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The magic system Circle of the Moon (called "Dual Set-up System" or simply DSS) involves pairing magic cards in order to create an effect. Some pairs boost your stats, other modify your weapons, and others are more traditional magic spells. There are two types of cards: Action cards which determine the type of effect, and Attribute cards which determine the element associated with the effect. There are 10 of each type of cards, giving you 100 different effects (though many of them are the same thing, but with a different element).

Cards are randomly dropped by specific enemies, which means that you may have to fight 40 or 50 of the same enemy before you get the card you want. The easiest way to do this is to find a room near a save point where the only enemy in the room is the one you want (generally one of the many hidden rooms). For example, the best place to get the Manticore card is from the Thunder Demon in the hidden room nearest the Iron Golem boss. It's the only enemy in the room so you don't have to fight through hordes of monsters just for your 1-in-40 chance of getting the card, it's near a save room so you can retreat once you get the card (or nearly killed), and the room is small so you can exit and re-enter quickly. This makes the rather tedious process go by much quickly.

Action cards are named after Roman gods and goddesses which Attribute cards are named after mythical creatures.

Action Cards[edit]

Mercury[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Mercury.png Effect Elemental status added to the whip
Enemy it drops from Bone Head
Best location First room of the Catacomb that you come to after the vertical pit Dracula throws you into. You can whip their fireballs or just stand behind them and strike.
Etymology Mercury was the Roman messenger god and god of trade. Equivalent to Hermes in Greek mythology.


Somewhat useful, but not really, as most enemies aren't particularly affected by elemental attacks. It is generally more effective to use the Venus and Salamander cards instead to raise your base strength by 25%.

Venus[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Venus.png Effect Stat modifiers
Enemy it drops from Slime
Best location After getting the Double Castlevania CotM item-double.gif you can get out of the underground. Go up the left side and there is a hidden room with an MP PlusCastlevania CotM item-mp plus.gif (6/36). You can also get the card from the room directly under the first save room, however by going into the hidden room you can get the Mandragora card at the same time.
Etymology Venus was the Roman goddess of love and fertility. Equivalent to Aphrodite in Greek mythology.


Very useful as it raises stats without taking into account elements. Six of the cards raise strength or defense — either by raising one by 25%, raising one based on how much of the map is complete, or by trading one for the other. The Venus and Manticore combination doubles the number of hearts received (so 2 for a small, 10 for a large), which expedites replenishing hearts after a boss fight. The Venus and Cockatrice combination gives you free experience from walking. Sounds good, but since you only gain 1 exp for every five steps or so, it will talk hours to raise your levels, rendering the card combo useless.

Jupiter[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Jupiter.png Effect Defensive barriers and enhancements
Enemy it drops from Heat Shade
Best location In a hidden room in the Audience Room, right under the Outer Wall, is an HP PlusCastlevania CotM item-hp plus.gif (9/43) and a Heat Shade. You'll need the Tackle Castlevania CotM item-tackle.gif to get to her. If you aren't having any luck in this room, the Machine Tower is infested with Heat Shades.
Etymology Jupiter was the chief Roman god and patron saint of the Roman state. Equivalent to Zeus in Greek mythology.


Several of these cards produce shields that, while they don't stop attacks, can damage enemies that get close. Others produce shields that block projectiles but not contact with an enemy. Jupiter and Thunderbird cuts all damage by 50%, and Jupiter and Mandragora can heal you (making it possibly the most useful combo in the game, given the rarity of healing items).

Mars[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Mars.png Effect Elemental (non-whip) weapons
Enemy it drops from Bloody Sword
Best location In the Chapel Tower, literally everywhere. The best place is right at the beginning since you'll be close to a save room if you need to heal.
Etymology Mars was the Roman god of war. Equivalent to Ares in Greek mythology.


Similar to the Mercury card, but it replaces your whip with a different weapon such as a sword. Notable combos are the Griffin (a charge attack), Thunderbird (fast attack), Unicorn (very powerful holy sword), and Black Dog (slow but very powerful gun).

Diana[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Diana.png Effect Projectiles added to whip
Enemy it drops from Man Eater
Best location In the Underground Gallery, in the last long horizontal corridor before the Dragon Zombies. Enter from the left side (so that you're closer to a save room). The trick is to get close enough to it so you can avoid its stream of pods but not so close that the second Killer Bee attacks. In the background is an alcove with a statue. Stand just in front of the left side of the alcove and you should be fine.
Etymology Diana was the Roman goddess of the hunt. Equivalent to Artemis in Greek mythology.


Another elemental damage card, but gives you a long range projectile to throw at the enemy. Useful for enemies that are too far away to hit or bosses that you need to avoid at all costs, but the high MP cost of most of the weapons makes it something to save for special situations.

Apollo[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Apollo.png Effect Explosives thrown
Enemy it drops from Arch Demon
Best location Unfortunately there are no really good spots to find one. The right room off of the entrance to the Underground Warehouse is your best bet as it is close to a save room and there's only weak enemies in your way. Regardless of where you go, this is the most annoying card to get, and can only be found after you get the Heavy Ring Castlevania CotM item-heavy ring.gif. If you run into the room, jump immediately in front of the Zombie that appears first and then do a double jump, you can land in front of the Arch Demon and duck in the safe spot.
Etymology Apollo was the Greek and Roman god of medicine.


Objects are chucked at enemies in a similar fashion as the axe, and most explode on impact. The exceptions are the Golem, Cockatrice, and Unicorn combos, which act more like Uranus's summon monsters.

Neptune[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Neptune.png Effect Full elemental protection
Enemy it drops from Ice Armor
Best location The first large room of the Underground Waterway has numerous Ice Armors and is near the save room in the Abyss Stairway. Even though you should wait to clear the Underground Waterway until after you get the Cleansing Castlevania CotM item-cleansing.gif by defeating Death, you can (and should) get the card after defeating Adramelech, as it will help you survive the numerous poisonous enemies in the Underground Gallery and the Armor enemies in the Underground Warehouse.
Etymology Neptune was the Roman god of the sea. Equivalent to Poseidon in Greek mythology.


Absorbs all damage from a certain element, and restores 10% of the damage (so an attack that would normally take 100HP from you will instead take 100 MP and restore 10HP to you). Very useful, however note that some enemies have non elemental attacks, and running into an enemy won't necessary count as elemental damage.

Saturn[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Saturn.png Effect Familiar spirit
Enemy it drops from Fallen Angel
Best location The tall tower outside the Battle Arena is the only place you can find her.
Etymology Saturn was the Roman god of the harvest. Equivalent to Cronus in Greek mythology.


A elemental spirit appears and follows you around, firing when you whip. Fun, but not exceptionally useful since you can't control the familiar and most don't move around enough. They tend to stay a little above you, meaning that many of their attacks will pass right over an enemy.

Uranus[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Uranus.png Effect Summoned monster
Enemy it drops from Scary Candle
Best location After defeating Dragon Zombie in the Underground Gallery, this fake candle will appear in the Iron Golem's room in the Machine Tower.
Etymology Uranus was a Greek god of the Sky. Equivalent to Caelus in Roman mythology.


A large creature appears on screen and unleashes a powerful magic attack that hits everything on screen. High MP cost, but still very, very useful against bosses.

Pluto[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Pluto.png Effect Misc.
Enemy it drops from Trick Candle
Best location After defeating Camilla this fake candle will appear in Cerberus' room in the Catacomb.
Etymology Pluto was the Roman god of the Underworld. Equivalent to Hades in Greek mythology.


These are special effects that don't really fall into a category. Some affect stats, others how your sub-weapon works. The most useful ones are Pluto and Mandragora (+20% experience from all monsters – keep this one active when you aren't using anything else and switch to it when a boss is about to die), Pluto and Unicorn (complete invincibility, though you cannot attack – good for when you need to flee to a save room to heal), and Pluto and Black Dog (turns you into a skeleton). Be careful in skeleton form, since all damage you take becomes 9999, so you always die. When throwing bones, there is a small chance that a huge bone will be thrown, which does massive damage to everything on about half the screen.

Attribute Cards[edit]

Salamander[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Salamander.png Effect Fire
Enemy it drops from Skeleton Bomber, Imp
Best location Either the shaft in the Catacomb or the first room after that. Both are overrun with Skeleton Bombers, so you should have no trouble getting this one.
Etymology Salamander s are a type of amphibian that was often given fantastical, fire-based powers in medieval literature, and have come to be associated with fire and heat.


The most notable use of this card is with Pluto, which lets you use Item Crushes.

Serpent[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Serpent.png Effect Ice
Enemy it drops from Earth Demon, Holy Armor
Best location The first Earth Demon that you come to, in the room with the Dash Boots Castlevania CotM item-dash boots.gif. You may want to level up a bit first and get Wrist Bands Castlevania CotM equipment-wrist band.gif from the bats first, as Demon enemies tend to be stronger than average.
Etymology Serpent s are common creatures given fantastical powers in various mythologies and folklores.


The most important use of this card is that some combinations let you freeze enemies like the Brain Floats, which is necessary to get certain items early in the game. Aside from that ice weapons are generally useless as most Serpent combinations results in significant strength penalties.

Mandragora[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Mandragora.png Effect Plant/Forest
Enemy it drops from Axe Armor, Lizard Man
Best location Once you get the Double Castlevania CotM item-double.gif and start climbing out of the Catacomb, head up the left side and there is a hidden room with a MP PlusCastlevania CotM item-mp plus.gif (6/36). You can also get the Venus card here.
Etymology Mandragora are a type of demon familiar given to humans by the Devil.


Jupiter and Mandragora can heal you. Get this combination as soon as possible as healing items are rare and save points can be far apart. Pluto and Mandragora gives you a 20% experience bonus for all enemies. When you aren't using another combination, keep this one on at all times.

Golem[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Golem.png Effect Earth
Enemy it drops from Electric Skeleton, Minotaur
Best location Either in the long room that connects to the warp room in the Audience Room, or in the room right before the Necromancer.
Etymology Golem is a creature in Jewish folklore made of inanimate material and brought to life.


The big use is the Jupiter combo which makes your invincibility after getting hit last four times as long. Besides that, the card isn't that great, though Venus and Golem can be useful late in the game.

Cockatrice[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Cockatrice.png Effect Stone
Enemy it drops from Stone Armor, Death Mantis
Best location In the Machine Tower, right under the bridge that leads back to the Audience Room is a hidden room.
Etymology Cockatrice is a cross between a rooster and a serpent in English folklore.


Similar to Serpent combos, most Cockatrice combos results in the enemies being petrified. The big difference is that the combos generally give strength boosts as opposed to penalties. Still, most of the combinations are fairly useless as few enemies are weak against Earth. Pluto and Cockatrice boosts your stats based on play time, but unless you are going very slowly through the game, it won't help as much as other defense boosting combos.

Manticore[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Manticore.png Effect Poison
Enemy it drops from Thunder Demon, Succubus
Best location In the upper right corner of the large room that leads to the Iron Golem is a hidden room with a MP PlusCastlevania CotM item-mp plus.gif (13/36). Thunder Demons are exceptionally powerful, so you should get the Jupiter and Mandragora cards first.
Etymology Manticore s are hybrid creatures from Persian mythology that poisoned humans.


The Venus combo doubles the amount of hearts you get, the Jupiter combo produces a gas shield that does a very good job of destroying projectiles and weak flying enemies, Apollo and Manticore produces an effect similar to holy water over a larger area, Neptune protects you from being poisoned, and with Pluto you use MP instead of hearts for sub-weapons. Easily one of the best Attribute cards.

Griffin[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Griffin.png Effect Wind
Enemy it drops from Skeleton Athlete, Siren
Best location At the far east end of the Audience Room is a very long room that you need the Kick Boots Castlevania CotM item-kick boots.gif to enter. The room is filled with Skeleton Athletes, so simply slide-kick your way across the room, repeating until you get the Card.
Etymology Griffin s were considered to be the king of beasts in European mythology.


Not one of best cards, but the Griffin and Diana combo is by far the strongest of the Diana combos. Also the most costly, so use it sparingly.

Thunderbird[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Thunderbird.png Effect Thunder/Lightning
Enemy it drops from Were-panther, Dullahan
Best location The large room that connects the lower part of the Chapel Tower to Adramelech's room (it's the two floor one with bells). From the lower right door, the first enemy is a Were-panther. Timing is important when fighting them. When they go to attack (it's obvious), jump up and back a bit so you don't land on them and then swing. Keep a close eye on your HP since you will have to go through quite a few enemies to get to the save room on the other end. Once you get the timing down you shouldn't get hit at all.
Etymology Thunderbird comes from Native American mythologies.


Another not-great card, however the Uranus and Thunderbird summon is one of the most powerful summons in the game, making it exceptionally useful for boss fights.

Unicorn[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Unicorn.png Effect Holy
Enemy it drops from White Armor
Best location Room 16 of the Battle Arena
Etymology Unicorn s appear in several mythologies, as far back as the ancient Greeks.


Insanely hard to get, but it gives you two very useful abilities. Venus and Unicorn lets you trade half your strength for double defense, and Pluto and Unicorn makes you completely invincible (though you cannot damage enemies in this state).

Black Dog[edit]

Castlevania CotM Card Black Dog.png Effect Dark
Enemy it drops from Devil Armor
Best location Room 15 of the Battle Arena
Etymology Black Dog s are specters in British folklore.


The second most difficult card to get (simply because you have fewer enemies to defeat before you get it), but some very useful abilities. Venus and Black Dog swaps half your defense to double your strength, Mars and Black Dog gives you a low-cost, powerful projectile attack, and Pluto and Black Dog transforms you into a skeleton.

Combinations[edit]

For more on the card combinations, see the DSS page.
Card Mercury Venus Jupiter Mars Diana Apollo Neptune Saturn Uranus Pluto
Salamander Fire whip Strength +25% 2 fireballs (shield) Flame sword Fireball projectile Bomb Absorb fire Bat familiar Fire based summon Item Crush
Serpent Ice whip Defense +25% 4 ice blocks (shield) Ice sword 3-way ice shot Ice ball Absorbs ice Ghost familiar Ice based summon 2x sub-weapons at once
Mandragora Thorn whip Luck +25% Restores HP Rose sword 3-way shot Rose bomb Absorbs plant Owl familiar Plant based summon Exp + 20%
Golem Long Earth whip Def based on map exploration Invincibility x4 Hammer/Quake attack Ground based attack Spear summon Absorbs Earth Hawk familiar Earth based summon Creates duplicate
Cockatrice Stone whip Exp from walking Prevents petrification Tonfa Strike 3-way stone attack Comet summon Absorbs stone Medusa familiar Stone based summon Def based on game time
Manticore Poison mist 2x hearts Poison cloud (shield) Poison claws Poison rain Gas bomb Absorbs Poison Ghost familiar Poison based summon MP used for sub-weapons
Griffin Continuous whip Int +25% Shield while running Charged attack Wind based attack Creates tornado Absorbs Wind Spirit familiar Wind based summon Faster movement
Thunderbird Whip held out for damage Damage based on map exploration 1/2 damage, but thrown more Martial arts attack Electric spin Electric ball Absorbs Lightning Crow familiar Thunder based summon Damage based on game time
Unicorn Restores HP Def x2, 1/2 Attack Shield from projectiles Holy sword Homing ball of light Light arrow Absorbs Holy Angel familiar Holy based summon Invincibility
Black Dog Dark attack Attack x2, 1/2 Def Shield that drains HP Attack with gun 8-way short range attack Black hole Absorbs Dark Imp familiar Dark based summon Transforms into a skeleton