Digital card games in 2018: What games are you playing? What have you quit? What did you return to?


It’s been a few months since the last CCG-related thread, so rather than necro an old one, here’s a fresh new thread for digital and traditional CCGs/TCGs/etc.

In 2018 the wave of digital card games shows no sign of stopping. There’s still a lot of new Hearthstone and MTG inspired games, and also lots of games that are playing with the genre in new ways. Hearthstone and Shadowverse are both still very popular and getting frequent updates. Most of the other digital CCGs are still updating or at least keeping the serverse running (although SolForge and Scrolls have shut down). Valve’s Artifact is supposedly coming out this year. And the industry hasn’t yet been killed by “loot box” controversies and regulations!

What I’m playing:

I just picked up Eternal, a F2P game that’s mostly a Magic clone. The interface is nice, some Magic stuff has been pleasantly streamlined, and the mechanics are interesting without being totally overwhelming. There’s a cool campaign with voiceacting and comic-style cutscenes, a constructed PvE mode, constructed ranked/casual PvP, draft PvP, and even a draft PvE.
Perhaps more importantly, the F2P mechanics seem relatively generous, at least compared to Hearthstone. Your starting card pool is fairly large with a good mix of powerful cards. Packs have more cards than Hearthstone (12), deckbuilding is very flexible so you’re more likely to be able to use any given card, legendaries are more common (1-in-10 per pack vs 1-in-20), and you get a free pack for your first PvP win every day. On top of that, the drafting mode lets you keep all the cards you draft, and the PvE drafting is much less punishing to low-skill players (I could never get more than 1 or 2 wins in Hearthstone draft :cry:). Even if you’re a mediocre player, the drafting modes still seem to be the optimal way to get new cards, which is really cool because those modes are fun and they give you a certain amount of choice over what type of new cards you want to add to your collection.
The one thing that really bothers me is that it doesn’t have any solution to Magic’s “mana flood/mana screw”. Even with a conservative deck, a good 1/3rd of your matches are gonna be free losses or free wins because you or your opponent didn’t draw any good options.

I played Gwent for a week or so and loved the gameplay. But I just couldn’t stand the extremely stingy F2P mechanics, especially when combined with the strict deckbuilding limitations and small pool of starting cards. Every deck has to have 4 gold cards, but you only start with 4 of them, so you literally can’t even modify any of the starter decks. I quit after I had played for a week and opened 40 packs without getting a single gold card. And there’s like 50 different gold cards in the game! I keep wanting to come back, but I know I’d just have to keep playing 100s of matches with the crappy starter cards just to have the chance of getting a new legendary that might be be viable to use.

So, what are ya’ll playing? What games are tempting you to return, and what games have driven you away?


I’m really hoping that I can get into the MtG: Arena closed beta at some point because I really love MtG but can’t focus the time and money on physical cards. I dove deep into the MtG game that came out on Xbox 360 forever ago, and am hoping that Arena will scratch that itch for me.
Slay the Spire is another good deck-builder/CCG-ish game that I’ve been having an absolute blast playing because of the run-based structure of it.


I think years and years invested in doing daily quests in Hearthstone have me in a bit of sunk cost fallacy situation. I gave up on using gold to buy packs a couple years ago and now I’ve got like 4k just sitting there I’ll use for arenas now and then. I watch much more than I play though. Streams are interesting for about a couple of weeks after an expansion pack releases, then everyone settles into the new meta which is the old one but with a couple of cards changed here and there. Fuck you cubelock.

Slay the Spire fuckin rules and I can’t wait to see what else they add to it. It’s good to have a new daily thing.


I played Eternal a bunch, but dropped out of it - it’s more like Magic than Hearthstone is, so I liked it more? I don’t know.

I feel like, generally, I struggle with these games. When I played Magic as a teen I was playing against the same half a dozen friends, so The Meta was very small? Y’all knew each others’ decks and built decks to counter those specific decks. Where playing against Everyone Playing The Game, sometimes you just come up against a deck you can’t really seem to do anything against, and it frustrates me?
(But I only ever managed to make one consistently competent deck in Hearthstone, and had several half-decent ones going in Eternal)
This is an observation of my feelings on the subject not, like, an objective criticism or anything.


The new class that they just put into the beta version of the game (which is also a beta) is soooo complicated but fun. I’m trying it out and having a lot of trouble. Fun trouble.


The problem with getting into Magic as your first CCG is that all other CCGs seem limited in comparison. I’ve been a Magic Duels guy for the past few years (including the DotP series) and really want to check out Arena. Hearthstone and the like just doesn’t cut it, I need to tap mana dammit!


I played a bit of Eternal, and think it’s absolutely fantastic… except that it’s still (at the very top design level) structured like MtG or Hearthstone where I have to build decks and keep up with The Meta, etc, and I just personally don’t have the patience. It’s fun to watch friends play, though.

Slay the Spire seems super great and I plan on buying it once released.


Got my butt back into Netrunner. Staring at people play on Jinteki cause I hesitate to commit to a game. Got my data pack collection up to date though.


I just really, really want MTG Arena to be good.


Not 100% sure if this is on point, but I finally picked up the computer implementation of Sentinels of the Multiverse and have been loving it. I’d been a fan of the boardgame, but playing the digital version has gotten me a lot more invested in the game and setting.


Still chugging away at Hearthstone. I got to rank 13 last season, which is the highest I’ve been in a while, but it’s so hard to dedicate the time to really grind higher especially because my only real tier 1 deck is cubelock and the games can take a millennium.


I’ve been playing Hearthstone since beta and started to fall off around Un’Goro and stopped playing a few weeks after Knights of the Frozen Throne was released. This week I decided to pick it back up and was pleasantly surprised by the Dungeon Runs.

After jumping into a few ranked games and playing three arena runs I might be done for good. I have had a blast with HS but the magic is gone.


I finally uninstalled Hearthstone from my phone because I just never have the desire to play it anymore. I don’t really know what they could do to get me to come back, because the general design/game play just don’t really interest me as much as other card games.

Eternal is still my go-to for scratching the card game itch. I go in cycles with it where I’ll play pretty much every day for about two months, make it to Master in constructed consistently, and then my anxiety burns me out and just play occasionally for another month or two, rinse and repeat (anxiety sucks). Still, Eternal is the card game I most often recommend due to the things BluShine mentioned (generous F2P, draft where you get to keep the cards, deckbuilding akin to MtG, etc.)

I tried Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links for like a week before remembering that I just really don’t like Yu-Gi-Oh! as a card game. I’m not sure I would have stuck with it even if I liked the game more, as I was overwhelmed by the all the different systems and mechanics for getting cards.

Slay The Spires is sooooooo good. Really enjoying the third hero in the beta branch and looking forward to what they do in the future.

I still want to learn to play Netrunner very much, but my anxiety spikes whenever I consider trying to play with strangers online. I’ve played a couple of games with the base set with one of my brothers and it seems interesting and cool, but I don’t know that there is much of a scene where I live. Still hoping to make it happen one day, though.

Magic: the Gathering Arena… I wish I liked it. I got in the beta awhile back, played ~3 matches, and then didn’t touch it more months because I was so turned off by it. I tried it again last week and, while I liked it a bit better this time, it still just doesn’t feel right to me? It just has a clunky feel to the gameplay that I can’t shake. I’ve only read tidbits about how the economy is going to work, and it hasn’t inspired confidence either. Admittedly, this may just be a me problem; I used to play paper Magic semicompetitively (by which I mean I kept up with the meta and was a “Spike”, but I was never very good), and there may just not be anything they could do to make Arena feel as natural to me. There’s also the fact that I just really don’t expect WotC to not fuck up yet again in the digital space. So I personally don’t care for Arena as it is currently, but it’s maybe just not for me. They are finally making it an option to turn off chat on Magic Online, so maybe I’ll just go back to that… but then again, it’s still Magic Online.

I’m also hoping that Artifact is good, because despite it all I just can’t stop with card games.


Hey we should play Netrunner.


I would be up for that! I’ll just need to read up on the rules again, it has been a bit since I last played (and I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing then, either haha)


If you’re on the waypoint discord, it’d be easy to arrange off the tabletop channel.