I have played various card games since 2004. Although many have been playing longer than I have I still feal as though I have the authority to review this card game based on the endless hours and dedication I've put into card games.
This is the easiest to get started free to play game that I have ever participated in. There are good rewards for a campaign mode that teaches the basics of the game, there is a crafting system, and there are daily rewards for playing. Overall, I have yet to spend money on the game, but I'm happy with my collection and deck I have been able to build. I have played for less than a month. You can use actual money to advance if you wish.
This is also a easy game to learn, Even as an easy game to learn, there are many options during every turn so there is a challenge using the most basic decks against real players and the later computer players in campaign mode.
Only a totally free all cards accessible immediatley type of game would be better in my opinion, but there are drawbacks to having everything at the start of the game. The game can be picked up quickly, but offers a deep sense of strategy.
The artstyle of the game is comparable to that of Magic the Gathering. They are comparable in that this game draws inspiration from a number of fantasy areas; mideival, japanese, and middle eastern are a few of these fantasy realms that are drawn from. Additionally, this particular game doesn't feature art that is as dark and hard to distinguish as Magic the Gathering. If Magic the Gathering was Diablo 1 and Hearthstone was Diablo 3, then this game is in between when concerned with the art assets.
This is a great aesthetic for a competitive fantasy game that wants to be taken seriously. The art assets are memorable and work very well with the card effects.
There are quite a few interesting, mechanically wise, things going on in this game that are not featured in many other games.
First, card zones matter. This is a feature non-existent in many card games, but as creatures may only attack opposing creatures that are directly across from themselves and because creatures can be made less vulnerable to attack by putting them on certain board tile players do best by strategizing how to move and initially position their creatures on the game board.
Second, creatures health totals do not automatically heal every round - creatures keep the damage that they take throughout the game. Creatures are also, as mentioned above, only vulnerable to attack in certain board positions. Together these parts of the game come together to create a lasting investment in the cards that have already been developed onto the board. Players may strategize how to keep their creatures around so that they may stifle a future assault or begin to pressure the opponents life total without engaging the opponent's creatures.
Third, attacking isn't always free. If a creature does not kill an opponent's creature with it's attack, then the attacking creature is vulnerable to retaliation damage. Attacking therefore becomes something more strategic than automatic.
Fourth, there are multiple costs to playing a card. Not only do cards have a mana cost, but they also have a threshold costs. There are three separate resources, other than mana, that players have the option of adding to every turn. Overall, these other resources add another layer of depth to card balance, deck building, and game play. Additionally, card zones and deck size are other limited resources that also may need to be managed during longer and more complicated games.
These are just the mechanics that I find most interesting. These mechanics are rare to find in a good card game, but they all come together well to create a challenging experience in this game. This game also has very good use of key words that facilitate the understanding of what cards do. The room for improvement here is a few rules based questions about not being able to always predict what will happen without having experienced the given situation beforehand.
This game has curtailed some of the more annoying occurrences in card games with it's standard format and general card balance. Many times non-interactive combo strategies and rush strategies can be frustrating and impossible to stop in games. Although those types of strategies do exist in this game, they are not game breaking. The amount of damage that a player can deal in one turn, in a long back and forth game, is hardly unexpected. This is not Yu-Gi-Oh! or Hearthstone where players will be able to reliably leverage their card economy into fast and lethal damage.
This game gets deck and card diversity right. All too often do card gamers consider deck diversity to be an automatic good. All too often deck diversity comes with the cost of imperfect knowledge about the opponent's deck and degenerate strategies. As I said in the previous paragraph, most strategies are interactive in this game. There is a real focus on combat and life managmnt in the game. Additionally, players are limited from playing every single card in every single deck and therefore players will be able to reliably predict the threats that an opponent may have - the issue of losing because of the opponent happening to be using a different strategy than expected isn't a problem.
The point lost here is because of some balance issues. There are times, as in any game, where the opponent has a specific hand of cards that cannot be beaten. This is more of a issue with deck based games than this specific game, but there still will be a few games that will feel bad and that will be out of your control. The most recent set also has some very powerful cards that are difficult to interact with. This game does fall into the trap of allowing rare cards to be overpowered and there are also times when you will have no silver bullet available to use against the opponent, but, again, that only occurs twenty percent or a low amount of the time.
This game does live up to it's claim of being the best online free to play card game.
There are more things that I could have mentioned, but that would not have changed the score. Stop reading this review and go play the game already.
Play through campaign as quickly as possible as that has the biggest rewards in terms of free cards.
Once you reach a certain rank, then you will be given daily quests that are very generous.
Try to only use your wildcards for crafting heroic, epic, and rare cards. Also always uncheck hide duplicate on the crafting page so that you can find the lowest crafting price for the card you want.
If you get a referral link to play the game you will start with extra cards, but do not ask me for a referral link as that goes against the terms of my posting this review.
occasionally check the online forums for promo codes as they will be occasionally released and grant you free cards.