Battles or Combats are where the player fights against the winged in the Boneshaker. A run of Monster Train contains a total of eight battles. Five of these battles are against randomized minor bosses. For the third, sixth, and eighth battles the player will face a specific major boss. For more details on a specific battle, refer to the Combat Navigation at the end of the article.
See also: Battle Effects
Before every battle there is a preview of the foes which will appear, including the boss and non-standard units. Some "plain" enemies such as Forged Disciple may appear in battle without being shown on the preview.
Battles against minor bosses will also offer an optional Trial. Accepting the trial makes the fight more challenging but grants the player extra rewards.
There are four floors. Friendly units may be summoned on the lower three floors. At the beginning of each turn Enemies will enter on the first floor. After the player ends the turn, enemies on each floor will attack the friendly units, after which the player's surviving units will attack the enemy units. Surviving enemies will then climb to the next floor and will fight the player's units there on the next turn.
The Pyre is on fourth floor. If it is destroyed the player loses the run. Enemies which reach the Pyre will attack it immediately. The Pyre then strikes back, dealing damage to all enemies at once. Surviving units will attack again, continuing until they are killed or the Pyre is destroyed. Damage done to the Pyre is persistent: the Pyre's health does not regenerate between battles.
Major bosses may additionally summon an extra enemy unit each turn on one of the lower three floors.
At the beginning of battle, all cards in the player's deck (except their champion) are shuffled to form a draw pile. Each turn the player draws cards to form their hand. The base number of cards drawn is 5, but this may be increased by various artifacts and temporary buffs. At the end of the turn, unused cards are discarded. When the draw pile runs out the discard pile is reshuffled to form a new draw pile.
Most spells go to the discard pile after being played. Spells with the Consume keyword instead go to the consume pile; they will not be reshuffled and cannot be used again for the battle unless specifically recovered by a card effect. Friendly units which die are also placed in the consume pile.
The player's hand is limited to 10 cards. Once at the hand limit, further draws are ignored, and cards which would be added directly to the player's hand are instead placed in the discard pile.
The player's champion starts in their hand; it does not count against the cards drawn for that turn.
The player is guaranteed to draw at least one Banner Unit each turn as long as there is at least one Banner Unit in the draw pile before any cards have been drawn. Priority draw will continue to work on subsequent shuffles, but units with priority draw will not be drawn at priority if the discard pile had to be shuffled into the draw pile in order to finish the draw step.
The Banner Unit page explains this in more detail.
On the second turn of a battle against a minor boss, the Collector will enter on the 2nd or 3rd floor. It appears behind the other enemies on that floor. This unit has minimal health, no attack, and runs away after combat. Killing the Collector gives the player a small gold bounty.
The Collector does not appear during major boss fights.
A Boss is a strong enemy which appears in the final wave of a Battle. The player wins the battle by defeating the boss.
All bosses have the Relentless effect, which forces combat on their floor to continue until the player's forces are defeated and prevents the boss from being Rooted. Combat ends immediately when the boss is killed; other enemy units are defeated when the boss dies.
Whenever a boss advances to a higher floor, the lower floor is frozen and replaced with a large block of ice. The frozen floor is effectively removed from the train: neither units nor spells may be played on the floor and it cannot be reached with Descend effects. Any units which were present on the floor are killed when it freezes; note that floors frozen by a boss are usually empty, as enemy units were defeated and friendly units move with the boss.
The three major bosses always appear on rings 3, 6, and 8. Those battle spaces show a distinct icon and have special text. Each major boss has three possible variants with different abilities; the map icon and text indicate which variant the player will face.
Major bosses start the battle in "flying" mode, hovering to the right of one of the floors of the train. Flying bosses do not attack (except Talos, the Architect and Seraph the Patient) but can use their special ability. Each turn the boss will move to a different floor. The boss is considered to be present on its floor: it can be damaged by the player's units and targeted by spells as though it was a normal enemy unit. A flying boss cannot be moved within the floor and is always behind other units. A flying boss can be moved between floors with ascend and descend effects, although it cannot be forced into the Pyre room (the 4th floor).
In the final wave the boss will move to the bottom floor, enter the train, and begin attacking like a standard boss. It is no longer flying and will not use its special ability. Unlike with minor bosses, there is no grace period before the final wave.
One minor boss will appear on each ring not reserved for a major boss: 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7. Their battle spaces show a generic icon and text, and the specific boss is not revealed until entering the battle.
When facing a minor boss, the player is offered the choice to enable a Battle Effect from the pre-battle screen, increasing the difficulty in exchange for additional rewards.
A minor boss does not appear until the final wave. The turn before the final wave is called "A Brief Respite" and no enemy units enter that turn.
|The First Defense | Heaven's Priests | The Gathered Clergy | Guardians of Light|
|Disciple Conduits | Pyre Absorbers | Barbed Disciples | Penitent Prayers|
|Daedalus, the Professor: Explosive Sigil | Double Barrel | Plating Seal |
Talos, the Architect: Empowering Offense | Soul Sucker | Protective Sin
|Clipped Infiltration | Protectors of the Clipped | Clipped Guard | Clipped Tormenters|
|The Sycophants of Seraph | The Harpy's Guard | Hidden Assault | Harvesters of Death|
|Fel, the Wings of Light: Eternal Crest | Scouring Crest | Wrath Crest |
Archus, Darkness Incarnate: Sin of Darkness | Sin of Shadow | Sin of Failure
|The Pyrewings | The Winged Horde | The Penitent | Conduit Masters | The Shadewings|
|Seraph the Temperant | Seraph the Chaste | Seraph the Diligent | Seraph the Patient|
|The Last Divinity: Divine Intervention|