On November 28, 2018, Artifact, the hotly-anticipated electronic trading card game and its first set, A Call to Arms, were released. This love child between DotA and Magic: the Gathering is what we have all been waiting for.
REASON NUMBER ONE: FLAVOR
As I powered up the game, I was immediately greeted by the loud Valve logo screen that goes CRANGGG and then plays some spooky jazz music. It scared the crap out of me. But then I remembered that DotA did that, too. The rush of excitement, that I was playing DotA again, took ahold of me and I was greeted by a spectacular menu screen and interface that reminded me of DotA 2.
Cute little imp couriers introduce all of the game text, cards, combat damage, etc.
They whine, react, close their eyes, shiver in fear, kick dirt, point, and bite their lips all throughout the match so you never miss something. The game hits you with the meep, murp if you try to make an illegal move.
There is SO MUCH unique dialogue. Zeus has, like, three paragraphs of voice acting just smack-talking Storm Spirit.
REASON NUMBER TWO: GAMEPLAY
JESUS CHRIST. I just fired up the game to check to make sure that I using the correct terminology and the CRANGGG scared me again. My heart is racing.
Anyways, as always, there are lanes. It’s simple lane combat similar to GWENT or playing a best two-out-of-three match of
Hearthstone Magic all at once. The objective is to destroy the 40hp tower at the end of two out of three lanes by dealing direct damage using Improvements or Spells, or via the combat damage dealt by your five Heroes, randomly spawning Creeps, and optional Creeps that you can choose to include in your deck. Alternatively, you may push past the 40hp lane tower and go straight for your opponent’s 80hp Ancient in that lane. So either deal 40 damage to two different lanes or deal 120 damage into one lane.
There is a fun little shopping phase, which lets you take a little break after a hard turn of laning to spend your well-earned cash on goodies to equip to your heroes for the duration of the match.
It also uses a system to resolve simultaneously-casted cards, similar to Magic’s “The Stack.”
Edit: /u/MotherInteraction pointed out that “Artifact is like playing MtG without anything at instant speed and therefore without a stack at all.” Thanks for the feedback!
Similar to the crystal system in Hearthstone, there is also no “Mana Screw” (RNG preventing you from drawing the resource cards necessary to play your other cards.) Each tower gains one maximum mana per turn, which refreshes at the beginning of every turn. Now, there is a bit more RNG than Magic. In Magic, the only real RNG is the shuffling of your deck. Here, creeps will randomly be assigned position in lane, so there is an added layer of chaos for those who are suckers for such things and — OH MY GOD TIDEHUNTER HAS EIGHTEEN HP?? THAT’S LIKE A HALF OF A SECOND TOWER!! WTF??
REASON NUMBER THREE: DECK CONSTRUCTION
The deck construction is very savvy, but without being unbearably complicated. You start off with a forty (40) card Hero Deck. However, each of your five Heroes comes with three (3) Signature Cards that must be included in the deck. Therefore, you really only have twenty-five (25) cards to choose after the mandatory inclusion of those fifteen (15) mandatory cards. Additionally, you must build an Item Deck, which has a minimum of nine (9) cards. In summary, of the 54 cards that you bring to the table, you really only get to choose 39 of them.
Finally, this game passes my “Movie Test.” It’s simple. A movie costs $10 for two hours of fun, right? Well, Artifact is $20. If, after reading this article, you can see yourself playing the game for at least four hours, then it’s simply a no-brainer: @playArtifact!
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