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



Houses and Nations


Mana Types


Nation Ability









+1 hand damage in round 2



9 hit points



+1 hand damage in round 2









9 hit points



+1 missile damage in round 1









+1 missile damage in round 1



9 hit points



+1 hand damage in round 2

  • “Cyclops” follows Classical Greek rules for pluralization, e.g. thesis => theses, basis => bases, hence Cyclops => Cyclopes.


Houses and Nations

House Mana Types

Recruit Baseline Stats

Nation Abilities


What's the “best” nation ability?


In Grehen's lore, which individuals converted to a different house?


Houses and Nations

  • A house encompasses a philosophy, culture, or way of life. There are 12 houses in Sanctum.
  • A nation is a race of persons. There are 12 nations in Sanctum. Every novice and recruit is a member of a nation.
  • Every nation is affiliated with one house. (The members of this nation serve a Mage of this house, namely you, the player.)
  • Members of each nation are almost always affiliated with the corresponding house. However, there are many special cases in Grehen's long history where some individuals of one nation converted or defected to a different house.

Usually, you speak of the nation of an individual or recruit, or group thereof.

  • For instance, you'd say “a Keeper group”, instead of “a Death group”.
  • Ngozi would describe herself as a Human, not as a “War gal”.

However, you speak of the house of a spell, monster, or deck.

  • You'd say “a Despair spell”, not “a Shadow spell”.
  • You'd call a Boggart an “Unmaking monster”, not a “Misfit monster”.
  • You'd say “My Making deck”, not “My Dwarf deck”.

House Mana Types

  • Every house has two mana types, which are called primary and secondary.
  • Almost all of a house's spells have equal or greater primary mana cost than secondary mana cost. Exception: All of the “5-for-2” structure mana generators cost 0+5 mana, using only their house's secondary mana.

Recruit Baseline Stats. A hypothetical “nationless” recruit has the following baseline (unmodified) stats:

These baseline stats are modified by the recruit's nation ability and class.

Nation Abilities. Every nation has a nation ability. All recruits of this nation automatically gain the nation ability (no matter what house they're actually associated with). Some spells can change a recruit's nation, in which case he immediately loses his old nation ability and gains his new nation's ability. Some spells can cancel a recruit's nation ability.

9 HP nations

Recruits of these nations start with 9 maximum and current hit points (instead of 7).

Cyclopes (Body)

Gargoyles (Justice)

Misfits (Unmaking)

Combat nations

Recruits of these nations gain a 1-point damage bonus at the start of every combat.

+1 hand damage in combat round 2.

Imps (Abomination)

Keepers (Death)

Humans (War)

+1 missile damage in combat round 1.

Elves (Life)

Satyrs (Nature)

Terrainwalk nations

Recruits of these nations can enter, exit, and stand in the indicated terrain safely.

Mountainwalk. These nations are not blocked by mountains or volcanos. (They still take volcano damage.)

Dwarves (Making)

Shadows (Despair)

Waterwalk. These nations are not blocked by water, and do not drown in water.

Djinni (Mind)

Visions (Hope)


  • Hit point changes. If a recruit changes from a 7-HP nation to a 9-HP nation or vice versa, the recruit gains or loses maximum hit points only.
    • Hit point cap. However, a minion's current hit points are always capped to its maximum hit points. If its maximum hit points are reduced below its current hit points, its current hit points are also lowered to be equal to its (new) maximum hit points.
  • Multple attacks. If a combat-nation recruit has multiple attacks of the proper attack type in the specified round, all of those attacks will get the damage bonus.
  • Terrain-walk changes. If a recruit with terrainwalk changes to a nation without terrainwalk while standing in that terrain, he'll suffer the effects. (The Penumbra spell can drown an entire group of Djinni or Visions over water by changing them all to Shadows!)


What's the “best” nation ability? There are many techniques to estimate this. Here are a few.

  1. By “mana value”. Find a spell that's roughly equal to your nation ability. We have:
    • Mountain Climb (1 mana), Water Breathing (1 mana). Conclusion: Terrain walk is “worth” about 1 mana per group.
    • Reaper (1+1 mana), Rangefinder (2+0 mana). Both of these spells have two parts, (a) +1 damage for their host, and (b) +1 for the entire group, in round 1 or round 2 only. We want to isolate (b). But we know that (a) is worth 1 mana, c.f. True Aim, Vicious Strength. So (b) must also be worth 1 mana. Conclusion: The combat bonus is “worth” about 1 mana per group.
    • Fortitude (3+0 mana). Conclusion: Having 9 HP is worth about 3 mana per group!
    • So the “mana value” metric suggests that 9 HP is the “best” nation ability.
  2. By head-to-head combat. As you know, in most games, your Horde will collide with the enemy Horde at center town. Assume that both Hordes are completely naked (i.e. no spells). Consider who wins.
    • Any combat nation will defeat any terrainwalk nation, regardless of initiative.
    • Any 9 HP nation will defeat any combat or terrainwalk nation, regardless of initiative.
    • Conclusion: By this reasoning, 9 HP is a huge advantage! In general, your opponent has to outrace you by 1 card in the first 6 turns just to break even at center town.


In Grehen's lore, which individuals converted to a different house? Here's a partial list:

  • The Imp Bloodspike converted from Abomination to Hope, and took the name Heartsong. (Atonement, Unerring Focus)
  • Ngozi's Human son Ozande converted from War to Justice, and became a Justicar. (Nemesis)
  • Ovo, Brass of the Sky, is a Vision who turned from Hope to Unmaking. (Jumping Land)
  • Fingle was a Dwarf who studied Chaos, and was exiled. After being taken in by Misfits, he converted to Unmaking. (Fingle, Fingle's Folly, Chaos Fog)

You can find other incidents by browsing the card flavor texts and the histories of Grehen.

v2.20.00 Last updated 2009/03/26




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