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Volatile Gauge is a Clanless Clan Clanless.png Artifact in Monster Train.


One of the first instruments I developed for the Boneshaker. Regrettably, it’s not very accurate and delivers entirely random heat output from the furnace.


Volatile Gauge randomizes all non-Champion cards as they are put in your hand with a random cost between 1-3Ember, then applies any cost increases or reductions, and lets you draw +3 per turn.

Volatile Gauge is a very difficult Artifact to evaluate, and can either make your run much stronger or much weaker; it quite possibly could have a chance of doing both. Volatile Gauge both increases and decreases the variance of your run:

  • it increases the variance with the random cost rolls - in particular, it exposes you to the risk that you may draw multiple crucial cards in the same turn with high Ember costs, forcing you to choose which ones to play
  • it decreases the variance by giving you +3 draw per turn, ensuring that you will see and have an opportunity to play just about every card in any reasonably-sized deck within the first couple of turns, and you will get several opportunities to play any spell, which may otherwise e.g. miss the shuffle and only be seen once

In contrast to what inspired it, in Monster train, the mechanics and importance of Banner Units often mean that Volatile Gauge's risks outweigh the benefits - you will draw Banner Units early anyway, yet it's crucial to be able to play each of them no matter what they are drawn with, and there may also be important spells that you have invested upgrades into that you need to play first draw that you may draw with them too.

Where Volatile Gauge can potentially be strong is with ways to modify the cost of cards, or simply a lot of Ember. Split Anvil is very strong with Volatile Gauge, allowing you to play one 3Ember card and then every spell that costs less (though this can still get off to slow starts because Split Anvil does not affect units). Tethys Titansbane's Conduit path, if your deck mostly consists of damage spells, works great with Volatile Gauge. Emberstone and Valuestone (The Last Divinity (DLC) only) are premium upgrades, as their cost reduction applies after the random cost is rolled. Forever Flame is excellent with Volatile Gauge, allowing you to play units consistently and quickly at the start of the match. Improved Firebox and Abandoned Stave can give you enough Ember to be consistent despite the costs of cards, though the former only works on turn 1.

Spells that summon units like Prism Retrieval and Channelsong are also better with Volatile Gauge. Units with difficult Ember requirements (most notably Shadowsiege and Consumer of Crowns) are much better with Volatile Gauge.

In summary, Volatile Gauge should probably be skipped, even for 25Gold, unless you have ways to play around its significant cost restrictions, but it can be very powerful with the right support.


See: Version History

Volatile Gauge was nerfed as it had the highest win rate of any artifact in the game at high covenant levels before Version 1.1. It was first changed to randomize between 0 and 4, but it was decided that 1 to 3 was better to avoid spells costing 4 and therefore not being playable in early game.

Version Changes
1.0.0 Added Volatile Gauge.
1.1.2 Volatile Gauge now randomizes between 1 and 3 instead of 0 and 3.