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Welcome to Sky #3: Keywords

Coulter L. Baker

Nov 12, 2019

Welcome back to our introductory blog series on the gameplay and strategy of SkyWeaver! Today, we’re taking a look at the Keywords we have in SkyWeaver, and the effect they have on gameplay, and how you can make use of them to gain the advantage over your opponents.

In SkyWeaver, we have six main "combat keywords," which affect how Units and Heroes fight, as well as some additional "triggered keywords," which apply effects only when certain conditions are met, such as playing a certain type of card, summoning a Unit, attacking your opponent, etc.

Combat Keywords

These keywords have an effect on combat, whether by changing how damage works, increasing or reducing damage dealt, or changing the rules of how attacking works, whether by forcing enemy characters to attack certain Units, or preventing them from attacking others. All keywords in this group can be removed by the Enchantment Chains.


A fairly straightforward but powerful keyword, Armor prevents 1 damage to a character whenever that character would take damage. Armor is incredibly strong since it will reduce all 1-damage sources to 0, which means that you cannot use your Hero to attack and damage a Unit with Armor, unless you have a way to increase your Hero’s attack, and even then, the damage will still be reduced. It can routinely force out numerous removal cards to deal with a single Unit, and is perhaps our most powerful keyword. Armor is visually indicated by a glowing ring of energy around a Unit’s health.

Banner is a keyword in that it does not affect the Unit itself, but rather, your Hero. For each character you have with Banner, your Hero gains +1 attack. These buffs stack. Two instances of Banner will grant +2 attack, three grant +3, etc.  

Banner also appears on Spells, and functions a little differently on Spells than it does on Units. A Spell with Banner will give your Hero +1 attack the turn it is played, and this attack boost will wear off at the end of the turn. Banner is visually indicated by a sparkling glow around the Unit’s art.


Units with Guard protect your Hero from attacks. While you have a Unit with Guard in play, enemy characters cannot attack your Hero, and as a result, will be forced to destroy your Guard Unit(s) first. However, Guard Units will not protect your other non Stealth Units from being attacked, so be careful! Units with Guard will always be placed to the right of your Hero. Guard is visually indicated by a Unit’s shield shaped frame.


Whenever a Unit with Lifesteal deals damage to the enemy Hero, whether via combat, or via an effect it possesses, your Hero will be healed for the same amount. If a Unit with Lifesteal deals damage to another Unit, no health will be restored to your Hero. This means you need to commit the Unit to striking the enemy Hero to heal yourself, which forces you to choose whether to use your Lifesteal Units to heal by hitting the enemy Hero directly, or try to fight against their Units, since you cannot do both at once. Lifesteal also appears on Spells, and has the same function—if a Spell with Lifesteal deals damage to the enemy Hero, it will cause your Hero to gain that much health. Lifesteal is visually indicated by swirls of pink energy orbiting the Unit’s attack.


Stealth can be thought of as the inverse of Guard. Units with Stealth cannot be attacked until their Hero has been damaged by an attack in the same turn, at which point their stealth will be lost until the end of the turn. As a result of this, you can use Guard Units to effectively “protect” your Stealth Units via preventing the enemy Units from damaging your Hero, and thus keeping your Units’ Stealth from being lost, thus keeping them safe from attack until your Guard Units are dealt with. Units with Stealth are always be placed to the left of your Hero, further left than those without Stealth. Stealth is visually indicated by the distortion and haze surrounding the Unit and card frame.


Whenever a Unit with Wither deals damage to a Unit (but not a Hero) whether via combat, or via an effect it possesses, it will cause the damaged Unit to lose both health and attack. Eg. if a 4/4 Unit takes 2 Wither damage, it will be left as a 2/2, rather than a 4/2. This makes Wither a particularly great defensive keyword, as it can weaken enemy Units offensive power, allowing your other Units to take less damage when attacking them, and just reducing their damage output overall. Wither also appears on Spells, and has the same function. If a Spell with Wither deals damage to a Unit, it will cause that Unit’s attack to be reduced by the same amount as its health was. Wither is visually indicated by dark energy around the Unit’s attack.

Triggered Ability Keywords

These keywords differ from combat keywords in that they do not affect combat, and are triggered by certain conditions being met, like a Unit being played, destroyed, a turn ending, etc.


A Unit’s Death effect will trigger whenever the Unit is destroyed and sent to the Graveyard, whether through damage or a Spell that destroys it. As an example, the Unit Royal Mummy has Death: Give your Hero +3 health. When it dies, it will increase your Hero’s health by 3. Death effects are great because they can occur on your opponent's turn, messing with their plans and forcing them to play more cautiously. Death effects can be avoided by removing the unit from play without destroying it, such as by returning the Unit to a player’s hand or deck, or by using an effect that Dusts the Unit with the Death effect.

Dust or Dusting is a special effect that some cards have. When a Unit is Dusted, it is not sent to the Graveyard, and as a result, its Death effect is ignored entirely. Dusting removes a card entirely from the deck and the game in which its being played. A dusted card cannot come back into play during said game.


A Unit’s Glory effect will trigger whenever the Unit successfully attacks and deals damage to a Hero (usually the enemy). As an example, the Unit Tiamat will deal 3 damage to all enemy Units and deprive the enemy of a max Mana when it successfully attacks their Hero. Glory effects are typically quite powerful, but can also be difficult to pull off, since the Unit bearing them has to live a turn and then successfully attack and damage the enemy Hero to activate them. As a result, removal Spells, Guard Units, effects that reduce the Unit’s attack, and certain Enchants can all potentially prevent the Glory from successfully going off.


A Unit’s Inspire effect will trigger after you play a card that meets the conditions listed on the Unit’s Inspire effect. As an example, the Unit Scythe Mantis has Inspire Dark: Deal 1 Damage to enemies. This means it will deal 1 damage to all enemies whenever you play a dark card, whether a Unit or Spell, including attached Spells like the Wane Blade that starts attached to Scythe Mantis.

As Inspire effects are so powerful, Inspire Units tend to be high-priority targets for removal, so it is often advisable to hold off on playing Inspire Units until you can get some use out of their effect immediately. A final important note is that, unlike other abilities, a Unit needs to be alive and in play to trigger its Inspire effect. For example, if you were to use a dark Spell to destroy your own Scythe Mantis, its Inspire effect would not trigger.


A Unit’s Play effect will trigger whenever you properly "Play" it by paying Mana to play it from your hand. It will not trigger if the Unit comes into play from your deck, Graveyard or even hand, unless it was properly "Played." Many Play effects require you to choose a target as you play the Unit, just as a Spell would. They can also be played without a target, but be careful, because the play effect will be wasted.


A Unit’s Summon effect will trigger whenever that Unit enters play from anywhere, regardless of how it entered play. Summon effects are frequently quite powerful, since they're almost like getting a free attached Spell that’s used immediately, and are especially powerful when reviving Units from the Graveyard or summoning them off other effects, since they cost no additional Mana to use. The downside is that you can’t save a Summon effect for later.

End Turn

Your Units' End Turn effects will trigger at the end of your turn. These effects are generally pretty reliable, but unlike Summon effects, they don't allow you to take any further actions after the effect activates, so they offer a little less flexibility, and require a bit more planning to take advantage of.

Start Turn

Your Units' Start Turn effects will trigger at the start of your turn. Similarly to Glory effects, Start Turn effects can be somewhat unreliable and tricky to get off, since your opponent has an opportunity to kill off the Unit before you have a chance to use the effect, but unlike Glory, they do not require you to do anything beyond starting your turn with the unit alive, and as such, are a bit more forgiving.

That's all for this post, check back soon for more SkyWeaver info!

Lethal Puzzle

See if you can figure out how to defeat your opponent using the game state presented below, in just one turn! Solution will be in the next post!

The solution to our last post's lethal puzzle is also right below! Congratulations to everyone who solved it!

To chat with me and the rest of the Horizon Games team & our community, join our Discord server! Subscribe to our subreddit to share your ideas, and follow the SkyWeaver account on Twitter if you just want to say hey!

If you haven't already, be sure to sign up to become a SkyWeaver now and get invited to play our private beta and check out all these new features for yourself.

Check back here again soon, and to get notified on our latest blog posts, subscribe to our newsletter.

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