Monster Train – How to Play a Clan (Hellhorned)

A basic/indepth guide to playing Hellhorned.

Guide to Play Clan

General Overview of Hellhorned

This is going to be a start of a series where I will introduce you to how I play each clan and think about the cards.

Meet the Hornbreaker Prince: the leader card of the Hellhorned. He comes in three forms:

  • Brawler: You want to get rage/attack upgrade cards to get the best out of him. Multistrike: 1/2/4.
  • Reaper: I play him a lot like the brawler. Slay: 10/20/40 (Slay is dealing the finishing blow).
  • Wrathful: I never pick. Slay: Armor 5/10/20 Revenge: Rage 1/2/4 (Revenge is when you take damage).

When it comes to first pick I tend to lean Reaper unless I get some decent Rage cards added to my deck at the start. The main issue with Brawler is how weak he is against spikes (Spikes: if you attack the unit you take damage) and with only 6hp and attacking twice pretty much any spikes kills him. With the Reaper I suggest starting with him in the 2nd or 3rd cart, the idea is to have Train Stewards on the 1st cart to make the slay much easier.

The reason why I find Wrathful useless (for the most part) is because he doesn’t scale very well. He has Slay which is hard for him because he is pretty weak and gaining armor isn’t that impactful for the boss fights. You tend to want to build a tank in front for your offence so he can hit as much as possible with your damage dealer. I don’t find he makes a good tank because when he is in front it is hard for him get his slay ability. His other ability is Revenge get +2 attack, which isn’t very much. So I find he isn’t a great tank and isn’t a great damage dealer.

For an endgame build I like double brawler/ reaper or double reaper/ brawler. Both of these builds tend to make really good glass cannons. He will still need some cards to help him with life but in any given run you should be able to find something.

Each Clan starts with a Clan basic card, which is Torch for the Hellhorn

Rank: #1

I find this to be the best of the Clan basic cards: while 2 damage doesn’t seem to be a lot, for the first 2/3rds of the game it can hit the back line and the… treasure cupids? Target removal is why I consider it the best.

In the following sections I will rate and give a brief overview of each card in the clan. 5/5 is the best: I would always or almost always take this card. 1/5 is either a hard pass or extremely situational.

Common Units

Fledgling Imp: 2/5

  • A decent unit if you have a lot of multi-strike.

Molting Imp: 4/5

  • A great way to hit the weak back line and can take a hit for your units

Welder Helper: 1/5

  • My main problem with this unit is the fact the armor is applied to the front unit. This means he will take up a slot on the cart but doesn’t offer anything after his summon. The other 2 give you an effect and then quickly die when placed in front, freeing up space. In an armor build deck he is better.

Common Spells

Vent: 3/5

  • Finding a way to wipe out a line of enemies is a great feeling and this can do it for you. Adding +10 magic power to this card early is really important. It gives the card the ability to be played for 0 and still deal 10 damage to a row.

Fortify: 3/5

  • It’s a good cheap way to protect your leader, who needs the help given his low health pool.

Hidden Passage: 4/5

  • This card allows to over stack a cart (the max is 7 units, you can go over the pips limit), Also, you can have your leader pick off the back enemy units really easily by just having your leader in the 2nd cart and ascending the enemies for an easy slay.

Horn Break: 2/5

  • Piercing: Ignores armor. I’m not saying that Pierce isn’t nothing but for the most part Torch can do the same job, and 5 damage isn’t very much.

Ritual of Battle: 4/5

  • Rage is very important for the slay keyword. While this cost is pretty high, just lowering the cost (which is always an option at the magic shop) and/or double stack enchantment makes this card amazing.

Uncommon Units

Branded Warrior: 2/5

  • I find he is decent in a 6 pip cart (2/2/2 unit) but the 5 life is always pretty scary.

Horned Warrior:2/5

  • I like him more than the Branded Warrior but I feel he requires a health upgrade to be good. I normally don’t take him unless I can upgrade him right away, but if you get him with life he is pretty decent.

Impish Scholar: 2/5

  • The reason for his low rank is because his worth is pretty dependent on your consumables. If I have one or two consumables I tend to remove the consumables if I can. The randomness also hurts him; I like to put consumable on my starter spells to help thin my deck out and he could pull those back out.

Pyre Chomper: 1/5

  • I will be honest I don’t have much experience with him. I never take him because I like my decks to be low cost so I can play my hand pretty much every turn. So for him to be good/great you need him to be in your hand with a lot of high cost stuff or x stuff. If he is in a hand with all low cost stuff he doesn’t offer much besides a body to take a hit.

Railbeater: 3/5

  • A good early tank unit and good in the armor build. His strike ability is unique which will remove the tank and allow you to slay the back row. Be aware though: it makes combat a little different.

Steelworker: 2/5

  • Great top tank, I like to sit him on top and forget about him. He is a safety net with a damage dealer on top.

Alpha Fiend: 4/5

  • Give him Multi-Strike and he is great. He has a decent amount of life compared to most of the hellhorned units which is nice to have.

Demon Fiend:3/5

  • The only thing that stops him from being 4/5 to 5/5 is his cost. At the higher levels not being able to cast him early in the game (before you get the mana upgrade) can be very costly, but once you can cast him he is great. The other slight issue with him is he will pretty much take all your mana and can stop you from casting another unit that turn.

Uncommon Spells

Imp-in-a-Box: 1/5

  • When I play I don’t find random to be enjoyable. I also I don’t find most Imps to be great either. If you are playing an Imp deck though it’s pretty good.

Imp-portant Work: 2/5

  • It helps get rid of Imps with plus value.

Rage Serum: 4/5

  • Rage! More rage! It’s the cornerstone of your clan and the leader.

Imp-pressive: 2/5

  • Great if you have a lot of Imps, if not it’s a dead card.

March of Shields: 3/5

  • Decent armor to cost ratio. You tend to want to put armor on the tank so the move effect is fine. Also remember you can do it to the enemy units. Giving 10 armor to a unit with really low hp shouldn’t matter too much.

Branding Rite: 3/5

  • Decent card, needs to cost 1 to be great. Really good with Awaken healing.

Enflame: 5/5

  • Always happy to have it in my deck. Helps protect the leader and slay. Double stack is amazing.

Tiresome Climb: 2/5

  • Dazed 2 is great defense and allows for slay. My only negative is it doesn’t work great on your own units.

Battering Ram: 1/5 or 5/5

  • This is the reason to play armor. If you can get it early you can go armor stacking. Copying this only helps and makes the build really work.

Inferno: 4/5

  • I give it this ranking based on playing a 2 cart setup. I normally change the way I play if I get this card. I like to leave the first cart open and wipe out the first floor, but you lose the ability to play a 3 cart setup. Don’t forget it has pierce!

Rare Units

Deranged Brute: 3/5

  • You got rage… well make it better. A great card to place on the top cart and enjoy the benefits. Why it’s not higher rated is because the unit itself isn’t that great but he has a great ability if you are going rage.

Transcendimp: 3/5

  • If you look at this card as a pure Hellhorn card he isn’t that great outside of heavy imps, but the fact that you get a 2nd class means this card can be pretty good.

Consumer of Crowns: 1/5 or 5/5

  • He isn’t that playable outside of imps but if you get Volatile Gauge (+3 card draw all cards cost 0-3) artifact he is an auto-include.

Rare Spells

Spike of the Hellhorned: 4/5

  • It’s a slightly weaker Enflame. It doesn’t have the ability to lower the cost and it consumes but it does have the upside that you can put more than 2 mana into it.

Dark Deal: 4/5

  • Great rage generator. The loss of 5 life can be pretty big for the damage dealers but still great and it makes the tanks pretty dangerous.

Alloy of the Ancients: 5/5

  • Just a lot of armor for it’s cost. I feel it goes great in every deck and the fact you can remove the consume and -1 cost gives you a 1 cost 25 armor. Just amazing.

Imp-olate: 2/5

  • As with most imp cards you need imps to make them good, though this one I would be fine with just 2 imps.

Last Stand: 3/5

  • High cost, but if you are building rage it’s pretty good!

Reinforce: 3/5

  • Only thing holding this card back is you have to be building armor and it has consume.

Onehorn’s Tome: 4/5

  • If it cost 4 it would be amazing, but at the 5 cost you have to go though hoops to make it work. It’s worth it though.

Last Thoughts / Artifacts / Combos with Other Clan

I’m just going though these quickly because it should be pretty obvious.

Clan Artifacts

  • Ashes of the Fallen: Summons abilities trigger an additional time. Fine in imp builds.
  • Collection of Tails: Rage does not decay. Maybe the best rage artifact.
  • Consumed Crown: Friendly units gain +2 attack on kill. Not as great as it looks.
  • Grrrg’s Goad: Demon units get Multi-strike 1. It makes all the Demons amazing.
  • Imp-cicle: At the start of your turn, add a random Imp unit to your hand. If you have a lot of room it’s decent.
  • Railhammer: Grant +4 stacks of Armor each time it is applied. I’m not sure this will make me play the armor leader.
  • Resonant Shard: Rage adds an additional +1 attack per stack. Fine, nothing amazing.
  • Scorched Steel: Friendly units enter with Armor 5. Fine but boring, your imps should still die if you need them to.
  • Scorching Restraints: Friendly units enter with Rage 3. Not as good as it looks. I tend to place units down once I get them. So there is a good chance the rage will fall off before it does much.
  • The Unbroken Horn: Conserve mana between turns. Just a really fun artifact.

Combos with other clans

  • Awoken: I really like the tanks in awoken and find it a great pairing. With Hellhorn’s spells that deal self-damage, having healing can be nice. I will say I don’t find any of their artifacts play well with Hellhorn besides maybe Cursed Vines (50% chance to swap the front and back enemy units when they enter your train).
  • Stygain Guard: Not my favorite pairing, but Titan Sentry is one of my favorite tanks (0att 35life, Revenge: Apply Frostbite (deal damage equal to the stacks) 3 to enemy units) They have the best damage spells and adding spell weakness and Inferno is a cool combo.
  • Umbra: It has 2 decent tanks in Collector and Warden and the morsels are decent at taking a hit. Also the Emberdrain cards can make the damage dealers even better and they have a few damage shield cards to help protect the tank. Chain of Gains (Damage shield 2 for the first unit) and Refined Void (Lifesteal 2) are very useful.
  • Melting: Not the greatest of tanks but has amazing coin generation. Stealth spells and unit are at their best with the tanks. Flicker’s Liquor (Play a unit makes a card in your hand cost 0) will help play your expensive cards.
  • Last thoughts: I find this class to be really fun to play with the only real downside that it has some really “build around me” builds (Imps and armor) that are hard to pull off. You need a decent amount of imps or the Battering Ram respectively to really get them to work. So, unless your added cards are imps or you get Battering Ram, it’s hard to go that way. It also a class that I will get the artifact first at the beginning of the game because they are really defining.

Remember that this is a card game that has a lot of variables so the card ratings are fluid. Some times you just need a card to shore up a weakness even if it is weaker than the other choices.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13335 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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