Artifact Articles RSS Feed | Artifact RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network New Artifact Progression System Grants Increased Rewards Sat, 22 Dec 2018 16:22:05 -0500 William R. Parks

While Artifact's launch has been rocky, as indicated by a dramatic dip in the number of people playing the digital CCG, Valve is attempting to smooth things over by introducing a number of changes and features in a recent update. For many players, one of the most exciting additions from the update is certain to be two newly implemented progression systems.

The first of these progression paths is an XP-based system that will allow players to level up their Artifact accounts and gain desirable rewards in the process. Among these rewards are level icons that players can use to show off their accomplishments as well as up to 15 card packs and tickets per season.

In order to gain XP and increase an account level, players simply need to participate in any matchmade game. Those that perform well can also expect additional XP, as a "significant" bonus will be awarded to those that win three games each week.

Furthermore, players can gain even more XP by completing specific challenges within a match. These challenges include things like winning without losing any heroes, and players can complete three every game.

Indeed it appears that there are a number of avenues available for leveling up an account, and the ability to get free packs is certain to be a welcome addition to the game. While it remains to be seen exactly how quickly players will earn these awards, this addition may help bring in players that simply want to play Artifact casually without making a significant financial investment.

Additionally, the update brings a performance-based progression system called Skill Rating. Players will begin every season at Skill Rating 1 and can advance all the way to Skill Rating 75 by defeating more highly ranked opponents.

There are separate Skill Ratings for Artifact's constructed and draft formats, and once a Skill Rating is obtained, it will not be lost until it is reset for the next season. Details on what rewards players will receive, if any, for reaching high Skill Ratings are not currently available, however, a season is confirmed to last "a few months."

Between these newly added progression systems and some recent card balance changes, Valve may be on the path to improving the Artifact experience. Certainly, the community appears to be responding positively to these changes, but the question still remains: will they actually serve to bring new players in?

More details on the new progression systems can be found on Artifact's website.

Artifact Update Brings Card Balance Changes Sat, 22 Dec 2018 16:32:21 -0500 William R. Parks

Artifact has been available for just over three weeks, and it has had a less than stellar start, with reports suggesting that the player count is already down 80% from its peak at the game's launch. That said, Valve appears to be committed to turning things around for the digital CCG, and part of this process includes implementing several card balance changes.

Chief amongst these changes is a nerf to the extremely powerful Axe, a card with a price tag that has exceeded $20 on the Steam Marketplace and a critical component of some of Artifact's best decks. Specifically, Axe has lost a point of attack and a point of health, changing his stats from 7/2/11 to 6/2/10.

So too Drow Ranger has had her power level reduced, as her signature spell no longer silences all enemy heroes, but instead targets a single opposing hero and its allied neighbors. While not quite as pricey as Axe, Drow Ranger has still fetched in excess of $15 through the marketplace.

Fortunately for players that have invested in these two cards, Valve is offering a "one-time buyback" until January 4. The buyback prices are based upon the cards' peak selling prices within 24 hours of the announced nerfs, which gives Axe a value of $9.98 and puts Drow Ranger at $7.18.

Additionally, a number of cards are being buffed. Specifically, Bloodseeker, Cheating Death, Jasper Daggers, Lion, Outworld Devourer, and Timbersaw have all received changes, ranging from base stat increases to mana cost reductions, that should make them more viable options.

Valve's willingness to implement these balance changes, and so quickly after Artifact's release, may come as a surprise to some players. Previously, the company has taken the position that these types of alterations should be considered a "last resort" due to a perception that "players valued immutability very highly."

Clearly, the current state of the CCG has called for Valve to reconsider this methodology, and it has offered further clarification on the change of heart:

In the end, we struggled to see the benefits of immutability outweighing the numerous downsides. The average player mainly wants the game quality to be high above all other considerations. 

While it is not known if these balance changes will be enough to get more people interested in Artifact, player response appears to be generally positive. Certainly, some players that are losing money on their investments may feel stung by the nerfs to Axe and Drow Ranger, however, the stats on these cards will mean very little if there is no one left to play them against.

More details on the card balance changes can be found on Steam's website.

Surefire Drafting and Deck Editing Tips for Artifact Fri, 07 Dec 2018 11:39:28 -0500 Sergey_3847

Drafting mode is an essential part of almost every card game in existence. You can find it in Magic: The Gathering and you can find it in Hearthstone Arena. Artifact also has a Draft mode, which is quite similar to Magic booster drafting.

However, drafting in Artifact is still unique and requires a different approach than what you might be used to considering you are allowed to draft two cards from one pack.

If you want to know how to draft properly in Artifact, then follow our tips below.

How to Draft in Artifact

There are two types of drafts in Artifact: Phantom and Keeper.

Phantom Draft allows you to play the complete draft game, but in the end, you can't keep all the cards you've drafted.

The Keeper Draft, on the other hand, allows you to keep the cards in your collection.

When the draft starts, you will be given a chance to select two cards from each pack. You will have five full packs opened for a total of 60 cards. If you haven't chosen any heroes during your draft, the game will automatically add random heroes to your deck.

Taking this into account, let's now assess which cards to choose during drafting.

Hero Cards

Hero cards are the most important cards in Artifact, which means that you need to pick them up first. But how do you know what heroes are the best? Well, you need to know the cards well, or you could refer to our best Artifact heroes guide.

Heroes should also help you define the colors of your deck. But don't eliminate the most powerful cards if they don't fit your heroes. You never know how your draft will end up, as you could easily change your strategy during the deck editing process.

Main Cards

Always look at the rarity of the card before drafting.

Every pack will offer your one rare card, three uncommon cards, and the rest will be common cards. Rare and uncommon cards are usually the best, so you should pick them up in the early stages of a draft.

In the second half of drafting, you can start choosing proactive common cards that fit your deck archetype and colors. We'll talk more about archetypes and colors in the deck editing part of this guide (which you can find in the next section).

Here are some of the best spells and creeps you can currently draft in Artifact:

  • Mist of Avernus
  • Unearthed Secrets
  • Time of Triumph
  • Annihilation
  • Emissary of the Quorum
  • Spring the Trap
  • Tyler Estate Censor
  • Conflagration
Item Cards

The shopping phase at the end of each turn allows you to buy item cards that can significantly improve your chances of winning if you know which cards to buy. During the draft, you can pick your own item cards, which is strongly advisable.

These items can be used for buffing your heroes, so it is recommended to buy a complete set for one of your heroes, including, a weapon, an armor, and an accessory.

If you decide not to draft any item cards, then the game will offer the three basic types of items for your item deck.

In any case, here is a short list of the best item cards in Artifact:

  • Stonehall Cloak
  • Blink Dagger
  • Revtel Signet Ring
  • Traveler's Cloak

You can also train your drafting skills in Artifact using Howling Mind's draft simulator, which allows you to master the art of drafting in a safe environment.

How to Edit a Drafted Deck in Artifact

After you're done drafting your 60 cards, you can edit your deck by removing any unwanted cards. Just like in Constructed, the optimal size for a drafted deck is 40 cards. This means that you can remove 20 cards that don't fit your desired colors or are generally weak cards you don't wish to play.

Before removing any cards from your deck, you need to consider a few key points:

  • Which colors you wish play
  • Which archetype you wish to construct
  • How your mana curve should look like

It is almost impossible to draft a solid mono-color deck in draft, so the best and most optimal option is to go for two-color deck. If you really see the potential in splashing a powerful hero that doesn't fit your chosen two colors, then you can sometimes opt for three colors.

There is no one strongest color or pair of colors in the game as everything mainly depends on the chosen archetype of your deck. But if you need to choose a specific color, then go for Red, as it is the best supplementary color.


You can figure out the deck archetype in your draft by looking at the colors you have chosen:

  • Black has a lot of cheap creeps and removal spells
  • Blue has the best spells in the game, but it has understatted creeps
  • Green focuses on health and buffing with some really large creeps
  • Red has the best statted creeps in the game and some decent spells

Taking all this into account, if you want to be aggressive and win quickly, then opt for Black and Red as your two main colors for an Aggro archetype.

But in case you have Blue and Green colors, then you should definitely aim at a Control archetype.

Mana Curve

When drafting a deck in Artifact, mana curve doesn't play such an important role as in other card games, since you already start with three mana in your pool.

This allows you to play some really expensive cards without getting worried that you will lose.

With all that said, the game in Draft mode rarely goes up to ten mana, so try to keep your cards in the range between 3 and 8 mana with most of your cards somewhere in the middle. This will allow you to play everything you want and have a great chance of winning.


With these tips, you should be able to quickly draft a powerful deck in Artifact. Do you have any strategies that you've found to work well? Let us know in the comments. 

Artifact Deck Building Guide: Aggro, Midrange, and Control Thu, 06 Dec 2018 10:29:52 -0500 Sergey_3847

Artifact, the latest card game from Valve, offers a different perspective at the typical card game mechanics introducing three lanes or boards instead of one. However, when it comes to deck-building strategies and gameplay, it can't escape the traditional breakdown into Aggro, Midrange, and Control playstyles.

There is one more possibility to engage in a combat with a Combo deck, but at this early stage there are not enough good combo cards in Artifact to withstand the three staple archetypes. The situation may change in the future with the introduction of new cards, of course.

For now, let's focus on the three basic archetypes that will help you build the best possible decks in Artifact.

How to Build Aggro Deck in Artifact

Aggro decks in Artifact mostly rely on cheap creeps and some spells that should help it remove the unwanted enemy heroes and creeps from the board. As usual, an Aggro deck has to be proactive from the very beginning of the game, as in time it will lose its power, especially against Control decks that dominate matches in the late phase.

The three most aggressive colors in Artifact are Black, Green, and Red, but there are a few really good Blue cards as well. In any case, it is highly advisable to play in two colors or even just one, as it increases the chances of being able to play the best cards early.

Let's take a look at the most optimal cards for an effective Aggro deck in Artifact:


Choose heroes that will either buff your creeps or gain a lot of attack power.

Drow Ranger is an excellent choice for Aggro decks that wish to go wide. It will buff their attacking capabilities and provide Silence effect with the help of the Gust card against more potent enemy heroes.

Lycan is another great hero that buffs adjacent creeps and summons another one that grows each turn.

Bounty Hunter is a different type of hero, but just as valuable in Aggro. It can have as much as 11 points of attack during a turn, which can finish a tower in just four turns single-handedly.


Playing creeps early is essential for an Aggro deck, so try to include only the best cheap creeps in your list.

  • The best 2-drops in green and black colors are Vhoul Martyr and Untested Grunt.
  • The best 3-drops are Rebel Decoy and Disciple of Nevermore.
  • The best 4-drops are Satyr Duelist and Oglodi Vandal.

If you have these cards in your opening hand, then it's just a matter of time until they will quickly gain control over at least one lane.


If you decide to include spells into your Aggro deck, then be sure to put only the ones that are absolutely necessary. Also, they should be cheap, as you will have no time casting anything else except your creeps.

One of the best green spells for an Aggro deck is Arm the Rebellion, which buffs all your creeps for an ultimate attack.

In case you need to remove an enemy creep use Slay or Coup de Grace, if there is a hero standing on your way.

You can also consider a few blue spells, if you decide to tackle this color, such as Lightning Strike and Arcane Assault.

How to Build Midrange Deck in Artifact

Midrange archetype is the most balanced one of all and relies on an equal number of spells and creeps. You can play Midrange deck either fast or slow depending on your opponents reactions.

Usually, this type of deck tries to control the early game by removing cheap creeps, and then buffing your heroes for a strong mid and late phases.

Here are some cards you should consider for a Midrange deck:


The best Midrange heroes must not only have a significant health pool to be able to survive the long game, but also enough attack points for a solid confrontation.

Legion Commander is probably the best Midrange hero in Artifact. It has decent stats and +2 Retaliate ability.

Bristleback is another extremely well-statted hero that gains +2 armor every time it kills a blocking hero.

Omniknight is basically a healer that will keep your other units alive, which is a very important ability against Aggro decks.


Midrange deck may include cheap, as well as, expensive but powerful creeps for all stages of the game. This mostly depends on your gameplan.

Bronze Legionnare and Rebel Decoy are excellent cheap drops, which can be quite effective in the early stage of the game.

But you also shouldn't neglect such powerful creeps like Emissary of the Quorum, which costs 8 mana, but has the capacity to buff your allies with +2 attack and +2 health, and it will survive long enough due to its 10 points of health.


Spells in the Midrange deck should mostly serve the needs of your heroes.

Fight Through the Pain and Defend the Weak are both great for keeping your heroes alive, and they only cost mere one and two mana respectively.

Steal Strength and Divine Intervention are slightly more expensive spells, which can virtually make your allies immune. Both should be used during an especially intense mid-game phase.

But the beauty of Midrange decks lies in their versatility, which can be achieved through a variety of other methods.

How to Build Control Deck in Artifact

The Control gameplan is similar to the Midrange archetype, but here the late game is more emphasized, and there is a larger reliance on spells, such as removals, board clears, and tower defenses.

If you manage to survive the early and mid games, then you will surely win in the late game. Control decks usually have very strong and expensive win conditions, usually in the form of one extremely powerful spell.

Blue is the best color for Control archetype, as it has the best number of heroes and spells that revolve around keeping your lanes safe from harm.


Zeus and Luna are both fantastic blue heroes that provide regular pinging to the enemy allies. In most cases it is enough to remove all the small creeps from the lanes they are on.

Ogre Magi is a must-have card for any Control deck that utilizes blue color, as it has the chance of putting copies of your spells back in your hand, which is a highly valuable ability, especially in the longer games.

Axe and Bristleback are two of the strongest protective heroes in red color. They can withstand almost any attacks, and if need be, they can deal just as much damage.


Creeps are not particularly important in Control decks, but you need to have a few that can make a difference.

For example, one of the best creeps a Control player can have is the Incarnation of Selemene, a 9-mana creep that restores your mana every time you play a card, which means that you factually pay nothing for it.

But Control decks, as mentioned earlier, mainly rely on spells, and that's where you should focus on.


Removal spells and board clears are the heart of any Control deck. That is why the two best blue spells in this case are At Any Cost and Annihilation. Include three copies of each of these cards in your deck and don't worry about anything.

You also need to be able to stall your opponents, using Buying Time and Lock in Time cards, while you draw cards for yourself with the help of Foresight.

Lastly, when it comes to win condition, you can use Time of Triumph, an 8-mana spell that modifies all stats of your heroes with +4 points, including Attack, Armor, Health, Retaliate, etc.


These three recipes are optimal for the three staple types of decks in Artifact, so look at your budget and see which one fits your capabilities the most. Also, be sure to come back soon for more related guides here at GameSkinny!

11 Best Hero Cards in Artifact, Valve's New Card Game Wed, 28 Nov 2018 12:30:11 -0500 Sergey_3847



  • Signature card: Thundergod's Wrath
  • \n
  • Ability: Static Field
  • \n

This blue hero may not have the best stats, but its ability and signature card make it one of the most worthy blue heroes in Artifact. Static Field is a pinging ability that deals 1 damage to each neighboring enemy every time you cast a blue spell, which can be enough to kill annoying creeps that block you from hitting a tower.


His signature card is a 7-mana AoE that deals 4 damage to each enemy hero on all lanes. This could easily finish any match-up on its own and 7-mana isn't such a big cost. So be prepared to face Zeus wrath at the late stages of the game, or just put this card in your own deck and be happy.




Which hero cards do you personally consider to be the best in Artifact? What heroes would you like to combine in the same deck? Let us know in the comments below.


Treant Protector

  • Signature card: Roseleaf Druid
  • \n
  • Ability: Branches of Iron
  • \n

Treant Protector is a mirror reflection of Lycan. It also buffs adjacent creeps. But instead of attack power, it gives them +2 armor. His Roseleaf Druid creep has 2/6 stats and it ramps your tower by one mana, which is pretty good.


All this will serve as a catalyst for your ramp-based deck. Try to include other ramp cards in it like Stars Align and Selemene's Favor, and you will quickly overpower your opponent just by the sheer amount of mana in your pool.



  • Signature card: Assassinate
  • \n
  • Ability: Headshot
  • \n

Sniper's ability is good for dealing 5 damage to an enemy unit, but a bit slow due to a cooldown timer. Assassinate, on the other hand, is exactly the reason why Sniper is a must-have hero. It deals 10 piercing damage to any enemy unit on any of the three lanes.


Sniper synergizes with other burst damage cards, such as Pick Off and Hip Fire. Of course, this hero is a bit vulnerable and requires protection. But if you put him in the same deck with Red heroes, such as Axe and Legion Commander, Sniper will definitely have the chance to show its full potential.


Phantom Assassin

  • Signature card: Coup de Grace
  • \n
  • Ability: Efficient Killer
  • \n

Phantom Assassin is arguably the most terrifying hero in Artifact because of Coup de Grace, a signature card that can destroy any other hero no matter what. On top of that, due to its Efficient Killer ability, this hero has +4 attack against other heroes, which makes it a hero-destroying machine.


Phantom Assassin is the sole reason why Artifact players hate six-mana turns, as Coup de Grace costs exactly that much. It means that one of their heroes dies and they can't do anything about it.


If you need any more proof, then just test this hero out and see why it's a top-tier choice for your black decks.



  • Signature card: Savage Wolf
  • \n
  • Ability: Feral Impulse
  • \n

Just like Axe, Lycan is considered to be one of the strongest hero cards in Artifact. His attack power isn't that high, but if he spawns with two creeps to his sides, they will get immediately buffed with +2 attack.


His signature card is a creep with starting stats of 3/3, which isn't that impressive. But if it survives at least one turn, it will gain +1/+2 after each combat phase and keep growing until it dies.


If you put all of these numbers together, it's obvious that Lycan is a powerhouse of a hero, and it will be really hard to deal with him due to his huge health pool.



  • Signature card: Eclipse
  • \n
  • Ability: Lucent Beam
  • \n

There is probably no other Hero in Artifact whose signature card and ability synergize so well. Luna's Lucent Beam deals 1 piercing damage to a random enemy unit and charges her Eclipse cards, wherein it doesn't matter if they're in your hand or still in the deck.


These charge counters are really important because for each of them, Luna's Eclipse card will deal 3 piercing damage to a random enemy. The more charges you get, the more damage you deal.


In Draft, this synergy is especially valuable as you can have more than one Luna in your deck -- unlike Constructed. But it's still a very powerful combo in either case.


Legion Commander

  • Signature card: Duel
  • \n
  • Ability: Moment of Courage
  • \n

Although this hero's ability is quite good with +2 Retaliate, the Duel card is what really makes Legion Commander a staple hero card in Artifact. It costs only two mana to cast and it allows you to hit any target enemy with one of your allied red heroes.


This is the reason why Legion Commander is perfect for a deck that also utilizes Axe, who can hit up to three enemies at once. With the help of Duel, you don't even have to think where to put Axe, as it will still be able to deal maximum damage on board.



  • Signature card: Prey on the Weak
  • \n
  • Ability: Bringer of Conquest
  • \n

Kanna may not look like a power hero, but with the help of her passive ability, she can go really wide by summoning melee creeps and using her signature card. In this case, Kanna will summon an additional 2/1 Hound for each damaged card, including those of her opponents.


This deadly combination will result in a wall of creeps both protecting and attacking the towers. Kanna herself has a low power stat, but her health pool is so huge that she can survive a series of attacks and still keep pushing her creeps to the frontline.


If you're planning on playing blue color in your decks, then take advantage of Kanna's abilities.


Drow Ranger

  • Signature card: Gust
  • \n
  • Ability: Precision Aura
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What makes Drow Ranger one of the strongest green heroes is her passive ability Precision Aura, which gives all your creeps +1 attack on all lanes! That is really powerful and this may even allow you to put your creeps against enemy heroes.


The Gust signature card isn't bad either and the ability it uses may be familiar to Hearthstone players. In this case, Gust is equal to Silence effect, which prevents enemy heroes from activating their abilities, except passive ones.


On top of that, if you've cast Gust on a hero of a certain color, then that player will not be able to cast cards of that color until the end of turn. 


Bounty Hunter

  • Signature card: Track
  • \n
  • Ability: Jinada
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If you think that 7 attack points are a lot, then how about 11? That's exactly how many attack points Bounty Hunter can have because of his passive ability Jinada. But it doesn't happen every time, as the chance of getting that extra +4 attack is reduced to 50%. Still, you can have the buff every second turn, which is simply great.


His Track card does not influence his power directly, but it gives him +10 Bounty until he dies. This means that you could potentially get 15 gold for killing an enemy hero and 11 gold for killing a creep.


The best part is that Track is stackable, which means that if you keep Bounty Hunter live long enough, you could stack up a significant amount of gold for your shopping phases.



  • Signature card: Berserker's Call
  • \n
  • Ability: N/A
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Brute force has always been a reliable tactic in many CCGs and TCGs. That is why cards like Axe are always welcome on the board, even if they have no passive or active abilities, as in the case here.


Its signature card, Berserker's Call, a six-mana spell, allows Axe to fight its neighboring enemies (up to three), which can shift the entire game in your favor. That is why it is important to position Axe in a way that would influence the maximum number of enemy cards.


Axe is a universal choice and the card would be a welcome addition into any red deck. It works great with many other hero cards, and especially with Legion Commander.


Hero cards are undoubtedly the most important and powerful cards in all Artifact decks. That is why Valve limited the number of heroes in one deck to five.


Currently, there are 48 hero cards in the game, 12 for each of the four colors: blue, black, green, and red. It is hard to say which color is the most powerful or which hero is the most OP. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses that need to be accounted for when creating a deck in Artifact.


However, there are a number of hero cards that are universally acclaimed and considered top-tier material. Let's look at the 11 best Artifact heroes and their signature cards for the current meta.

How Will Artifact Perform in a CCG World Dominated by Hearthstone and MtG? Tue, 13 Nov 2018 11:23:37 -0500 Sergey_3847

Artifact, a brand-new CCG from Valve and Richard Garfield, will enter its beta testing stage on November 19, and it will get a full release on November 28. Invariably, these two dates will mark the beginning of a new CCG era, one that has the potential to dethrone the two CCG mammoths on the market: Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering.

Artifact offers innovative card game mechanics that combine the best elements of Hearthstone and Magic, which makes its gameplay highly engaging and never boring. But more importantly, Valve's new CCG will provide a unique card trading system that will prevent pay-to-win schemes that cripple games like Hearthstone and Magic

However, an obvious hurdle getting Artifact's way right out of the gate is that the base game will cost $20, and later, when the new expansions come out, players will have to buy each pack for $2 each. While free-to-play can often hide pay-to-win on the backside, a priced CCG can alienate potential players before they've even had a chance to play it. 

But pricing is not the only concern CCG players have when it comes to Artifact -- there are always concerns regarding systems, economies, and more. Let's take a look at what other surprises Valve's new card game might have and if players should be concerned. 

Artifact: The Rules of the Game

Artifact's three lanes show cards being played

Before discussing Artifact's future and comparing it to other card games, it's important to understand the mechanics of the game, as they are quite complex. This should come as no surprise since Artifact's lead designer is Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering.

If you thought that one board was not enough for a card game, then how about three? These correspond to the three lanes found in games like DoTA 2, where there are three towers at the end of each lane. 

Each turn in Artifact includes four phases; we'll take a look at them below. 

Action Phase

At the beginning of each turn, both players are able to start playing their cards (using mana) on each of the three lanes. Mana count starts at three and grows by one each turn. Hero and item cards don't cost any mana and can be played for free each turn.

When players use all of their mana, they can pass their turns. Then, the Combat phase begins -- for both players at the same time.

Combat Phase

Cards that have been placed on the board in the previous phase can now attack each of their opponent's towers simultaneously. If there is a card blocking an opponent's card, then the damage goes to the defending card instead of the tower.

When the Combat phase on one lane has been resolved, the game automatically resolves combat on the rest of the lanes.

Shopping Phase

After combat comes the Shopping phase, which serves as a sort of a "break" in the match. 

If during the Combat phase players manage to destroy some of the enemy cards or cast spells, they earn gold coins, which can then be spent to buy special items that are either generated by A.I. or manually put in the shop by the players themselves prior to the match-up.

These item cards cost no mana to cast and can enhance the performance of the players for the remainder of the match.

Deployment Phase

During this phase, players can also add two creeps on each lane. What's more, hero cards are immortal in Artifact, and during the deployment phase, players can replay them on lanes even if they've already played them on prior turns. 

This phase also begins the card drawing phase, but instead of one card, each player draws two cards. There is no limit on the amount of cards players can hold in their hands.

That is how complex one turn is in Artifact. It includes a vast number of decisions that need to be made on each of the three lanes, as well as devising quick strategies for placement and use. 

In the end, a winning player will have to destroy at least two of the three towers in order to claim victory.

How Artifact Fares Against Hearthstone and MtG

The Tinker card is shown with a cyberpunk robot on its face

Will Hearthstone and/or MtG players see any interest in Artifact?

First of all, it's already clear that Magic players will have a blast playing Artifact because of its complex gameplay. Richard Garfield is a genius game designer and he knows how to engage players with all kinds of mechanics, including the infamous RNG.

Hearthstone players, on the other hand, will most likely find it difficult to keep up with three boards at the same time. Some of the more experienced HS players do grind on several servers at the same time, but most casual players just want a quick rush of adrenaline.

The time required to finish a game in Hearthstone can be as short as a few minutes, while it's already obvious one match-up in Artifact may take up to an hour. This fits better with the MtG world, where players tend to spend long turns, pouring over possibilities and strategies.

But time consumption and complex decision-making aren't the only two factors that will influence how Artifact connects with CCG players. There is one more factor, which is probably the most important one -- the game's monetization system.

Artifact Economics vs. Hearthstone and MtG

The Artifact shop shows the cards players can buy

Monetization schemes in all three games are very different. Magic and Artifact are tradable card games, meaning that you can buy and sell cards on the open market. Hearthstone, on the other hand, is a collectible card game that requires players to buy packs and craft cards using dust. 

Hearthstone also stands out from the other two games because it's free-to-play. Artifact will cost $20 for the game client, two pre-constructed decks and 120 cards.

Magic Online will cost you $10 for a game client, but you pay nothing if you decide to play Magic Arena instead, which is a far more limited experience.

Artifact cards will be available for purchase on the Steam market and will range from $0.15 to $1. In comparison to Hearthstone, this is decent pricing, as one HS card also costs around $0.30, taking into account the cost of one pack.

MtG in this regard follows a completely different pattern, where cards sell on an extremely volatile market and can reach $1,000+.

This means that if you are ready to spend some cash in Hearthstone, you will be ready to spend the same amount of cash in Artifact -- and get a decent amount of good cards. However, if you've never spent a single cent in HS, then Artifact might not be your cup of tea as Gabe Newell told PC Gamer in an interview that:

"If time is free, or an account is free, or cards are free, then anything that has a mathematical relationship to those things ends up becoming devalued over time, whether it's the player's time and you just make people grind for thousands of hours for minor, trivial improvements, or the asset values of the cards, or whatever. That's a consequence. So you don't want to create that flood of free stuff that destroys the economy and the value of people's time."

Although it doesn't look like Artifact will ever have any free components, Newell also said in the same interview that Valve will make sure Artifact will be protected from malicious pay-to-win schemes: 

"There are plenty of very common cards that are going to be super powerful. The whole point is to steer away from pay-to-win and that kind of approach. We always want to reward investment. You always want to feel like, as a player, that the more time you spend on it, you're getting better and you're enjoying it more."

This is a good sign and shows that Valve really wants to create something valuable for their fans and not just another clone of Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering.

Final Thoughts

We can now say for sure that the economics in Artifact is far better in many respects when compared to both Hearthstone, which promotes a shameless pay-to-win system, and MtG, which exploits card markets with its insane prices.

In the case of Artifact, Valve (or the market) will regulate the prices and will not allow the most powerful cards to soar in prices. In this way, everyone who is ready to pay will get the chance to play the game at the highest competitive level.

This is a really smart system that should make many players satisfied. And all of those CCG fans who want to play for free can keep grinding for gold in Hearthstone or Magic Arena.

So, taking all this into account, will Artifact gain any traction after release? The answer is most likely "Yes", even for the simple fact that it's a Valve game -- the name alone will draw players from far and wide. 

It will be interesting to see what niche it carves for itself in the CCG space, and if players are willing to move away from Hearthstone and MtG to play it -- or at least give it some space at the table. 


What do you think about Artifact's gameplay mechanics? Do you find them too difficult to understand? What do you think about Valve's monetization system? Let us know in the comments section below.