N3Rk’s Guide to Keywords and Mechanics v4.0


December 5, 2014 by N3Rk

Article by N3Rk with contributions by rule expert Ximane.


This guide covers all the keywords you’ll interact with regularly when playing SolForge.

Examples of the keywords are listed after their descriptions when relevant.

Items have been grouped into categories to help put them in context and hopefully make them easier to understand.




Creature on Defensive: Creatures that enter the field are on the defensive until the beginning of your turn. Creatures on the defensive can’t activate abilities or attack the opponent.

Creature on Offensive: Creatures can activate abilities and attack the opponent.

Activate: Creatures on the offensive can activate to use the ability. Each activated ability can only be used once on each of your turns. Sorrow Maiden, Arcflight Squadron

Player Level/Rank: The number beside your picture. You cannot draw cards of a higher level than your rank, and some cards are affected by your rank. Shardbound Invoker, Howl of Xith

Rank Up: At the end of every four turns, you rank up. Some creatures have abilities that trigger on rank up, and when you rank up, your discard pile is shuffled into your deck, your player level increases by 1 and you can draw higher-level cards. Metamind Overseer, Avalanche Invoker

Triggered Ability: Any ability that automatically activates when a certain condition is met. Triggered abilities begin with “When…”

When __ enters the field: Ability triggers when the creature is played from hand, but also if card enters field in other ways (unless otherwise specified). There are cards that create additional creatures or play creatures from the deathpile that you can combo the triggers with. Uranti Warlord, War Tinker

When __ moves into a lane: Ability triggers when the creature moves from one lane to another. There are cool tricks you can do with lane-based buffs and debuffs, moving your creatures around with mobility or other triggers. Dirge Banshee, Frostfang Maiden, Emberwind Evoker, Windcaller Shaman

Batch: A set of triggered abilities that were all triggered by the same event (usually a creature or spell being played). Abilities that don’t require choice will trigger first in a batch, and the active player’s (whose turn it is) triggers will trigger before the inactive player’s. Grimgaunt Devourer, Grimgaunt Doomrider




Solbind: Cards with Solbind add the cards listed after the ability into your deck at the start of each game. Having multiple extra cards in your deck lowers your ability to consistently see the cards you want to dramatically, but luckily there are some ways to deal with it. Tuskin Sporelord, Contagion Lord

Consistent: The card is shuffled into the top 20 cards of your deck. The guarantee to draw a specific card in the player level is arguably the strongest ability in the game. Drawbacks are often weak stats at one or more levels. Ashurian Flamesculptor, Bramblewood Tracker

Overload: The card does not level and is removed from the game after use. While they increase your deck’s consistency, they themselves do not provide more leveled cards, so make sure to use them with thought. Preferable when you can get ahead on board and force the opponent to use multiple cards to stabilize. Burnout, Xithian Direhound

Allied Uterra/Alloyin/Nekrium/Tempys: When the creature enters the field, if the player has a card in hand from the faction listed, the ability triggers. Play order matters, so remember to play the allied cards first if you want them to trigger. Dysian Siphon, Oratek Warhammer




Adjacent Lane: The lane directly to the left and the lane directly to the right of where this card is placed. Alloyin Strategist, Flamestoke Shaman

Center Lane: The middle lane of the five lane field. Battle Techtician, Steelskin Spelunker

Side Lane: Rightmost or leftmost lane on the field. Abyssal Brute, Infernal Visage

Assault: When entering the field, if there is no creature in the same lane, the ability listed is activated. The drawback is that creatures with assault are suboptimal for blocking and require you to have good boardstate. Thranik Ambusher, Misery Demon

Upgrade: When entering the field, if the creature replaces another creature, the ability listed triggers. Overwriting low health creatures after combat is a nice way to gain value, but there are also some other ways to utilize upgrade even more. Steelwatch Guard, Kitaru Sprite




Banish: Banished cards are removed from the game. Banish is a way to make your deck more consistent by removing unleveled cards, giving you a higher chance to see leveled cards in the next player level. It is also a way to skim out the cards you don’t want to see in the matchup you are playing. Tomb Pillager, Toorgmai Guardian

“Creatures that have been Destroyed”/Deathpile: All creatures destroyed over the course of the entire game are placed in the deathpile. The keyword to remember is “destroyed”. Replacing or banishing does not destroy the creature. Some cards that interact with the deathpile lose value if you manage to clutter the deathpile with tokens. Varna’s Pact, Portal Shade

Field: Area of play with 5 lanes.


Creature Attributes


Aggressive: The creature is always on the offensive. A way to push damage early on or finish off the opponent. Saberfang, Gemhide Basher

Armor X: Prevents the first X damage dealt to the creature each turn. Armor is a really strong ability that helps creatures stay on the board and also with the right combination can clear the board. Nexus Techtician, Aegis Knight

Breakthrough: When the creature is on the offensive, battle damage that exceeds the opponent’s creature’s health is dealt directly to the opponent. This ability benefits greatly from buffs, requires big bodies to block it effectively, bleeds the opponent’s health, and forces the opponent to answer. Batterhide, Lysian Shard

Defender: The creature does not start battle. Most defenders have really big bodies, at least at higher levels, and if you can make use of those bodies, you can cause some serious damage. Citadel Guard, Flamerift Instigator, Glacial Crush

Mobility X: When on the offensive, the creature may move up to X spaces into an available space as an activated ability. This ability can help you maintain tempo by forcing the opponent to try to block 2 or 3 lanes. Remember to use the middle lanes for mobility creatures to take the most advantage with them. Crag Walker, Firemane Steed

Poison X: The creature is dealt X damage at the start of each turn. Poison is slow removal which is negated or slowed by armor or regeneration. Some of the poison cards are strong in draft. Venomstrike, Shimmerfang Serpent

Regeneration X: The creature heals X health at the beginning of each turn. Regeneration on multiple creatures can fairly easily give you board control over a couple of turns. This ability mostly comes at the cost of low attack. Ossuary Spirit, Cavern Hydra



Interactions and Further Reading


This guide has you covered for almost every SolForge match you’ll play. Occasionally though, there will be times when a little more information can greatly impact the outcome of a game.

If you’ve graduated from the above, make sure to check out Ximane’s Advanced Solforge Rulebook for insight into how certain cards interact and the subtleties of variance within SolForge.


  1. wachunga says:

    How about explaining what happens when both players drop below 0 hit points? That one surprised me.

  2. wachunga says:

    A few points of confusion I encountered when learning the game:

    * “opponent” always refers to the other player (“each opponent” suggests that it may include creatures, which of course it does not)

    * “replaced” is the opposite of upgrade

    * healing damage is not the same as +health (and not always knowing max health makes it tricky)

    * effects that trigger on moving into a lane don’t trigger when being played into the field (even though the creature is kind of entering a lane)

  3. steve says:

    Can you explain the following in further?

    “Some cards that interact with the deathpile lose value if you manage to clutter the deathpile with tokens.”

    What do you mean by tokens? Also is the deathpile cleared when a player levels? or will the deathpile continue to grow.

    • Hectares says:

      This typically refers to the 1/1 (or small stats) creatures that get spawned from another creature coming into play, dying, or activating. Roaming Warclaw has a Raptor token. Dysian Broodqueen has a Broodfang token. Lots of Zombies and Oozes leave tokens when they die.

      Deathpile is never cleared. So you might bring back a 1/1 token in the late-game that died in the first few turns. Varna’s Pact cares about both your creatures and your opponent’s so it can be fairly risky to play.

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