Warpforge: Keywords, Tips, and Deck Ideas
Keyword breakdown, plus some tips and deck ideas for those joining the Warpforge Closed Alpha today!
Hoping that today several new folks join the game (according to Everguild, Warpforge's developer, the next big wave of Closed Alpha keys should be distributed today), here's a breakdown of how Warpforge decks work, (nearly) all the current keywords, and some tips and ideas the economy and decks to build.
If you didn't take part in previous Warpforge alphas, here's an article about the basic mechanics, above all going into detail about the overall turn structure and the different attack modes in Warpforge.
Warpforge Decks: Warlords, Troops, Stratagems
All Warpforge decks have exactly one Warlord, and then 30 cards that can be:
Troops, which is how Warpforge calls your creatures, and
Stratagems (Warpforge's Spells), with a multitude of effects – some Stratagems can spawn Troops.
During the game, both your Warlord and your Troops are considered Units: cards that affect Units can affect your Warlord, too; cards that affect only Troops have no effect on your Warlord.
Warlords are the first card you choose when creating a deck. They are always present on the board at the start of the game, and the objective is to kill the opposing Warlord.
When joining the Closed Alpha, the game gives you one Warlord per faction; the rest, we gotta find in Booster Packs, like any other card.
All Warlords have a Talent, which is the main difference between them (the others being their starting health pool, and in one case their Melee attack):
Units with Talent generate a Stratagem card at the start of your turn,
Those Stratagems are Ephemeral: if not used, they will vanish at the end of your turn,
Bear in mind that there's a maximum hand size of ten cards; cards generated by a Talent will be discarded (with no effect) if you exceed your maximum hand size.
Troops are your creatures; brave soldiers or expendable cannon fodder, depending how you look at them.
The majority of Troops are placed on the board by playing a Troop card, but some are spawned by Stratagems, and a couple are spawned by other Troops.
Warlords and Troops are Units, but Warlords are not Troops. If a card affects "units", it affects both Troops and Warlords – cards that affect only troops won't affect a Warlord.
Stratagems would be Warpforge "Spells", and they have a multitude of different effects (including putting more troops in play).
Stratagems trigger Artifice, a keyword you'll find in several Necron Troops (and a couple of Tyranids and Chaos Marines): these troops will trigger an additional effect whenever you play a Stratagem.
Stratagems created by units with Talent (notably, all Warlords) are Ephemeral and will vanish at the end of your turn if not used.
Below are all of Warpforge's current keywords.
I've roughly divided them into "Common", "Uncommon" and "Unique" based on how many factions have access to each keyword.
These keywords can be found in all factions (although they are more likely to show up in one faction than others):
Armour X: The damage received (both when attacking and being hit) is reduced by X. Source of damage is irrelevant, and the minimum damage will always be 1.
Ephemeral: Cards with Ephemeral will be discarded at the end of your turn if not used.
Flank: Allows the troop to attack other troops (but not the enemy Warlord) the turn it's played. A fairly common keyword for Eldar and Necrons, but all factions have either troops or stratagems with Flank.
Flying: Units with Flying cannot be targeted with Melee attacks by non-flying units. Flying units can choose Melee or Ranged to attack any unit (including other flying units).
Rally: A generic keyword meaning "something that happens when you play this troop from hand" – if the unit was spawned by other means (for example, if it was put in play by a Stratagem), the Rally effect won't trigger.
Talent: Creates a card in hand at the start of your turn. Currently, all Talents create a Stratagem card that is Ephemeral. All Warlords have a Talent.
Vanguard: Warpforge's version of Hearthstone's Taunt – if there's a Vanguard unit in play, attackers must kill this unit first before being able to attack other units. You can still target other units with Stratagems, though.
These keywords are currently available for some, but not all, factions.
Artifice: Mostly a Necron keyword, although Chaos Marines and Tyranids also have a couple of Artifice units – these troops will trigger an additional effect whenever you play a Stratagem.
Blast X: When attacking, also deals X damage to adjacent units (even if the adjacent unit has Stealth). Not available to Chaos Marines, unless you choose Haarken Worldclaimer as your Warlord (he can get it from his Talent, Helspear Assault)
Blind: When you blind a unit, its Ranged attack becomes 0 (and therefore it doesn't strike back if targeted with Ranged attacks). Blind is a fairly uncommon keyword, only showing up in a couple of Ultramarine troops, and in a single stratagem for Orks, Necrons, and Tyranids.
Camouflage: Enemy Stratagems and effects can't target the unit. You can still attack it with units, and it can still be affected by Stratagems that don't require a specific target (for example, random damage, or damage to all units). Camouflage lasts until the unit attacks.
Invulnerable: A very rare keyword, only found in four cards in total – does what you imagine: while Invulnerable, the unit cannot be damaged or destroyed.
Regeneration X: At the end of each turn, the unit will heal X. Notice that it's each turn, including your opponent's turn. Several Necron units have regeneration, and Chaos Marines can get it with Nurgle’s Mark of Chaos.
Sniper: When a Sniper unit performs a Ranged attack, the target unit does not strike back if it's killed. Available for Ultramarines, Necrons, and Eldar.
Stealth: The unit cannot be targeted in any way. Like Camouflage, though, a stealth unit can still be affected either by random effects (since those don't require targeting), or effects that affect all units. Stealth lasts for just a single turn. Tyranids and Saim-Hann love this keyword.
Strike: A unit with Strike will trigger an effect after it attacks, and if it survives.
Stun: A stunned unit cannot attack during its turn. It will still trigger its passive keywords, though (a stunned unit will generate its Talent card, for example).
Tide X: A keyword found only in Tyranid and Ork troops – when played, troops with Tide X create an Ephemeral copy of themselves in hand. This effect will repeat X times (so, if a troop has Tide 2, you can play the first copy, then up to two other copies). Note that it's an exact copy – if the original unit has a buff, then the ephemeral copies will have that buff, too.
Vulnerable X: The reverse of Armour, units with Vulnerable will receive an extra X damage when damaged. The source of damage is irrelevant.
These are mechanics that, currently, are only featured in a single faction.
Codex: Does something when you use all your energy. As long as the unit stays on the board, Codex will trigger every turn in which you spend all your energy. Playing a unit for zero energy does not trigger Codex, but spending all your energy, refilling it (with Tactical Insight), and spending it all again will trigger Codex twice.
Backlash: When killed, the unit will trigger an effect.
Concussive: When this unit attacks, it stuns its target.
Fast: Currently the rarest of keywords (shows up in a single card, and it's conditional) – similar to Flank, Fast allows the unit to attack the turn that it's played, but in this case it can attack the Warlord, too.
Mob: Triggers an effect whenever another friendly unit does a Melee attack.
Unstable: When killed, the unit does damage to its friendly, adjacent units.
Waystone: When dying, units with Waystone will leave behind a Spirit Stone – this is perhaps the most unique mechanic in Warpforge right now, giving Eldar decks access to a second source of Energy.
You can collect Stones (by clicking on them during your turn), and some Troops and Stratagems will consume them for additional effects.
Collecting Stones is optional (you can leave them on the board if you want to), but Troops and Stratagems that spend Stones for extra effects will spend the Stones automatically (if they are available).
Your foe can destroy Stones during their turn (by dealing damage to it).
Shuriken X: When attacking, the attacking unit deals X damage first (and if the attacked unit dies, it won't retaliate). If the attacked unit is still alive, combat proceeds as normal.
Remnant: Troops with this keyword will leave behind a Remnant after dying, which can be reanimated by certain effects.
Your foe can destroy a Remnant by dealing damage to it,
The Remnant only lasts until the end of your turn (if not reanimated, it vanishes at that point),
Note that you cannot get rid of your own Remnants during your turn – and if your board is full, you cannot put in play any more units.
Frenzied: Your Frenzied unit attacks by itself at the start of your turn. As far as I can tell, it chooses legal targets (it won't attack a Stealthed unit, it won't bypass a Vanguard unit, etc), and tends to prefer surviving the combat.
Mark of Chaos: a very flexible mechanic, Marks of Chaos come in four flavors:
Mark of Nurgle: Gives Regeneration 1 and +1 Health.
Mark of Khorne: Gives Vanguard and +1 Melee.
Mark of Slaanesh: Gives +2 Melee and +2 Ranged.
Mark of Tzeentch: Gives Camouflage and +2 Health.
Some effects apply a Mark at random, but many let you choose the exact Mark you want.
Swarm: When played to the left of a troop with the same name, Swarm troops will merge, adding their stats. Swarm works across several turns, so you can keep growing a troop bigger and bigger.
Swarm merges stats, but not their keywords – the keywords will be whichever keywords the troop already on the board has (if the troop you play has other keywords, they won't be added to the existing troop; only the stats will).
Synapse: When you target a unit with Synapse with a Stratagem, adjacent units get affected, too. This includes the Warlord, as long as the Stratagem affects all units (and not just troops).
Closed Alpha Economy
As of right now, the only way to get cards is by buying booster packs – Devs had said that there will be other ways, but we have no information about those mechanics right now.
Currently, we can buy:
Army-specific boosters, which cost 200 gold, and
Army-agnostic packs cost 100 gold.
There's no duplicate protection right now, so you'll see that your duplicates start piling up – there will probably be some way to dust/reuse those duplicates somehow, but there's no information on the matter yet.
Progress will be wiped out before launch – we won't keep our cards, but will rather start from scratch.
As of now, the game gives you:
5000 gold when you start (therefore, you can buy 25 packs of a specific faction, or 50 packs of All Armies booster, or your in-between choice),
1000 gold every 24 hours, which you can get from the shop,
50 gold per win (regardless of game mode: Constructed, Draft, and even against bots in Practice mode), and
Up to 25 for a loss (depending on how much damage you deal).
An Ultramarine starter deck that you can use in multiplayer.
My suggestion on how to spend your Gold:
TRY ALL THE PRACTICE DECKS FIRST, to get a feel for which faction you like – don't sweat it if some of a faction's decks don't work too well (some of them are poorly built…), but it should give you an idea of what mechanics you enjoy,
Around 15 packs (3000 gold) will give you enough cards to assemble a deck of any faction – I'd spend that much first in your favorite Army, take it for a spin, and then decide if that's the faction you want to focus on, or go for another.
A Couple of Starter Deck Ideas
Most good decks will require a handful of Epic & Legendaries, so what's below are just a few ideas of what you may be able to put together early on.
And, remember: it's a Closed Alpha, so don't sweat it too much! =)
Smurfs on Curve
If you are not sure if you'll stick around for long, and want to have a solid deck ASAP, Ultramarines is for sure your best bet: all accounts get an Ultramarine Deck to start with, so if you dump all your gold on UM packs, you're likely to get a solid deck soon.
Also, UM seem like the faction that needs the least Epic & Legendaries to work well:
Boyz Gone Wide
Orkz are probably the weakest faction (even though the current balance is pretty okay overall).
They clearly have a "Vehicles Matter" theme going on, but it requires several Legendaries. What's below is a go-wide, kinda-combo-ish take based around Da Green Horde:
LongTim has a video about his take on this concept:
Mark My Chaos
I got lucky a couple of days ago and found the Chaos Marine's Epic Warlord, Sylas Hexcorn, so this is my current build with him – Sylas' Talent will sometimes generate Marks of Chaos, so he works as a sort of poor man's Abaddon:
If you get even luckier, like Pirate Lahaie, you may try to go for Abaddon himself, here:
Here’s a YT vid of Pirate piloting his brew:
Stone Cold Wayfinders
Saim-Hann is probably the strongest faction, with lots of access to Flying and Flank units, and of the strongest Burn spells. Here's Karter's build:
Hope you've found this keyword breakdown and deck ideas useful – hope you get your Alpha key soon, if you haven't already, and see you on the battlefield! =)
Karter & Pirate Lahaie from the MC lodge for the shared builds,
Raziel & MANWITHTHEBEER for the corrections to this article (Mob triggers when another friendly unit attacks; and Chaos Marines do have access to Blast, if you choose one of their WL)
Warpforge's Closed Alpha sign-up: https://www.warpforge40k.com/sign-up-for-the-closed-alpha/
Warpforge's Closed Alpha notes: https://www.warpforge40k.com/first-closed-alpha-begins/
Warpforge's Discord: https://discord.com/invite/warpforge
Everguild's website: https://everguild.com/company