This Glossary includes a number of concepts and terms players may encounter while playing the game, in alphabetical order. Instead of reading this section from beginning to end, players are encouraged to only look up new concepts as they are encountered during play.
Ability, Card Ability
An ability is the special game text a card contributes to the game. Unless an ability explicitly references an out-of-play area (such as a hand, deck, archives, or discard pile), that ability can only interact with cards that are in play.
To use an "Action:" ability during their turn, the active player must exhaust the card. The ability then resolves.
The active house is the house that the active player has chosen for the current turn.
The active player is the player taking the current turn. The active player makes all necessary decisions for all card abilities or timing conflicts that need to resolve during their turn.
Æmber is tracked by Æmber tokens, and is used to forge keys.
See also: Capture, Keys, Reap, Steal.
A player's archives is a facedown game area in front of that player's identity card. Card abilities are the only means by which a player is permitted to add cards to their archives. During step 2 of a player's turn, after they select an active house, the active player is permitted to pick up all cards in their archives and add those cards to their hand.
Cards in a player's archives are considered out of play.
A player may look at their archives at any time. A player is not permitted to look at an opponent's archives.
If the ability instructing a player to archive a card does not specify where the card is archived from, the archived card comes from that player's hand.
Some creatures have an armor value to the right of the card title. Armor prevents an amount of damage equal to the armor value that the creature would take each turn.
For example, if a creature has two armor and is dealt one damage, that damage is absorbed by the armor, leaving the creature with one armor for the rest of the turn. If the creature is later dealt three more damage during that turn, one damage is absorbed and the other two damage are dealt to that creature.
If a creature gains armor, the gains are additive and accumulate on top of the creature's printed armor value.
If a creature gains armor during a turn, the gained armor does not absorb damage already dealt that turn. If a creature loses armor during a turn, it is not retroactively dealt damage that was already absorbed by the armor.
If a creature has a "~" symbol in its armor field, the creature has no armor. Such creatures may gain armor through card effects.
When a creature with the assault (X) keyword attacks, it deals damage equal to its assault value (i.e., "X") to the creature it is fighting before the fight resolves. (The active player chooses whether this occurs before or after other "Before Fight" effects and keywords). If this damage destroys the other creature, the rest of the fight does not occur.
If a creature with the assault (X) keyword gains another instance of the assault (X) keyword, the two X values are added together.
The battleline is the ordered line of creatures a player controls in play.
If the word "before" is used in an ability (for example, "Before Reap:" or "Before Fight:"), that ability resolves before resolving the game effect of the reap or fight (but after the card exhausts, if exhausting is required to use the card).
Captured Æmber is taken from an opponent's Æmber pool and placed on a creature controlled by the capturing player. Players may not spend captured Amber.
When a creature with Amber on it leaves play, the Amber is placed in the opponent's Amber pool.
Unless otherwise specified, Æmber is placed on the creature that captured it.
Some card abilities cause a player to gain one or more chains. If a player gains chains, that player increases their chain tracker by the number of chains gained.
If a player has at least one chain when refilling their hand, they draw fewer cards according to the chart below. Then, they shed one chain by reducing the number on their chain tracker by one.
- Chains 1-6: draw one fewer card.
- Chains 7-12: draw two fewer cards.
- Chains 13-18: draw three fewer cards.
- Chains 19-24: draw four fewer cards.
A player owns the cards that begin the game in their deck. When a card enters play, it is under its owner's control.
A player can take control of an opponent's card. When this happens, that card is placed in the new controller's play area. If it is a creature, it is placed on a flank of the new controller's battleline.
If a player takes control of a card that belongs to a house not in the new controller's deck, they can make that house the active house during step 2 of their turn.
If a card that has changed control leaves play for any reason, it moves to its owner's appropriate out-of-play zone.
Cost, At Current Cost
The base cost to forge a key is six ^mber. This cost may be modified by card abilities. The modified cost is referred to as the current cost.
Damage a creature has taken is tracked by placing damage tokens on the creature. If a creature has an amount of damage on it equal to or greater than its power, the creature is destroyed. Damage on a creature does not reduce its power.
When a card is destroyed, it is placed in its owner's discard pile.
If a card has a "Destroyed:" ability, the effect resolves automatically when the card is destroyed, immediately before it leaves play.
When a card is destroyed or discarded, it is placed on top of its owner's discard pile. The cards in each player's discard pile are open information, and may be referenced at any time.
The order of cards in a player's discard pile is maintained during play, unless a card ability causes this order to change.
When a player runs out of cards in their deck, they shuffle their discard pile to create a new deck.
The first time a creature with the elusive keyword is attacked each turn, it is dealt no damage and deals no damage to the attacker in the fight.
Elusive only stops damage that would be dealt by each creature's power; damage dealt by keywords or other abilities still applies.
End of the Turn
End of turn effects are resolved when a player's turn is over-after step 5, the "Draw Cards" step.
If a card ability refers to an "enemy" game element, it refers to an element currently controlled by the opponent.
When a player uses a creature to fight, the player exhausts the creature and chooses an opponent's creature. Both creatures deal an amount of damage equal to their power value to the opposing creature in the fight, and both are "fighting" for the purposes of card effects.
A creature used to fight is said to be "attacking" and can be referred to as "the attacker" during that fight.
If the attacker is not destroyed, all "Fight:" abilities on the attacking creature then resolve. If either creature in a fight has a constant ability referencing the end of the fight (example: "after an enemy creature is destroyed fighting this creature..")., the creature must survive the fight to resolve the ability. Only the attacker can trigger "Fight:" abilities.
If an ability instructs a player to "fight with" or "ready and fight with" a creature, the ability is granting the player permission to use the designated creature to fight. The fight is resolved following the standard rules for fighting, against a creature controlled by the opponent.
The creatures on the far right and far left of a player's battleline are on the flanks of the line. A creature in this position is referred to as a flank creature. Any time a creature enters play or changes control, the active player chooses which flank of its controller's battleine it is placed on.
If a card ability refers to a "friendly" game element, it refers to an element currently under the control of the same player.
When a creature with the hazardous X keyword is attacked, it deals X damage to the attacking creature before the fight resolves. (The active player chooses whether this occurs before or after other "Before Fight" effects and keywords). If this damage destroys the other creature, the rest of the fight does not occur.
If a creature with the hazardous (X) keyword gains another instance of
the hazardous (X) keyword, the two X values are added together.
If an ability "heals" a creature, remove the specified amount of damage from the creature.
If an ability "fully heals" a creature, remove all damage from the creature.
Each turn, a player must choose one of the three houses indicated by their identity card, if able. Some card abilities may restrict a player's house choice.
If a player has gained control of a card that does not belong to one of their three houses, that card's house becomes an eligible choice for that player while the player retains control of the card.
If there is no legal choice of house, the player plays the turn with no active house.
If a player is faced with two (or more) "must choose" mandates, the player may choose either of those options.
"If You Do" and "In Order To"
If an ability includes the phrase "if you do" or "in order to", the player referenced by the ability must successfully and completely resolve the text that precedes that phrase before they can resolve or perform the text that follows that phrase.
In other words, if the first part of the ability is not successfully and completely resolved, that which follows the phrase does not resolve or cannot be performed.
The first player to forge all three of their keys immediately wins the game.
The color of a key has no impact on the game. Future card abilities may reference keys of a specific color.
A reference to the "least powerful" creature refers to the creature in play with the lowest power. If there are multiple creatures that qualify, each is considered "least powerful".
If an ability requires the selection of a single least powerful creature, and multiple creatures are tied, the active player chooses one.
If a card that is in play leaves play (is returned to hand or deck, destroyed, discarded, archived, or purged), all non-Æmber tokens and status cards on the card are removed, all upgrades on the card are discarded, and all lasting effects applied to the card expire.
If a creature with Æmber on it leaves play, the Æmber is returned to the opponent's Æmber pool. If a non-creature card with Æmber on it leaves play, the Æmber is returned to the general token pool.
If a card has a "Leaves Play:" ability, the effect happens automatically immediately before the card leaves play.
This symbol indicates that a card is a maverick. A maverick is an extremely rare instance of a card that has left its standard house and is now a part of a new house. For all game purposes, treat a maverick as belonging to the house printed on its graphic template.
If an ability includes the word "may", the text that follows "may" is optional. If a player chooses to resolve a "may" ability, the player must resolve as much of the ability as they are able.
A reference to the "most powerful" creature refers to the creature in play with the highest power. If there are multiple creatures that qualify, each is considered "most powerful".
If an ability requires the selection of a single most powerful creature, and multiple creatures are tied, the active player chooses among the tied creatures.
During setup, each player, starting with the first player, has one opportunity to mulligan their starting hand. This is done by shuffling the starting hand back into the deck and drawing a new starting hand with one fewer card in it.
After a player chooses to mulligan, that player must keep the new starting hand.
The creatures to the immediate left and right of a creature in a player's battleline are its neighbors.
The active player may trigger any "Omni:" abilities under their control during any of their turns, even if the card with the "Omni:" ability does not belong to the active house.
An off house card is any card that belongs to a house that is not the active house.
When a creature is involved in a fight (either because it was used to fight, or because it was attacked by another creature), the other creature in the fight is the opposing creature.
If a player must pay Æmber to an opponent, the Æmber is removed from the paying player's pool and added to the opponent's pool.
When a card has a "Play:" ability, the effect occurs any time the card is played. For creatures, artifacts, and upgrades, the ability resolves immediately after the card enters play. For action cards, the ability resolves, and then the card is placed in its owner's discard pile.
If an ability "plays" a card from a source other than hand, "Play:" abilities on the card resolve. If an ability "puts" a card "into play", "Play:" abilities on the card do not resolve.
Any damage dealt via the power of a creature with the poison keyword during a fight destroys the damaged creature. This occurs when the damage is successfully applied to the opposing creature.
Poison has no effect if all of the damage is absorbed by armor or prevented by another ability-poison only resolves when one or more damage is successfully dealt.
Poison refers only to damage that would be dealt by the creature's power, not by damage that is dealt by keywords or other card abilities.
Power Counter +1, Power Status Card
When a creature is given a "+1 power counter", one such status card is placed on the creature. For each of these cards that is on a creature, that creature's power is increased by one.
Preceeding, Repeat The Preceeding
If card text instructs players to repeat a preceeding effect, the entirety of the effect before the text providing the instruction to repeat resolves again.
When a card is purged, it is removed from the game and placed facedown beneath its owner's identity card. Purged cards no longer interact with the game state in any manner.
A card's rarity symbol can be found at the bottom of the card, near the collector number. A card's rarity (common, uncommon, rare, or special) is used by the deck-generation algorithm to determine how frequently it will appear in decks. Special cards have a different type of distribution and do not obey the game's standard rarity rules.
When a player uses a creature to reap, the player exhausts the creature, gains 1 Æmber for their Æmber pool, and then all "Reap:" abilities on the creature resolve.
When captured Æmber is returned, it is placed in the opponent's Æmber pool.
When a player is instructed to sacrifice a card, that player must discard that card from play.
When a card is sacrificed, that card is considered to have been destroyed, and any "Destroyed:" abilities the card has resolve.
When a player searches a game area (such as a deck), that player looks at all the cards in the specified area without showing those cards to the opponent. A player may choose to fail to find the object of a search.
If an entire deck is searched, the deck must be adequately shuffled upon completion of the search.
If a discard pile is searched, the cards are kept in the same order.
If a card's ability refers to its own title, that reference is only to itself and not to other copies of the card.
When a creature with the skirmish keyword is used to fight, it takes no damage from the opposing creature when the damage from the fight is dealt.
This applies only to damage that would be dealt by the opposing creature's power, not by damage that is dealt by keywords or other card abilities.
When an ability deals damage to a creature "with splash damage", the splash damage is dealt to each of the target creature's neighbors.
When an ability steals Amber, the stolen Æmber is removed from the opponent's Æmber pool and added to the Æmber pool of the player resolving the steal ability.
If an ability steals more Æmber than a player has remaining in their pool, the ability steals only the amount remaining in the pool.
Stun, Stun Status Card
When a creature becomes stunned, place a stun status card on it. The next time the creature is used, the only thing that happens is the creature exhausts and the stun card is removed. It does not reap or fight, and any "Reap:", "Fight:", or "Action:" abilities on the creature do not resolve. Constant abilities and abilities that do not require the creature to reap, fight, or be used are still active.
If a stunned creature is attacked, it still deals damage to the attacking creature during the fight.
While a creature is stunned, it cannot become stunned again.
If two game elements are swapped, they exchange places with one another.
When two creatures are swapped, they exchange positions. This means that each takes the position in the battleline of the other. The two creatures swapped must always be controlled by the same player.
If cards from two distinct game areas are swapped (such as a card in play and a card in hand), the cards switch game areas.
If a creature has the taunt keyword, any of its neighbors that do not have the taunt keyword cannot be attacked by an enemy creature that is being used to fight.
In the battleline, taunt creatures are slid slightly forward to indicate their presence to the opponent.
Champion Anaphiel (center) has the taunt keyword, and is pushed slightly forward in the battleline.
If an ability refers to an effect that occurred "this way", it is referring to an effect that was produced by the same resolution of that same ability.
Traits are descriptive attributes (such as "Knight" or "Specter") that may be referenced by other cards. Traits are listed at the top center of a card's text box.
Traits have no inherent game effect, but may be referenced by card abilities.
If a previously forged key is "unforged", flip the key token to its unforged side. The key no longer counts toward its controller's victory condition and must be forged again to win the game.