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Guide for New or Returning Force of Will Players


Disclaimer

This is a repost of an article (although slightly rewritten) which was originally posted by u/ImSabbo on Reddit (or more specifically, the Force of Will subreddit r/FoWtcg), with help from Ruler School TCG for the MtG and YuGiOh sections, and Rustin (special credits to Bfor) from the Force of Will TCG Discord channel for providing input on the Hearthstone section.


Whether you are new to the game or have some past experience with it, we hope this guide helps you. For a simpler guide, Ruler School TCG made a great youtube video, which is formatted really well for new players.

For more specific advice though, please check the section below which most fits your experience. If you’ve played Force of Will before, it may be useful to read all of the sections above the one most relevant to you as well, although some information is repeated.

Last played Force of Will in Alice Origin Cluster?

Back in 2020, this cluster consisted of Alice Origin 1 & Starter Deck, Alice Origin 2 & Starter Deck, Alice Origin 3, Prologue of Attoractia, and the Ghost in the Shell set. Here’s what you should know:

  • The Stranger Deck was only a temporary mechanic. If you use a ruler from this cluster you can still use the mechanic, but future rulers are unlikely to repeat it.
  • In Alice Origin 1 & 2, booster packs included a variety of cards with different borders and unique art. This promotion did not continue in later sets, although the cards are still legal in any format other cards of the same name are legal in.
  • Regalia are unique to the Alice Clusters, and while they are still legal to play, cards from other clusters generally won’t even reference them.

Last played Force of Will in New Valhalla Cluster?

Back in 2019, this cluster consisted of New Valhalla Cluster Starter Decks, New Dawn Rises, Strangers of New Valhalla, Awakening of the Ancients, and Decisive Battle of Valhalla. Here’s what you should know:

  • This cluster has been removed from New Frontiers (our main rotating format), and so cards within are not legal in many tournaments. Please make sure you know what format you’re playing if you’re thinking of bringing cards from this cluster or before.
  • The Rune Deck (or Rune Area) was unique to this cluster, and so neither it nor Runes as a card type were created for later clusters. The cards are still legal, but keep in mind that cards which are “Runes” rather than “Chant/Runes” still cannot be run outside of a Rune Deck.
  • The game has likely experienced some power creep since you last played, so there may be some cards which appear objectively better than the ones you last played with. Rune Decks are still fairly viable though.
  • Only this cluster had starter decks with multiple rulers. Future (and most previous) starter decks only include one ruler per box.
  • After this cluster, the Common and Uncommon rarities were replaced with Normal rarity, and later a Marvel Rarity was added above Super Rare.
  • For collectors: After this cluster, foil cards no longer have “textured” variants.

Last played Force of Will in Reiya Cluster?

Back in 2018, this cluster consisted of Reiya Cluster Starter Decks, Ancient Nights, Advent of the Demon Lord, The Time-Spinning Witch, Starter Deck Wave 2 “The Lost Tomes”, and Winds of the Ominous Moon. Here’s what you should know:

  • This cluster has been removed from New Frontiers (our main rotating format), and so cards within are not legal in many tournaments. Please make sure you know what format you’re playing if you’re thinking of bringing cards from this cluster or before.
  • The “Sealed Item” mechanic from the cluster, which made Rulers get progressively more abilities throughout the cluster through reprints, was exclusive to Reiya Cluster, and so if that was a turnoff for you, don’t worry, it’s gone now.
  • If you never picked up a copy of your favorite ruler with the sealed text revealed, no worries, you can just find the text online and still use your original one.
  • The game has experienced some power creep since you last played, so there may be some cards which appear objectively better than the ones you last played with. Casual deckbuilds can still be pretty fun though of course.
  • As much of this cluster was based around gimmicks, many of the future sets will lack any form of real direct support, and as such you might find your cards are pretty pigeonholed to Rulers from this cluster if you try to expand into Wanderer, Genesis, Conqueror, or Epic Stories.
  • The ruler Speaker of Eternal Night (TSW-109) // Scheherazade of the Catastrophic Nights (TSW-109J) has been banned in all formats except Genesis and Origin, and a handful of other cards have been banned in Wanderer. It is advised that you refer to your local or regional banlist if you wish to build competitive decks.
  • A handful of cards from this cluster were reprinted in Saga Cluster, making the older versions also legal in any formats which include the set/s they were reprinted in.
  • The rules for the keyword [Enter] were changed after this cluster. Any card with the text “When this card enters the field →” is now treated as saying “[Enter]→”, and [Enter] now triggers for any card entering the field, no matter how it does so.
  • For collectors: After this cluster, no card was available in Uber rarity, other than certain promo cards.

Last played Force of Will in Lapis Cluster?

Back in 2017, this cluster consisted of Lapis Cluster Starter Decks, Curse of the Frozen Casket, Legacy Lost, Vingolf: Ruler All-stars, Return of the Dragon Emperor, and Echoes of the New World. Here’s what you should know:

  • This cluster has been removed from New Frontiers (our main rotating format), and so cards within are not legal in many tournaments. Please make sure you know what format you’re playing if you’re thinking of bringing cards from this cluster or before.
  • The game has experienced some power creep since you last played, so there may be some cards which appear objectively better than the ones you last played with. Casual deckbuilds can still be pretty fun though of course.
  • If you do play in one of the open formats, be sure to check the ban list as some cards from this cluster, including rulers, were quick to be added to the ban list and you don’t want to be wasting your time with them.
  • A handful of cards from this cluster were reprinted in Alice Origin Cluster and Saga Cluster, making the older versions also legal in any formats which include the set/s they were reprinted in.
  • A handful of cards from this cluster were “reprinted” in Saga Cluster, but do not share format legality with their original versions, as they utilize the new Alternative Card mechanic. You may include a playset of the original card in addition to a playset of the Alternative Card in your deck if you wish.
  • The terminology “entity” has been added to the game after this cluster, and refers to any card on the field. Note that Rulers on their ruler side are not considered to be in the field, nor are cards in the chant-standby area.
  • After this cluster, non-special magic stones became officially referred to as Basic Magic Stones. There is no gameplay function difference with this change – it’s purely for clarity. Old non-special magic stone cards may be treated as Basic Magic Stones by any effect which references such.

Last played Force of Will in Alice Cluster?

Back in 2016, this cluster consisted of Alice Cluster Prologue Deck: Faria vs Melgis, Alice Cluster Starter Decks, Seven Kings of the Land, The Twilight Wanderer, The Moonlit Savior, Battle for Attoractia, and Vingolf: Valkyria Chronicles. Here’s what you should know:

  • This cluster has been removed from New Frontiers (our main rotating format), and so many cards within are not legal in most tournaments. Please make sure you know what format you’re playing if you’re thinking of bringing cards from this cluster or before.
  • Speaking of formats, after this cluster the formats “Wanderer” and “New Frontiers” were introduced/named. New Frontiers is our main rotating format where only the latest two clusters are legal, while Wanderer is an eternal format where all clusters are legal except the original Valhalla cluster.
  • Many cards from this cluster were reprinted in Alice Origin Cluster, and so the original prints of these particular cards are additionally legal in any formats which include the reprints. Keep in mind however that only the latest printing of a card counts as the correct text of the card, which has caused many cards to gain traits or races, lose subtypes, and/or slightly change in function. For chants and additions, it is advised that you use the most recent printing in order to have the most accurate text.
  • Alice Origins Cluster brought back a return of many of the characters from this cluster, as well as the Regalia. However, the approach to Regalia was much better implemented, with them all costing 2, being more directly tied to the ruler they were associated with, and the true power of them coming from the ruler rather than the Regalia. Overall a much more enjoyable experience, and using regalia feels a lot more natural and not as insanely broken as some of the situations they initially created.
  • The game has experienced significant power creep since you last played, so there may be some cards which appear objectively better than the ones you last played with, although the reprint errata has made up for this in many instances. Either way, casual deckbuilds can still be pretty fun.
  • If you do play in one of the open formats, be sure to check the ban list as some cards from this cluster were added to the ban list and you probably don’t want to be wasting your time with them.
  • A handful of cards from this cluster were “reprinted” in Saga Cluster, but do not share format legality with their original versions, as they utilize the new Alternative Card mechanic. You may include a playset of the original card in addition to a playset of the Alternative Card in your deck if you wish.
  • The Standby mechanic has not been used since this cluster, although it is still part of the game for the purpose of legacy formats.
  • No Additions since this cluster have included subtypes (eg. “Addition:Resonator”). While old addition cards still count as having their subtypes (unless they were reprinted without them), and will behave accordingly, all newer addition cards are simply “Additions”, without any subtypes.
  • Chants no longer have subtypes. If an old card was a “Spell:Chant”, it is now considered just a Chant. If an old card was a “Spell:Chant-Instant”, it is now considered a Chant with the ability [Quickcast]. If an old card was a “Spell:Chant-Standby”, it is now considered just as a Chant (although it retains the [Trigger] keyword and the rules surrounding that.)
  • Automatic abilities were altered after this cluster from “When <trigger>, <effect>.” (with a comma) to “<Trigger>→<Effect>” (with a double-lined arrow). Starting from the end of Alice Origin Cluster, this was then changed to “<trigger>›››<effect>” (with three chevrons).
  • After this cluster, all starter decks include full playsets of all cards they contain, rather than partial playsets. This thankfully makes collecting much easier, although if you want playsets of foil cards, you may still need to trade with others or find the cards online.

Last played Force of Will in Grimm Cluster?

Back in 2015, this cluster consisted of The Crimson Moon Fairytale, The Castle of Heaven and the Two Towers, The Moon Priestess Returns, Millennia of Ages, and Vingolf: Engage Knights. Here’s what you should know:

  • This cluster has been removed from New Frontiers (our main rotating format), and so most cards within are not legal in many tournaments. Please make sure you know what format you’re playing if you’re thinking of bringing cards from this cluster or before.
  • The Saga Cluster is re-introducing many of the characters from this cluster and is currently being released throughout 2021. If the appeal of Force of Will was the character bases (fairy tales, cthulhu, etc) then this cluster is going to have a LOT of what you loved.
    The company does seem to be taking a bit more of a cautious approach to power, in terms of it coming from synergy rather than raw power on a card, and the Rulers in Saga Cluster have a similar feel to Grimm in that you can build many different decks for each ruler and they can still be successful. So if that part of Grimm cluster drew you in, Saga cluster is a great place to start because it will tick all those boxes and will be New Frontiers legal at least until the end of 2022.
  • … that said, the game has experienced very significant power creep since this cluster, and so most cards are not viable in competitive play, even if playing a format they’re legal in.
  • A handful of cards from this cluster were reprinted in Alice Origin Cluster and Saga Cluster, making the older versions also legal in any formats which include the set/s they were reprinted in.

Last played Force of Will in Valhalla Cluster?

Back around 2012-2014, the sets were Dawn of Valhalla, War of Valhalla, and if you used Japanese cards, The Shaft of Light of Valhalla. Here’s what’s changed:

  • Break/Lifebreak as a mechanic has been entirely removed, and the red text on cards from this cluster is treated as not existing unless you specifically arrange to play with it.
  • The rule stating that when your J-ruler is destroyed you lose half your life has been removed entirely.
  • Most formats for Force of Will do not use this cluster, so avoid using cards (other than magic stones) from this cluster unless you are playing “Origin format”, or have specifically arranged for these older cards to be okay to play. And even then, the game has experienced very significant power creep since this first cluster, and while there are niche cards which may still be playable in formats which allow it, most have been overshadowed.

Only played Magic: The Gathering Before?

If you have only ever played Standard/Modern in Magic, then deckbuilding for Force/gameplay is going to be a little new, but you already know like 80% of the game. If you play Commander, then you know 85%. The real quick one sentence summary would be, standard/modern deck construction, with a Commander that doesn’t lock color identity, and your lands are in a separate deck.

  • You have a Ruler, which starts the game in play, and has abilities/can flip and become a creature on board. It can only ever flip once.
  • Your lands are in a separate 10-20 stone deck, which your ruler taps to call in to play once per turn (during your main phase) if you want.
  • Combat is something you can choose to do more than once in a turn, and it is done by one creature at a time (and only one can block). You can attack the player’s face, or a tapped creature.
  • There is no shadow blocking, if a blocker is killed before damage is done, the damage will go to the initial target
  • The beginning phases go Draw – Recovery – Main – End. Anything with instant speed capabilities can be done during the draw phase and recovery phase before you actually recover your stones and cards
  • Life is 4000 (or 40) rather than 20. There are no 850, 750, etc stat lines, so you can just drop the last two zeroes from any stat line.

Only played Yu-Gi-Oh before?

Yugioh is a very combo heavy based game, but isn’t restricted by the idea of resources, and makes the use of an extra deck. While some rulers in Force of Will do grant an “extra deck” it is not common, and works much differently than Yugioh. That being said, Force of Will is another Japanese style TCG that has the capability of being very combo/synergy focused, just compensates for it by making use of a resource system that slowly grows and can be used however you please during either players turn, as long as you have the available resources.

  • You have a Ruler, which starts the game in play, and has abilities/can flip and become a creature on board. It can only ever flip once.
  • Deck construction is 40-60 cards, with maximum playsets of 4 of any specific card
  • Your Stones are your resource for playing cards, are in a separate 10-20 stone deck, which your ruler rests to call in to play once per turn, during your main phase whenever you want.
  • You must pay the cost of a card in order to be able to play it. You can play as many cards in a turn/summon as many things in a turn as you want, provided you can pay the cost.
  • The beginning phases go Draw – Recovery – Main – End. Anything with instant speed capabilities (spell speed 2) can be done during the draw phase and recovery phase before you actually recover your stones and cards
  • No Field Size Limits for monsters (resonators in this game) or additions (field spells/continuous spells, etc.
  • Combat is something you can choose to do more than once in a turn, and it is done by one creature at a time. You can attack the players face, or a tapped creature. A player may choose to block an attack with any creature they control that is recovered.
  • Monsters (resonators in this game) have summoning sickness, meaning they cannot attack or use any ability that requires them to “Rest” to pay cost during the same turn they come into play.
  • Only if a creature (resonators) has “pierce” will damage go through to the initial attack target, otherwise all damage just goes through to whatever is taking the damage (so no carry over damage to lifepoints)
  • 4000 life instead of 8000.
  • There are no “setting” cards like traps or quickplay spells, if it has quick cast, you simply play it from your hand during either players turn (spell speed 2)
  • There is no spell speed 3, unless a card specifically states that it “cannot be chased”. Such spells or abilities can’t be chained onto by anything else, including other “this cannot be chased” effects.
  • The reaction system does not work like the chain. After every single action is taken, both players get a chance to respond. You can also hold priority to put multiple things on the “chase” at once. If there are multiple things on the “chase” and both players pass priority, then only 1 step of the chase resolves, and then both players have an opportunity to put an effect or spell on the chase before the next thing resolves. Once the very last thing (so the thing that started the chase) resolves, the turn player regains priority.
  • Spell speed breakdown – 1:Playing any card that does not have quick cast. 2:Casting any card that has quick cast, using any activate ability of a card in your hand, on the field, or a graveyard. There is no real spell speed 3.

Only played Hearthstone before?

The major difference is that Hearthstone, being a PC/Mobile only game, has so much more RNG that goes into the game. Picking your Ruler is like picking your class, each ruler having their own Hero Power essentially.

  • Decks consist of 40-60 cards, with only 4 copies of each card a separate deck for 10-20 Magic Stones(this acts as your mana) and a Ruler(this is your hero). Each player starts with 4000 health (although this is often truncated to 40 by players).
  • Hearthstone is played using mana to pay the cost of Spells/Minions. By contrast, Force of Will uses Magic Stones to pay the cost for Chants, Resonators, and other card types. Each turn you can rest your ruler to gain a stone that is used to pay costs, creating a similar result to Hearthstone giving you one extra mana available per turn.
  • …However, a key difference is that where there is only one kind of mana in Hearthstone, in Force of Will there are five attributes, which can make cost requirements more specific than in HS. Magic Stones will state on them what kind of “will” (its name for mana) it can produce, and they may even have other abilities in special cases. Just like in hearthstone, some attributes excel at health recovery, others can gain power through hurting themselves, and so on.
  • The turn sequence is Draw-Recovery-Main-End of Turn. The Recovery phase is skipped on your first turn.
  • Main phase is when you play resonators(minions), chants(spells) and other cards, although some cards are able to be played out of turn, if an effect or ability allows it.
  • In Hearthstone you have Secrets that you play on your turn but only activate based on certain conditions being met on your opponents turn. Force of Will has a condition called “Quickcast” that is somewhat similar. You can hold these cards in hand until the right moment to spend the required Will to play the card to affect what is happening. These can be played at almost any point, including during the draw or recovery phases, before or after you do the phase’s action.
  • Most ruler cards can perform a “judgment” action, which puts them into the field as a J-ruler, detailed on the reverse side of the card. These behave in most ways like resonators, except for having a different card type name. J-rulers when destroyed return to the ruler area and cannot do judgment again, rather than getting sent to the graveyard like resonators would.
  • You declare your attacks one at a time as in HS, but you cannot attack minions unless they are in a rested (sidewards) state. After an attack is declared your opponent may choose to block with one of their minions and going into battle with your declared attacker. Attacking, blocking, and abilities with the black turned-card symbol all cause the J/resonator doing it to become rested, although there are also other effects which do this.


If there are any games not in the above list which you feel should be, or if you feel that this guide could be improved, feel free to let us know in the comment section below and/or in the original Reddit post which can be found here.

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  • What are the most recent starter decks? And to get new rulers, other than starter decks, is the only way to buy an entire booster box and pray that you got the one you want? Sorry new to this game.

    • The most recent starter decks are the Alice origins structure deck, WITH melgis, Faria, pricia, and Valentina.. We also have a structure deck called Ghost in the Shell, a partnership of the Netflix animated series, but it is void in color identity only
      The other rulers are found in each one of the Alice Origin boxes. And they are 1 per box but guaranteed. Alice origin set 3 and 4 each have 3 different possible rulers in 1 box

      The latest set, The magic stone War, has 2 rulers per box and they are in packs. But yes you are correct. Any box would have the rulers.