Symetra Card Focus: Light, Love & Life part 1/3 Light & Dark

Symetra Card Focus: Light, Love & Life part 1/3 Light & Dark

I like to introduce Symetra with these 6 cards as they are familiar, archetypal opposites from each of the 3 card types that also illustrate some of the key game mechanics in Symetra with each of their unique actions. Light & Dark affect the number the cards in players’ hands, Love & Hate manipulate affinity and enmity (the core card placement mechanic) and Life & Death move energy between players’ actuals and potentials (which is the win condition for the game).

I will start today with the opposing elements, Light and Dark.

Their actions affect the number of cards a player has in their hand. Cards are options, and in games, options are power. Each time a player has a decision to make that is an opportunity to out play their opponent, or to make an error.

There are only 6 cards (3 sets of opposites) in the base Symetra deck that affect the number of cards in players hands: Light & Dark (to and from the top of the deck), Compassion & Cruelty (to and from the discard) and Enthusiasm & Envy (give and take).

In Symetra, players start with 3 cards in their hand, normally fuse 1 card from their hand into the matrix during their turn, and then draw a card at the end of their turn. Although fusing a card is optional and there are ways to fuse more than 1 card per round, the constant is to have 3 card choices every turn, and to be able to plan out the entire 3 round cycle with your starting hand if you so desire.

The ability to alter this low number for the rest of the game is obviously powerful and best used early in the game so that you may reap the benefits for more rounds.

LIGHT Game Strategy

Light gives you that extra card option, that could be the card with 3 affinities or enmities, or the action that can save the day, or maybe you drew the card that was going to be very strong for your opponent.

It is also important to note that the number of cards in hand is the second tiebreaker at the end of the game after number of cycles won.

As powerful as having an extra option is, the cost of Light had to be 1, as 2 was too much to invest in an unknown that did not directly affect the matrix. Because of this cost of 1 and an action that is always useful, it is one of the best cards to get double affinity with as you can always draw a card after locking, and then charge it back up to 5.

Light combos well with Thought as you get to hand pick your draw, and also with Sound, one of its affinities, as you get to refill your hand after fusing extra cards into the matrix.

In team mode you can also help a team mate out who is poor on options.

In draft mode, where players select cards from the deck to be in their personal deck to draw from, Light’s power increases as you are now drawing the cards you drafted specifically for your deck rather than just a random card that might not fit into your plan.

DARK Game Strategy

Dark had to cost 2 as cutting another player’s options down from 3 to 2, or from 2 to 1 is devastating. Especially if Dark was combined with a card that allows cheaper or free actions. If Dark cost 1 it would be too powerful, and if it cost 3, no player would ever use it as it does not affect the matrix directly.

Another aspect of Dark as an offensive card is the fact that when a player runs out of cards in their hand they must immediately pay 3 energy from their actual into their potential and draw 2 cards. You can force this situation if you play dark in the first round of a cycle and use it all 3 rounds.

The fact that the player puts the card on top of the deck allows for some play in stealing cards, or passing cards in team mode. This differentiates Dark from Cruelty, which causes a player to put the card into the discard.

Dark combines well with cards like Veil, and Thought, allowing you to manipulate the cards in players hands to a finer degree.


A common play error in Symetra is to not leave room for your rival fusion the following turn. With Light and Dark its always easy to make room, especially if you play Light first.

If you have both you can create a gigantic gap in card options. This is most effective in a 2 player game as you don’t have to worry about other players still having a comparable number of cards to you.

I hope you enjoyed the extra strategy for Light & Dark and check here for ways to use Love & Hate effectively!

See you in the matrix,