There’s a lot going on in the digital collectible card game space right now. Everywhere you turn, there’s a game doing something unique and interesting. In the last couple of months alone, I’ve commanded Old Gods in Hearthstone, controlled resource points in Faeria, created my own adventures in Chronicle: Runescape Legends and taken on quests in Fable Fortune. My latest obsession, however, is Shadowverse, a card game with a richly detailed anime aesthetic that’s currently available on Android and iOS.
Shadowverse’s design team at Cygames in Tokyo has some pedigree in the CCG space. Six members played Magic the Gathering competitively, including Jun'ya Iyanaga, who won the World Championship in 2011 and has five Grand Prix top eights, and Naoyuki Miyashita who came second in the 2011 Limits.“
Shadowverse is being developed with a goal of minimal RNG.
Despite this, the game’s basic structure has more in common with Hearthstone than Magic – there are seven classes, each of which has a unique mechanic or theme, players gain play points over the course of the game, and there are no opportunities to actively counter a play during an opponent’s turn.
One huge difference from Hearthstone that I’ll mention at the top, however, is that Shadowverse is being developed with a goal of minimal RNG. The team has stated that they don’t want randomness to be a factor beyond the order that cards are drawn, so there simply aren’t cards here that have luck-based elements. What that will mean for Shadowverse going forward remains to be seen, but it certainly helps put the focus on some of the game’s more unique mechanics.
Time to Evolve
The Evolve mechanic is perhaps the biggest point of difference for Shadowverse. It’s an ability that only becomes available in the mid-game and has a limited number of uses – twice for the player that went first, and three times for the player that went second. Each turn it’s available, it can be used to target a single minion, transforming it into an evolved form. Generally speaking, this means a +2/+2 stat boost, allowing you to create a favourable trade for yourself, or remove a minion you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.>
Each follower has two sets of art. This card also does 3 damage to both leaders when it evolves.
It can also, obviously, be used defensively. Dropping a minion with ward (taunt) then boosting its stats can create an annoying wall for your opponent.
It gets more interesting, however. Playing a minion and then evolving it allows it to attack an opponent’s minions (but not their face) immediately, so it can effectively be used as single target removal. Given the limited number of uses, however, choosing when to evolve is one of the most critical strategic decisions in Shadowverse and adds considerable depth to the game as a whole.
Not all evolutions are simple stat-boosts either. Some cards can do targeted damage when they evolve or spawn additional minions. It’s a cool mechanic.>
This evolve ability grants a smaller stat boost, but lets you flood the board.
The biggest question with Evolve – and getting an additional use of evolve as the player going second - is whether it balances out the inherent disadvantage of going second. Unlike Hearthstone, there is no coin in Shadowverse, so the second player is very much on the back foot until he’s able to evolve.
It’s also worth noting that there’s no equivalent of Hearthstone’s hero power here, either, so if you draw poorly, you may not have anything to do with your play points. This could definitely give aggro decks an edge, as they’re much more likely to curve out, but I haven’t really played enough to know how things are shaking out at higher ranks. At this stage I’m still playing around with each of the classes, as each has a bespoke central mechanic to get your head around, and some of them are quite unique.
Each Class Has a Craft
Shadowverse really commits to its class themes – many even have their own resources or triggers. Shadowcraft, for instance, lets players build up shadow points, which are then spent to trigger Necromancy effects – bonus text on cards, essentially. Skeleton Viper, for instance, is a 1/3 for two play points, but if you have four shadow points when you play it, they’re automatically consumed and it becomes a 2/4 with ward. Thus, a key part of playing a Shadowcraft deck is playing out cards that generate shadows then spending them using other cards.>
And if you then evolve it you've got a 4/6 with ward that can attack a minion.
Dragoncraft, on the other hand, has a passive mechanic called Overflow. Overflow becomes active once you have seven or more play point orbs and also boosts the power of certain cards. Maelstrom Dragon, for instance, is a 2/1 for two play points, which is a horrible draw late in the game, except that it gains Storm (charge) if Overflow is active, so might give you that extra face damage you need.>
The Overflow mechanic ties neatly into Dragoncraft’s gameplan, which is to get to the late game and drop big threats. To do this it has early game cards like Dragon Oracle, which is a two cost spell that gains you an empty play point orb. Much like Maelstrom Dragon, it also has late game relevance, drawing you a card if Overflow is active.
An example of a card with a slightly more exotic Overflow ability would be Dark Dragoon Forte, a 5/1 for six play points, which has storm (charge) and the text “This follower can’t be attacked if Overflow is active for you.” Want to remove it in the late game? AOE is your only option.>
Bait out some AOE then play this. If Overflow is active it's going to be hard to remove.
Bloodcraft has a slightly more active take on this kind of concept. Its mechanic, Vengeance, becomes active when your leader has 10 defence (health) or less. (Down from the baseline of 20.) Again, this ties into cards that get additional stats or abilities when Vengeance is active, and is paired with cards that can help you lower your defence, then boost it back up out of danger. Venomous Cobra, for instance, is a 1/3 for two that gains bane (it kills any follower it does damage to) when Vengeance is active, allowing you to remove big threats when you have low health. Each class has something completely unique to dig into, giving it its own distinct feel.
Followers, Spells and Amulets
Shadowverse’s cards are divided into followers (minions), spells and amulets. There are 400 cards in the game right now, with a rarity system that runs from basic cards through bronze, silver and gold, then on to legendary. Decks contain 40 cards, and players can include up to three copies of a single card – and that includes legendaries.“
Decks contain 40 cards, and players can include up to three copies of a single card – and that includes legendaries.
As a Hearthstone player, amulets were the card type that intrigued me the most. These are cards that are played to the board and aren’t capable of attacking, nor do they have health. Instead, they either have a persistent effect, a turn-by-turn effect, or have a countdown that must hit zero before something happens.
Let’s say you’re playing a Shadowcraft deck, for instance. Burial Grounds is a one play point Shadowcraft amulet card with the text “At the end of your turn, gain 1 shadow.” Playing this on turn one, then, basically sets you up with a shadow-generating resource that will persist throughout the game. The downside, of course, is that it takes up a slot on the board, and in Shadowverse you can only have five followers/amulets in play, so real estate is valuable.>
Playing Burial Grounds on turn one enabled me to activate the Wight King's powerful Necromancy effect.
Some amulets count down over multiple turns. Bloodfed Flowerbed, for instance, is a Bloodcraft amulet that deals one damage to both leaders at the end of your turn. It does this over four turns before destroying itself.>
A charming notion.
Amulets are one of the key mechanics in the Havencraft class; they typically have last words (deathrattle) that summon a powerful follower once the countdown is complete. Because of this, Havencraft is all about longer term pay-offs so is vulnerable to faster decks while all those amulets are ticking away. It has some mechanics to help it, however, such as cards like Skullfane, which is a 7 cost 4/4 legendary with the text “Fanfare: Destroy all allied amulets.” Other classes also have ways to destroy enemy amulets.
A Melancholic Story
Another element that sets Shadowverse apart is its story campaign. There are six chapters available so far, with a unique set of battles for each of the seven leaders and an overarching story that sees their paths intersect and tells of an ominous star in the sky that casts a pall upon the land below.
In the story we’re introduced to Isabelle, the Runecraft witch, who wants to bring her lover back from the dead, Rowen, the Dragoncraft fighter wracked with guilt over past actions, Luna, the Shadowcraft leader who is a homicidal child that speaks to her dead parents, and more. It’s not exactly a happy story, and while definitely on the melodramatic side, I appreciate the melancholic tone, and the idea that each character is actually being forced to deal with their own fears and insecurities, as opposed to fighting the good fight against some titanic big bad.>
The story component is also fully voiced.
These battles are obviously a great way to learn the basics of each class, and prepare you for online play.
While the cast of scantily-clad witches and warriors that make up the majority of the card art in Shadowverse won’t necessarily be to everyone’s tastes, there’s no denying it gives the game its own flavour, and grounds it as a Japanese game. That aside, the presentation is slick across the board, from the highly detailed art and cool animated cards through to the 3D battle arenas and even just the feel of playing cards and attacking. This definitely isn’t a game that’s been thrown together – it’s the product of a 20 strong design team and 70 strong development team.>
Shadowverse doesn't quite match the punchy feel of Hearthstone, but it's certainly slick.
Shadowverse is in a pretty fun place right now, but the team at Cygames obviously understand the importance of keeping things fresh, and will be releasing new sets of cards every three months. Next on the horizon, however, is a big August update, and that will debut a new mode – Take Two, in which players draft cards then battle five other challengers. It will also introduce new story chapters, new leaders (skins for the classes essentially) and a recording/sharing function within the game client.
TLDR - if you’re a CCG fan looking for something new to try, Shadowverse is well worth a look.
Cam Shea is senior editor in IGN's Sydney office and a big fan of CCGs - Hearthstone in particular. Tweet at him here.
Source : http://www.ign.com/articles/2016/07/20/the-japanese-collectible-card-game-that-may-just-surprise-youThanks you for read my article It Lurks Below Cheats Remove Damage, Gives You Infinite Gold, Stats