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Keyforge Open House: Meet Untamed

OFrom the demonic depths we arise to the open skies of the wilderness of our third house. Embodying the essence of primal ferocity, let me introduce you to House Untamed!

Keyforge: Overview of House Untamed

Similar to the demonic horde of House Dis, House Untamed lacks structure as a society, if society could at all be applied to it. In many ways, House Untamed is even more chaotic than the demons of House Dis, for they have no real purpose other than to exist and live in the wilderness, whereas the demons at least are united in the purpose to feed off of the suffering of others. 

But I digress. To describe House Untamed is pretty simple. When the Architects constructed the Crucible they collected a menagerie of plants, fauna, and all manner of organisms from across the entire universe (including Earth). These creatures all live with one another in an infinitely diverse mega-ecosystem. They are not without oversight, howvever, as mechanical faeries watch over the House, making an attempt at providing some measure of balance.

That being said, the creatures mingle freely with one another and result in many species hunting and killing one another, mutating due to the veins of wild Æmber, or surprisingly enough, breeding with each other. This has led to a continuously evolving ecosystem that defies containment.

The wild creatures are not alone in House Untamed, however. With the faeries, there are humans and other sentient creatures who have either lived in the wilderness all their lives or have actively rejected civilization or conversely been rejected by it. They have established small settlements throughout the House’s wild domains. Some of these sentients have even developed abilities ot talk to the animals, plants and fungi, and have been known to be called witches. 

Since Archons possess the ability to communicate with any denizen of the Crucible, some have come to House Untamed in order to observe or to gather allies. Some Archons have been drawn to House Untamed for the House’s primal simplicity, forgoing much of the loathsome politics that the other Houses can be mired in. For their part, the creatures of House Untamed are happy to ignore those that are not predator or prey, and some of the more socially minded animals do not mind the company of Archons as travel companions.

Keyforge: Using Untamed In Your Decks

UEmbodying the ferocity of nature and the wild, it makes sense that House Untamed employs a rather aggressive strategy with their cards. This faction plays strong and fast, with a particular focus on using skirmish in combat, relying on creatures to power many of the House’s action cards and to gain Æmber, and the ability to blitz the forging of keys.

Striking from the cover of their surroundings, the creatures of House Untamed are potently dangerous not only for their decent power but for the fact that they have a high concentration of the skirmish mechanic (tied with House Shadows for the most). Skirmish allows creatures to attack enemy creatures without having to receive damage in return, essentially giving you a free shot against the enemy.

While House Shadows and House Logos have a few creatures with skirmish themselves (and other ways to acquire it), they tend to lack the same hitting power that House Untamed does, and tend to use the mechanic in order to steal or draw cards respectively. House Untamed, instead, uses the mechanic in order to bring the fight to the enemy. 

Unsurprisingly for a faction all about wild creatures, creatures play a heavy hand in how House Untamed operates. Creatures are the House’s prime way of acquiring Æmber, either through the legwork of Dust Pixie and Dew Fairie, or through cards like Full Moon and Hunting Witch who grant you Æmber each time you play a creature, or Flaxia who rewards you for having more creatures than the opponent. Cards like Cooperative Hunting deal more damage the more creatures you have, and Stampede works only if you have used three or more creatures that turn.

While it is always good to have a decent battleline no matter what deck you have, House Untamed is one of the few that will reward you doubly for having a solid line up of creatures. 

Finally we delve into the speed aspect of House Untamed, in what I call their ability to blitz. What I’m referring to is the ability to forge a Key immediately as opposed to waiting until the start of your next turn once you have acquired enough Æmber to forge a Key. This occurs with two cards: Key Charge and Chota Hazri. Basically with both cards you can lose 1 Æmber and can immediately forge a key at whatever the current cost is.

This ability is pretty potent, given that Keyforge relies heavily on depriving the opponent of Æmber and has a lot of different ways to go about it. Simply denying your opponent that opportunity can easily win you the game. 

Keyforge: Key Untamed Cards

Now let’s delve into the wild and pull up some interesting cards to examine in more depth. First card I want to take a look at is Witch of the Wilds.

I love Witch of the Wilds, and personally, it is the Untamed card I want to make sure is on my battleline any chance I get. Witch of the Wilds’ ability to let you play a single Untamed card basically any turn is a god-send. It makes cards like Full Moon, all that more potent since you don’t have to have a hand of specifically Untamed creatures in order to milk it for Æmber.

And being able to play any Untamed card also lets you empty out your hand even more, to allow you to draw more cards. Basically every turn you have Witch of the Wilds out, you should try to make use of its ability in any way that makes sense for your strategy. That being said, veteran players may see Witch of the Wilds as a target, so if you can protect her with Shadow Self or with any creature with taunt, then you should try to do so, as she is definitely worth it.

While I love Witch of the Wilds, I think Mimicry is my hands-down favourite Untamed card. It basically lets you use any of your opponent’s discarded action cards as your own. The moment you have this bad boy in hand, you should start to look at your opponent’s discard pile as another pool of resources at your disposal.

My advice here is pay close attention to what your opponent plays, and look for ways to use those cards against them. This card can then become anything. Opponent played Bait and Switch? Bam, now you’ve undone what they’ve pulled. Opponent has Logos and played Library Access? Bam, now you’re cycling through your deck just as quick. I’m always a fan of cards that provide versatility. Whatever you do, however, make sure you get your money’s worth out of Mimicry. It may also be worth it to examine your opponent’s deck ahead of time and see what cards you may be dealing with.

Oh boy, who would think to be terrified of a silly mushroom? Well you should be. Mushroom Man has the potential to be the second most powerful creature in the game as far as native power goes (second only to Kelifi Dragon, and this does not include creatures that benefit from power tokens like Zyzzix the Many). Mushroom Man gets +3 power for each unforged key you have (to a maximum of +9 for three unforged keys), allowing it to potentially be an eleven power creature.

The trick with this guy is that he is pretty situational. He’s great early game, when you haven’t forged any keys, and he can easily pummel the opponent’s creatures as they come on to the board or he is great as a catch-up creature, to help you wrest control of the battleline from the opponent as you try to forge keys. He can be doubly terriyfing if you manage to give him skirmish by way of Way of the Wolf or Halacor, (or Ring of Invisibiliy should you have Shadow in your deck) as he can dish out damage with impunity.

Be careful, however, as once you forge keys his power goes down and if any damage he has on him meets his new power value then your Mushroom Man will be served up for lunch (aka he dies).

Normally I only do three cards for this section. But I can’t leave out Inka the Spider here as an honourable mention. I don’t have much to say about his card, as he’s a pretty straight forward assassination creature or stunner. This guy is here because of his role in the Keyforge lore. He is actually a sentient spider who spies on the different faction and writes/pubishes his reports. He’s a friggin’ spider private investigator, and if that isn’t the coolest thing ever, then I don’t know what is.

Many of the short stories set in the Keyforge world are actually framed as his own published reports. But don’t take my word for it, you should check them out here. And here is his own personal introductory story. 

House Untamed Final Thoughts

FI won’t lie, as a Gruul fan from Magic: The Gathering, I am always a sucker for the wilderness/nature factions in any game, so of course I love Untamed. But beyond that, I feel like House Untamed is where the originality of Keyforge starts to shine. While Sanctum and Dis feel pretty standard embodiments of the typical tropes associated with holy knights and demons, House Untamed instead is basically a zoo operated by mechanical faeries and witches.

Also I can’t understate how much I love Inka the Spider as probably my favourite character in the Keyforge lore, and someone that I think Asmodee and Fantasy Flight Games have wisely chosen to be a pseudo-mascot for the game. 

Gameplay wise, I am always happy to have Untamed in my decks. Sometimes their strategies are a little more inconsistent than what you can get with Sanctum, but when they work, they work well. One problem the House does suffers from is that your loadout can easily work against you. Since the faction relies pretty heavily on creatures, if you find them lacking in your deck then likewise the value of many of the other Untamed cards starts to dwindle. But all in all I find this to be a really solid faction for the game, and am glad for its inclusion.

Next up, we’ll be visiting the violent and rowdy halls of punch-happy House Brobnar. Until them, happy forging Keyforgers!