Each KeyForge deck, also called an Archon deck, is a unique combination of 36 cards algorithmically chosen from a total cardpool of approx. 370-420 cards, called a KeyForge set. The current set is Dark Tidings. Only one set is printed at a time, and Sealed format events are only played with the current set.
New KeyForge sets were originally released twice a year, in May and November, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic this schedule has been disrupted. New sets contain a combination of new and previously released cards. Each set contains 7 houses, with approx. 52 cards each, of which usually 16 are common, 16 are uncommon, and 20 are rare. In addition, several houses contain one or more Special rarity cards. Except for a newly introduced house, 75% of each house's common cards in a set are new (with 25% being reprints from previous sets), while 50% uncommon cards and 40% rare cards are also new.
Each set is completely independent of others, not a replacement or an expansion, so decks from old and new sets always remain playable alongside each other.
Call of the Archons
- Main article: Call of the Archons
The first KeyForge set, Call of the Archons, was announced at Gen Con on August 1st 2018 and released on November 15th 2018. Created by legendary designer Richard Garfield, this is the world's first unique deck game.
Call of the Archons also introduced Mavericks: very rare instances where a card appears not in its house, but in another house. CotA also introduced Special rarity cards like the four Horsemen that always appear together in a deck, and Timetraveller that always appears together with Help from Future Self.
Call of the Archons was received extremely well upon announcement. More than 30,000 decks were registered in the Master Vault app on the first day, and more than 500,000 just two months after the release. Sales exceeded FFG’s expectations and caused temporary product shortages. In October 2019, just 11 months after release CotA surpassed 1 million registered decks.
Age of Ascension
- Main article: Age of Ascension
Age of Ascension is the second KeyForge set, announced in a FFG live stream with Richard Garfield on February 12th 2019 and released on May 30th 2019. In Europe, the game launched with a Sealed Vault Tour at UK Games Expo in Birmingham. With 388 players, this is the largest KeyForge Organized Play event to date.
Keeping 166 cards from CotA and adding 204 new cards, Age of Ascension again contains 370 cards, spread among the same seven houses: Brobnar, Dis, Logos, Mars, Sanctum, Shadows and Untamed.
New keywords introduced in AoA were Alpha, Omega and Deploy: restricting when certain cards can be played and freeing others from the constraints of standard placement. Age of Ascension also introduced Legacy cards. These are cards from a previous set (such as CotA) that are not part of the current set, but on very rare occasions can appear in a deck.
More than 100.000 Age of Ascension decks were registered in the 3 weeks within release, but AoA did not match CotA’s number of registered decks or competitive success.
- Main article: Worlds Collide
Worlds Collide is the third KeyForge set, announced at Gen Con on August 2nd 2019 and released on November 8th 2019. In the US, Target stores unintentionally leaked and then started selling Worlds Collide starter sets on October 2nd, more than one month before the official release date.
The first set to include new houses, Worlds Collide brought houses Saurian and Star Alliance, while taking out Mars and Sanctum. The total cardpool is 405 cards, of which 284 are new and 121 returning from one or both previous sets.
A new type of card introduced in Worlds Collide are Anomalies: cards that are not part of any current or past set, but from possible future sets. These extremely rare cards can appear in any house and usually contain new keywords or mechanics not yet seen in any other card. There are 10 Anomalies available in Worlds Collide (these are in addition to the 405 standard cards in the set).
On the strength of new houses and mechanics, the set was widely praised by players and 100,000 Worlds Collide decks were registered in the Master Vault within 15 days of the set's official release. Worlds Collide immediately proved to be a highly competitive set, winning the first Archon Vault Tour held after its release as well as outnumbering CotA in the top cut.
- Main article: Mass Mutation
Mass Mutation is the fourth KeyForge set, announced on January 30th, 2020 in an FFG Live stream. It was released on May 29, 2020 in China and Taiwan, and on July 10, 2020 globally. It includes more than 250 new cards, for a total of 422 cards, making it the largest set yet. House Sanctum returned after its absence in Worlds Collide, and Brobnar is rotated out for the first time. Mass Mutation centers around Mutant creatures and features many cards with the mutation theme. The set also includes gigantic creatures, which are very powerful creatures that require two cards to play.
Moreover, Mass Mutation introduces the enhance mechanic. Certain cards add bonus icons throughout a deck during the deck generation process, allowing decks to become even more unique than ever before. These bonus icons include Æmber, Capture, Damage, and Draw icons, and each icon represents an effect that occurs when a card containing that icon is played. A single card can have a maximum of 5 bonus icons.
Even with a lack of Organized Play upon its release (due to the COVID-19 pandemic), the set quickly became a fan favorite and is currently regarded as the most competitive KeyForge set thus far.
- Main article: Dark Tidings
The fifth KeyForge set, Dark Tidings, was announced during the Fantasy Flight Games' In-Flight Report on July 29, 2020. After multiple delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was released in March 2021 in Asia, April in Europe and finally on May 14 in the United States. Dis was rotated out in order to make room for the Unfathomable, a new, Aquan-based house with many controlling and taxing abilities. The new tide mechanic is prominently featured in Dark Tidings, allowing players to raise the tide in order to enable powerful card effects.
Dark Tidings also introduces Evil Twin decks, which are copies of normal decks that contain Evil Twin versions of creatures whenever possible. These rare decks are indicated by the words "Evil Twin" in their names. Evil Twin cards have alternate artwork and abilities from their original versions.
Winds of Exchange
The sixth KeyForge set, Winds of Exchange, was announced on September 10, 2021. However, due to the loss of the deckbuilding algorithm, a release date has not been announced at the time.
In June 2022 Ghost Galaxy (a new venture by Christian T. Petersen, founder of Fantasy Flight Games) acquired the KeyForge IP and publishing rights from Asmodee and in August 2022 announced that Winds of Exchange will be crowdfunded through Gamefound. The campaign launched on September 9, reached its funding goal in 27 minutes, and raised over $1.1M from more than 6000 backers. The set is scheduled for release to backers in the beginning of 2023.
Winds of Exchange will feature the largest house rotation so far, with Logos, Shadows, and Untamed all leaving the game for the first time. Mars and Brobnar are rotated back in, alongside the introduction of KeyForge's 11th house, the Compacts of Ekwidon. The remaining four houses featured in the set are Sanctum, Saurian, Star Alliance and Unfathomable. The set's primary new mechanic are token creatures. As an unlocked stretch goal in the crowdfunding campaign, the set will also feature the return of anomalies, rare cards from the next set.
The name of set 7 has been revealed as Grim Reminders on September 13, 2022. It will introduce a new house, the game's 12th, as well as an interesting new mechanic.
Based on Anomalies seen in Worlds Collide, possible future houses might be based on ghosts, pirates or dragons. New mechanics and keywords that are exclusive to Anomaly cards are invulnerable, grafting, haunted, and abilities that reference key colors.
List of sets
|Set Name||Icon||Release Date||Houses||# of Cards||# of New Cards|
|Call of the Archons||Nov 2018||370||370|
|Age of Ascension||May 2019||370||204|
|Worlds Collide||Nov 2019||405||284|
|Mass Mutation||May 2020||422||259|
|Dark Tidings||Mar 2021||429||279|
|Winds of Exchange||2023||400+||250+|