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All aboard the Vore Express! Talking about Monster Train!

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)

I'm still playing a ton of this, because my SO still enjoys playing it with me! We're at max covenant rank now, but haven't quite closed the deal yet (we'll get there, though!).

The second major free content update hits tomorrow, bringing with it a brand new Champion for each faction, a new signature card associated with each of those Champions, and brand new bosses (and a new Seraph variant) that are randomly chosen at each of the major boss locations. Plus a handful of re-balancing changes-- they're doubling the base damage on Sting! I haven't read any of the spoilers, so I can't speak to how any of these new Champions play, but I look forward to finding out! (And I'm also looking forward to replacing The Sentient, because I just can't seem to find a build I'm happy with using her at high covenant ranks.)

For anyone who played previously and put the game down, this would be a great time to dip back in!
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I can't speak to how any of these new Champions play
I can now! Did a run tonight with the new Hellhorned Champion and won on my very first try. Kind of a bummer to win my first Covenant 25 win that way, but I wanted to play with the new toys!

She seems super good! She's Imp-themed, much to my SO's delight, since she's a big fan of Imps and laments that I don't take them often enough. She does a great job at propping up the Imp-related spells, which I almost never took prior. The spells that require you to sacrifice an Imp start to look a lot better when you're more or less guaranteed to have a target for them instead of risking a dead draw, and the one with damage that scales with imps starts hitting like a truck.

The Champion solo'd Seraph at the end with 400 ATK and 12 turns of Stealth (thanks to a pair of Endless Burnout 1 eggs). My only regret is that I didn't get a chance to pick up the big dumb Hellhorned rare that gets cheaper with Imps, because this is the first deck I'd have actually wanted to play him in.

Anyway, I've now unlocked the expert challenges and... hoo boy. This'll... this'll take some doing, huh?

ETA: Can't wait to try out the rest of the new Champions! The new Umbra Champion looks... interesting, just judging from the start run screen. I'll need to see how his upgrade paths prop him up, because he looks pretty bad out of the gate! At least he fits the thread title, though!
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Yesterday, the second major update landed for Monster Train. The first one added mutators, expert challenges, and a boatload of rebalancing changes. This one adds a new champion + starting card for each clan as well as new major bosses -- Talos, who can replace Daedalus, and Archus, who can replace Fel -- and a new Seraph variant. Oh, and a bunch of rebalancing changes (not nearly as many as last time). Most notably, eaten morsels go to a separate "eaten" pile, meaning they can't be reformed if they're eaten.

But let's talk about the new champions and cards! Spoilerpops in case you don't want to know about this stuff.

The Shardtail Queen replaces the Prince's Torch with Queen's Impling, a 1-cost 1/1 imp that deals 10 damage to the front enemy on summon. As you might expect, she has lots of imp synergies. The Queen is relatively frail at (I think) 20/10 base, which is still a much better base than the Prince, but the Prince has ways to tank, and I'm not sure the Queen does.

One of her upgrade paths gives her a Queen's Impling on resolve. If you follow this path, you get very good base stats and better imps as you go: level 2 is a rage imp on resolve, level 3 is a rage imp and an armor imp on resolve. I ran into capacity problems with this path and lost that game, even though it was a covenant 1 run.

Another upgrade path gives her +10 attack on Rally, which is a new keyword that activates when you summon a non-morsel unit. The attack boost increases as you go down this path, but she stays very frail. Even out of the gate, +10 attack per summon is very good, though.

I haven't seen her third upgrade path.

Wyldenten replaces the Sentient, and he's got big shoes to fill. I haven't played Awoken with the new patch, but I can tell you that Wyldy takes up 3 capacity, same as base Penumbra, and starts at 5/30.

If you use the alternate Awoken, you're trading Restore for Rootseeds, a 1-ember spell that gives +2 attack and increases next turn's draw by 1. This is a heavy blow to half of the Awoken units, but if you don't need Rejuvenate triggers, then your Animus of Will will greatly prefer the new spell.

Solgard the Martyr replaces Tethys Titansbane, with Frozen Lance swapped for Forgone Power: a 0-cost spell that applies Frostbite 6 to the front enemy and discards a random card. Frozen Lance was the worst starter in the game, but it's hard to say that Forgone Power is any better. It does enable Offering, provided you get a little lucky.

Solgard, out of the box, is a 0/10 with "Incant: Gain Shard 1." Shard, like Fuel or Soul, is a status that does nothing on its own but has impacts on what the unit does.

Solgard's Direchannel path has "Action: Deal 3/5/7 damage per Shard to the front enemy unit." On paper, this sounds a lot like "Incant: Gain 3/5/7 attack," but it's technically not an attack, which means three things: first, you can't apply Multiattack to it; second, it doesn't trigger Spikes; and third, if you give Solgard some attack, he can attack twice.

Solgard's Titanchannel path is a stat stick that starts out with Phased, which makes the unit untargetable and undamageable but also unable to attack. Solgard sheds Phased when he has at least 4 stacks of Shard. Titanchannel I is 35/35, and he presumably gets way stronger from there, but he's dead weight until you can trigger enough incants.

I haven't seen the third path, but I understand it's Frostbite-related.

Primordium replaces Penumbra, and for my money, this is the most interesting new champion. Out of the box, Primordium is a size 2 morsel with Buffet 3, allowing it to be eaten three times before being polished off. When eaten, Primordium gives the eater its stats, and Primordium starts at 3/3. That's underwhelming on its own but suggests some crazy combos.

The Superfood path takes Primordium to 3/10 and transfers Primordium's status effects to the eater. If you find a way to get Multiattack on Primordium, for example, the eater will get Multiattack each round. The same applies to less-desirable effects such as Emberdrain and Burnout, so use this path with care. Superfood II gains Damage Shield 2, and Superfood III gains Damage Shield 4, but Primordium's stats don't increase after the first level of Superfood.

Stalwart Snack increases Primordium's Buffet count. At first rank, Primordium goes to Buffet 5. I'm not sure what the rest of this path yields beyond more Buffet, but it combos nicely with Superfood.

I haven't seen the third path yet. It's worth pointing out that if Primordium is fully eaten, it can be brought back with Retch at full Buffet stacks. Of course, if it dies before being eaten, you can reform it with full Buffet stacks.

Replacing Shadesplitter is Plink, a new candidate for worst starter card: it deals 1 damage to a random enemy unit twice. For each unit it kills, it generates a morsel.

Rector Flicker is replaced by Little Fade, a 1-size 5/1. The Dregs are replaced with Primitive Mold, a 1-ember spell that reforms a random unit. I'm torn on this one: one of Remnant's best tricks is giving you a much slimmer deck after the first go-round, but then it's really nice to have a source of reform straight out of the gate.

I haven't played with Little Fade yet.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I haven't seen her third upgrade path.
Her third upgrade path is baller, *and* hilarious:

At the end of the round, she throws any remaining imps on her floor, hitting every enemy for 20 damage. This is very high damage, *and* allows you to place imps behind her without worrying that they'll stick around forever and take up space. It works very well with Rally, since you can pop down imps to buff her, then have her throw them to make room for more. It also helps account for her biggest weakness: no trample or multistrike to make use of her ridiculous ATK to hit anything behind the front rank. All 3 of her upgrades paths synergize very well with each other.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Oh, that's right! I saw that but didn't take it.

I wish more of the champions had good cross-path synergies. Of the base champions, I'd only ever cross-path HH Prince reliably. Occasionally, I'd give Tethys Frostbite and Sweep, but that's situational and dilutes her effectiveness as a boss-killer. Queen and Primordium both seem like good cross-path candidates, though.

I really like how they've used the new champions to explore existing design spaces within the clans: Queen with imps, as you mentioned, Solgard with incant (how crazy is it that Tethys never used it?), and Primordium expanding the morsel menu, of the ones I've tried so far.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
An LPer on youtube described the new Umbra champion as three morsels in a trenchcoat which I think is quite amusing.

He also pulled off putting multistrike on that champion which is kind of a crazy thing to see.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
So the new Umbra champion is fun! I won one of the expert challenges with him first try. (One of the easy ones, though; I'm easing myself in. It was the one where your pyre has Fragile.) MVP was a Retch card with Permafrost. I also got the new version of Seraph this run, who was interesting. I drew a Silence early and was shocked to discover that it works on him, so consider picking that up if you get a chance and he's your draw for end boss!

Primordium is a size 2 morsel
Not actually true! I found this out the hard way when I took the card that triggered Eaten on a Morsel X times, only to discover that he's not a valid target.

I haven't seen the third path yet.
Third path was my first path, and it's just ATK; no special changes otherwise. ATK is good, though!

Replacing Shadesplitter is Plink, a new candidate for worst starter card: it deals 1 damage to a random enemy unit twice. For each unit it kills, it generates a morsel.
I picked up the +3 Magic Power artifact as my first artifact, which makes the Plinks quite a bit better!

Anyway, this marked back-to-back wins to start Covenant 25 for me, but, regrettably, Challenge runs don't count for win streak. Ah well.

I also tried out Hell Rush for the first time tonight. Thanks, I hate it. I still won, but every moment was miserable. That said, I certainly did myself no favours by checking it out post-patch. I pulled Exile for primary and secondary, and had never seen either and had to figure it out on the fly (and my Stygian champion had a brand new keyword, even), and also pulled a new version of the first major boss and my first time fighting the new second major boss at all. It was a lot to take in! To the surprise of absolutely no one, speed mode is not for me.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
I enjoy a good hell rush, but everyone knew that you wouldn't. You knew it, I knew it.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I enjoy a good hell rush, but everyone knew that you wouldn't. You knew it, I knew it.
But... the card frames, Mogri.

Anyway, won another expert challenge this morning with the Stygian Exile. I have yet to actually lose a game with these new champions! I sure wish expert challenges counted for win streaks.

Titanchannel I is 35/35, and he presumably gets way stronger from there, but he's dead weight until you can trigger enough incants.

I haven't seen the third path, but I understand it's Frostbite-related.
I went 3/3 Titanchannel. Final stats are 175/175. Seraph didn't make it off the bottom floor of the train.

I also saw the latter path, and it essentially turns him into that shark that gives revenge frostbite, only this frostbite scales with shards. Honestly, it looks pretty underwhelming to me. Titanchannel seems like the clear pick for this Champion, IMO, provided that you have a deck that can support it (which is to say, it might not be the pick with a secondary faction that gives units instead of spells).
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
I don't know about that. The stacking 3 damage on Incant is really good.

Also really good and fun: big thorny boi. I stuck a large Animus of Will behind it and kept feeding her the attack bonuses. By the end of Seraph, he had 200+ attack and she had well over 100.

Also very, very nice: the new Awoken artifact that gives the front unit on each floor +5 health per turn.

I think Monster Train might be a good and fun game.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
The stacking 3 damage on Incant is really good.
Maybe. Takes a lot of stacking to get to 175, though, and that's ignoring the health. The balance, of course, is that he starts doing damage immediately instead of several turns into the fight.

Also very, very nice: the new Awoken artifact that gives the front unit on each floor +5 health per turn.
I've only seen one of the new artifacts so far, but it too is very good: Units get stacks of rage (2, IIRC?) every time their Burnout ticks down. That does a lot of work if you have the lady that gives revenge Burnout.

Also, this reminds me: I only just filled out my artifact list before the patch hit, because I finally got the event for the magician guy with the candles. I had never seen it before! I'm also still missing a single neutral card, so presumably there's another event that I have also not yet seen.

I think Monster Train might be a good and fun game.
Shocking if true.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
There's a very rare event card called Bone Dog's Favor that can show up in the shelves event. I've seen it two or three times, but I've heard of people playing hundreds of hours without seeing it.


It's an uncastable spell that gives 5 pyre health on resolve, which is okay, I guess, but unlikely to give you a covenant 25 win. It would be very disappointing to find it and then lose the run.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
OK, this patch's hilariously broken champion is definitely Eternal Flame Little Fade. She's 5/1 with Endless and Extinguish: +20/60/120 attack, +5 health, and +1 cost.

That's just bonkers.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Another expert challenge, another new Champion, another win. My covenant 25 win streak would be at four now if these runs counted. And this one was definitely rougher than a normal run, too! (It was the one where you start with the train stewart relic but only earn half money.) :toastybert:

Anyway, this feels like a theme, but the new Awoken Exile Champion seems brokenly good:

To my memory, his upgrade paths are:
  • Get 3 Stings in hand when you summon him, and a +1 ATK Incant trigger. Didn't see later ranks of this one, because I didn't pick it (which was hilarious when I was then immediately offered +10 piercing Stings as my very first relic).
  • Sweep and Root! Ain't no one getting past his floor until they're dead or he is. Later ranks just up his stats. My previous record for "most roots" was beaten by an order of magnitude.
  • Quick! And everything on his floor gets Quick! Later Ranks give Multistrike!
As should be quickly evident, #2 and #3 synergize stupidly well, and stacking ATK triggers also synergize with either of Sweep or Multistrike. A Quick Sweeper is everything I ever want to do in this game, and this guy just does it without praying for a good shop offer. I took the Sweep/Root upgrade to start, then later gave him Quick, then gave him Multistrike at the end. It was a very weird run, but I essentially set up shop on a floor and then just didn't let anything ever leave it. I threw some early units under the bus to tank for him until I gave him enough stacking attack (the newly buffed 3-cost rage card, a holdover rage/armour card, the +10 ATK/-2 HP card, and the new Awoken Exile base card) that nothing was every able to actually live long enough to hit me back. Seraph was very dicey (my pyre got the killing blow, but I hadn't taken any pyre damage all game prior to that since the Champion roots), since 4000 HP is a lot to burn through and he's not very good at staying alive to something that doesn't die before it can attack, but I actually had him burned down below 3k before the fight started, since my Champion was sweeping for like 200 x 2 damage by the end. The was in part assisted by a discovery I was shocked to make: bosses can be moved between floors before they become active! So I shoved him down to the bottom and Dazed him with my Trap Chute and got in some extra swings that way, which got me the win.

Anyway, I definitely far prefer this guy to the base Awoken Champion, who usually feels like dead weight on Covenant 25. I wish the game tracked which unit got which kill, because I am confident that my Champion accounted for >90% of my kills and damage; the rest of the deck was devoted to setting him up to wreck house.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
The secret to using the Sentient is stacking up 80 Regen sometimes.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I don't think I've ever had a deck capable of stacking remotely that much Regen. The best is, what, the Regen 3 card? And that costs 3 out of the box.

Anyway, the other thing that I forgot to mention about the Awoken Exile last night is that he warps the game-state such that the "enemies fully heal when moving between floors" challenge goes from a terrible idea to a no-brainer, because nothing ever leaves his floor.
 
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Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
The best is the 5 Regen consumable, which you can make not consumable. Pre-patch, you could then doublestack, but now, that's a 3-ember card. 3 for 10 Regen is good but not fantastic; I think I'd reduce it to 1 and then dupe it a whole bunch.

That's ideal, but if you're not against cleanse Seraph, you can make do with just duping an unaltered Wildwood Sap a bunch. 30 Regen is plenty if you have something worthwhile behind the Sentient. My personal pick is Multistrike rage siren, who will soak up all the spells you're casting for Regen.

Regen stacking works great on both bristling and explosive: explosive is better against everything but Seraph, where bristling has the edge due to Multistrike. Against cleanse Seraph, spikes are useless, so plan accordingly.
 
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JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Against cleanse Seraph, spikes are useless, so plan accordingly.
That's another one of my issues with that Champion: when I draw Cleanse Seraph I'm just like "oh, I guess I get to play for two hours and then lose; cool", because it shuts down everything that the Champion wants to do. At that point the best I can do is have a meat wall that draws me too many cards. And I seem to draw Cleanse Seraph unreasonably often. (An extra Seraph possibility should help with this.)
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
OK, this patch's hilariously broken champion is definitely Eternal Flame Little Fade. She's 5/1 with Endless and Extinguish: +20/60/120 attack, +5 health, and +1 cost.

That's just bonkers.
I... think I hate her? Easily my least favourite Champion, among the originals and the Exiles. Sure, she gets extra attack when she dies, but then she doesn't get to hit back that turn, so I either settle with her being half-upgraded or resign myself to having no Champion for the first several turns of the fight, to saying nothing of clogging up my draw pile and costing me energy.

Also, she has the same problem as The Sentient, where a Seraph draw of cleansing means one of her upgrade paths is essentially unpickable.

She took my win streak and absolutely torpedoed it. I threw myself at a few runs with her in quick succession before giving up and switching to a Champion that I like instead, just to prove to myself that I hadn't suddenly forgotten how to play.

And that Champion was the Awoken Exile, and I tried his Sting upgrade path instead, and it too is cool and fun, although not quite as busted as the other paths. Seems like a great pairing for the draw 3/cheaper spells challenge, though.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
I don't understand how to use Little Fade's other two paths. "Slay: Gain attack and spikes" is dubious on a 1-health unit, and "Extinguish: Give everyone else stats but also burnout 2" is a tough sell when your deck has zero burnout units to start with. "Extinguish: Become ridiculous" is a little tricky to use, but it's head and shoulders above the other two.

Awoken Exile champ is a good time, though, and my only complaint is the size 3.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I don't understand how to use Little Fade's other two paths. "Slay: Gain attack and spikes" is dubious on a 1-health unit,
I feel like the slay version could get ridiculous if you manage to get there, and I look forward to doing so eventually. The "swap health and attack" awoken card could be very funny once you've juiced her.

and "Extinguish: Give everyone else stats but also burnout 2" is a tough sell when your deck has zero burnout units to start with.
At least this gives her associated card something to do, since it's usually a dead draw otherwise, which is another of my problems with her.
 

Rosewood

The metal babble flees!
(she/her)
The new Umbra champion is hilarious. A YouTuber I watched called it three morsels in a trenchcoat and it's too perfect.
 
I tried Little Fade twice, the endless variant and the spikes variant, and it crushed it both times. The latter seemed a little weird to me going in, but the deck has plenty of reform to bring it back every time it dies, and the continually growing attack/spikes meant at least one (and often more than one) kill almost every round of every fight.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
Just won the expert "Evil Eyes" challenge for Heartless, Purge units on death, and Googly Eyes.

This was definitely the hardest yet, and the first where I got over my hesitance to reroll a run after looking at my starting cards/artifacts/champion upgrade paths (up until this point I've insisted on finishing every run, no matter how bad the start, but these expert challenges clearly require certain things to go your way and can't be compensated for just by solid play).

This run has firmed up my preference for the Awoken Exile as my favourite champion. I decided early on that I wanted to tackle this challenge using a Sting heavy spell-focused incant deck and that Champion, with the plan being that nothing would get off the first floor, and thus none of my units would get purged. This worked amazing early on, but I was never quite able to do enough damage to kill Seraph this way (although I came agonizingly close on literally my 2nd attempt, with Seraph having 29 health left when he destroyed my Pyre. Anyway, I shifted gears a bit on the win, and ended up with this ridiculous final set-up:



I could literally have killed Seraph 4-6 times over on that floor. I think maybe I'll do the Dante expert challenge next to give myself a break before tacking another hard one.

Also, FYI, Mogri, I don't know if you knew this/noticed, but I think 5 of these expert challenges were added since you did all of yours.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Yeah, I noticed. I'm a little rusty, so I need to get my sea legs before I try those, and also screw the math challenge.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
TIL two things about the Seraph fight:
  • If you only have units on a single floor, Sap Seraph will just keep coming back to that floor for valid debuff targets instead of moving between all 3.
  • Sap Seraph is a pretty hard counter to the Umbra Exile if you're using the version that copies status conditions.
Thanks to these two factors working in concert, I ended up eating a stack of almost 50 Sap on my front unit (although thanks to a giant stack of rage he still had positive ATK), and the rest of the floor had a ton of sap too. Frustrating, since I almost won anyway, and it was an expert challenge (the random routes/champion + volatile gauge one). I think I'd have won the challenge handily if I'd had literally any other version of Seraph.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Yeah, Seraph is the only boss that targets floors. He isn't super smart, but he will avoid empty floors if possible.

What was your setup? Melee weakness every other round could be pretty killer, too.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
My setup was that I only had 4 large expensive creatures in my deck besides my champion (largely not by choice, since, again, random paths), so I snapped up the "4 random creatures on the middle floor" artifact from the final artifact store. Then on turn one I played my Champion on the top floor and descended him so my front guy could chow down on him. So I had one way-over-capacity floor full of giant beaters (including two largestone multistrike Demon Fiends) with the guy in front getting 5 turns of stacking buffs that I was putting on my Champion, like +10 ATK & Rage (and debuffs, unfortunately). However, with relentless stacking Sap and my front unit double-dipping on the same stacking Sap from Feeding, none of them were hitting like trucks anymore by the time the boss became active. I still got him down to ~1000HP, though, IIRC.

Anyway, those Feed buffs included 2 ranks of damage shield per turn, so the melee weakness would have been no problem.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Oh right.

Well, lesson learned, I guess: don't spec Superfood against Sap Seraph. I'm happy to have learned it the easy way :)
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I had one way-over-capacity floor full of giant beaters
Tried again, and got "Pure Chance" this time:



How many Consumer of Crowns is too many? There's actually 4 of them hiding in that picture (all but one of which have a Largestone, and the rearmost of which is hitting 3 times). This deck was running two copies each of the basic Ascend and Descend cards and mostly just focused on over-stacking the hell out of the middle floor.

If you squint, you can also find Tethys cowering in the middle of that giant wall of meat. She didn't contribute much on her own, but her spell discounts did some work, although not nearly as much as finding the ember doesn't decay and +7 first turn ember artifacts in the same shop.

This challenge probably prompted more immediate "rerolls" than any other, since some Champions just feel like dead draws in out-of-faction decks. Rector Flicker in particular is just hilariously bad in a deck with no Dregs, no Burnout, and no Reform.
 
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