This Thursday, Deckstorm: Duel of Guardians ? a new collectible card game from noted mobile developer DeNA games ? is set to release on both the Google Play and Apple app stores. The past few years have seen a huge uptick in mobile card games, thanks to the success of juggernauts like Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Clash Royale, as well as the digital offerings of tabletop kings Magic: The Gathering and the Pokemon TCG. Beyond these big names, there are several newcomers like SolForge and Faeria making a lot of noise as well. How does Deckstorm plan to carve out a niche in this highly competitive space? Read on to find out.
I was given the opportunity to speak with Senior Producer Roger Royce to get a picture of how DeNA is trying to set Deckstorm apart from the competition. ?We?re not trying to be Hearthstone,? Roger tells me right off the bat. He then proceeds to walk me through some single player campaign matches against the AI.
Inspired by War, one of the earliest card battle games, Deckstorm is a fast-paced dueler where matches are designed to last five minutes or less. Though short, each battle is filled with tactical nuance and meaningful strategic game play as both sides try to eliminate the other?s cards. True to the description, each of the AI battles demonstrated is over quickly, making Deckstorm an ideal game for short bursts of fun.
The game is free-to-play, but players can opt to buy card packs and other resources via in-game micro transactions. However, the rarest and most powerful cards in the game can only be acquired by playing against others in PvP mode, a decision?that?should limit any pay-to-win concerns players may have.
Deckstorm Gameplay Overview
Each card represents a Guardian, a character from the game?s fantasy world of Ravia. There are 12 classes of Guardians in total, representing various fantasy roles that run the gamut from hulking warriors and spell-slinging wizards to cunning Rogues and treacherous Demons. Each card also has an elemental type that plays into the rock-paper-scissors gameplay of the dueling system. A complete deck consists of 15 cards, so you?ll have to find the right mix of Guardian classes and elemental affinities to counter what your opponents will throw at you.
A match?is played in waves. At the start of each one, players are presented with five cards from their deck. You?re free to redraw any number of them to improve?your hand. You see what cards you?re going up against at all times, so try and fill your hand with cards that have an?elemental advantage over your.?
In the battle phase, cards duke it out head to head based on their position on the game board. Both players lay down cards at the same time, so you?ll have to pay close attention to what your opponent has in his hand to predict what he might?play. Once all 3 slots on the board are filled, combat resolves from left to right as?cards deal damage to their counterpart on the opposite side based on their stats and elemental type. If a card?survives, it?returns to it’s owners hand and can be used again.?The wave ends when someone’s hand has been depleted.
Unlike other card games, there are no ?spell cards? in Deckstorm. Instead, each Guardian has an activatable ability?that can be used once it has been charged up. After each phase of play, the charge count increases by one, so you?ll want to build a deck that has a nice variety of different active skills that you can use at different points of the game. This is where a lot of Deckstorm’s in-match strategy comes from as card positioning has a huge impact on the effectiveness of your abilities. For example, Roger suggested I place a cleric card in the last slot on my game board. this let’s it’s healing ability replenish the hit-points of my two other cards in play that attacked first.
After the match, experience points and in-game currency are doled out based on the player’s performance. All the things you earn feed into Deckstorm’s robust deck building options, which we’ll touch on in part 2 of our coverage, so stay tuned for that.