Monster Train – Glossary and Interactions Guide

Please note: all credit goes to HE SUN THE SUN THE SU!

A reference to every keyword, event, mechanic, and ability in the game.

Map Events

Unstable Vortex

Allows you to remove up to two cards from your deck for free. You can leave the vortex and interact with it again later to remove cards. You do not have to remove two cards, and the vortex will stay active after removing only one to be revisited.


Allows duplication of a card, including all of the ways it has been changed over the course of the run. This includes bonuses from upgrades, as well as effects like the bonus damage gained by Subsuming Blade when it kills a target. Can be left and interacted with again later.

Forgotten Boons

Gain 75 gold instantly. No muss, no fuss.

Herzal’s Horde

See a random artifact on offer. Can be accepted, or declined to gain 25 gold instead. Once you interact with a Herzal’s Horde you must choose between the artifact and the gold, no leaving and coming back. A Herzal’s Horde will always spawn in the 1st ring.

Pyre Remains

Restores 20 Pyre health. It’s a good idea to interact with this last, in case you lose health to an event.

Concealed Caverns

Contains an event. All events can provide some form of benefit, generally at a cost. Most events have an option to leave without interacting, but you may be forced into choices. Some options may allow you to gain cards from clans you did not select at the start.

Faction Banner

Choose between 2-3 possible units of the indicated clan to recruit. Only banners of your chosen primary and allied clans will appear.

Dark Forge

Choose between 2 possible upgrades for your champion. Each champion has 3 upgrade paths, with the option to improve the first path you select appearing at every Dark Forge. Dark Forges only appear on rings 1, 4, and 7 – the first when you start a run, and the second two after the first two main bosses.


All merchants follow the same pattern. There will be three items on offer for some amount of gold, as well as the option to remove a card and to re-roll the wares.

Card removal can be used any number of times at each merchant, starting at 50 gold and going up by 25 each time it is used. Removal price is shared between all merchants.

Re-rolling will replace the three items on offer (including the empty spaces left by purchasing any items) with three new items. Each upgrade merchant inventory will offer two common upgrades costing 20 gold each, as well as a more expensive rare upgrade.

The cost of re-rolls increases by 20% at covenant rank 11, the cost of removing cards increases by 20% at rank 16, and the cost of purchasing goods increases by 20% at rank 18.

Merchant of Steel

Sells unit upgrades.

Merchant of Magic

Sells spell upgrades.

Merchant of Trinkets

Sells artifacts. Artifacts are much more expensive than upgrades. A Merchant of Trinkets will always spawn in the 9th ring before the Seraph encounter, accessible to both paths. These merchants can spawn in other locations as well, though they are rare.

Misc. Glossary

  • Artifact – Added to your run through merchants, events, Herzal’s Hordes, or challenges. Artifacts provide a passive benefit and are not a part of your deck. There is no way to remove artifacts once you acquire them.
  • Ascension Phase – After combat resolves on each floor, enemy units will move up one floor. Enemies that end in the pyre chamber will then battle the pyre.
  • Champion – Determined by your main clan. A powerful unit that is a part of your deck from the start. Cannot be removed or upgraded normally, requiring a Dark Forge to be improved. Always costs 0 and is always in your starting hand.
  • Combat – Occurs after pressing the “end turn” button. Allied and enemy units take actions in a set order, starting at the room under the pyre chamber. First, starting with the leftmost and proceeding to the rightmost, enemies on this floor will attack the rightmost ally. Then allies will attack in turn going from rightmost to leftmost. This will then be repeated on the second floor and finally the first floor.
  • Covenant – Prestige or ascension level. Winning a run at the highest unlocked covenant rank (0 at the start of the game) unlocks the next rank, up to 25. Each covenant rank adds new challenges to the game.
  • Ember – “Mana” used to play cards. By default you earn get 3 ember per turn, though this can be improved in many ways. Some cards can add or remove additional ember during a turn.
  • Main Boss – Extremely powerful enemies faced in rings 3, 6, and 9. Main bosses are encountered in a preset order, though each boss will have one of three random abilities. You can see which ability the final main boss, Seraph, will have from the beginning of a run. Main bosses will appear outside the Boneshaker at the start of combat and will move to a random floor each turn, applying an effect on that floor. Main bosses can be damaged during this time, but will only fight back once the boss rush has begun. All main bosses are capable of summoning other units.
  • Pyre – Your life total and your last line of defense. The pyre is always in the top floor of the boneshaker and will attack all enemies in the pyre room at the same time. If the pyre is destroyed, you lose. The pyre can be upgraded by several artifacts and cards. Additionally, your pyre will be upgraded with additional health and damage after each main boss.
  • Spell – Has an effect when played, is discarded after use. Some spells require a target. These spells can only be played when there is a valid target. Most targeted spells can affect allies and enemies – regardless of their effects.
  • Unit – Played onto a floor in the Boneshaker. Battles with enemies. If it dies, it is removed from your deck for the rest of the battle.
  • Upgrades – Purchasable and permanent augments to cards. Upgrades an increases stats, reduce costs, as well as add or remove keywords. Once an upgrade is added to a card, the upgrade cannot be removed. By default each card can support two upgrades. Your champion cannot be upgraded normally, instead requiring a Dark Forge.

Keyword Glossary

  • Add – Create a card in your hand. Added cards are removed from your deck at the end of combat.
  • Armor – An extra layer of defense. Damage is dealt to armor before HP, unless the damaging effect has pierce. There is no limit to the amount of armor a unit can have, and armor is not removed by purge effects.
  • Ascend – Move a unit to the above floor. Allies cannot be ascended to the pyre room. If an enemy is ascended to the pyre room, they will battle the pyre. An ascended unit will arrive in the back of the new floor. Ascend can temporarily ignore the size limit of a floor, but not when a floor is at or above 7 capacity.
  • Attack – Each unit attacks once during the combat phase. Attacks happen in a present order. A unit with an attack stat of 0 will not attack and thus will not trigger effects that require attacking.
  • Boss – A powerful enemy faced at the end of each combat encounter that posseses relentless.
  • Blight – A card that is purely detrimental. Blights may be added to your deck via covenant ranks or events. The clanless monster Dante the Deceptive becomes stronger for each blight in your deck and is found in an event.
  • Burnout – Units with burnout X enter with X stacks of burnout. Burnout may be added to cards via other effects. Whenever a unit is reformed it gains an additional level of burnout for that combat, either increasing the existing value by 1 or adding burnout 1.

    At the end of each combat round units with burnout lose one stack. When a unit loses its last stack of burnout, it dies. Note that the burnout icon changes from yellow to red if a burnout unit will die to this effect during combat.

  • Cardless – A special modifier added to allied units summoned without the use of a card. If a cardless unit dies it will not enter the consume pile. A cardless unit cannot gain endless.
  • Consume – A spell with consume is added to the consume pile after being played and cannot be drawn again for the rest of combat.
  • Damage Shield – A unit with damage shield will prevent 100% of the damage dealt by the next instance of damage they take. Each time damage is prevented by damage shield the unit loses one stack. Spells with pierce will ignore damage shield, damaging the unit without removing a stack. If damage is prevented by a damage shield stack revenge effects will not be triggered.
  • Dazed – A dazed unit cannot attack. A stack of dazed is removed at the end of each combat round. Other features of a dazed unit will still function, such as triggered abilities and thorns. A dazed enemy can still ascend after combat.
  • Descend – Move a unit down one floor. Cannot be used on allies or enemies on the bottom floor. A descended unit will arrive in the back of the new floor. descend can temporarily ignore the size limit of a floor, but not when a floor is at or above 7 capacity.
  • Dies – A unit dies when reduced to 0 HP or when affected by an ability that instantly kills a target. A unit can die if it has armor remaining.
  • Eaten – A special status effect present only on Umbra morsels. A unit with eaten will die at the end of the next combat round, so long as there is another allied unit further to the right. The furthest right unit will eat all units with this effect. When a unit is eaten, it provides a beneficial effect to the unit that ate it. If a unit is eaten it will trigger any death effects like normal.
  • Emberdrain – For each stack of emberdrain on allied units at the beginning of your turn you get -1 ember, down to a minimum of 0. Emberdrain stacks on allies will decrease by 1 at the end of each combat turn.
  • Enchant – A unit with enchant applies a beneficial effect to other friendly units on its floor. This is most common in enemies, only the Stygian Guard champion has access to enchant for the player.
  • End of Turn – An effect that triggers when the end of turn button is pressed.
  • Endless – A unit with endless is placed on top of your deck when it dies instead of going to the consume pile.
  • Enhance – Modify another card until the end of the battle. Enhance effects persist even if a card is discarded or sent to the consume pile.
  • Extinguish – An effect that triggers when the unit with extinguish dies. Extinguish effects have a high priority, even taking effect between attacks.
  • Frostbite – A unit affected by frostbite takes damage equal the the number of stacks it has at the end of each combat turn, then loses one stack of frostbite.
  • Frozen – A card with frozen is not discarded at the end of the turn, instead staying in your hand. Cards lose frozen when played.
  • Fuel – Fuel stacks allow a unit with inert to attack. A unit with fuel loses one stack of fuel at the end of each combat turn.
  • Gorge – An effect that triggers when the unit eats a unit with an eaten effect.
  • Harvest – An effect that triggers whenever any unit – friendly or not – dies on the same floor as the unit with the harvest effect. Harvest has a high priority, triggering even between attacks.
  • Haste – An enemy unit with haste will move directly from the first floor of the Boneshaker to the third floor during the ascension phase. Haste has no effect on enemies not on the first floor, and cannot be granted to allies.
  • Heartless – A heartless unit cannot be healed though any means, including direct healing, regeneration, and lifesteal. Heartless units can still gain additional max HP or armor.
  • Immobile – An immobile unit cannot move between floors.
  • Imp – A special card type belonging to the Hellhorned faction. Various cards care about the existence of Imps, gaining damage, cost reduction, or requiring Imps in play to be cast.
  • Incant – An effect that triggers when a spell is cast on this floor. Incant effects only trigger with spell cards, playing units or enemy main bosses using their abilities will not trigger incant effects.
  • Inert – A unit with inert requires fuel stacks to attack. Other features of the unit unch as thorns will still apply without fuel stacks.
  • Lifesteal – A unit with lifesteal will restore life equal to 100% of the damage it deals, including damage to armor. Each enemy damaged will remove one stack of lifesteal. Additional lifesteal stacks do not increase the amount of healing. If a unit with lifesteal damage multiple enemies with a single attack it will lose a stack of lifesteal for each enemy attacked.
  • Magic Power – Every point of magic power increases the damage dealt and health restored by spells. Some effects grant global magic power that will affect all spells, while others increase magic power of cards for the duration of a fight or only on a specific floor. Magic power does not affect the strength or amount of buff or debuff stacks applied by a spell. Magic power applied to a spell that uses a multiplicative effect to calculate damage or healing will have the magic power added on top of the normal value. (e.g. Vent will deal 2X + magic power damage)
  • Multistrike – A unit with multistrike will attack an additional time each combat turn for each stack of multistrike. Attacks happen one after another. Mutistrike stacks cannot be removed for the duration of a combat, even if a unit dies.
  • Offering – If a card with offering is discarded by another effect it will instantly be played for free. This does not include the discard that triggers at the end of your turn, or if a card is directly consumed from your hand.
  • On Turn – An effect that triggers when the unit begins it’s turn in a combat turn. Only present on enemies.
  • Permafrost – A card with permafrost has frozen applied to it when drawn, preventing it form being discarded.
  • Piercing – A spell with piercing will deal direct health damage to any target, ignoring armor stacks. Piercing spells are still blocked by damage shields, but not spell shields.
  • Purge – A card with purge is permanently removed from your deck when played, becoming inaccessible for the rest of the run.
  • Pyrebound – A card with pyrebound can only be played on the floor below your pyre chamber.
  • Quick – A unit with quick will attack before enemies. The quick unit will not attack a second time after enemies finish attacking. Quick is not present on enemies.
  • Rage – A unit with stacks of range gains +2 attack for each stack. Units will lose one stack of rage at the end of each combat round.
  • Recover – A unit with recover will restore health equal to its recover value to allies on the same floor at the end of combat. Recover is only found on enemies, and replaces their attack value, preventing them from attacking.
  • Reform – Return a dead allied unit to your hand. Recovered units gain burnout 1 and +5/+5, as well as removing their ember cost. These effects stack if recovered again, and last until the end of combat. As most buff effects (including armor) are removed when a unit dies they will not carry over, though any changes applied by an enhance effect will persist.
  • Regen – A unit with regen stacks will heal 1 HP for each stack at the end of each combat round, then lose a stack of regen. If a unit has more regen stacks then it does missing health (including if the unit is at full health) the excess stacks will not have an effect and the unit will still lose one regen stack.
  • Rejuvenate – An ability that triggers when the unit is healed. Rejuvenate triggers cannot occur on heartless units, though they will occur when a healing effect is applied to a unit with full health. Regen stacks and lifesteal will also trigger rejuvenate.
  • Relentless – Present only on main bosses. A relentless unit will trigger an additional combat turn if there are any allied units remaining on its current floor after combat. Relentless units cannot be rooted, and will freeze the floor they are leaving after combat, making it unusable for the rest of combat.
  • Reserve – An effect that triggers if the card containing the effect is in your hand at the end of the turn. This includes if a reserve card is frozen. If a reserve card is played, discarded, or consumed, the reserve effect will not trigger.
  • Resolve – A resolve effect triggers at the end of combat on a floor with a unit with a resolve effect present. Resolve effects will trigger even if the unit was along and did not battle, but will not trigger if the unit died before combat ends.
  • Revenge – A revenge effect will trigger when the unit with the effect is damaged. No matter how high the damage taken a revenge effect will only trigger once per damage instance. Revenge effects will not trigger if the damage taken was a killing blow.
  • Rooted – A unit with a rooted stack will be unable to move between floors, instead having the stack consumed. This includes ascend and descend effects, as well as the ascension phase.
  • Sap – A unit with stacks of sap gets -2/-0 for each stack, down to a minimum of 0 attack. A unit with 0 attack will not attack during combat. Units lose 1 stack of sap and the end of each combat turn.
  • Sacrifice – A card with sacrifice can only be played by killing an allied unit. If the sacrifice specifies a specific sacrifice (e.g. Sacrifice Imp) then a sacrifice of the appropriate type must be given.
  • Slay – An effect that triggers when the unit with the slay effect deals a killing blow. This must be a combat attack and the unit with the slay effect must land the attack – allies cannot finish off the the enemy.
  • Scourge – A special card type added to your deck by certain enemies. Scourges are added to the top of your deck and have purge, as well as a resolve effect that deals damage to your pyre.
  • Silence – A silenced units triggered abilities (slay, resolve, incant, etc) will not be triggered. Silence stacks do not decay.
  • Soul – A special status effect used by the Devourer of Death card. When Devourer of Death dies it deals 15 damage to all enemies on its floor for each soul stack it had. Soul stacks are gained whenever another unit dies on the same floor as Devourer of Death.
  • Spell Shield – Whenever a damaging spell without pierce affects a unit with a stack of spell shield the damage is negated consuming a stack of spell shield. Stacks will be consumed no matter how much damage is dealt. Spells with pierce will damage enemies through spell shield, and not stacks will be removed. Spells that deal 0 damage will not remove stacks. If spell shield absorbs a spell revenge effects will not be triggered.
  • Spell Weakness – When a spell deals damage to a unit with stacks of spell weakness that damage will be increased by 100% for each stack, consuming all stacks. This applies to all instances of damage a spell deals to a unit, so if a spell deals damage twice to a unit, both instances will be amplified by spell weakness. Spell weakness will only amplify the damage dealt to the target with stacks, if other enemies are damage they will take normal damage.
  • Spikes – A unit with spikes will deal damage equal the the number of spikes stacks they have to all enemies that attack them. Units that do not attack will not take spikes damage, nor will spikes damage be dealt for noncombat damage. Spikes has a red visual effect in addition to a buff icon. Spikes will deal damage even if the attacked unit dies.
  • Stealth – A unit with stealth cannot be attacked. Enemies will instead attack the next valid target on the floor, potentially not attacking at all. A unit with stealth stacks can still attack like normal. Units lose one stack of stealth at the end of each combat round.
  • Strike – An effect that triggers each time the unit attacks. If a unit attacks multiple times in one combat round, the strike effect will trigger on each attack. Strike does not trigger if the unit does not attack either due to not having a valid target, being dazed, or having 0 attack.
  • Summon – An effect that triggers when the unit with the summon effect is played from your hand. Summon effects can trigger again if a unit is returned to your hand somehow.
  • Sweep – A unit with sweep attacks all enemies on its floor with each attack. This will apply all effects that unit applies on hit to every enemy, but will also cause revenge effects and thorns damage from all units hit. An ally with sweep can damage main bosses if they are present on the same floor before the boss rush.
  • Unplayable – A card with unplayable cannot be played. It can still be discarded and consumed.
  • Unpurgeable – A card with unpurgeable cannot be removed from your deck by any effect or event.
  • X Cost – Cards that cost X will consume all of your remaining ember when played. The X in their text will be treated as the amount of ember used to cast them. X cost cards can be played with 0 ember remaining. If flat values (such as spell power) are applied to X cost spells, those values will be added after performing any multiplication based off X. (e.g. Vent will deal 2X + 20 damage at 20 spell power)
About RattusTeam 14971 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.

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