Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
House Mars in Keyforge
Keyforge decks can't be altered once bought; the three houses within and the cards they contain are what you get. But that also means that once you buy a deck, you're ready to play and don't need to worry about upgrades.
The factions are also relatively well-balanced, some focusing on combat, others on status effects and upgrades—like the tricky Martians. These xenophobic invaders brandish many Martian-boosting abilities and excel at stunning and archiving enemy creatures—these are the ten best Martian cards in Keyforge!
Martian creatures fluctuate between small but elusive units and bigger but slow juggernauts, like Zorg here. He has terrific seven power, but enters play stunned, meaning he'll have to spend a turn recovering before you can use him.
However, not only does he have strong power, Zorg also packs a great "before fight" effect, automatically stunning the creature it battles and its neighbors, potentially three stuns in one! Plus, this triggers both when attacking and when being attacked
Mindworm is pitifully weak at one power, but he compensates with elusive, which prevents any damage being dealt the first time he's attacked each turn. He also has a terrific before fight effect, making the creature he battles deal its power to each of its neighbors as damage.
You can even purposefully attack other elusive creatures, which will let Mindworm survive the fight while wreaking havoc among their neighbors.
8. Uxlyx the Zookeeper
Uxlyx is another weak but elusive unit at two power. Opponents will want to handle him quickly, as he archives an enemy creature when he reaps. Now, the archived creature returns to their hand if it would leave your archive, discouraging you from accessing your true archived cards, but it's still a potent and reusable removal.
7. Carpet Phloxem
Phloxem offers a handy board wipe when things aren't going your way. If you control no creatures, you simply hit all creatures for four, killing many outright and severely damaging the rest. As a bonus, you get an amber for your trouble, always helpful for the Martians since they don't excel at resource production.
Grommid's risky but amazing in decks that don't heavily rely on creatures. Once out, he prevents you from playing other creatures (so be sure to play other Martians before him), but he has fantastic 10 power, and when he destroys an enemy in battle, your opponent loses one amber.
5. Combat Pheromones
Combat Pheromones lets you setup a future power turn. Thank to Omni, you can later use its effect no matter which house you choose; Pheromones sacrifices itself to let you play up to two other Mars cards that round.
This lets you combine Martian power with other factions, plus you get an amber just for playing Pheromones.
4. Yxilx Dominator
Another juggernaut, Dominator has gargantuan nine power and one armor, but enters stunned. Still, it's a good defender even while stunned thank to taunt, which prevents opponents from attacking its neighbors (unless they also have taunt).
This protects your weaker Mars allies, letting them use their effects safely while Dominator prepares to decimate enemy lines.
3. Yzphyz Knowdrone
Knowdrone's stats are decent at three power with one armor, and he has a nice play effect, letting you archive a card from your hand (which lets you reclaim it later on a future turn). Then, you can purge an archived card (removing it from the game) to stun a creature.
The best way to use Knowdrone is to purge an opponent's card that you archived with other Mars effects, preventing it from returning to their hand if you later access your archive.
Hypnobeam simply gains control of an enemy creature. Now, this works much better when that creature belongs to a faction you control, as (like any creature) you have to pick its faction to use it that turn.
So tough luck against decks that don't share any houses, but even then, this is still an easy way to handle a big threat, and you can take cards with continuous effects, gaining their powers without having to manually activate them.
1. Jammer Pack
What Mars doesn't excel in is producing amber, so anything that buys time for them to amass the resource deserves consideration. Enter Jammer Pack, an upgrade you place onto a creature that makes opposing keys cost two extra amber, and you produce one by playing it.
This can mean the difference between buying the turn you need to win (since keys are forged at the start of a turn). Do your best to protect the creature Pack attaches to, whether with armor, taunt, or ward effects.
Partner Houses for Mars
You can't edit decks in Keyforge, so try not to overly stress about which houses you partner Mars with. Still, look for fight-heavy factions to compensate for Mars's questionable creature lines (like Brobnar and Sanctum) and resource-producing ones to build amber (like Shadows).
Note that not every expansion contains house Mars; look for it in the first sets (like Age of Ascension), but for now, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Keyforge faction countdown!
© 2021 Jeremy Gill