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Keyforge Open House: Meet Brobnar

From the wild skies of House Untamed, we journey forth to the equally wild mead halls of our fourth house in the excellent card game, KeyForge. Drunk, angry, and really, really loud, let me introduce you to House Brobnar!

Keyforge: Overview of House Brobnar

Just as House Untamed is a big mish-mash of creatures of the wild, House Brobnar is a big mish-mash of warclans consisting of warriors who are eager to fight, and prove their strength. In fact, strength is the ruling attribute among the warclans of House Bobnar ‒ if you are strong, then you are worthy of ruling the warclan; be it because you show your strength in battle, in the Champion’s ring, or for your sheer force of will to keep others in line.

Similarly, their ethics mirrors the “might makes right” philosophy: You are entitled to what you can take through force and are allowed to keep only that which you can defend from others. Also, it is not enough to be strong, but you must also appear strong. For the Brobnar, the appearance of being weak is the same as being weak itself. So the Brobnar are constantly trying to show off amongst themselves as well as people of the other Houses. 

As far as the other Houses go, House Brobnar is pretty cosmopolitan in terms of their people. Though formed originally by the merging of migrating Giants (who claim to hail from the mythical land of Valhalla) and goblin tribes, just about anyone is allowed within the ranks of House Brobnar as long as they are willing to prove their strength. The warclans also settle in a wide variety of regions on Crucible ‒  some hailing from the snowy mountains, some from the unforgiving wastes, and still others settling along the coast of Crucible’s seas. 

The various warclans of House Brobnar tend to get by in different ways, but much of it has to do with fighting. Some war chiefs take tributes from neighbours they have intimidated into submission, while others offer their services as mercenaries. Brobnar also enjoy an industry of artisan-made goods that they trade with other Houses, which they are equally eager to show off as they are to fight. The Brobnar like to think they have an eye for beauty, and are, surprisingly, enthusiastic to pursue the arts. To most others though, their art can simply be described as “loud.” 

Since they value strength above all else (though booze and shiny objects do fall as close seconds), it is no surprise that the Brobnar have engineered ways to enhance themselves with æmber. While they use it to power their machinery, they also have taken to wearing it – either braiding it into their beards (for the giants) or fastening it to their armor or clothes. Beyond æmber, Brobnar also have a tendency to strap engines to their weapons – be it their swords, greataxes, or power fists – even if it comes at the expense of personal safety. For some reason this conjures the image of Tim Allen in Home Improvement. Unsurprisingly, Brobnar are prone to injury, and so it is not uncommon to see Brobnar clansmen outfitted with cybernetics. This, of course, is not at all corelated to their reckless attitude.

House Brobnar is eager to follow any Archon that proves their worth. This usually requires them to manifest physically in some way, and display a feat of a strength of will. For the all-powerful Archons, this is no issue of course. 

Keyforge: Using Brobnar In Your Decks

If you haven’t got the gist yet, Brobnar is all about strength. And that means lots and lots and lots of fighting. This House is probably the most direct in what they are good at, and boy are they are good at fighting. And when they are not fighting, they are destroying stuff be it destroying æmber or dealing direct damage to creatures on the battleline. If you can break it, you bet the Brobnar will be good at it!

Of course we’ll start with their foremost strength, which is their ability to fight. No House in Keyforge focuses as much on fighting as Brobnar does. Firstly, their creatures (on average) are the strongest in the game, typically ranging 5 and above in power. So trust me, you’ll feel it when a Brobnar creatures takes a swing at you.

The highest power creature in the game currently is Brobnar’s Kelifi Dragon at 12 power (though it should be stated that Mars’ Zyzzix the Many can outpace Kelifi’s power with power counters, should it accumulate enough of them). While Brobnar creatures lack the same level of armor that Sanctum creatures enjoy, their high power means they can still take a few decent hits before going down. 

But Brobnar’s capacity to fight doesn’t rest on their creature’s power alone. Brobnar also enjoys many cards that allow their and even creatures from other Houses to ready and fight. These take the form of cards such as Anger, Relentless Assault, Gauntlet of Command, Ganger Chieftain, Brothers in Battle, and Follow the Leader. Allowing creatures from other Houses to fight on your turn is a big advantage in versatility that Brobnar provides over so many other Houses. Beyond getting creatures into the fray, they also stand to gain the most from fighting, as well. Fighting is how Brobnar likes to generate its æmber, be it from creatures like Headhunter or from cards like Loot the Bodies, Warsong, and the Warchest which reward you for fighting or destroying creatures in fights. 

Just as much as they like to throw a good wallop in a fight, Brobnar also likes to take their shots through dealing direct damage to other creatures. This is nice way of keeping control of the batteline without having to throw your creatures into the fray. Some good damage dealers include Cannon, Autocannon, Lava Ball, and Punch

When not destroying creatures, Brobnar is also notoriously good at destroying æmber. This is their main line of æmber denial, as they completely lack the ability to Steal and are pretty weak in Capturing the opponent’s æmber. So if they can’t grab it, then might as well smash it! Burn the Stockpile, Lomir Flamefist and Screechbomb are clutch cards to play when the opponent is within reach of that next key.  

I should warn folks that Brobnar’s fixation on fighting is both its blessing and its curse. Unlike games like Magic the Gathering or Pokemon TCG, fighting isn’t as important in Keyforge, and sadly Brobnar can get left behind if there aren’t any creatures on the opponent’s side to fight or if they’ve deployed enough protections in the form of creatures with Taunt or Elusive, or the likes of Shadow Self and Evasion Sigil.

Keyforge: Key Brobnar Cards

Now let’s delve into the drunken fray and see some Brobnar highlights!

At first look, Wardrummer doesn’t really look like anything special. Return all friendly Brobnar creatures to your hand? Why would you want to do that? Well, there’s a lot of little advantages you can eke out of this guy. First, any of your Brobnar creatures that have good Play abilities will get to use them again. Smaaash, for example, could Stun another creature.

Secondly, any damage on your Brobnar creatures evaporate so they can come to the battleline fresh. 

This guy is like the Energizer Bunny. He keeps going and going and going. Though he cannot Reap, you can use him every turn regardless of House. Since you cannot Reap with him, you’ll have to Fight with him.

He can be super handy to keep taking the fight to your opponent on turns where you’re setting up your other Houses. As long as the opponent has someone on the battleline, he is good to keep going. 

Alas, most of the time when I feature a card it’s usually because I like something about it and have something to say about it. In this instance, Sound the Horns is featured here for the exact opposite reason.

I hate this card, and I want to warn you against it. In theory getting a Brobnar creature from your deck is pretty good, but the price of discarding cards until you get there is not worth it. I’ve tried this gamble time and time again and have always regretted it.

If you’re stuck with this card, pay attention to what cards from your other Houses you have in hand, in your discard pile, and on the battleline. You’ll want to use this card when you have a higher chance of Brobnar creatures in your deck. Conversely, if you want to cycle your deck, you can wait until you’re pretty sure you don’t have any Brobnar creatures in it. In all honesty, I find this latter use way more useful in my experience.

The one time I used this card and was happy with it was actually when I used a Mimicry on an opponent to mimic the effect of Sound the Horns. Since in this particular deck I had no Brobnar, I was guaranteed to cycle through my entire deck. Beyond that, I’d just suggest you discard this card when you get the chance to. The gamble isn’t worth it.

House Brobnar Final Thoughts

As a fan of Tolkien-esque dwarves, I can always get behind a faction that is all about drinking and fighting. Sadly, the flavor is all I really love about Brobnar. Its ability to fight is handy, and if you are paired with an opponent where this strategy is effective, it can really work out for you.

But unlike other games, fighting isn’t as much of a game winner in Keyforge and sometimes I wish I could trade the single-mindedness of Brobnar for something else.

Next up we’ll be visiting the enigmatic labs of House Logos. Until then, happy forging Keyforgers!