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Warhammer 40,000 Warpforge guide - card effects and basic mechanics explained

 Warhammer 40,000 Warpforge guide - card effects and basic mechanics explained

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Everguild's Warhammer 40,000 Warpforge brings the grimdark universe of the 41st millennium to your phone and PC with an exciting and deep card battler. However, it can also be a bit overwhelming to learn all the mechanics of the game, even with an extensive set of tutorials.

Confused? Don’t know where to start? Or simply want to refresh your memory on the mechanics of the game? Then this guide is for you! We’ll take you through the start of the game, the basic mechanics and even the effects you'll find on individual cards.

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Tip #1 - Getting Started (Tutorial)

When you enter the game, you’ll be taken immediately into a set of two tutorials that will introduce you to the mechanics of the game. The first sees Uriel Ventris and Marneus Calgar spar it out in a practice battle - while the second pits you against the Orks in a full-on battle. Each tutorial will guide you through the various mechanics, effects and playing of cards one by one; however, they can still be a little bit obtuse. So here’s a basic overview of the mechanics.

Tip #2 - How to Play

Warpforge is a card battler where each individual card has four values: their Health, their Melee damage, their Ranged damage and finally their Energy cost. For basic cards, their health is how much damage they can take from another card before being destroyed. Their ranged and melee values represent the damage they do with either sort of attack - which you can select before attacking another card.

When you attack, other cards will retaliate and deal their damage value back to the attacking card - this means some cards with low health may be destroyed when attacking a card with high damage.

When your turn begins, you are given a set amount of energy to use. This pool of energy increases by a value of one each turn. Unused energy does not stack. Each card’s energy value is how much it costs to play them. When you play a card, that card cannot attack on the turn it is played.

You have two kinds of cards you can play: Unit cards and Stratagem cards. Unit cards follow the rules described above and will have a presence on the field of play. Meanwhile, stratagem cards cause various effects, such as healing your cards, causing direct damage to all enemy cards in play or increasing the values of certain cards.

As each turn passes and your energy increases, you will have the opportunity to play cards with more expensive energy costs. It’s up to you whether to field a diverse army or concentrate on singular powerful units.

Key to your deck is your Warlord - this is your central card which is always in play. If this card is destroyed, you lose the game. The objective of the game is to destroy your opponent’s warlord card while preserving your own.

Tip #3 - How to get and build a deck

Decks are earned through the campaign system. After you’ve finished the tutorial, you’ll be asked to pick one of the playable factions to progress down the campaign tree. The first reward for these trees is a basic starter deck of cards. You can change your campaign choice at any time, so if you choose to, you can jump between each faction and unlock a starter deck.

To unlock campaign rewards, you need to earn campaign points. These are earned from playing games, including the tutorials which you can find under Practice mode. Each army has a basic tutorial that is guided, as the opening tutorials are, as well as practice sessions with various decks that let you get to grips with the key mechanics of each army.

Progressing further down the campaign path unlocks further rewards. So finding one to focus on is recommended in order to maximise the rewards for your chosen Warpforge faction. You can also purchase individual new cards with crystals.

Naturally, you can also unlock booster packs which, when opened, offer new cards for you to play. You can then take the cards you’ve unlocked already and add them to your deck or change them out in order to create a new, custom deck.

Tip #4 - Card Effects and how to read them

When you play certain cards, you may notice they have certain effects, such as Vanguard, Flank or other values including Spirit Stone and Armour. Here’s a brief overview of each effect.

  • Flank: These cards can attack on the turn that they are played on. These are mainly fragile cards which in-universe represent scouting or other troops. Cards with Flank can be excellent to quickly damage other cards, but are vulnerable to return fire.
  • Vanguard: When a vanguard card is played, the opponent must target that card and destroy it before any other card.
  • Rally: A card with this value will cause an effect when played. This is different to Flank as it does not represent an attack, and the effect will not necessarily be direct damage but can include boosting the values of other troops or inflicting debuffs against enemy cards.
  • Camouflage: A card with this value cannot be targeted by enemy Stratagems until it makes an attack. This does not prevent them from being targeted by attacks from regular enemy units.
  • Flying: Cards that are flying cannot be targeted with melee attacks from non-flying units. They can, however, be attacked by other flying units in melee.
  • Codex: A value unique to the Ultramarines. When you use up all the energy allocated to you on a given turn, this value activates and causes a number of effects that are detailed on each individual unit card with the Codex value.
  • Blast: This value represents an explosive or otherwise large attack. When a unit makes a ranged attack, this value causes a set amount of damage to cards that are on either side (“adjacent”) of an enemy card. This is not equal to the card’s regular ranged attack, but is listed next to the Blast value.
  • Talent: A value that is unique to Warlords. Their talent is their special skill and may include drawing a certain card into their hand at the start of each turn or other effects.
  • Armour: Reduces all damage by the value of a card’s armour. This is reduced to a minimum of one, meaning that even cards with armour will still take at least one point of damage from attacks.
  • Unstable: This value is unique to the Orks, and represents the often shaky nature of their engineering. When a card with this value is destroyed, it deals one to three damage to adjacent units on its own side.
  • Blind: Some cards will inflict this effect on another unit when attacking, or when they are played. This value causes an enemy card’s ranged value to drop to zero for one turn.
  • Tide: Another Ork-exclusive effect, this value allows you to play the same card the number of times that the value is applied. However, each card will still cost energy.
  • Concussive: When a card with this value attacks another, that card cannot make an attack on their turn. This is also an Ork-exclusive effect.
  • Mob: This value will trigger an effect when a friendly card makes an attack. This effect usually includes direct damage to an opposing card at random.
  • Strike: This effect will trigger after making an attack, but only if the unit survives their attack.
  • Stunned: When this value is inflicted on another card, often by a stratagem, that card cannot attack on their turn.
  • Remnant: When a card with this value is destroyed, it will leave behind a Remnant. A remnant can be reanimated to return the card to play; however, it will disappear at the end of your turn, or if it receives an attack of any damage value. This is exclusive to the Necrons.
  • Frenzies: This unit attacks without an order at the beginning of your turn. You cannot order this unit after they have attacked.
  • Regeneration: A card with this value will heal the listed amount of health at the end of each turn.
  • Sniper: When a unit with this value makes a ranged attack, if they destroy the opposing card, then that card cannot cause damage in retaliation. However, if the card is not destroyed, it will retaliate as normal.
  • Artifice: An effect that triggers once you play a stratagem card. They are mainly applied to Necron cards in order for them to reanimate remnants.
  • Dark Pact: Exclusive to the Chaos faction. This value grants a blessing from one of the Dark Gods to that card. Cards may gain these values after an attack, or from another card being played, these may be specific or random. Some cards have effects which only trigger on receiving a set number of dark pacts.
  • Stealth: A card with this value cannot be targeted for one turn. This is usually applied on a card being played, or may be applied by another card.
  • Shuriken: Exclusive to the Aeldari, this effect deals a set number of damage to another card before the attack is resolved. So, if the damage from the shuriken value destroys that card, it does not have a chance to retaliate. Damage done by the card after this value will still incur retaliation, however.
  • Invulnerable: This unit cannot be damaged or destroyed by any attack or effect.
  • Waystone: A card with this effect will drop a Spirit Stone upon being destroyed. Exclusive to the Aeldari, spirit stones must be collected manually on your turn and may cause other cards to activate effects when collected. Some cards that are played will consume spirit stones upon being placed on the field.
  • Swarm: Exclusive to the Tyranids, when a card with the same value is played on the left of a card with the Swarm value, they will join into one card and add their values together. Effects do not add up, however.
  • Synapse: Another mechanic exclusive to the Tyranids. When a stratagem affects this card, the stratagem will be applied to adjacent cards as well.

Short tips for victory

  • Don’t concentrate solely on the enemy warlord; instead, focus on destroying cards before they can play their effects.
  • Know your enemy: get to grips with each faction in practice mode even if you don’t plan on playing them to understand their game plan.
  • Make use of vanguard units to draw enemy attacks, especially if you’re playing cards with low health values but high attacks that need to survive the enemy turn.
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Iwan Morris
Iwan Morris
Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who only occasionally refers to himself in the third person.