Summer Hex Schedule

Summer is almost here so I am pushing my schedule around a small bit to accommodate more time outside with the kids. Since I’ve expanded into doing some original YouTube content now as well, I am going to use some of that to supplement my schedule, with the goal being putting out some amount of new content every day.

My Summer schedule at a minimum will be the following:

  • Monday – New Hero Battle Video on YouTube
  • Tuesday – Live Stream on Twitch noon CST start time
  • Wednesday – New Hero Battle Video on YouTube
  • Thursday – Live Stream on Twitch noon CST start time
  • Friday – Live Stream on Twitch 9am CST start time
  • Saturday & Sunday – New Draft Videos with full commentary on YouTube

While I enjoy drafting like crazy, I think putting out videos every day was not only stretching myself a bit, but it was stretching how much content people had time to watch – especially on the days where I had stream archives posting as well. Only doing two pre-recorded drafts a week means I can make sure they all have full commentary for the draft and game play portions.

This schedule change will take place starting this weekend. Thanks everyone for watching and as always extra thanks to everyone who supports my content directly on Twitch and Patreon.

 

Draft a Day Week 3 Contest

I am posting a new HexTCG draft video every single day at midnight PST. To make the experience a bit more interactive I’ve added a small contest to the mix.

At the end of each week you can comment on a post like this with the record you think each draft deck performed at. The person who is closest to predicting the record of all 7 decks will earn a free draft set in client (3 packs + 100 plat). If multiple people are closest or exactly correct in a given week a winner will be chosen at random.

This week’s draft videos:

Free hints for this week:

  • Five of these decks went 3-0.
  • One was so bad I dropped after losing the first match.
    Leave a comment on this post with your predictions for the seven decks! All entries must be commented on this post before 10pm on Thursday the 6th PST time zone.

Updated: Pio correctly guessed all seven entries. Thanks for everyone who entered.

Modernizing the Grind, Digital is the Future

You could say I’ve played a lot of Magic the Gathering in the last few years. Just by the numbers I’ve played 1350~ sanctioned matches at competitive REL, across 102 weekends between the start of 2014 and the end of 2016. This year has been a bit different though. 2017 is a quarter over as I write this and so far I’ve played around 30 sanctioned matches of Magic this year.

So what changed this year to make me go from playing major Magic events every other weekend to barely playing at all? Well, if you have followed me for awhile you know I have been enjoying HexTCG a good deal for the last year. Their constructed formats have been consistently well designed – they have the diversity of Magic’s modern format, without ever having to worry about dying on turn 2 or 3.

Good game play and diverse formats are not enough for me as a competitive player, though. Even though I had been enjoying Hex’s constructed more than Magic for the better part of the last year, my competitive drive kept sending me back to Magic events for the chance to compete in large events.

At the end of last year though Hex started amping up their organized play by adding a $5000 cash event that happens every other month. While that total number pales in comparison to current Magic events, when you factor in the cost of travel and entries fees playing a $5000 cash event from my home is easily higher expected profit. Then this weekend Hex is rolling out the next big expansion to their competitive events I can play from home – weekly, open entry sealed events that pay out $1000 cash plus valuable in game items that are tradable.

I find it much easier to enjoy an event when I am not starting out the weekend down anywhere between $100-$500 due to travel costs. Flying across the country to 2-3 drop an event feels awful while going 2-3 drop from my home allows me to spend the rest of my day with my family or working on other things. TCGs have variance by design, so even though I have a fairly reasonable 65%~ win rate across those 1000+ matches of Magic, I can never expect a return on a given trip.

While I still plan to play local Magic events here and there (in fact, last weekend I won a team constructed event with some friends) I will not be traveling nearly as much this year with all Hex has to offer now. Personally I am excited for what the future of Hex can hold. While other digital card games have high prize events for their top 1% of players, no others that I have played offer consistent regular events that just anyone can play for cash prizes from home.

If you are a TCG player looking for something to scratch that competitive itch for you without the risk / cost associated with traveling for paper TCG events then I would highly recommend giving Hex a try. If you want to read a bit more about Hex and all the events they currently offer check out my post on Hex Primal here.

Draft a Day Week 2 Contest

I am posting a new HexTCG draft video every single day at midnight PST. To make the experience a bit more interactive I’ve added a small contest to the mix.

At the end of each week you can comment on a post like this with the record you think each draft deck performed at. The person who is closest to predicting the record of all 7 decks will earn a free draft set in client (3 packs + 100 plat). If multiple people are closest or exactly correct in a given week a winner will be chosen at random.

This week’s draft videos:

Leave a comment on this post with your predictions for the seven decks! All entries must be commented on this post before 10pm on Thursday the 30th PST time zone.

Results:

#8 – https://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/11114907232042851337
#9 – https://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/8854043270689645746
#10 – https://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/16198934047949389771
#11 – https://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/10009447147288165861
#12 – https://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/5627992530974676405
#13 – https://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/7146170585232453737
#14 – https://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/5964500433559060225

Radbot correctly guessed six this week! Congrats.

Draft a Day Week 1 Contest

Howdy Folks! Seven days ago I started a new feature on my YouTube channel where I am posting a new HexTCG draft video every single day at midnight PST. To make the experience a bit more interactive I wanted to add a small contest to the mix.

At the end of each week you can comment on a post like this with the record you think each draft deck performed at. The person who is closest to predicting the record of all 7 decks will earn a free draft set in client (3 packs + 100 plat). If multiple people are closest or exactly correct in a given week a winner will be chosen at random.

This week’s draft videos:

Leave a comment on this post with your predictions for the seven decks! All entries must be commented on this post before 10pm on Thursday the 23rd PST time zone.

Update: 

The contest for this first week is now closed. Congrats to Nick Ingram for guessing 5 out of 7 record successfully.

If you would like to see the results of each of these decks and what they played against check the links below:

#1: 3-0 http://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/14832361040344954614
#2: 2-1 http://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/9381670620152385841
#3: 1-2 http://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/8625830553173812776
#4: 3-0 http://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/7559767893589314005
#5: 2-1 http://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/4591059468423724429
#6: 3-0 http://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/9052143227406061737
#7: 1-2 http://hexpvptools.net/draft/gauntlet_run/1324013380821767431

Five Things Hex does better than Magic

Ban / Watch List Transparency

Something that I would love to have in Magic is the level of transparency Hex has provided in their non-rotating format “Immortal”. Not only do they provide a reason for the things that they ban, but they let the players know which items are on a “Watch List” for potential bannings in the future. This way when new players are looking to invest in a non-rotating deck they have the knowledge up front if they should be worried about their purchase being banned in the near future.

Better Opening Hands

Hex leverages the fact that it is a digital game to allow everyone to mulligan less. Using a probability distribution Hex takes all of the possible opening hands a given deck can produce and eliminates the 10% most resource light hands and 5% most resource dense hands from being possibilities.

This means a large portion of your hands that would be automatic mulligans simply do not exist. Everyone mulligans less and more actual games are played.

 

Flooding Out Hurts Less

In Hex each player selects a champion when building their deck. Each champion has a power that you can activate after collecting enough “charges”. Each resource you play in Hex provides one of these charges in addition to providing a normal resource / color identity. These powers do everything from drawing cards to impacting the board directly:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Design Space

Because Hex is a digital only card game it is not bound to using game mechanics that are easy to implement in paper / are necessary to ensure people are not cheating. Both of these cards would be difficult to resolve “honestly” in a competitive paper card game:


 

 

 

 

 

Because the computer is tracking things instead of people, cards that get modified can be tracked across zones in Hex. Cards you take control of from your opponent’s board can be put into your discard pile or even shuffled back into your deck. Cards that would create tokens in Magic create actual cards instead. These created cards can be discarded or returned to your hand – instead of just ceasing to exist like a token.


Software

When you hear Magic compared to other digital card games you often hear the defense “Magic is more complicated than other games” for why MTGO is poor software. Hex is easily as complex as Magic is in terms of game play, and while Hex is not perfect, it looks and feels like a modern piece of software.

In addition to having a free to play ladder with competitive match making based on MMR, Hex has regular events that pay out cash prizes that you play from home.

If you want to learn more about how Hex works and the events they have you can check out my intro piece here. If you want to start playing Hex yourself for free you can go download it on Steam now.

Streaming Schedule and Content Updates

Just wanted to write a short post with my updated streaming schedule:

  • Monday       12pm-3pm CST – HexTCG
  • Monday       7pm-11pm CST – Paper Magic
  • Tuesday       12pm-3pm CST – HexTCG
  • Wednesday 12pm-3pm CST – Eternal
  • Thursday     12pm-3pm CST – HexTCG

Previous I was doing Tuesday / Thursday 12pm-4pm, so while this is less time on those specific days it is more stream time overall. I am also adding at least one day a week of Eternal Card Game which I have been enjoying playing both on my laptop and smart phone since it went into open beta.

Keep in mind these are minimum streaming goals, so there will still be impromptu streams as time allows. Be sure to follow me on Twitch / Twitter for notifications when extra streams happen.
As always if you ever miss a stream, you will be able to find the archives on my YouTube channel. I am also occasionally putting out non-archived content on my YouTube channel as well such as deck building tutorials and play testing sessions.

While I am taking this week and next week off of paper Magic content for the sake of secrecy before the Player’s Championship, I am recording a good deal of my play testing for the event. I will have both paper magic and Cockactrice videos posted for standard / modern prep after day one of the PC is over on December 17th.

You can help support my content with a donation, a subscription on twitch, or by checking out my sponsors.

Sponsors

Why Hex is the Digital TCG for Me

It seems these days that digital card games are a dime a dozen. It is hard to argue with the success Blizzard’s Hearthstone has enjoyed in recent years and every game publisher wants to follow in their success. Being a moderately successful paper TCG player, earlier this year I set off looking for a digital card game that I enjoyed.

If you follow me on social media, then you likely know that I found what I was looking for in Hex TCG. I often have people ask why I prefer Hex to the literally dozens of other digital card games, so today I would like to talk a bit about why this is. Before you read on though – I would like to remind you that a lot of what I am about to say is purely subjective. It is my opinion and not a personal attack on folks who disagree with me.

Hex is a TRADING Card Game

The thing that makes many of the digital card games hard to get into for me is the fact that they are simply Collectible Card Games. This means cards you purchase or acquire are permanently locked to your account. In order to really dive in and try one of these games you have to invest a lot of time or money into the game – neither of which you can get back.

With Hex, after I spent a few hours in the more casual aspect of the game, I felt fairly safe buying a constructed deck to do battle with. Worst case if I did not find myself enjoying the constructed I could get some of my investment back by reselling the cards I had purchased. Most digital card games today I would just be completely out my money if I did not enjoy the game I had invested in.

Hex is focused on gameplay, not time constraints

Many of the digital card games I have sampled are not trying to develop deep or interesting gameplay. Instead the focus on being mildly amusing, while making sure to not occupy too much time per game. This allows them to be played for 3-5 minutes here and there while you are doing other things. While this is great for some folks, it does make the games feel like they lack depth. When I am sitting down to enjoy a game I want interesting and deep gameplay to be the number one design goal.

The competitive constructed in Hex is best of three matches – which I personally find ideal in games that have variance by design. By requiring a player to win multiple games you allow some variance to be mitigated, allowing the more skilled player with win the match a bit more often.

Hex has regular set releases and diverse constructed formats

I started playing a good deal of Hex towards the end of February, 2016. In the seven months since then they have introduced two new sets each with hundreds of new cards to the game. Each of the three different constructed formats I have played during in these last months has had over a dozen viable, competitive decks. For each of the two seasons that have passed I was finding new deck ideas right up until the very end.

Regular set releases are important to a card game. They keep the formats you are playing interesting allowing for infinitely more replayability with all the new possibilities to explore several times per year.

Hex has free, ranked ladder play

A ladder is a match making system that tries its best to pair players based on the skill level their account is currently at. This creates more meaningful gameplay as less experienced players are far less likely to play against someone much better than them. This leads to less frustration for everyone involved. The lower ranked player has a better chance of winning and the higher ranked player has more of a challenge.

As an extra bonus – this ladder system is not only completely free to play for constructed, but also has prizes attached to it so you can build your collection while playing.

Speaking of prizes…

Hex has cash events

The only thing better than spending hours playing a game I enjoy is getting paid to do so. Earlier this month I top 4’d their first $5,000 cash event that myself and 116 other people played in. Players qualified for this event by playing on the ladder I talked about above.

This was not the last of the cash events Hex has in store. Today Hex Ent announced that not only was there going to be another $5,000 event following the end of the second season in November, but there is also going to be a $5,000 open entry and free to play constructed event on October 8th. No qualification needed – just have a deck and sign up in client.

Three $5,000 events in three months. None of which required any entry fee to play in. For the last $5,000 prize event I played for a paper TCG not only did I have to drive over two hours to play in it, but it also cost me $40 to enter and required me to put pants on.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully this sheds some light on why I enjoy Hex TCG as my digital card game of choice. At the very least this gives me something concise to link people to when they ask why I enjoy Hex.

If you are thinking of giving Hex a try you can download it directly from their website or simply search for it on Steam. If you find you enjoy the game after trying the tutorial / single player and are looking to dive into constructed you can find a few decent budget / starting decklists here.

logo-hex

Budget Hex Constructed Decks

I often have people ask me for suggestions for decks to get started into Hex Constructed that have reasonable price tags. I am going to keep this post updated with a few different suggestions so I can reference it when people ask this question.

If you are new to Hex itself and want to learn about the game in general check out my post on Hex Primal here. If you do end up purchasing the deck you want from HexPrimal.com you can use code Jeff5 at checkout to get a 5% discount on your order. You can easily paste the list of cards below into their Quick Buy Tool.

 

SR Bombus

Approximate Cost: 15 USD

This is an aggressive deck that leverages the evasive power of McBombus’s Bumble Bots to trigger Assault over and over again on powerful cards like Lazgar’s Vengeance. The splash of sapphire cards also gives it access to the power draw engines  Lanupaw’s Sight and Consult the Talons.

If you like drawing cards and beeing aggressive, this is a great starting deck for you.

 

Text Decklist

 

Non-Budget Upgrades:

BD Constants

Approximate Cost: 35 USD

Blood-Diamond Constants is a midrange deck that leans on the power of quality removal like Decree of Banishing and Dark of Night to control the board while we kill them with cards like Twilight Eclipse and Twilight Archon. Early troops like Vesper and Radiant Physician also allow us to occasionally have aggressive draws as well.

Text Decklist

 

Non-Budget Upgrades:

RD Candles

Approximate Cost: 40 USD

Ruby-Diamond Candles is what I like to refer to as a “brunch” or aggressive-midrange deck. It plays quality interaction such as Decree of Banishing while also being capable of aggressive draws that go wide with Candlekin. We have four copies of Lumagoth at the top of our curve to allow us to deal surprising amounts of damage very quickly.

Text Decklist

 

Non-Budget Upgrades:

 

SB Escalate “Storm”

Approximate Cost: 80 USD

The SB Escalate deck draws all of the cards – literally all of them – when you combo off. We use Syzygy in conjunction with Violet’s Caress and Bounty of Magus to draw our entire deck and deal escalating amounts of damage to our opponent. The rest of our deck is minimal amounts of interaction to stay alive against decks faster than ours and lots more card selection with Arcane Focus and Theorize to find all of our combo pieces.

 

Text Decklist

 

Non-Budget Upgrades:

RB Redlings

Approximate Cost: 100 USD

This Ruby-Blood “Redlings” deck is one my team developed for the first CCS in 2017. Since then it has put up a top 8 finish at almost every major standard event. It has explosive aggressive draws that can be pushed over the top by powerful cards like Lazgar’s Vengeance and Underworld Crusader. This is the most expensive deck on this list, but it is also the only tier 1 deck here. It is powerful and consistent.

Text Decklist

hexprimaltempate

 

Last Updated July 17th, 2017