Comparing Hearthstone to Magic: The Gathering Is Unfair

Magic: The Gathering has a twenty year head start. Of course Hearthstone is not going to be as complex.

Magic: The Gathering has a twenty year head start. Of course Hearthstone is not going to be as complex.

It gets my goat when people start aggressively comparing Hearthstone to Magic. Most of their complaints focus on comparing the complexity of the two games. What annoys me further is that a lot of these complaints come from people who haven’t even played their heroes to level ten; they’re judging the complexity and depth of Hearthstone when they do not even have a complete basic set of cards for a single hero.

First of all, Magic has a twenty year head start on Hearthstone. 1993. That was the year that Magic was first released.

Secondly, back in 1993 when it had only a single set of cards under its belt, Magic wasn’t the complex and deep game it is today.

Today, Magic has 10000 cards. It has a 200 page errata sheet detailing a plethora of interactions between different cards. At this moment, Hearthstone has 381 cards, and it has no errata. Magic has history. Hearthstone is a newborn; it will grow in size and complexity, but that will be a function of time and success.

I strongly believe the disparagements of Hearthstone’s depth are unfounded, mostly made by people who have written off the game before they have even tried to build a collection of cards with which to experiment.

Take the Priest hero, for instance. I have three Priest decks, and each of them play very differently from each other.

I have a defensive deck, meant to keep hero and minions healed, as well as keeping the opposing minions cleared. It’s my slow and steady wins the race deck.

I have an offensive deck, revolving around Shadowform. It’s a race to the finish line. I call it my Vin Diesel deck. It’s fast and furious.

And then there is my specialty deck. This deck has one purpose. To pull cards into my hand as often as possible, so that I have the tools when I need them to perform a massive killing blow. When things work out, and they often do, this deck can do 30+ damage in one turn.

Although I use the Priest as an example, every class has similar versatility, multiple strategies on which to construct decks. That is depth of gameplay; and this game is only an infant. Its potential is there for anyone who has spent time with the game. You look at the game now, but Hearthstone will be so much more a year from now, or three years from now.

They’re both fun games to play. Magic has the social aspect going for it. Hearthstone has speed of gameplay. One has matured over two decades. The other has a promising future.

Comparisons are inevitable. If you are going to compare the two games, make sure you’ve spent the time to get a couple Hearthstone heroes to level 20 (or higher.) Spend time constructing multiple decks for a single hero. You can’t play Hearthstone for three hours and then expect to have any idea what variety the game offers to those who’ve been exploring the game for many weeks.

About the author

Poetic Stanziel

Just a dude who likes to write about games, comic books, television, and film.