I understand how the cards and deck work, but as I get new cards I don't really understand what they do, especially the shields. Is there a section that explains each of the spell cards? I've checked out "card magic" in "about the game" but it just gives a general overview. Thank you for your help!
* When it is a shield with no spikes, you put that on yourself. Let's say it is a fire shield. When any of the monsters cast fire damage on you, this shield will protect you. So it affects damage spells that are incoming to you.
* When it is a shield with spikes (called a trap), you want to put that on a monster. Let's say it is a fire trap. Any fire damage that anyone does to that monster will be increased. It affects incoming damage to the monster.
Shields with and without spikes affect damage incoming to the person they're on. If it has no spikes it protects, if it has spikes it boosts damage. Both of these are placed by the person's feet, sort of lower.
This is different from blades, which are circles that go around up by the person's head and those affect outgoing damage.
* If you have a fire blade (circle without spikes) on, it will boost your next outgoing fire spell.
* If someone casts Weakness on you you'll see a circle with spikes, going around up high near your head. This will decrease the outgoing damage of the next damage spell you cast of any school.
Shields and traps are for incoming damage (reduce and boost), blades and Weakness are for outgoing damage (boost and reduce).
The point of a shield is to greatly reduce the damage you take. Most shields protect against only one type of damage, so if you use a fire shield, that will protect you against fire damage, but not ice. A shield only protects you from damage once before it is expended.
If you're fairly new to the game, shields are kind of pointless early on. If a mob was going to hit you for 100 damage, and a -70% shield makes it only hit for 30 damage, that's not that big of a difference. Later on, as mobs get stronger spells and use a lot of blades and traps themselves, they can hit a lot harder. If a mob spell would have hit you for 500 damage, that same -70% shield can reduce it to only 150. Saving 350 damage is a huge help. Indeed, if you like the challenge of doing things solo, then using the right shields is often essential for survival.
One vital property of shields is that they are zero pip cards. As such, you can use them while saving up pips for a more powerful spell. Early on, you don't have any spells that use several pips at once, but later, the usual strategy is to mostly use a few zero pip cards while saving up for a more powerful spell that uses several pips at once. A five pip spell might not be any more powerful than five one pip spells, but it only takes one turn to cast the five pip spell. A trap, a blade, two shields, and then a five pip spell is often a much more effective way to use five turns then five consecutive one pip spells.