How to Play Familiar: Mythic Arena

Familiar Mythic Arena is a turn-based advanced strategy card game. You start the game by picking out the cards you want to use and build your deck. On your turn you have the options of playing a Familiar (commonly called Pets for short), Elyth, Runes, and Item cards to put out into the Arena in front of you. Battle occurs every turn, with the ultimate goal of out strategizing your opponent and being the first to gain 3 Victory Points by winning battles against your opponent’s pets!

Below is a short summary on the game play along with some videos to help you. You’ll need to read through the complete rules to get all the details however.

Note: as of May 20, 2020 we have a new Rulebook available! It’s the “Extended” version with more pages. It has a lot more picture-examples, and some extra wording to clarify things better. The rules themselves are the same, however we did make a few minor updates to the terminology which you can read about here.

If you have any further questions on any of the game mechanics or need some help, please contact us at anytime! We’re working to fill out our FAQ page.

Also please feel free to join our Facebook group to post questions, any neat game ideas or tactics you’ve come up with, and also to be the first to try out expansion material that we may post!

Game Contents

When you purchase a game, it will include the following:

  • 1 small sized box 3.5” x 5.5” (9 x 14cm)
  • 1 Rulebook
  • Two 20 sided dice
  • 36 counters
  • 72 cards- which consist of 20 Pets, 1 Token Pet (Charlie), 18 Elyth, 9 Runes, 12 Items, and 12 Status cards.
Familiar: Mythic Arena, game contents

Setting up the game

Deck Building: Drafting & Constructed

For set up, you and your opponent will build decks with a total of 21 cards. Out of those 21, 6 must be Pets. The other 15 can be any amount of Elyth, Rune, or Item cards. There can be no duplicate cards in your deck! Two of each Item card is provided for deck Drafting, to give you and your opponent an equal chance at getting those cards.

There are 2 formats of deck building: Drafting, which means to take turns picking out cards. Drafting is always used when you only have one copy of the game. There is also the option of Constructed deck play. If both you and your opponent each have your own copy of the game, you can choose whichever cards you like and do not have to take turns picking, nor do you have to show which cards you put in your deck to the other player.

Drafting your deck

To start Drafting your decks, take all the Pet cards and separate them from all the rest, laying them out in front of you and your opponent. *Note: the card Charlie, does not get drafted into your deck. He’s just a token card that works along with Aelwen and her Unique ability, Polymorph.

Next, roll a d20 to see who goes first in picking cards.

The player who rolled the highest starts by picking out one pet card of their choice, then the other player will choose a pet. Keep taking turns until you each have 6 pets. Keep them face up and visible so you both can see your choices. This will matter for strategy when you go to pick the rest of the cards.

Familiar Cards from the basic set
Layout all the cards, then take turns picking for draft deck building.

After you’ve each chosen all your Familiars, put the rest to the side, they won’t be used in the game. Next, lay out ALL the Runes, Elyth, and Item cards. Take turns each picking these cards until you have 15 of them, for a total deck of 21 cards. You do not have to choose the type of card in any order, but generally it’s good strategy to first pick from the Runes, then the Elyth, and Items last-since you each get an equal chance at those.

Choose a Lead Pet

After you’re done building your deck, you’re going to select one of your pets to be the Lead Pet. This is the pet you’ll start the game with. You’ll take it and place it face down out into the Front Line in front of you. Do not show your opponent!

Next, take the rest of your Pet cards, along with all of your Rune, Elyth, and Item cards and shuffle them all together. This will become your draw deck, or Resource Pile.

You’ll roll the dice to see who goes first, and then both players will flip over their Lead Pets at the same time. You’re now ready to being playing!

Types of Cards

Pets or Familiars

Familiars. Your magically bonded animal companions (We call them pets for short.) You get a total of 20 pet cards in the box. The pets all have different abilities based on their character’s strengths and weaknesses.

They all have a basic set of stats, Health, Speed, Hit, & Miss, at the top of the card.

  • Health is your starting health or Hit Points which you keep track of on a status card that you place beside your pet. This goes up and down during the game.
  • Speed is how to determine who goes first in battle. Whichever pet has the highest speed, goes first. In case of a tie, roll the dice and whoever has the higher roll goes first.
  • Hit is the number you add to your dice roll to determine if you’ve hit the Familiar you’re attacking. The total must be greater than or equal to your opponent’s Miss.
  • Miss is how hard you are to hit (see above). Most pets have a low Miss score, but some are much higher making them good at evasion!

At the bottom are their special powers: Passive (blue dot), Battle (white cards), and Unique (purple star). The numbers inside the Battle and Unique symbols stand for Willpower-which is the cost to use that power. Willpower is determined by how many cards you have in your hand. You do not have to discard those cards to play the ability, they just have to be in your hand. So it’s a balancing strategy–do you want to play the cards, or hold them in your hand to be able to use some of your pet’s powers?

Familiar pet cards, Golden Claw


An Elyth card can be played and is attached to a pet when it’s out in play. They give magical enhancements to them that stay on until the pet is downed, or somehow gets discarded.

Only one Elyth card can be played on a pet at a time (unless the pet has a special ability otherwise-such as Aelwen.) If you want to play a different Elyth on a pet that already has one attached, you may discard it and replace it with a new one.

Familiar Elyth cards, Tactician's Gem


Rune cards are played once, then get discarded. They have special effects that give your pet a boost during battle, or help you draw and get better cards from your deck.

Familiar Rune Cards, Press the advantage


During the game, your familiar can be wounded by a status effect such as bleed, paralyze, poison, etc. Item cards can help you remove that. They’re played on the table in front of you, and only have a certain amount of uses before they get discarded. You can use the included counters to keep track of how many uses are left.

You’re able to put as many Item cards into the Arena as you’d like during your turn, however you may only use ONE item, and only ONE use of that Item, on your turn.

*If you have multiple counters on one status effect (say 3 counters on bleed), and you use the Item card “Bandage” to remove the bleed status, one use of bandage will remove all 3 of those counters.

Familiar Item cards, healing potion

Status Cards

These are used, along with the provided counters, for keeping track of your pet’s health. There’s one for each pet you and your opponent can put out into play. They also keep track of any status effects you may get throughout the game.

Familiar Status Cards

Game layout

The Arena (which is the cards put out into play in front of you), consists of 3 possible lines for your familiars to go in. One pet must always exist on the Front line. The next line you’d play a pet into is the Guard line, followed by the Rear. After those lines are filled, other pets can be played into any of the lines. All 3 lines must always have at least 1 pet in them in order to have multiple pets in a line however.

Familiar Mythic Arena, gameplay layout

On Your Turn

Playing consists of taking turns following a standard turn order of drawing a card, playing one pet, entering battle, and optionally playing Elyth, Rune, or Item cards, using a unique power, or switching 2 pets in adjacent rows. At the end of each turn you enter the Cleanup step, where your pets take any damage from status affects, and can heal a pet of 30 damage and remove a status if it’s in the Rear Line.

Standard Turn Order Quick Guide:

  • 1. Draw a card
  • 2. Play a Pet
  • 3. Primary Step – Steps A-F can be done in any order
    • A. BattleBattle always happens each turn, it can’t be skipped.
      • 1. Choose Attackers & Blockers
      • 2. Declare Battle Powers
      • 3. Runes may be played
      • 4. Speed Checks
      • 5. Roll to Attack & Resolve Damage
    • B. Unique – Use one Pet’s Unique Power.
    • C. Switch – Exchange 2 pets in adjacent lines.
    • D. Elyth – Play any number of Elyth cards.
    • E. Runes – Play any number of Rune cards.
    • F. Items – Play any number of Items cards.
  • 4. Cleanup – Check Status Effects on all pets. Pets in Rear Line heal for 30 and remove a status effect.


To enter battle you declare which pet, or multiple pets you’re attacking with, and the defending player declares blockers. All pets must be on the Front line to engage in direct battle. Pets that can fly can attack those in other lines, however they must be on the Front to initiate.

Whoever has the higher speed score goes first. You then choose which Battle Power you want to use on your attacking pet and roll a d20. Add your hit score to the die roll to check against your opponent’s miss score(greater than or equal to hits) to see if you’re successful.

Damage is then taken, along with any status effects.

Winning the Game

Victory comes when you’ve downed 3 of your opponent’s pets in battle, or if they have no pet left in play.

Familiar Mythic Arena cards, battling