link to the full rules at the end)
To start with, each player begins the game with 8000 life. The addition of an extra 4000 life relative to a normal constructed format makes the game go into deeper turns, ensuring more resources to work with, and requiring your deck to do a little bit more to close out. Aggressive strategies get to stretch and utilize some of the larger threats that would normally be limited to only a couple copies when you only needed to deal 4000 to win. Midrange and Combo-oriented strategies get enough time to get them to some of the big splashy payoffs that have always been powerful and enticing, but would otherwise be coming down too late in the game. Control strategies get to access some of the highest impact or greatest value interaction around, now that they survive long enough to use more than the most efficient interaction.
Next, each player will have two J/Rulers starting out in their Ruler zone. This allows you to build decks with unique lines of play. Maybe build off the synergy between two J/Rulers that work in similar design space, but might otherwise never meet (such as playing heavily into the removed from game zone with the Grimm Cluster Lumia and Alisaris to strengthen both Ruler’s payoffs and open new lines of play). Maybe you a personal favorite Ruler you haven’t played in a while, and can combine with another to make a very personal and potent deck (no good examples here sadly, what speaks to you is a very personal thing. I won’t try to predict it). This change also allows certain Ruler-side abilities to shine that might not normally see much use. With access to two Rulers, you only need one to call for a stone, so now Kirik can have access to free flowing Strength counters, or the original Abdul can give you a persistent size advantage. To go with this change, there are a few housekeeping rules. You may only control a single J-Ruler at any given time. You can still perform judgement, but if you ever control 2 J-Rulers, you must banish one as a Rule Process (it will become astral and return to the Ruler area, just like if it was destroyed). You can also only either use your Rulers to perform judgement or call a stone during a turn. If you’ve used a J/Ruler to call a stone, you’ll need to wait until you next turn for judgement (even if your other Ruler is untapped and ready). These extra restrictions were put in place to balance out the power of J-Ruler specific strategies, which would otherwise see the greatest growth from doubling their number of J-Rulers.
Lastly, in terms of gameplay, Epic Stories is intended to be a very social format, and is intended to be played with 2-4 players in a single game. For multiplayer games, it’s a free-for-all, where you win by being the last player standing. If you’ve never had the chance to play a TCG in a free-for-all, I highly suggest trying it out. The battlefield state and lines of play get significantly more interesting, and the game gets a slight political aspect as players and alliances wax and wane. It’s not necessarily for every player, but it’s a fun way to play the game, and everyone should try it at least once.
Epic Stories isn’t just a difference in gameplay, it’s also a deck-building challenge. In addition to your deck having 2 Rulers, there are a few other differences in how your deck will look compared to other constructed formats. To start with, your main deck must be precisely 60 cards, and you cannot play more than a single copy of any non-basic stone card between the main deck, side deck, etc. (Card text still supersedes rulers text, for those curious about Kimonos). The other big requirement in deck-building is a rule called “Color Identity”.
A card’s Color ID is the combined Attributes and Attribute symbols found on all sides of the card. For example, Slayer of the Overlord Pricia is a wind-attribute resonator, but she has water symbols in her text box, and is water attribute on her back side. As such, she’s a Water-Wind color identity. Cards inside your Main Deck must all be within the combined Color ID of your two rulers (if your rulers are SKL Valentina and Fiethsing, you could have that Pricia in your main deck, but SKL Valentina and Mercurius could not).
Put all this together, and you have a format that will provide you with fun games, crazy stories, and plenty of challenge. If you’re interested, you can find the full current rules in the “Force of Will TCG – Epic Stories” Facebook group. We have a growing community that is happy to discuss decks, games, and field questions. You can also find some of us on the Force of Will discord chatting in the #alternativeFormats channel. Both Lackey and Untap will let you load up Epic Stories decks with no extra plugins or modifications. Who knows, maybe we get lucky and I run into you at an event one of these days (I’ve always got a few decks on me). Thanks for bearing with me, and have fun.