Symetra Card Focus: Light, Love & Life part 2/3 Love & Hate

Symetra Card Focus: Light, Love & Life part 2/3 Love & Hate

I like to introduce Symetra with these 6 cards as they are familiar, archetypal opposites from each of the 3 card types that 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).

Today, we’re moving on to the second of three pairs, Love & Hate. If you missed the first article on Light & Dark you can find it here.

Love & Hate give all cards affinity or enmity until the end of the round. This is the main method for getting your potential energy into the game counting towards your score.

In the original rules for Symetra, any card action that had a duration lasted an entire round from the turn it was used on. However, since players can use their card actions during other players’ turns, we realized how difficult it was to keep track of when each card was used, and when its duration was up, without adding more pieces or convoluted rules to the game. This issue was compounded the more players there were and when playing in original game mode, where the matrix gets larger and more complex.

To remedy this, we made it so all effects stop at the end of the round at the same time. Easy. And although I would prefer it to be the other way (and may be worth re-visiting), this change actually gave rise to new strategies and tactics. Love & Hate are two cards that benefited greatly from this change.

Since affinities & enmities only come into play when first fusing a card into the matrix, you generally use Love or Hate right before you fuse a card, or maybe even as a re-action to fusing your card. The problem was, that if they lasted an entire round, each player after you also got the same benefit. With all effects now ending at the end of the round this makes using Love or Hate better the later your turn is in the round. Ideally you would want to be going last so that no one else gets the benefit of the usage and you would want to play Love or Hate in the first round so you can activate them twice during the cycle.

Love & Hate used to cost 2 & 3 energy respectively, but they didn’t get used much as it was hard to set up a situation where you could benefit (after paying the cost) and not have your opponents get advantage for free. Now that they cost 1 & 2 they get used to great effect quite often. Hate has to cost more than Love as enmity has the potential to knock down your opponents cards and give you two energy from your potential off any enmities you control.


Both cards work great with Creation and Sound, the two cards that enable a player to fuse extra cards into the matrix. With either of these cards you can set up devastating double fusion rounds.

Sound’s enmity, Silence, can also work well with Love & Hate, especially in a two-player game (where Silence might be the best card anyway), where you get your affinity or enmity bonuses and then use Silence to stop an opponent from even fusing a card on their turn, preventing them from getting their affinities or enmities.

Love & Hate combo well with card movement or destruction cards that can create spaces with more adjacent cards, and therefore more affinities & enmities. For example, if you use Space before (or as a re-action to) fusing a card with Love or Hate in effect, you can move a card to create a sweet space with 4, 5 or 6 adjacent cards, most likely leaving following players without great options to abuse the affinity or enmity in effect.

Similarly, Chaos & Transformation cause another card to come into play would trigger off off Love & Hate’s affinities or enmities. These cards are useful since they replace a card that is already in the matrix, allowing you to switch out a card that has 4, 5 or 6 adjacent cards without having to destroy or move other cards around. In this situation, usually you would’ve already used the selected card’s action so that there is room to fill it up with potential energy.


Love & Hate are best in team games, especially shared team mode going last in the round, where you can set up great multiple fusion rounds, much like with Creation & Sound.

Love & Hate are much stronger in original game mode than in the base game mode as you can set up many activations over the course of the game instead of a maximum of two in base game mode. You will also have a much higher chance of pulling off the combos with access to more cards’ actions in the matrix.


Since their effects reverse each other, using Love & Hate together does not normally make much sense, although having both options in original game mode is nice. However, one application is to use Love to turn off Hate after you have gained the increased benefits of enmities. You would use this tactic if your turn was earlier in the round by playing Hate on your first turn and following up with Love on your second turn after a Hate activation. This would allow you to knock energy off your opponents’ cards while getting double affinities on cards you control. You then prevent the opponents following you from reaping the enmity rewards by using Love to leave them with the consolation prize of a couple affinities which they may have already been getting anyway.

I hope you enjoyed these strategic tips for Love & Hate, and check back soon for ways to use Life & Death effectively!

See you in the matrix,