New Edits 8/21/2014
Ok they made some changes today and I feel like I need to slide this over to "Don't recommend" now (from recommend previously).
They introduced more overpowered and unbalanced cards today which will serve to exasperate the "P2W" aspects & lucky draw/who draws bomb first wins, <edit> I originally put they nerfed rewards too, but this appears not to be the case, the client is just super glitchy since the update- I'm still going to leave as don't recommend for now; and suggest you look at all the 500 hour plus negative reviews BEFORE SPENDING MONEY on this game , but by all means do try it for FREE 1st.
If you have the "skill" to be able to drop $200-$300 on the game; then the game maybe for you as you can immediately reach the upper echelon with no other requirements. I would say first play a bit to see what cards you need to buy and them buy them individually through deck builder and "card of the day" , and specific starter decks ----don't waste money on packs and chests!
I understand they need revenue but as others reviews point out the "whale" model sucks - (less than 10% of players even buy 1 thing ever, 80-90% of revenue comes from 1-2% of players; ride them until the game is dead and abandon it) Yes whales keep it "free" for eveyone else but they don't keep it FUN.
If the game wasn't so unbalanced, they have interesting mechanics, a nice draft set-up, some truly fantastic art on some cards. Therefore this game could, SHOULD, and would be supported with a traditional pay model. (buy the base game and pay once for each expansion, plus extra to enter tourneys).
The fact that it would work traditionally, and is microtransaction instead smacks of pure greed at this point; particularly considering everything is ridiculously overpriced. Their Gold>Silver exchange rate isn't even consistent from item to item last time I checked.
Previous review below
Early Access Review
I gonna say "recommend" for now ONLY on the basis that it is free to play; (and it's just barely a recommend)
No mana management is AWESOME , so I really dig transformation as an alternate mechanic.
Relatively quick games are also a plus, almost all my hours have come from sitting down and playing while I eat lunch.
I'm happy with the fact that if you play to at least one "win" each day you can earn a "ticket" and get a free draft, once a week, with 7 tickets. I usually play to 3 wins each day to max free rewards (1st and 3rd wins are the bonus payouts)
I did pay $10 several hundred hours into this game as I thought it was fair given my playtime; but to be honest did not get any useful cards out of the "legendary chest" I bought.
That said I don't think they P2W aspect is as bad as everyone says, the real problem is there are some seriously overpowered and unbalanced cards in this game. Yes people pay and put three of them in their deck, but with proper balancing it wouldn't be a problem. It is because they are unbalanced they are the problem. Some of these cards I have yet to get one of even after 600 hours of play although you can get cards everyday. So there is a definite P2W existing because of balancing issues.
There is at least one busted mechanic that has been broken since launch, (or else the description is wrong)
Luck of the Draw seems to feel like a huge factor in games more so than others I've played.
I started first day on Steam, so I think I would be far more frustrated if I was trying to join now. They need to start giving new players a bunch of cards at sign up- I know they won't because there is money in the pre-made deck starters. I think this will ultimately kill the game I don't think I would stick with it going the free route if I was just starting out at this point. I'd be frustarted as hell trying to get my 3 daily wins as a newbie with no money in now if i had to play one of those dialed in spender decks, or heck even a few of my decks. I play a lot of "♥♥♥♥ing around decks" for fun, but also have a few that would crush a day 1 player 100-0 like nothing.
I don't remember for sure , but I think you can still get some or all of the 1st 3 win awards by playing the computer so thats helpful too.
I may update this further at some point in the future, tired of typing.