These are not the best cards in KeyForge (although all of them are very good), these are my favourite cards. I’ve also attempted to pick cards that give houses the identity that they have. It has been impossible to get this down to one card per house so I've snuck in an extra card for each one.
Playing Brobnar is pretty simple, you put down big things and you use them to hit your opponent’s things to death. Its amber burst and control comes from fighting and killing. HeadHunter, Krump and Loot the Bodies are some of the cards that make Brobnar want a scrap so badly.
Gauntlet of Command is the ultimate Brobnar card. Get Gauntlet down early and there will be a lot more fights over the game. If your opponent gets two or three of these out then you can pretty much say goodbye to board control. The ultimate dread combo is multiple Gauntlets with a Mugwump.
Not every deck you face will care about fighting or have anything to fight. That’s okay, because you use it to ready creatures in your active house and reap with them.
Honourable Mention - Firespitter
Dis, presumably, is short for disruptive. With cards like Succubus, Ember Imp and Mind Barb. Facing a good Dis line-up is a frustrating experience. You’re often forced to work out how to remove creatures from play instead of generating amber. The most disruptive card of all is Control the Weak. Played at the right time you can force your opponent into missing a turn. It’s useful to stop them something powerful like that Bait and Switch they’ve been holding on to.
I’ve played this as a first turn card several times. It means there is no information to aid your decision. But playing it first has the potential to put your opponent on the back foot for the whole game.
Honourable Mention – Guardian Demon
Logos are the scientist faction, their battle line fills up with robots and cyborgs. They also have cards that are copies of cards from other factions. Foggify/Fogbank, Safe Place/Pocket Universe and Umbra/Batrdrone and several others. Doubtless these have been reverse engineered in the lab. The greatest experiment of all though, is Wild Wormhole.
One of the few cards that provides moments of surprise to both players at the same time. At first it seems like a card you play and pray with. The more you use it the more you get used to trying to tip the balance in your favour as much as you can. It’s possible but difficult to know exactly what card it’s going to reveal. It also gives you an amber and improves your draws from Library Access. It helps that is has some of the best art in the game.
Honourable Mention – Phase Shift
Mars, often described as the worst house by the KeyForge community (unfair, but I get it). It’s a house that is in delicate balance, the highs can be greater than other houses but the lows can be subterranean. It only take one too many soft landings or squawkers and the balance is completely thrown off. A mars line-up coming into your hand in the wrong order can be game ruining. It’s not a surprise that my best and worst decks both contain Mars.
John Smyth is the epitome of Mars. If your opponent gets a Mars combo off, even once in a game, it can turn the tide completely. John Smyth is an integral part to almost any Mars combo and has so much potential. But at only two health this will have a laser dot on it the second it turns up, and being elusive might not be enough to save it. So much potential in one card, but so difficult to realise that potential.
Honourable Mention – Grabber Jammer
Sanctum has a lot of creatures that are hard to get rid of with armour regenerating at the end of every turn. Bulwark is going to extend that problem to the other houses by giving it’s neighbours two armour. There aren’t many creatures in the game that aren’t improved by two extra armour. You are also forcing your opponent to target Bulwark. If they remove the creatures then more will come along next turn to snuggle under the iron blanket.
It’s easy to organise your line so Bulwark is making a taunt creature that’s shielding it harder to remove. I have encountered a Bulwark with a Grey Monk on either side, an exhausting problem to get rid of. While one player is trying to do something against a wall of armour. The other is racing to victory, not having to call Sanctum to feel the benefit of the passive effects.
Honourable Mention - Protectrix
When you play against shadows you never relax. Worrying about your amber count, convinced it will all disappear any turn. Until you have seen the Bait and Switch or Too Much Too Protect you live in fear.
Sneklifter brings a whole new level of Shadows induced anxiety that you didn’t even know existed. Sneklifter darts into the battle line and steals an Artifact with few ways to get that Artifact back.
There are a fair few ways in most decks to get creatures with good play effects back into hand. I am able to archive my Sneklifter with Vezyma Thinkdrone and play it again later. Often When my opponent plays another Artifact I’d prefer on my side of the board. The best bit is, stealing an Artifact for a house you don’t have makes it count as a Shadows. The only card I'd consider as being too powerful.
Honourable Mention – Shadow Self
One of the first things you’ll learn as a KeyForge player is that calling check is a challenge to the other player. Then you have to sit back and see what painful ways they have to take you off check. Will they, destroy/steal/capture my amber, or increase my key cost? There is nothing worse than declaring check for your opponent to eagerly ask how much amber you have. So, they can choose the most efficient way to stop you forging next turn.
Enter Chota Hazri! Playing Chota isn’t the only way to forge out of turn and Untamed isn’t the only house that can do it. But, Chota is easier to use than most and leaves you with a three power creature on the board. You generate amber on your Untamed turns bursting past the point of sense. Your opponent licks their lips and eyes up the pile they will remove before you can use it. And then, you play Chota Hazri. Spending all your amber to forge a key and taking control of the game back. With a lot of recursion in Untamed there’s also plenty of ways to use it more than once per game.
Honourable Mention – Lost in the Woods