Ar­ti­fact

Valve plays its cards right with its Dota 2- themed TCG

PC GAMER (US) - - CONTENTS - Tim Clark

Valve has joined forces with Magic: The Gather­ing’s leg­endary cre­ator, Richard Garfield, to create a trad­ing card game set in the Dota 2 uni­verse. For a gen­eral sense of what Ar­ti­fact is like: If con­ven­tional card games are like chess (which I know they aren’t), then Ar­ti­fact is the 3D ver­sion which Spock plays on the En­ter­prise. Each match plays out across three boards, rep­re­sent­ing the lanes from the Dota2 map. You de­ploy cards in th­ese lanes to help you de­stroy en­emy build­ings and pro­tect your own. The base game has 280-plus cards and 44 he­roes. A deck com­prises 40 cards min­i­mum (in­clud­ing 5 he­roes). Swap­ping and sell­ing on the Steam Mar­ket will let you grow your col­lec­tion with­out re­ly­ing on pack RNG. De­pend­ing on the color com­bi­na­tions your decks are built with, you’ll adopt dif­fer­ent playstyles—per­haps stalling for time un­til you can af­ford big spells or re­ly­ing on early ag­gres­sion for a win. Many he­roes are from Dota2, oth­ers are orig­i­nal cre­ations. As the game ex­pands, Valve ex­pects some char­ac­ters will be­gin life in Ar­ti­fact be­fore later ap­pear­ing in Dota2. Un­like Dota2, Ar­ti­fact won’t adopt a free-to-play model, so I’m ex­pect­ing an en­try edi­tion to get you started then the abil­ity to pur­chase new packs or go down the trad­ing route. 1 By killing en­emy creeps and he­roes, you’ll earn gold which you can spend on equip­ment for he­roes in the shop be­tween rounds. If a hero gets killed they have a cooldown be­fore you can re­de­ploy them, so they’ll sit the next round out. They keep their equip­ment buffs, though. 2 This is your tower health—it starts at 40 in each lane. If you can de­stroy two of your op­po­nent’s tow­ers, you win. If you can de­stroy one tower and then oblit­er­ate the An­cient (a struc­ture which re­places it but has dou­ble the health), you also win. 3 Lanes have their own mana pools. They start at three and in­crease as you play. You spend mana to play cards in those lanes (or other lanes, de­pend­ing on the at­tributes). Com­pli­cat­ing this, you need a hero of the cor­re­spond­ing color in a lane to spend mana on cards of that color. 4 Once a turn is over the units fac­ing one an­other do bat­tle. If there are no foes for one side to hit, they’ll hit the tower in­stead. Watch out for cool spell an­i­ma­tions when you play cards, as well as the adorable cheeky imps frol­ick­ing on the side­lines! 5 Th­ese are hero cards. The top three boxes are the equip­ment slots. From left to right that’s Weapon, Ar­mor, and Item. You can equip one of each at a time. Across the bot­tom you get your hero’s stats. From left to right the val­ues show their At­tack, their Ar­mor, and their Health. 6 Here’s the zoomed out per­spec­tive, which gives you an over­view of all three lanes. You’ll need to keep track of the in­di­vid­ual boards and the big­ger pic­ture, swap­ping be­tween per­spec­tives, to avoid get­ting caught out by your op­po­nent.

Many he­roes are from Dota2, oth­ers are orig­i­nal cre­ations

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