Learn and Master the Crucible

Published On: April 18, 2023

KeyForge is a rich card game that offers endless hours of gaming entertainment. You play the role of an Archon, hailed by some as a god, respected by others for your wisdom, you were born—or perhaps created—on the Crucible. Your purpose is to discover the ancient secrets of this world by forging keys to enigmatic Vaults. Each game of KeyForge represents a struggle between two Archons to be the first to unlock such a Vault, and only one can succeed. To win, you must be cunning, resourceful, and sometimes ruthless. The most successful Archons are those who master every tool at their disposal.

If you are new to KeyForge, your journey begins with this book: Learn to Play KeyForge. Within its pages, you will find all the basic rules of the game, plus a wealth of information about the Crucible and its numerous inhabitants.

Once you’ve learned the basics, the KeyForge Master Rulebook becomes your primary source of information for the fully expanded rules. Version 17 is the latest iteration of this document.

Eventually, we hope every KeyForge player will participate in some of the many KeyForge tournaments held around the world. Those ready for this level of competition should familiarize themselves with the latest version of the KeyForge Tournament Rules & Guidelines.

Master Rulebook v17

At first glance, version 17 of the KeyForge Master Rulebook (MRB) looks like a big, intimidating update. Look at all that red text! Please don’t fret. The MRB has been restructured and rewritten to take advantage of the existence of its new companion: Learn to Play KeyForge (LTP). Since it is now the LTP’s job to teach new players how to play, the MRB can focus exclusively on what it has always been best at: being a reference document. The vast majority of the changes in this update are reflective of this restructuring. But, there are still some genuinely new things to highlight.


The Glossary has been expanded to include several new entries intended to clarify the rules for facedown cards and “enters play” effect, among other things. You’ll also find a few hints at new game mechanics that will be explored more fully in the upcoming set, Grim Reminders.

More than a dozen glossary entries have been updated to firmly enshrine the rules surrounding a number of specific card interactions that in the past have been difficult to look up. Many glossary definitions now also include a list of related topics to guide readers to other pertinent sections of the rules.


The Omega keyword deserves special attention. The previous definition of this keyword was difficult to reconcile with some of the card-specific rulings issued by KeyForge’s previous publisher. The new definition of Omega represents our best effort to achieve three goals:

  • Preserve the original intention of what Omega is supposed to do
  • Explain as clearly as possible how Omega works in any situation
  • Keep intact as many previously-issued card rulings as possible

How Frequently the Questions Come

The old FAQ section of the Master Rulebook has been split into a General FAQ and a Card-Specific FAQ. Some information is duplicated in both sections to make it easier to quickly look up a specific question. Both sections have also been expanded to include dozens of new question/answer scenarios.

A Little Errata

Two Winds of Exchange cards have received some small, but necessary errata. Offering to Killigog and Space Invaders have both been changed to make it clear their effects count as “making” token creatures. Only the preview decks from KeyForge Celebration 2022 have the pre-errata text. All of the decks printed since then should have the corrected text.

Final Tidbits

Dozens of small edits have been made throughout the MRB to clean up and standardize the terminology. For example, attentive readers will recall that past versions of the rules have occasionally used “trigger” and “resolve” synonymously to describe the act of carrying out instructions on certain cards. We have settled on one term, “resolve,” to describe all of these events.

Finally, no rules update would be complete without a visit to the Timing Chart. We’ve added a small addition to the chart to remind players where “after enters play” effects resolve.

Tournament Rules & Guidelines v1.2

The Tournaments Rules and Guidelines (TRG) was first released just prior to KeyForge Celebration 2022 (along with its first update). This latest version of the TRG is an important revision based on feedback from players, judges, and prospective tournament organizers. We’ll highlight two of these changes below:

In official tournaments, only the final match will be played as a best-of-three games. Other playoff matches leading up to the final match will be played as single-elimination. Also, the final match will be untimed. Because of these two changes, we were able to simplify the rules for going to time.

The Alliance Restricted List has been updated. Lateral Shift and Library Card have been removed; Control the Weak, Scrambler Storm, and Stealth Mode have been added. For a full explanation of how the Alliance Restricted List works, please download the TRG.

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