Archon Mechanics: Aember

Archon Mechanics: Aember

Jan 09 Chenne  

When I began learning how to play Keyforge I was taken aback by how easy it was to pick up. The phases of each turn are easily understood. However, at times certain keywords and mechanics flat-out stumped me. Either they weren’t explained clearly enough in the rules materials — or the optimal way in which they could be used took further understanding on my end…this is where today’s piece comes in.

With Archon Mechanics each article will explore one specific aspect of the game – be it keywords, cards or mechanics. Through this series of articles we’ll attempt to cover everything you need to know to make your plays stronger, your deck smoother and your turns more effective. To begin, we’ll be covering the most valuable resource in the game:



Æmber is the core resource/mechanic in the game and is vital to reaching victory. At base cost, a player needs six aember to forge a Key. There are many ways in which a player can accumulate aember throughout the game – these include cards providing an immediate aember bonus, stealing and reaping.

Æmber Bonus

Certain cards will earn a player aember just by playing them. These cards are identified by an aember symbol under the house logo on the top-left of each card. To use gain an aember this way simply play the card, announce the bonus and add the resource to your pool. Take note that this bonus only activates once.



This mechanic appears on creatures, artifacts and action cards; and performs exactly as you’d imagine. When activating a Steal ability, the “performing” player takes the specified amount of aember from their opponent’s pool and adds it to their own. Many cards will feature an Action ability that allows a player to activate the action and steal an aember (as opposed to the traditional Reap-to-gain-one. The “choosing” player ends the turn with the same amount of aember, but can reduce their opponent’s by one to bide some extra time.



Reaping is the most common mechanic used by creatures and serves as a quick way to generate aember. To reap a creature, simply exhaust it and add one aember to the reaping player’s pool. Remember, you may only reap a ready creature and not one that is already exhausted. Additionally, certain creatures have another bonus for reaping – so be sure to carefully read “reap” text (when applicable) before triggering the effect.

Keep in mind that rarely will you find all three featured heavily in a single deck. It’s up to the player to discover how a deck best generates aember – and find the best way to use it. Keep a look out for potential combo cards that can influence aember generation. For example, being able to re-ready a creature gives you the chance to earn two aember.



Capturing aember isn’t the only focus in the game – a player would be wise to play not only offensively, but defensively as well. Players also must prevent their opponent from obtaining and amassing aember in the first place. This is where control cards step in and pave the way for trailing players to get back in the game.


Capturing allows aember to be taken from their opponent’s aember pool and stored on the creature. Once that creature is destroyed or removed from the field the aember is returned to its owner.



Players may also occasionally stumble across aember-dependent cards that require certain amounts of aember to trigger. These are great opportunities to delay your opposition – especially if they’re due to forge a key on their next turn.


Like with most strategy articles, the absolute best thing you can do to better your skills is to study your decklist and practice with it. By doing so,you’ll gain a deep understanding of the role that each card plays.


In our next “Archon Mechanics” article we’ll be exploring the wonderful world of Keys, covering forging, controlling, stealing and destroying.


Thanks for reading, happy forging!


About Chenne

One comment

  • Jason Egger
    Jan 9, 2019 @ 18:58 pm

    Captured aember goes to the opponent of the creature, so if your creature is captured with aember on it and is then removed, you get the aember instead of the original owner.


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