Monster Train has all manner of unique effects and things you’ll need to keep an eye on. This page is a cheat sheet for all the Keywords you’ll need to know.
Monster Train - All Keywords and Effects
This is an exhaustive list of every keyword and what it does in alphabetical order, so scroll on through for all the info you need for each of these Keywords!
Armor is extra health that goes on top of your units. It stays put until it’s hit off by damage or the whole battle ends. Keep an eye on your Armor total when trying to survive - Armor lost can’t be regained by healing or Regen.
No, not the other card game. Artifacts in Monster Train are ongoing effects like Slay the Spire’s Relics. They offer you all manner of bonuses, from extra Capacity and Ember to granting specific unit types bonus keywords. Smart use of Artifacts is essential to victory in Monster Train, so get to grips with them if possible.
Ascend is a simple effect - it puts the units affected up one floor on the train. It doesn’t work for bosses, so be careful not to waste it.
Units with Burnout die once their Burnout counter reaches 0. For this reason, it’s often better to add extra Burnout to your units which already have it.
The Capacity of each floor is measured with those little yellow orbs. You can only play units on a certain floor if there’s enough empty Capacity for them to take up, with the unit’s Capacity shown on the top border of their card.
Spells with Consume can only be played one time per battle. After it’s played, it’ll be out of your deck until the next fight. It sounds like a downside, but this can sometimes be helpful, thinning out your deck for more useful cards.
Damage Shield is kind of like Divine Shield in Hearthstone. It negates one instance of damage you receive per stack, so make sure your units are lined up to minimise friendly deaths.
Dazed units miss their next attack. Against a boss, or enemy with Relentless, this’ll wear off after they have missed a single attack, rather than putting them out of action for the round.
Similar to Ascend, but downwards, Descend puts the units impacted onto the floor below. Only 7 units can be on a floor at a time though, so be careful not to mess up your floor movements. Remember - you can overfill the Capacity of a floor with Ascend and Descend, just not the total unit amount.
Morsels are special kinds of units that can be generated through various units and spells. After a combat round ends, they can be Eaten, which gives certain buffs to the front-most non-morsel unit, including extra Attack, Health, or keywords like Lifesteal.
Ember is the mana required to play cards. The total Ember you gain each turn is shown in the bottom left, and each card has an Ember cost in the top left. You start by gaining 3 Ember every turn, but this can be increased by Artifacts, unit effects and all kinds of other combos.
Emberdrain reduces the amount of Ember gained at the start of your turn. It decreases by 1 every turn, so if you have 2 Emberdrain you lose 2 Ember one turn, then 1 Ember the next. Emberdrain stacks up pretty exponentially, so you’ll really want to avoid getting hit by it unless you’re prepared.
Endless units are put onto the top of your draw pile when they die, giving you a constant source of value should you need it.
Enhancing a unit buffs it for the current battle - after it’s done the buff is removed.
Similar to Hearthstone’s Deathrattle, Extinguish effects trigger when the unit in question dies off.
Frostbite damages an enemy by 1 for every point of Frostbite it’s got, before decreasing by 1 at the end of the turn. For example, an enemy who finishes a combat round with 20 Frostbite will then take 20 damage, and if they survive will have 19 Frostbite the following round.
Frozen cards are not discarded at the end of your turn, meaning you can save them for the perfect time. When you play the card, it loses frozen though.
Fuel is what powers Inert units, allowing them to attack. It decreases by 1 every turn though, so you’ll have to keep your Inert units fueled up.
Gorge effects trigger when a unit eats a morsel. The unit will then gain both the Gorge bonus and the Eaten effect of the specific morsel.
Units with Heartless are unable to heal
Incant triggers both for enemies and friendlies when you cast a spell on that unit’s floor. Therefore, you’ll want to cast spells on the floors of your Incant units, whilst avoiding buffing your foe’s Incant units.
Inert units can’t attack unless they have Fuel - see above for more details.
Lifesteal heals a unit for the same amount of damage they hit for. After it’s used once, the Lifesteal effect goes away, although you can stack multiple attacks worth if you plan ahead.
Magic Power refers to the amount of damage dealt and health restored by your spells. It doesn’t do anything to secondary effects like applying Frostbite.
One of our favourite effects, Multistrike lets you attack multiple times in an attacking phase. Combined with Quick, this can make short work of any foes foolish enough to stand in your way.
Offering cards can be cast from hand, but if you discard them from your hand during your turn, you can get them to go off for free.
Permafrost cards are given Frozen when they’re drawn, meaning they don’t get discarded at the end of your turn.
Damage with Piercing negates Armor - great when you take on that extra Trial and give your enemies free Armor.
When you play a card with Purge, it’s removed from your deck for the entire rest of your run. However, if you have a unit with Endless and it dies, you’ll actually get it back, so there are ways around this.
The Pyre is your health total - when this goes down to 0, you lose. It also has an attack value though, so when enemies reach it, it’ll fight it out like any other combat until either your enemy or your Pyre dies.
Cards with Pyrebound can only be played in the Pyre room or the one just below it. They’re usually super powerful, but keep the limitation in mind.
Units with Quick bypass one of the biggest hurdles you’re likely to come across. They attack before your enemies do, meaning they can often wipe out a floor without taking a hit. For this reason, their health totals are often low, but if you don’t get hit, who needs health anyway?
Rage grants your units +2 attack for every stack. It decreases by 1 every turn. Rage works brilliantly on Multistrike, since it doubles or even triples the effectiveness.
Unique to Melting Remnant runs, Reform returns a defeated friendly unit to your hand. It’s given Burnout 1, +5 attack and health, and costs 0 Ember. This is great for units with Burnout already, as it immediately puts them back in play as a threat.
Regen restores 1 health per stack at the end of the turn, and decreases by 1 each turn. Stacking a load of this up can keep your units alive, but remember it doesn’t last forever.
A unit will trigger its Rejuvenate effect when it’s healed, even when the unit is at full health. Different units have all manner of Rejuvenate effects, from earning Spikes to increasing attack and health.
Boss enemies have Relentless, which means they attack a floor until either they die or your units all die. They then move up a floor and do it all again.
Resolve effects trigger at the end of each turn, so it’s worth keeping units with it alive.
Revenge triggers when the unit in question takes damage, so try to keep them on high health, allowing them to tank the hits. This combines very nicely with Regen.
Enemies with Rooted can’t go up a floor between rounds one time. This can give you an extra turn to deal with them, but remember - they can still attack unless they’re Dazed.
If a card requires a Sacrifice, you must kill a friendly unit to play it. Sometimes, this needs specific types of units like Imps to be Sacrificed.
Sap reduces the attack power by 2 per stack, and decreases each turn. This is extremely strong against enemies with Multistrike, and can save you in a pinch.
Silence disables triggered abilities like Revenge or Resolve.
Slay bonuses come into effect when the unit in question kills an enemy
Enemies with this ability can negate damage spells for as many stacks as they have of Spell Shield.
Spell Weakness forces the enemy to take an extra copy of the damage from a damage spell for each stack of Spell Weakness. For example, an enemy with 2 Spell Weakness being hit by a 6 damage spell will actually take a total of 18.
Spikes are fun. When an unit attacks a unit with Spikes, the attacker takes damage equal to the number of Spikes in a stack. Spikes don’t decrease each turn either, meaning enemies often repeatedly bash themselves into your high-health spiky units until they’re dead.
Units with Stealth are not targetable with unit attacks. They can attack, but for one turn per Stealth stack, they won’t be hit. They can of course still take Spikes or spell damage.
Summon effects are simple - they come into play when the unit is summoned
Units with Sweep damage all enemies on that floor, rather than just the front one.
Unpurgeable cards like Deadweight cannot be removed from your deck, no matter how hard you try.