Artifact is a brand new digital trading card game created by Valve Corporation and it will be launched later this year.  Check the info below and learn everything about this upcoming TCG game.

The lore of Artifact is based mostly on Dota 2 heroes and stories, so if you’re a fan of that particular video game, then it won’t be very hard to get into this new Valve title, too. Dota 2 is one of the most popular esports in history with the International 2017 tournament garnering more than 90 million viewers.

If you want to explain to someone what this game is, then it would most probably be easier to say that it is a hybrid between Dota 2 and Magic: The Gathering. Richard Garfield is the guy that has designed Magic The Gathering, and he partnered with Valve and they combined some of the best aspects from these two games to create Artifact.

Artifact will feature heroes and some storied based in Dota 2, but Valve has said that they will expand the story and eventually the Dota 2 lore will only be a small fraction of a bigger fantasy universe. In the Artifact world the are three groups that are fighting an endless war, such as the Bronze Legion, the Vhouls and the Red Mist. In the future Valve will release expansions adding new factions and other content.

Artifact beta will be launched in October and it will be available from Valve’s Steam platform. Before battling against other opponents you will have to create your decks. In Artifact you will need to bring two decks: the Main Deck and the Item Deck. Each player will start with only five cards in hand, and then drawing two new cards with each new turn.

The game of Artifact is split into three lanes (boards) just like the combat in Dota 2 is done. The deck of each player will consist of five different heroes, with three of them being placed randomly on each lane at the start of the game. Additionally each hero placed on the table will get a creep card to accompany them during the game.

In order to win a game of Artifact you will have to destroy two of your opponents 1st towers. Each player gets three towers in total, each overseeing one lane. When a tower gets destroyed it will be replaced by a bigger one with double the life points called Ancient Tower. If an Ancient Tower gets destroyed, then the game is won. Note that it is very hard to go after one’s Ancient Tower in Artifact, as it packs 80 life points, whereas a normal tower only has 40 points.

An Artifact deck features five different types of cards: the heroes, the creeps to accompany heroes, spells, items to improve heroes stats and improvements. The Artifact Cards are divided into four colors: black, red, blue and green cards. The cards can be played only in a lane where the hero sports the same color as the card you wish to play.

Let’s take a look at all types of cards that we will find in Artifact:

HEROES: these are your main cards, as you will have to build your whole strategy around them. Each hero comes with unique abilities, stats, and premier cards. Every single hero card comes with three different premier spell cards.

The Hero and its premier, or signature, cards will occupy 18 slots in your Deck. Considering that a deck should have a minimum of 40 cards, then it means that you will have to carefully select each hero you wish to use for each battle.

The Heroes don’t need you to spend anything in order to put them on the table. When the game starts three our of your five heroes will be placed in every lane. Your fourth hero will have to be played when the second round starts, while the final fifth one will have to be played at the start of the third round anywhere you want. In order to cast any spell you need to have a hero card placed in the same lane.

Also, the spells can be played only in the lane where the hero played features the same color.

Every time a hero is killed it will be thrown in the Fountain, and it will stay there for two rounds. The Hero cards are supporting powerful Item cards, and they have three different slots where you can place these. The three slots require you to place in each one three different types of items like Weapon, Armor and Accessory.

CREEPS: these cards are featuring all the creatures that you play on the board and aren’t heroes. Each hero gets a creep card being placed with it when a game of Artifact starts. In order to play a creep you will have to use mana, or you can summon them using item cards – more about these can be found a few lines of text below.

The Creeps also feature three main attributes like the heroes. Each creep has Attack, Armor and Health points. You cannot equip items like you do for Hero cards, but you can use some consumable items for them.

Basically, a creep is a soldier that offers support for their captains (heroes). More about these cards will be published in the following weeks and we will get back to them when the time comes.

IMPROVEMENT Cards: these are offering players upgrades for a lane (board), and all are played straight from the hand. In order to play an Improvement card you will need to use mane to cast them. Also, these cards can be played only with cards featuring the same colors as them.

These cards can be used to perform some recurrent actions and upgrades for your Artifact playing lanes.

ITEMS: these cards are the ones that you can purchase during the Shopping phase of a round, and these don’t require you to play them with a specific color.

Item cards can be bought using the gold that you’ve earned after killing heroes and creeps. You can play an item card every time you have money and you wish to buff a hero card. These are also coming in three different types of cards – attack, armor, health. Please note that better Item cards will force you to spend more money in order to get them, so you should remember to think every time you play a round and to try to maximize your gains and make the game easier to win.

The Shopping Phase is when you can buy Item cards and this will pop-up every time a round ends. Use your earned gold to shop for items. There are 3 different Item shop slots: the Secret Shop on the left, your own Item Deck in the middle, and the Consumable Shop on the right.

The Secret Shop window contains almost all the items you can find and buy in Artifact. The middle icon features your Items Deck that you’ve built before starting the game. The Items Deck will require you to place minimum 9 item cards in it.

The Consumable Shop slot features one consumable item, obviously. These cards are the ones that get used and destroyed after that such as mana and color free versions of spell cards. These are cheap items.

Each Hero and Creep card are featuring three categories that you can improve using item cards. The 3 categories are Weapon, Armor, and Accessory. Weapons slot can be used to increase the attacks points of a hero. The Armor slot can be used to buff the defense of each supported card, while the Accessory allows players to increase the health of their heroes.

STRATEGY PHASE

The gameplay of Artifact consists of three different stages: action phase, combat phase, and shopping phase. Also, there are Turn Timers like in the game of chess.

Each player gets one minute to complete one single action before this turn passes. When the third lane ends each player gets 2 additional minutes. In case you run out of time you lose.

The Action Phase is the stage when the players are putting cards across their boards. Once the Action Phase is done the Combat Phase will be initiated. When an action phase starts the Mana points are replenished.

The player who starts the game is determined randomly by the game. Starting with the 2nd Action Phase one player will receive the Initiative and be the first to play based on his actions done in the previous rounds.

If a player chooses not to play a card or it doesn’t have a card to play, then he will be passed and his turn is given to his opponent. When both Artifact players pass one after the other the Action Phase will end.

The Combat Phase will have all the cards that can attack will do so and when all damage is done the game will continue to the next lane. When the combat is done in all lanes you will be taken to the Shopping Phase.

When the Shopping Phase starts both players will be able to spend their earned gold on various items like a “secret shop” item, a new item from your personal Item Deck, and a consumable. When the shopping is done, the phase will end too.

After the Shopping Phase there will be a Deployment Phase. In this new phase you will be given the opportunity to play from none to two creeps to each lane. After that both players will assign a secret hero to their lane of choosing. You can deploy a dead Hero only if his respawn time is gone. Also, in case you wish to deploy an unused hero, then you can do it without any restrictions.

The last part is the End Phase, and this happens when both players have finished their phases and the round will end. After that each player can draw 2 new cards and obtain one extra mana.

Each cards in Artifact are featuring some keywords: attack, armor, cleave, condemn, disarm, health, modify, piercing damage, play effect, regeneration, retaliate, siege, silence, stun, and taunt.

Attack shows how much damage a unit is capable of; Armor shows the damage a unit can block during the combat phase; Cleave tells you how much damage is done to units close to the intended target; Condemn will destroy the target directly; Health shows the life point a card has; Modify – this one is a permanent improvement that you can add for one supported unit; Piercing Damage will ignore the armor stat points and it will go straight for the health points of the attack’s intended target; Play Effect will trigger when you play a card; Regeneration heals the card more than once; Retaliate will counter the attacks and do return some damage to the unit attacking the player; Siege will do damage directly to the opponents tower; Silence will block abilities, as it is capable of changing card colors; Stun will block units from attacking and the opponent from playing any cards on this specific unit, so that they won’t be able to buff it; Taunt will force an opponent’s unit to attack the unit doing the taunting.

Artifact will be released on Steam on November 28 for public use, but there will be a closed beta stage programmed to start in October. There is no official date set for the Artifact Beta stage, but we will bring fresh news in the coming days.

In order to get into the beta stages of the Artifact game you will require a beta-access code. These codes have been distributed to those present at Dota’s The International 8 and at PAX West. Also, these users will get the full game for free when it gets released in late November.

Artifact will have a cost of $20 and it consists of two pre-made decks each featuring 54 different cards, and 10 additional packs for you to open. All the packs you buy will feature at least one rare card. Feel free to leave a comment below with any additional info you might have about Artifact.

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