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Artifact Review: When Magic: the Gathering Meets DotA

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A new card game by the designer of Magic: The Gathering and Valve! Collect your cards, put them against your opponents’ in combat and see them clash with stunning visual effects! All you need to experience the new era of card games is to download Artifact.

Graphics 5/5

Card trading games can be spectacular, and Artifact is living proof of that. The battles you have are brilliantly animated, with combats full of magical special effects. It contains some elements of direct action, but they’re not that essential.

With less action than other games of this sort, this game is more moderate in its appetite, ready to run even on integrated video cores and requiring nothing extraordinary from your machine’s performance.

Gameplay 5/5

The basics of card gameplay are easy: your card against your opponent’s cards. But tricky are the details. You play in three lanes, and in each one you put your cards in response to what the other player lays. On each lane you have a tower: the central one, being the throne, has 80 hit points, and the side towers have 40 hit points. To win you need to destroy two of the enemy towers or one tower and the creature that breaks free after the tower is smashed. Your cards may represent different types of warriors or spells, strong or weak against different cards, by rock-paper-scissors principle.

The setting would look familiar to you if you played Clash Royale or any of its clones. But the mechanics are quite different, rather of classic card games, with no real time action. As soon as both you and your opponent have laid your cards down against each other and both passed your turns, the cards you lay apply their effects.

The system is highly complicated. Each card has its set of parameters, like attack strength, type, and direction, protection level and so on. The rules have its deep limitations; say, you can’t lay cards of a certain color in a lane that has no hero of that color.

So, it’s not a casual game for five or ten minutes a day, but an art one has to master for long, but then it brings an artist’s satisfaction.

Controls 5/5

While the game as it is offers a hell of complexity, it’s not about controls. The game requires mouse movements that are quite intuitive. And the combats happen after you lay all the cards, not requiring any intervention. So you just click the cards you want to play, the items you want to equip your heroes with, and so on. The game even offers some hints, highlighting the cards you can play in the current layout, so the chance for a mistake is even less.

Replay Value 5/5

Due to extreme richness of the decks offered by master Richard Garfield and high complexity of the gameplay, it’s hard to imagine that some player ever exhausts all the combinations possible. There are also home rules you can set by agreement between all players before the game, and that makes the game even more replayable. It seems that Artifact is here to stay for long, and it will attract new fans in decades.


The complete Artifact review would take much more pages, but the game has its own Wiki covering all of the cards available and all of the gameplay elements. Its core is easy to understand, but the nuances it has in excess will provide long sustaining interest to it. So if you’re curious to download Artifact just to know what it’s about, prepare to be captured for long and to give it more hours of our life than you expected.



Valve’s first project in five years may be worth the wait. With all its specifics, not made for everyone, Artifact is to be rather a cult game than a massively popular one.

Pros : Rich fantasy in creating cards;
Great visuals;
Complex rules with home rules supported;
Localized into many languages;
Low system requirements

Cons : The system may seem too complicated

Graphics 5

Gameplay 5

Controls 5

Replay Value 5

Average : 5.0


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