Valve’s Dota 2-based card game sure isn’t Hearthstone
Artifact takes the collectible card game DNA established by Magic: The Gathering and forms it around MOBA traditions like lanes and shops. It has a lot going on. In terms of systems, Artifact makes Hearthstone look like a “my first card game” experience. I noticed some things that Artifact does better than Hearthstone. The first few turns are more interesting. You start with heroes and creeps already in play, so you’re making important decisions from the start. In Dota 2, heroes are the player characters, while creeps are the weaker, computer-controlled creatures. They have a similar power distribution in Artifiact, with heroes being much stronger but less plentiful than creeps. All of the heroes are based off characters from Dota 2. You also have three game boards to worry about. Each one is a battle against your opponent to destroy their tower while defending your own. This is another idea taken from MOBAs, where destroying enemy towers is a big key to success. In Artifact, destroying two of your enemy’s three towers nets you a victory. So you have this element of strategy that goes beyond hoping for lucky card draws. Which lanes do you want to focus on? Is it worth conceding one board so you can focus on another? Even if one tower falls, you can’t just abandon that board. A destroyed tower turns into an ancient, which has 80 health instead of the tower’s 40. Killing a single ancient wins the match. So you can concede a lane to your opponent, but you can’t leave it so defenseless that the opponent can kill your ancient. Even outside of having three boards, Artifact has a lot of differences compared to Hearthstone. It has no limit to the amount of cards you can have in your hand (sorry, mill fans) or in your deck. It doesn’t even limit the amount of maximum mana or the number of minions you can have on the board. Turns themselves are different than how they work in Hearthstone. You don’t just use as many cards as you want and then pass the baton to your opponent. Each turn, you can either play a card or pass. If you play a card, your opponent has a chance to play. Minions only attack once both players have passed their turn without playing anything. This means that each play has the chance to be countered, and it also limits how much a player can do without giving their opponent a chance to retaliate. The differences between Artifact and Hearthstone keep piling on. Sure, Artifact also has spells, but it also has cards that impact boards with ongoing effects. These could give your characters an attack boost each round, or they could let you deal 4 damage to a targeted enemy each round. Artifact doesn’t have classes like Hearthstone. Like Magic: The Gathering, heroes belong to one of four colors: blue, red, black, or green. Spells also belong to one of these colors, and you can’t use a spell of a certain color unless you have a corresponding hero on that board. So if you want to cast a blue spell, you need to have a blue hero on that lane. It adds another element of strategy when deciding where to place your heroes. While Hearthstone’s decks can only contain neutral cards or ones from a single class, you can mix and match Artifact’s colors any way you want (again, like Magic). You can have an all blue deck, or even one with all four colors (probably not a great idea, but you can do it). Deckbuilding is also different. Hearthstone has you making a deck of 30 cards. Artifact is more open, but it does have guidelines. You have to have at least 40 cards, but then you can have as many more than that as you want. But you can only have 5 hero cards, so your other cards will be spells, shop cards, and other non-hero ones. The shop cards themselves are another distinct element for Artifact carried over from MOBA traditions. Killing enemies gives you gold. After a round, you can spend gold to buy cards from the shop. These are things like armor and weapons for heroes that will increase their health and attack power. Cards you buy with gold don’t cost any mana to use, unlike normal spells. Then is Artifact superior to Hearthstone in all parts? I can not say yes. They have their own unique fun and playing pattern. I think Artifact is like chess, and Hearthstone is like poker. Artifact features its tactical contents(3 lanes, creeps, heroes and so on) but has no random events now. Someday same thing will be happened what AlphaGo did in Artifact LOL. I just mean each card games have own features so gamers can choose their favorites.