Each run starts with choosing your primary and secondary clans. There are 5 clans in total; however, only 2 clans (Hellhorned ‘ and Awake) will be available to you when you start the game.
Each clan has dozens of unique, exclusive cards that focus on different mechanics. For example, the Hellhorned The clan has cards that focus on Rage, armor and Imps. the Awake The clan focuses more on restoring health and Rejuvenation effects.
They each play very differently, which means playing with different clans and finding different combinations of clans can be very rewarding. Each Clan also has a Clan Level, which increases from 1 to 10 as you use it. With each increase in clan level, you’ll unlock more cards, artifacts, or champions to use for your next race.
If you want to learn more about what drives each Clan or how to get the most out of their Specializations, visit our Clans page to learn more.
Each clan has 2 champion units – one that you start with and one that you unlock at Clan 5 level. These champions function differently than any other unit in the game. They will also be your only non-Train-Steward unit in the game. your starting deck, making it a vital part of your first combat encounters in every race.
At the start of each race, and after the third and sixth battles of each race, you will come to a Dark Forge, where you can choose a number of specializations for your champion. Each champion has 3 specializations that you can upgrade up to 3 times. These upgrades will keep your Champion relevant throughout your run.
The abilities they receive from their upgrades are usually very powerful and, if factored in, can become incredibly strong. You can also combine these specializations when visiting multiple forges in a race, sometimes creating an interesting hybrid version of your Champion.
We’ve outlined each champion, their leveling paths, and some strategic tips for each of them in our Champions page if you want to know more.
After choosing your departure Champion upgrade and Artifact, it’s time for your first battle! Battles in Monster Train can be a bit confusing if you’re new to them, but here’s how a typical battle will begin.
Your train is made up of 4 distinct levels. The 3 lower levels are where the majority of your combat will take place, the 4th level being reserved for your Pyre. Your pyre is your overall health, and if it’s reduced to 0, your race is over. While the pyre can defend itself, it is ideal for preventing the pyre from taking damage.
Enemies will (usually) enter your train at the lower level. At the end of each round, they will advance to the next level of the train until they are defeated or reach the pyre. If they reach the pyre, they will take turns attacking and will be attacked by the pyre until they either die or the pyre loses all of its health.
This is where you come in. You will receive a number of cards from your Platform every turn, and you must use these Unit and To spell cards to slow down, stop and defeat these enemies. Each card has a Human cost, that you can only spend part of each turn. Each unit also has a Capacity cost, which means you can only place units within the capacity limit of each floor.
Here are some fighting tips for beginners:
- Use each tower to configure each floor with units so that your enemies are not unchallenged on any floor.
- You can use your spells to make sure your units are healthy or to directly damage your enemies.
- Keep in mind that each turn enemies will attack first, so if you drop a unit that will die immediately, try placing it behind another unit so it can do damage, or use a spell to eliminate damage givers. .
After a certain number of waves, the final wave and the boss will arrive. The boss will usually ask you to damage him on multiple floors, given his high amount of health and damage. Sometimes it will also come with special abilities or support units which, for example, fill your hand with unnecessary or harmful cards, reducing your effective draw for the next turn.
After defeating the boss, you will receive a number of rewards. It will be Gold, Card Packs, and potentially a Unit draft or Artifact, depending on whether you have activated pre-battle trials.
Some battles that take place later in the race will have units that spawn on multiple floors, or bosses that float between levels for the duration of the fight, but most rounds of combat will follow this basic structure. If you want to know more about Testing, Enemy effects, or Patterns, go to our Combat page.
A section of this guide is devoted to the different Overworld locations that you visit between combat rounds, but we’ll discuss that here. If you want a more in-depth look at what you can find at each of these locations, you can visit the Overworld locations page here.
Between fights, you’ll come to a crossroads, with different options to choose from. As you progress, the number of options available to you with each path will increase.
These options can be something as simple as more Gold, or more Pyre Health, or it could be a store that allows you to upgrade your spells or units in exchange for your Gold. Making the right choices here is important and it is also something that takes time to form a picture. The more you play, the more you’ll understand what will benefit your run in the long run and which locations to prioritize others. Here are some simple tips to help you get started with your decision making.
- Don’t get stuck with your starting cards – These starting spells and trainers, although they helped you in your early battles, will not allow you to reach the final boss in every race. As such, having them in your deck can be a big drawback, as you may not be able to use your most powerful cards as fast as you want, leaving you on your back.
- Use it or lose it – The Gold that you win at the end of each round of combat is there for you. Don’t hesitate to upgrade your units and powerful spells.
- You may have to make a difficult choice – Sometimes you might want to get a new artifact or a new unit on a certain path. However, if your Pyre is on the verge of death, getting Pyre health supplement should be the first thing on your priority list. An artifact can disrupt your run for the better, but if it doesn’t work, you might not be able to get through the next battle.
Once you’ve made your choices, you move on to the next battle, fighting and deciding until you come out on the other side of the winner or the loser. Don’t be discouraged by a loss, because every race is a learning opportunity!
And that’s about it! I strongly encourage you to go ahead and play a few tricks with this knowledge under your belt. You will begin to develop a better understanding of how to progress as you play.
Now that you have mastered the basics of Monster Train, I recommend you visit our Tips and tricks page, which details more strategies you can use to help you be successful.