Welcome to Stormbound! This document aims at outlining the rules for the game, since there is no official rulebook. It’s not a guide per se, in so that it won’t give tips or advice to get better. It should be relatively objective and focus on what the game is about and how to play it. See it as a complementary document to the in-game tutorial.
Make sure to go through the in-game tutorial before diving deep into this document as it will go through the very basics in an interactive manner.
Stormbound is a collectible card game (commonly abbreviated as CCG). You get cards, you use them to compose decks and you use these decks to battle other players in a chess-like format.
As you progress through the game, you collect resources that you can use to upgrade your cards, thus reinforcing your decks.
The game does not have an end per se. One could argue getting all cards level 5 (the maximum level) signals the end of the game, but this is a) incredibly time consuming to do (think years) and b) short-lived since new cards are added almost monthly.
Stormbound has 4 different game modes, all of which can be played simultaneously, in so that one does not have to pick and commit to a specific game mode.
The main and somewhat unavoidable game mode, ranked, is the one along which game progression is designed. As you win games, you will go up the ranks within your league, then move up leagues until reaching the Heroes league, which is a live leaderboard. Here are the leagues:
- Starter league
- Iron league
- Bronze league
- Silver league
- Gold league
- Platinum league
- Diamond league
- Heroes league
Every league but the Heroes league is made of some sort of ranks. Most leagues have 5 of them. For instance, reaching Platinum puts you in Platinum 5. As you win matches, you‘ll make your way to Platinum 1 after which you can reach Diamond 5. Losing matches makes you fall down the ranks. You cannot fall down a league though.
Every 1st of the month, there is a season reset. On that occasion, all players are downranked a league. Players in Gold league are back in Silver, players in Silver are back in Bronze and so on. With that comes the season chest, a pack of resources and card copies that is critical for progression.
The Brawl takes place weekly from Thursday to Sunday. Because of its steep entry fee, it is geared towards high-level players. It requires a solid collection and a good appreciation for unconventional matches.
The peculiarity of the Brawl is that it introduces additional rules and modifiers which skew the typical gameplay. For instance, all Constructs have 2 movement, cards level up when cycled or unspent mana gets carried over to the next turn.
If you are interested in learning more about the Brawl, refer to the dedicated rules page about it.
The Draft takes place weekly from Monday to Wednesday. Unlike the Brawl which is geared towards high-level players, the Draft is intended for everyone.
The main concept of the Draft is that your deck is semi-random. For every card slot in it, you will be provided a choice between 3 options. This means no one can tailor their ultimate deck—it’s somewhat random (although always pretty balanced). Additionally, card levels are nullified (everything starts level 1), and card ownership is disregarded (you can draft cards you don’t own).
To learn more about this game mode, refer to the dedicated rules page about the Draft.
Friendly matches are battles between friends that cost nothing and grant nothing. It is strictly for entertainment or training purposes and provides no in-game benefit.
Quests can be accomplished in friendly battles however, so it can be a good way to deal with complicated quests when ranked is a little too tough. Note that for “Win X games” quests, you must wait until at least one player has 9 mana in order for it to count.
Stormbound has 3 main resources: coins, rubies and fusion stones.
- Coins. They are the most common resource, and are mainly used to upgrade cards, as well as to participate to the Brawl and Draft modes.
- Rubies. They are used to buy books, which contain card copies. This is typically how one would unlock new cards or get enough copies of owned cards to be able to upgrade them.
- Fusion stones. They are the rarest resource, and are used solely to upgrade cards one doesn’t have enough copies of. They are tailored towards end game content.
Resources get acquired in many different ways, from winning ranked matches to participating in Draft and Brawl modes, to taking part in community events via the official Discord server .
Cards & decks
A deck is made of 12 cards, from the Neutral faction plus another faction of your choice (Shadowfen, Ironclad, Winter, Swarm). Decks cannot contain cards from more than one non-Neutral faction (except in some exceptional circumstances such as the Pure Amalgamation Brawl.
There are 3 types of cards in Stormbound: structures (immobile), spells (one time effects) and units. Units are most common and the bread and butter of all battles, particularly because they move through the field with the possibility to damage the enemy base would they reach it.
Units typically have a unit type, such as Raven or Construct. It is mostly cosmetic, but some cards do take unit types into consideration, such as Ubass the Hunter, Kindred’s Grace or Hunter’s Vengeance. Units can also have additional unit types such as Elder, Ancient and Hero, all of which also count as a unit type for the aforementioned cards.
After the tutorial, you will have only a handful of cards in your collection. As you progress through the Ranked mode, you will unlock new cards, always at level 1.
To upgrade a card to higher levels, you need to collect enough copies and pay an upgrade fee in coins. For instance to get a card to level 2, you need 2 additional copies, and 50 coins. The amount of necessary additional copies depends on the rarity and the level of the card.
- Common cards need 2 additional copies for level 2, then another 5 copies for level 3, then another 12 copies for level 4 and finally another 30 copies for level 5 (49 extra copies in total).
- Rare cards need 2 additional copies for level 2, then another 4 copies for level 3, then another 10 copies for level 4 and finally another 24 copies for level 5 (40 extra copies in total).
- Epic cards need 1 additional copy for level 2, then another 3 copies for level 3, then another 7 copies for level 4 and finally another 18 copies for level 5 (29 extra copies in total).
- Legendary cards need 1 additional copy for level 2, then another 2 copies for level 3, then another 5 copies for level 4 and finally another 12 copies for level 5 (20 extra copies in total).
The upgrade cost is normalized across rarities: it’s always 50 coins for level 2, 100 coins for level 3, 300 coins for level 4 and 1,000 coins for level 5.
Some cards such as Collector Mirz can create “token” cards during a battle, and cause the deck to have more than 12 cards. These cards only exist for the duration of the battle and do no persist beyond it.
Token units can be identified by their name as it always starts with the word “Token”. They have no level, 1 movement, and cost 0 mana.
The term “card copies” can be confusing because it means something different depending on the context. As previously mentioned, it refers to the copies of the cards you own that are used to level up cards.
Within a battle, it means something else. They are single-use copies of cards produced by Rogue Sheep (and potentially some future other cards). They are not stolen cards as the opponent does not lose these cards, even temporarily. They are copies. They can be cycled as many times as desired, but get destroyed once played.
Just like token cards, these cards only exist for the duration of the battle and do no persist beyond it.
Your Fortress Level (commonly called “base health”) is the amount of damage your fortress (or base) can sustain within a game before you lose. You start your Stormbound adventure with 10 health, and can go as high as 20.
The Fortress Level is increased by acquiring new cards and upgrading owned cards to higher levels. The higher the Fortress Level, the more experience is needed to reach the next one. It can take quite a lot of efforts to reach Fortress Level 20.
The Fortress Level is also capped per league in Ranked mode to even large differences. So while you might be Fortress Level 16, your base would have only 14 health for as long as you play in Gold league.
- Diamond & Heroes League: no cap (besides 20 maximum health).
- Platinum: Fortress Level is capped at 17.
- Gold: Fortress Level is capped at 14.
- Silver: Fortress Level is capped at 12.
- Bronze: Fortress Level is capped at 11.
- Iron & Starter League: Fortress Level is capped at 10.
Quests are daily challenges that yield some rewards. Three quests can be done everyday, and they reset at 07:00 UTC. They come in 3 difficulty levels:
- Highest difficulty, yielding either 150 coins or 2 fusion stones depending on the quest.
- Medium difficulty yielding 5 rubies.
- Lowest difficulty yielding 100 coins.
A battle is a 1v1 match that lasts until one of the two players‘ base health goes down to 0. Base health mainly gets lowered by letting opposite units reach it, not unsimilar to the way checkers work.
Battles are played turn by turn. One of the two players is randomly chosen to be the first one, opening the game with 3 mana. The other player has 4 mana to compensate for playing second. From there, mana increases by 1 for every turn that goes by.
At any given turn, a player has 4 cards in their hand and have the ability to cycle one card with another one at random from the deck. For all intents and purposes, a maximum of 4 cards per turn can be played, and that’s provided the player has enough mana to pay the cost of all 4 cards.
For a more in-depth look at how shuffling and drawing work in Stormbound, read the page on drawing mechanics.
- Deck: a set of 12 cards used during a battle.
- Hand: the 4 cards playable on a given turn.
- In front: the tile north of a given tile.
- Behind: the tile shouth of a given tile.
- Sides: the tile on the west and east of a given tile.
- Bordering tiles: the 4 tiles north, south, west and east of a given tile.
- Surrounding tiles: the 4 bordering tiles + 4 diagonal tiles around a given tile.
- Base: the fortress on each side of the board, whose health going to 0 determines the outcome of the game.
- Baseline: the row immediately adjacent to the base.
- Frontline: the furthest row on which a player can play cards, determined by the presence of friendly units or structures on that row. Each player’s frontline constantly moves throughout the battle.
It might be worth having a look at the lexicon for an overview of common abbreviations and additional terminology.
Starting from the beginning of your turn, this is what happens:
- Start of your turn: the 90 seconds timer for your turn begins.
- Structure phase: All your structures resolve their ability (top-to-bottom and left-to-right).
- Movement phase: All your units apply their status effect then move forward (top-to-bottom and left-to-right).
- Play phase: You get to play your cards.
- End of your turn: You pressed “End turn” or ran of time and your turn is over.
Due to technical reasons, the turn timer keeps running during animations. So while it lasts 90 seconds, it does not mean you have 90 seconds to play all your cards. You typically have less.
When placed on the board, where a unit goes depends on its initial movement (or lack thereof), its ability (if any) and most importantly its surrounding.
If it has initial movement (denoted by the boot icon on the card), the unit will move immediately upon placement on the board. Unless otherwise specified by its ability, it will respect the forward-inward-outward (FIO) attack pattern. That means it will:
- Move forward to attack an enemy on the tile in front, if any.
- Otherwise move inwards (towards the center of the board) to attack an enemy on the side, if any.
- Otherwise move outwards (towards the edges of the board) to attck an enemy on the side, if any.
- Otherwise move forward if there is no enemy in front or on its sides.
- Repeat 1–4 until the unit has consumed all its initial movement.
Note that this only applies when placing a moving unit on the board. Once on the board, units always move forward 1 tile at the beginning of every turn. Of course, if there is an enemy in the tile in front, they attack it. But they never move sideways (unless confused).
Structures are similar to abilities, in so that they are placed on the board, but they do not move. They are also impervious to all status effects as well as most abilities (draining, converting, pushing, pulling, commanding…). They do take damage like units though, and get destroyed in the same way.
Structures execute their ability at the start of the turn, before the units movement phase. Their ability often starts with “At the start of your turn”.
When an ability states “enemy”, it means a unit, a structure and even the base. So if a card does not specify “enemy unit”, it means it will work on structures as well.
Broodmother Qordia’s eggs are considered structures until they hatch. This means they:
- Can be hatched by a harvested Doctor Mia.
- Can be destroyed by Siegebreakers.
- Can be used by Hearthguards.
- Can be used for Fortification Tonic.
Qordia’s Eggs are not available to put directly in your deck or be held in your hand. They exclusively exist during the turn they are summoned by Broodmother Qordia’s ability.
The resolution order can be a tad confusing when multiple effects are supposed to take place at the same time.
Generally speaking, it is acknowledged that the defence resolves first. This means if two opposite units both have to resolve their effect at the same time (for instance a Survive Trigger Effect and a Death Trigger Effect), the attacked unit goes first. This is also the case when attacking the base. The base damage is sustained (which might cause the game to be over) before the unit’s Death Trigger Effect gets resolved (if any). This is why it is always safe to win with Restless Goats.
If there are multiple effects to resolve within the same side, they get resolved following the same order as the attack pattern of the non-active player. This means right-to-left then front-to-back if it is your turn and vice versa, if it is the enemy turn.
The triggers guide illustrates this behavior with additional examples.
Status effects are temporary effects afflicting units on the board. There are 5 different status effects:
- Poison: a poisoned unit takes 1 damage at the beginning of every turn. It lasts until the unit dies or gets vitalized.
- Vitality: a vitalized unit gains 1 strength at the beginning of every turn. It lasts until the unit gets poisoned.
- Freeze: a frozen unit cannot move at the start of the next turn and its ability is temporarily disabled. It lasts for a single turn.
- Confusion: a confused unit will move sideways (randomly) during its movement phase. It lasts for a single turn.
- Disable: a disabled unit loses its ability. It lasts until the unit dies.
Abilities can be divided in large categories based on when they trigger. These categories are sometimes called triggers for that reason.
- On play/When played: the effect triggers once and only once when the card gets summoned on the board.
- Before moving: this effect is specific to “ancient” cards, and triggers before the movement phase of the unit—when first played if it has any movement, and every turn after that.
- Before attacking: this effect triggers before the attack phase of the unit. It also triggers when forced to attack by some other ability.
- After attacking: this effect triggers after the attack phase of the unit. It also triggers when forced to attack by some other ability.
- After surviving damage: this effect is specific to “elder” cards, and triggers when the unit receives and survives damage, regardless of the source (except for strength reduction which is not considered a damage source).
- On death/When dying: the effect triggers when the unit dies, walks through the base, or gets destroyed by any other effect. In others words, when the unit gets removed from the board one way or another.
Not all abilities are very straightforward. This section should explain in more details advanced terminology:
- Commanding: force a unit to move. Note that it will not follow the usual attack pattern (FIO) and move forward regardless of the presence of enemies on the sides.
- Converting: make a unit changes sides. If you convert an enemy unit, it becomes yours; if the enemy converts one of your units, it becomes theirs
- Destroying: kill a target. This is synonym to killing or dealing fatal damage. It has no special meaning besides removing the target from the board regardless of its current strength.
- Draining: cause damage to a unit and grant the same amount of health to another unit.
- Forcing attack: force a unit to attack a bordering tile (typically randomly). Note that it will trigger “Before attacking” and “After attacking” abilities.
- Moving fixedly foward: moving forward without considering enemies on the side (i.e. ignoring the FIO resolution pattern).
- Pulling: a unit can pull another unit towards itself if they are on the same row or column and there is nothing between them. When done alongside damage (e.g. Armed Schemers), damage is applied only after the unit has been moved (same for pushing).
- Pushing: a unit can be pushed away along a row or column until it reaches the edge of the board or a unit or structure in its way. Note that a unit cannot be pushed into a base.
- Reducing strength: lower the strength of a unit to a certain value (i.e. Confinement). Note that it does not count as a source of damage and therefore does not trigger “After surviving damage” abilities.
- Spawning: creating a new unit or structure at the specified location. When done randomly, it is always done within the frontline, so a random spawn never influences the frontline.
Here are some miscellaneous pieces of trivia that are worth knowing:
- Cards always choose from valid options. For instance, Ozone Purifiers wouldn’t push a unit that can’t move if there is a better option around.
- Tode the Elevated still gains strength even if there is no enemy to jump in front of.
- Flaming Stream pushes back all units first, then deals damage to them. If a unit survives but was in front of a unit that doesn’t survive, it’ll be on the second tile from the back after Flaming Stream is used.
- Beasts of Terror deals damage to all other enemies with the same unit types when attacking (e.g. all Constructs + all Heroes when attacking Project PH03-NIX), although not including the one it’s attacking. The ability will also trigger when it attacks a friendly unit (through confusion, a feline enemy, or Unhealthy Hysteria), but the ability will only affect enemies.
- When forced to attack a friendly unit, Victors of the Melee’s ability will damage all friendly units and structures surrounding it instead of enemies.
- Units attacked by Laurus, King in Exile will have all bordering units under a certain strength attack them, one at a time, until either the target unit dies and then Laurus will move into its tile, or all bordering units have attacked it.
- Dawnsparks can be forced to attack on an enemy turn, and when this happens, the mana is given to the owner of the card during the enemy’s turn, and is able to be used by the owner when their turn begins.