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