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Codex tournaments, alternative formats

As this year’s CAWS reaches its end, I can’t help but noticing that wherever I look on the forum, we always (or so) play Codex the usual way. Both players pick their Codex, randomize first player, and there we go !

Obviously it’s a very good way to play, and the one intended by Sirlin, for what we know. And yet, most of card games I know of, whether collectible, living, tradable or so, have several formats to play with. And I think Codex is perfectly designed to do the same - and maybe even more so !

Why that ? Because of Codex’s specificity: you don’t pre-build a X-cards deck before the game, but you do so while you play. This offers varieties of format than even Magic can only dream of.

For now I suggest 4 alternative formats that fit, imho, to a ‘competitive’ approach and so could lead to a tournament. There must me may more options I didn’t think of, though, so any idea is more than welcome.

  • Random pick
    This has been played several times, and even once as a tournament. This may lead to very unbalanced games, but generally it forces us to try and find out combos and synergies with specs we don’t play together.

  • Driver, not the car
    Each player builds his Codex as usual and submits it to the organizer; then, they randomly recieves one of the submitted Codexes, but not theirs, and plays with it throughout the whole tournament. Eventually, you sum up hom many games you won and how many games your deck did, and the best total wins the tournament.

  • Draft
    Ne deck required to enter the tournament. Instead, after pairing, each player chooses their specs alternatively: P2 chooses starter and first spec, P1 picks starter and two specs, P2 selects their last two specs, then P1 ends it by choosing their last spec and starts the game. To represent counter-drafting strategy, P1 and P2 must have different specs, ie when a player chooses a spec, the other can’t pick it.

  • Worst Possible Codex
    You choose what your opponent plays ! It can work either as draft - except you pick your opponent’s specs instead of yours -, as Driver, not the car (but this time, you sum up how many times you win and how many times your deck loses ! This one is my absolute favorite) or as standard - you build your Codex for the whole tournament, but you play against it and not with it.

I believe it should be quite exciting to play this kind of tournaments, and I’m fine organizing some if there are enough attendance. I really hope there will be !


These all sound pretty great, and I’m up for having more tournaments on the go! Building a codex for someone else to pilot sounds fun, and building bad decks could be great for having more spec variety. My only thought would be that the scoring for 2 and 4 could result in a lot of kingmaking.

One problem with Driver, not the car is that it encourages worst possible codex. Since I never play my codex, submitting the worst one I can think of never hurts me, but can hurt one of my opponents, therefore optimal strat is to pick the worst codex for the meta (of this tournament)

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Is that true? That’s obvious if you only score for winning your own games, but you score for deck wins too.


Another format is picking only 2 specs instead of 3.

I love all of these ideas, especially Draft and Worst possible codex. @zhavier already suggested alternating between standard and oddball (e.g. including bans) tournaments here on the forums, so I for one would be in favor of having the next tournament in one of these new formats. We could have a vote.

That’s interesting too. Do you mean the game is played with 2 heroes and specs, or is the 3rd chosen randomly/by the opponent?

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Play with only 2 specs. Alternately, play with only 1 spec & no hero cooldown rule.

I was going to post a startup thread for CAPS (our annual spring tourney, I’m planning to run it since @zhavier needs a break), and I’m game to do XCAPS instead if folks want to mix it up for an alternate format.

  • We haven’t done a draft tourney that I’m aware of (yet), so I’m hot on that idea
  • I think 1 or 2 spec would be a fun wrinkle as well (and we haven’t done that before either)
  • Zhav suggested a “re-balance” tourney, where we try playing with a selection of community-suggested nerfs / buffs (I think @EricF had a good comprehensive proposal somewhere)
  • We’ve done map-card play on the forums, but not a tournament that I’m aware of
  • We’ve done random decks before, and while I agree that there were some fun discoveries out of that, it did kinda feel bad from a tourney-winning perspective to roll a sub-par deck
  • I’m not huge on the driver, not the car format but I’m game to add it to the vote
  • Worst Possible Codex I like a little better

Any other things people would want added to the poll?


Sounds good ! Map-cards tournament is a very good addition to the various suggestions made here.

I think a random deck tournament could have less sub-par deck problems with some adaptation of the Lum’s Lucky Lottery format used in Yomi, but that would probably require several games per match, which would be very slow for forum play.

How would a map-card tournament work? One map-card for the entire thing, one card per round of Swiss, random card for every match?

Random card for every match would be more fair, I think.


I guess it depends what you want to accomplish with the map cards. The options are very different tournaments that would develop their own distinct metas

Random map for every match/round means you want to make a deck that can perform well under a variety of game warping conditions, while single map card for the tourney would encourage decks that specifically exploit the map effect.

Based on prior Map use events, I would strongly recommend NOT using Lost Temple (the “Turn 3 Tier 3” map) or No Rush 15 Minutes (the “Player 1 wins on turn 5” map)