Monster Train – Shop Talk (Merchant Tent Contents)

This guide lists the upgrades available at each type of Merchant Tent you’ll find along the way in Monster Train.

Introduction

This guide presents all of the unit and spell upgrades players can find along the way in Monster Train along with some basic information about where Merchant Tents can be found and how they work.

Merchants of Steel sell upgrades for units and can be found in the following circles of hell:

  • 1 Merchant in Circle 2
  • 3 Merchants in some mix of Circle 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
  • 1 Merchant in Circle 8

Merchants of Magic sell upgrades for spells and can be found in the following circles of hell:

  • 1 Merchant in Circle 2
  • 3 Merchants in some mix of Circle 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
  • 1 Merchant in Circle 8

Merchants of Trinkets sell artifacts and can be found in the following circles of hell:

  • 1 Merchant in Circle 4, 5, 6, or 7
  • 1 Merchant in between the tracks of Circle 8 (making this the only Merchant you can access regardless of whether you go left or right)

Note that this means you could see a gap of several battles between some of your merchant types, so it pays to plan ahead. Even if the side of the tracks with the Merchant of Steel isn’t as attractive as the other, you still might want to upgrade units if you’ve got nothing but magic upgrades available for the next few circles.

All three tents offer the option to purge cards from your deck for 50 gold (increasing by 25 gold each time you choose that option), and all three tents offer the option to refresh their contents for 50 gold. Refresh costs do not escalate, but you can only refresh each merchant once.

I’ve also presented some of my thoughts on available upgrades, but as with any Monster Train advice, your mileage may vary depending on your deck contents and the enemies you face.

(Note: This guide is tagged as a “Gameplay Basics” Steam Guide. If you have moved beyond basic gameplay already, you may find its content too rudimentary. Additionally, Covenant levels 10 and up make certain details of this Guide less accurate as explained in their Covenant level description.)

Merchant of Steel

The Merchant of Steel sells unit upgrades. There are always two common upgrades with a cost of 20 gold and one rare upgrade with a cost of 80 to 100 gold. The rare upgrade cost is random and does not depend on what the upgrade is. The same rare upgrade can even have different costs during the same run.

There are 8 different common upgrades, 5 of which will be available during each run. The primary clan and secondary clan you choose determine which two of those you could see in common slots at the Merchant of Steel. For example, while playing Hellhorned / Melted Remnant, the two common slots will contain two of the following: Strengthstone, Heartstone, Battlestone, Furystone, and Wickstone.

  • Strengthstone – The unit gains +10 attack
  • Heartstone – The unit gains +25 health
  • Battlestone – The unit gains +5 attack / +10 health
  • Furystone – The unit gains Fury 7 (restricted to Hellhorned)
  • Thornstone – The unit gains Spikes 4 (restricted to Awakened)
  • Runestone – The unit gains Incant: Gain Armor 1 (restricted to Stygian)
  • Shieldstone – The unit gains Damage Shield 2 (restricted to Umbra)
  • Wickstone – The unit gains +5 attack / +5 health and Burnout 1 (restricted to Melted Remnant)

There are 4 different rare upgrades, any one of which could occupy the rare slot at the Merchant of Steel.

  • Speedstone – The unit gains Quick
  • Frenzystone – The unit gains Multistrike 1
  • Eternalstone – The unit gains Endless
  • Largestone – The unit gains +15 attack / +40 health and its size increases by 1

As with many elements of Monster Train, it’s difficult to give universal advice about upgrades available from the Merchant of Steel. The amount of gold available, the number of units you’re actively using, your deck contents, which Seraph you’re facing, and much more all play a part.

That said, the Runestone is probably the most situational upgrade. Without any synergy from artifacts, spells, or other units, you’d need to cast 25 spells on that unit’s level of the train before seeing equal value from a Runestone relative to a Heartstone.

And though it’s highly debatable, the Frenzystone is probably the biggest boost to unit performance. Whether you’re maximizing triggered effects from your unit’s attacks or simply maximizing damage output, a great many units get a lot of mileage out of a Frenzystone.

It’s also worth noting that common upgrades are extremely economical. They’re 4 to 5 times cheaper than the rare upgrade and average out to be 10 times cheaper than an artifact. Sometimes, there’s value in buying common upgrades for units you don’t even plan to use long-term to get a more functional unit in the short term.

Merchant of Magic

The Merchant of Magic sells spell upgrades. There are always two common upgrades with a cost of 20 gold and one rare upgrade with a cost of 80 to 100 gold. As with the Merchant of Steel, the rare upgrade cost is random and a rare upgrade can even have different costs during the same run.

There are just 3 different common upgrades, two of which will occupy the common slots at the Merchant of Magic.

  • Emberstone – The spell’s cost is reduced by 1
  • Powerstone – The spell gains +10 power
  • Surgestone – The spell gains +20 power and Consume

There are 4 different rare upgrades, any one of which could occupy the rare slot at the Merchant of Magic.

  • Keepstone – The spell gains Holdover
  • Freezestone – The spell gains Permafrost
  • Stackstone – The spell gains Doublestack
  • Eternalstone – The spell’s cost is increased by 1 and the spell loses Consume

While spell upgrades also depend on a multitude of factors, spell upgrade advice isn’t as run-dependent as unit upgrade advice. For example, don’t put a Surgestone and Eternalstone on the same spell. You get the same effect as a pair of Powerstones but have increased the spell’s cost and spent 60 to 80 more gold.

All three of the common upgrades are immensely useful. Emberstones turn some of the game’s clunky, expensive spells into deck staples. Powerstones add exceptional value to cards with mild but far-reaching effects. Consider Glimmer, for example: 2 health for your units and 2 damage for enemy units is fine, but 12 or even 22 is a far more drastic change to the board state. And the Surgestone is the best of the bunch, not for its big power boost but for its ability to thin your deck for more consistency when the boss rolls around.

The rare upgrades also all have their place as well. The Freezestone acts as a deck-thinner that keeps the spell around until you really need it, the Eternalstone allows you to re-use some of the most powerful spells, and the Stackstone turns modest buffs and debuffs into massive ones.

The biggest powerhouse of all, however, is the innocent-looking Keepstone. Its consistency powers entire strategies, and there’s not a faction in the game that can’t find ways to abuse its potential. Whether your focus is Armor, Regen, Frostbite, Eaten, Reform, or so many other possibilities, you can bank on a Keepstone enabling you to maximize its potential.

Merchant of Trinkets

The Merchant of Trinkets sells artifacts. There are always three artifacts with a cost of 175 to 225 gold each. Note that artifact costs are random. It’s even possible to see an artifact for different prices during the same run.

The artifacts that occupy the merchant’s three slots are randomly selected from the general artifacts, your primary clan’s artifacts, and your secondary clan’s artifacts. You can find the full list of available artifacts on the artifact page of your logbook. Note that there is not one slot each for general, primary, and secondary. It’s even possible for every artifact to be from a single category, making the desirability of the artifacts quite erratic.

You can never be offered an artifact you already possess, but there are still plenty of artifacts that offer little value depending on your deck. Still, a Merchant of Trinkets gives up to 6 chances at a great artifact while a Herzal’s Hoard offers 2 and battle rewards (or the Cave of a Thousand Eyes cavern event) offer just 1.

Although card pool is the most important aspect of clan choice, artifact pool is worth a little bit of consideration as well. The Awoken and Melting Remnant artifact pools in particular often feel less universally-applicable than the Hellhorned, Stygian, or Umbra artifact pools. It’s a small factor to consider when playing just a splash of Awoken or Remnant.

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Written by: dacarnix


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