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Sanctum | Strategy, Sorcery, SubterfugeSanctum | Strategy, Sorcery, Subterfuge



Basic House strategy

Abomination : Starter
Difficulty: ★★★★★
House weakness: Despair, Justice, Life, Making, Unmaking
House style: mutated minions + monster spam

Generally speaking, Abomination is the house of sacrifice.  Many cards require you to sacrifice recruits in order to gain an advantage over your opponent.  An Abomination player must take care when choosing what to sacrifice and when.  For example, you will want to cast Pestilence only when you can be reasonably sure that you have an advantage in the quantity and/or quality of your recruits.  Usually this means using a combination of monsters and spells like Accursed Minion and Cannibalism to kill your opponent’s groups quickly.  You can then use Pestilence to prevent them from reinforcing their towns.  Naturally, this means that you must stay on the offensive when playing Abomination.  However, you must also take care not to sacrifice your recruits needlessly; try to maintain control of when your recruits die by avoiding fights where you expect to take heavy losses.  This often means that it is best to avoid engaging in combat with your recruits until you have diminished your opponent’s numbers.  This may sound redundant, but bear in mind that other houses like Death and War can power up their recruits much faster than you can.  You will find yourself relying on monsters like Bog Horror to weaken the enemy before you press the attack.  Use Accursed Minion well because it is your most versatile and pivotal offensive spell.  If you must cast it on your own recruits, it is best to use it on a small group of 2 or 3 maximum.  Otherwise, consider casting it on an opponent’s group and then casting a monster in their path to absorb the spell for you.  Do not expect to destroy your opponent’s horde with Rain of Blood because they will likely be fully enchanted by the time you can cast it.  You will often need to use this spell to kill new, smaller groups to prevent the opponent from recovering from your initial onslaught.  Using Burst of Will to cast an early monster like Maloch Horror can also be devastating.  You can even use it to cast Stalking Blyk on turn 3 in order to destroy your opponent’s second group as it moves to capture the second town.

Body : Starter
Difficulty: ★★★★

This deck is all about creating lots of tough recruits to overwhelm your opponent.  The strategy for this particular Body deck is very straightforward: buff up your recruits with enchantments while stalling and disabling your opponent’s groups.  Use your monsters to slow your opponent’s main group, either preventing them from reaching the center town or weakening them so much that they will be no match for your own horde.  If you manage to take the center first, then use Fertility to give yourself a constant supply of reinforcements each turn in order to maintain a relentless offensive and push towards your opponent’s sanctum.  If you can’t take the center right away, then use Fertility on one of your initial towns to build up a force strong enough to overwhelm your opponent’s recruits and monsters.  Forestation can help you get through bad terrain, and Circle of Wisdom can get rid of spells like Fear and Binding Cube which can severely stall your offensive.  Lycanthropy can be used offensively or defensively.  Casting it on your opponent’s group will render that group unable to enter structures until it is dispelled.  You can also use it on your own recruits in times that you do not expect them to survive combat otherwise (though this should be an uncommon occurrence).  Lastly, it is best to distribute your enchantments relatively equally among your recruits.  An over-enchanted recruit is often more of a liability than an asset.  You have the capacity to create a lot of recruits, so do not feel the need to invest in only one or a few of them.

Death : Starter
Difficulty: ★★★

The house of Death excels at removing your opponent’s minions while making your own rather difficult to kill.  With a combination of spells that weaken enemy recruits (Body Rot, Pantogar’s Curse, Plague, Haunted Forest), and many that strengthen your own, you can potentially create a significant disparity in strength very quickly.  Your typical opening strategy will be to start buffing your recruits while throwing de-buffs on your opponent’s combined with the minion removal spell Venom’d Arrow.  These spells combine well when used with cheap monsters like Skeleton and Sand Sphinx to further slow and weaken your opponent’s horde.  It is not uncommon for a single Skeleton to stall or even destroy a group of 4 recruits if they have been severely weakened by your spells.  The more powerful Skeletal Horror or Legion of the Dead can easily destroy a group wracked with Plague before they even reach the center town.  Burst of Mystery can enable you to cast these fearsome monsters even sooner.  Revenants may seem weak, but if you have initiative they can actually destroy a group of 2 un-enchanted swordsmen with 7 hit points each and no attack bonus before they can capture the second town.  Later, Revenants make for a cheap throwaway monster used for stalling an enemy horde or cutting off reinforcements. Haunted Forest and Slay Monster are generally used to remove bad terrain and monsters in your path respectively.  For a mere 4 Mystery, Haunted Forest reduces the fighting power of an opponent’s group significantly.  Consider saving it to cast in the path of an enemy horde before a crucial battle to give your horde a great advantage in combat.  You can also cast a monster in their path if you are not willing or ready to put your own group at risk.

Despair : Starter
Difficulty: ★★★★

Denial is the main strength of this house.  This particular deck gives you access to the unholy trinity of Fear, Forsaken, and Disorient.  Each of these spells is generally used to prevent your opponent’s groups from capturing towns and making much progress across the board.  You must use these spells efficiently because this deck – and Despair in general – lacks a solid strategy for the late game.  If used effectively in tandem with your array of monsters, you will be able to prevent your opponent from capturing all but one town on the board.  It is even possible to prevent your opponent from capturing either of their near towns if both are at least four tiles away from their sanctum.  Your selection of monsters is will also help you maintain your advantage.  Gorgon can easily destroy an un-enchanted group of 2.  Observe caution when using it to block large groups, as the swordsman who kills the Gorgon will acquire its head and use its power against your minions.  Revenants is another cheap monster group used for killing un-enchanted 2-packs heading for a town.  Your strongest monsters by far are the Trolls.  Typically, you will want to weaken the opponent’s horde with Albatross, Body Rot, Harrowing Cry, Pantogar’s Curse, and Weakness before casting Trolls in their path to destroy them.  If you manage to cast Changelings on an opponent’s town, then Trolls can also easily destroy the weak recruits and prevent your opponent from regrouping.  You can use Burst of Mystery to spring a monster out even earlier, or even to cast Forsaken as soon as the third turn.  Insurrection can also prevent your opponent from ever recovering from your debilitating onslaught if timed carefully.  You must think ahead when playing Despair, because if your opponent manages to capture even two towns, your chances of crippling them enough to win will be reduced significantly.

Hope : Starter
Difficulty: ★★★★★

This is the house that truly rewards patience and planning.  Hope’s mana curve is not as smooth as most other houses, and you will often need to bide your time in order to gain an advantage.  Your limited selection of recruit enchantments means that you will often find yourself unequipped to take the center town at first.  Much of your combat strength will rely on combinations of spells, such as using Faerie Fire and Zana’s Blessing together to drastically increase the strength of the group temporarily.  Ascension may also be used to give yourself an early advantage.  Hope’s real strength is in its capacity for long term strategies.  For example: if you do not manage to take the center town before your opponent does, then consider trying to stall them with monsters, or potentially lure them into a trap and destroy them with the aforementioned Faerie Fire + Zana’s Blessing combo, or even Citizen’s Militia.  Cleansing Light can be useful just before a large battle because it strips away all of their enchantments.  You can use the time between battles to store up novices in your towns (likely to be trained as archers) with Army of Light.  Settlement can be used to completely destroy an enemy horde by turning them into a colony under the opponent’s control.  It is best to use this strategy when you have a sizable group nearby which can quickly capture the new colony.  You can then use Army of Light to reinforce your group and push towards your opponent’s sanctum.  Use Farm Boys on your opponent’s towns to make it more difficult for them to regroup and overpower you.  You may also use Settlement on your own (single) recruit groups to gain all the benefits of suddenly having another mana and recruit generator.

Justice : Starter
Difficulty: ★★★★★

This house is all about the initiative.  Maintaining initiative by any means necessary will allow you to maximize the effectiveness of your spells when playing a Justice deck.  Chief among the spells that benefit from you having initiative is Intercession.  With initiative, you will be able to squander all of your opponent’s spells in the turn of casting.  This is especially effective on the turn of a major battle (usually the battle for the center town).  Remember to always cast Intercession last to avoid squandering your own spells.  Another common strategy is to stall your opponent’s horde with Sentinel and Homunculi, and then send a single recruit at them enchanted with Pyrrhic Victory to wipe them out entirely.  Note that Homunculi will always move towards the enemy group with the lowest hit points, so if you have initiative then it may be best not to place them directly in the path of a group if you wish to stall them, but on one square in front or to the side.  If you expect lots of interference from enemy monsters (especially against Despair and Unmaking), then use Justicar’s Reserve to control where monsters may be placed (out of your path).  Retribution is also good against monsters, especially to protect your second group from being killed before they reach your second town.  You will sometimes need to have them wait a turn or more to take the second town in order to take or keep initiative, so be sure to protect them with either Retribution or Ogi’s Armor.  Another way of dealing with an opponent’s horde is simply by destroying them with Obsidian Dragon.  This is one of the toughest monsters in the game, and only a heavily enchanted horde will be able to destroy it and reap the benefits.  It is best to cast this monster early through Burst of Order before your opponent can protect their horde sufficiently.  Lastly, keep a Restoration handy for when you get stalled with spells like Fear or Complacency which can jeopardize your monopoly of the initiative.

Life : Starter
Difficulty: ★★★★

Ironically, Life is similar to Death in that its main strategy is to disable enemy groups while making its own recruits difficult to kill.  However, its methods are almost entirely different.  Initially, you will be enchanting your own horde with buffs while targeting the opponent’s with spells like Pacifism, Ritual Cleansing, or even Cleansing Light.  Cleansing Light is especially effective when used with Sylph which is immune to attacks from recruits without enchantments.  It is possible to cast both of these spells before the center town with the use of Burst of Clarity and/or Aura of World.  You may want to discard each turn in the early game in order to obtain this combo.  Cleansing Light should most often be used just before a major battle or if you’re about to throw a large monster in their way like Sylph or even Prismatic Serpent.  You may want to discard some cards to increase your chances of drawing Cleansing Light within the first 10 turns and being able to combine it with a monster or a powerful group enchantment like Faerie Fire.  Alternatively, a couple castings of Pacifism is often more than enough to deal with an enemy horde assuming they don’t dispel it.  Whether you gain an early advantage by taking the center or not, you can use Pyx and Healing Hands to keep your horde going as it likely endures direct damage spells and monsters.

Making : Starter
Difficulty: ★★★★

Making is perhaps the most versatile house.  It has a fine selection of recruit enhancements and good offensive punch with spells like Belvario’s Trap.  Your main strategy will be to buff your horde as it marches towards the center while possibly stalling your opponent with blockers like Mountain and Homunculi.  Note that Homunculi always move towards the enemy group with the lowest total number of hit points, so be careful when placing them if you have initiative.  Use Ogi’s Armor to protect your own smaller group so that it reaches the second town safely.  You may also want to discard every turn until you draw Belvario’s Trap.  Casting it just before a major battle usually means that victory is certain.  Do not hesitate to use two traps on the same group to destroy them completely if you can.  Whether you manage to capture the center or not, you can use Found City to gain or keep an advantage in recruits to help you win sooner or later.  Ancient King is another great card for helping you press your attack, and is just as useful dead as he is alive.  It is best to distribute your enchantments relatively equally among your recruits, and perhaps leave Ancient King un-enchanted to potentially gain the benefit of Hero’s Legacy.

Mind : Starter
Difficulty: ★★★★

Mind is truly the house of board control.  No other house excels at locking down the board quite like Mind.  In most cases, this is usually due to the use of its monsters and one of the most powerful cards in the game: Mirage.  At later stages of the game, you can cast Mirage on a square and then cast a monster on it each turn in order to hold an opponent’s groups in place for several turns.  This works especially well if the towns are close together.  Initially, you will be using Mirage, Binding Cube, and your assortment of monsters to attempt to take the center town unopposed.  Your paltry number of buffs can be used to protect your groups from being destroyed by monsters.  Occasionally, you may be able to use Faerie Fire or Cleansing Light to surprise your opponent but do not expect to win most battles against most groups of 4 or more.  Your main strategy will be to use Mirage with monsters and Binding Cube to control your opponent’s movements.  Use Flying Carpet on your own groups to speed across the board and capture the sanctum before your opponent can mount an effective defense.  Be careful when using Flying Carpet though, as it can sometimes cause you to overshoot structures that you mean to capture.  You can use Mirage to lure an opponent’s defenses out of a town while you swoop in with Flying Carpet to steal it.  You can also use Burst of Will to cast an early Celestial Sphere, Stalking Blyk, or even Maloch horror to destroy your opponent’s second group, leaving you to capture the town yourself with a well-timed Flying Carpet.  Depending on which house you are facing, you will often want to save Domesticate for the more powerful monsters unless a weaker monster has the potential to block an opponent’s group at a crucial time.  Nullify can clear bad terrain if you’re saving a Flying Carpet or haven’t drawn one, and Inscrutability can prevent you from having your movement advantage reduced by spells like Forsaken or Sentinel.

Nature : Starter
Difficulty: ★★★★

Nature is one of the fastest houses in terms of offensive strength.  No other house buffs faster than Nature with its vast array of cheap and brutally effective archer enchantments.  You will want to buff your horde as quickly as possible as you move to take the center.  At the same time, you can stall your opponent’s horde with a find assortment of cheap blockers like Simian Warriors and Inundate.  Simian Warriors can also be used to kill an un-enchanted group of 2, potentially giving you a huge advantage in the early game.  You can also weaken or eliminate your opponent’s recruits with Lightning Bolt, Pixie Dust, and Dryad’s Favors to further increase your chances of taking the center.  With Sign of Order and/or Burst of World, you can even cast Will o’ the Wisp on your opponent’s group before it even reaches the center.  You can then cast Inundate on the same square before the group returns, which will drown it instantly unless it has waterwalking.  Alternatively, you can use Wolf Pack to destroy the weakened group before it reaches the center.  Use Forestation beforehand if you anticipate having to use Wolf Pack in this way.

Unmaking : Starter
Difficulty: ★★★★

Unmaking is nearly as versatile as its nemesis, with a wide array of cost-effective monsters, recruit enchantments, and destructive spells.  Your initial strategy will be to buff your main horde as it marches towards the center while throwing cheap monsters like Werewolf and Boggart in the way of your opponent’s horde.  Werewolf is also quite effective at killing the small group of 2 recruits which nearly every player sends to capture their second town.  With Burst of Strife, you can cast Werewolf as early as turn 3 to destroy your opponent’s second group before it becomes protected by enchantments.  You can also use your mana generators to cast Fingle’s Folly or Bolt of Somersaults at your opponent’s horde before they reach the center, which will either destroy them or render them irrelevant.  Great care must be used when casting these spells, however.  If Fingle’s Folly isn’t destroyed, it can potentially destroy your own group because it is a neutral monster and will attack either player’s minions.  Bolt of Somersaults can ruin the game for you as well if the enemy group lands next to an unprotected town or even your sanctum.  It is best to have an extra copy of Bolt of Somersaults in your hand as a failsafe for this reason.  Chaos Feature can potentially weaken or even stall the opponent’s group if the random enchantment happens to be something like Sentinel.  Using all three of them on the same recruit will turn it into a Misfit.  This can be effective against Shadows or Dwarves if they get caught crossing a mountain, or against Djinnis or Visions to drown the recruit.  Lastly, Void can be placed in the path of an enemy group to destroy it, or between the opponent’s towns to prevent reinforcements from arriving to stop your attack.  Get rid of it with Plains when it becomes inconvenient.  When your most powerful destructive spells are used correctly, their drawbacks seem to disappear almost completely.

War : Starter
Difficulty: ★★★

War’s main strategy is to overwhelm the opposition with the sheer power of its recruits and the destructive force of spells and monsters like Fireball and Brimstone Dragon.  Your swordsmen are potentially the best in the game in terms of attack power.  Spells like Flaming Sword, Veteran, and Legionnaires make War’s recruits very difficult to stop in combat.  With this impressive selection of enchantments, and spells like Fireball and Volcano, victory at the center is usually yours with minimal effort.  You can use Forced March to move across the board and capture towns quickly, and to make up for lost time if your group was stalled by a monster or two.  You should be pressing the attack at all times.  Dragon’s Teeth is the best recruit generator in the game for giving you two swordsmen instantly in any town you control.  Use it to recoup any losses you took while capturing the center and maintain your offensive.  On the off-chance that you had to delay taking the center, you can use it along with Legionnaires and Ngozi’s Way to build a nearly unstoppable force.  Stopping your opponent is also quite simple with blockers like Salamander and Volcano.  Volcano is especially effective against any groups with mountainwalk, as it will not block their movement and deal 5 points of damage to each recruit upon ending the turn inside the square.  Use Plains to remove the terrain so that it does not slow you down as well.  You will most often use Brimstone Dragon to prevent your opponent from ever raising an effective defense against you.  In the absence of a mountain, cast a Volcano near their towns and then a Brimstone Dragon to destroy any reinforcements that may be assembling.




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