ETERNAL TCG: The Beauty of Hearthstone, the Curse of MTG

With the rise of digital card games, there have been many digital collectable card games that have popped up in recent years to fight the Titan, Hearthstone. One of the recent games that got released into the wild early this year is the Eternal Card Game.

Eternal Card Game takes the rules and premise of Magic the Gathering, with the visuals of Hearthstone, and kicks it up a notch. The game has its own set of flavor and mechanics but it sticks to the five colors akin to Magic the Gathering (with different names and color identity). Players who are familiar with the rules and gameplay of Magic the Gathering will find no problem jumping into the game and playing it right away.

Like Magic the Gathering, Eternal Card Games has a very similar resource system of Lands which are called Powers. Powers are drawn and played from hand with each card requiring Powers to be played. The difference is that the cards will require the Influence of one color or more. Let’s look at a simple example below.

The image shown is a Fire Sigil which provides one Power and one Fire (red) Influence. You can only play one Power card from hand in each turn unless the card states otherwise. Akin to Magic the Gathering, Eternal TCG has five different Powers which are Fire (red), Time (white), Darkness (Black), Justice (green) and Primal (blue).

I won’t go much into the game mechanics and gameplay as it is very, if not the same as, Magic the Gathering with few minor differences. One of the major differences to the game is the minimum deck requirement of 75 cards with a maximum of 100, and 1/3 of the cards being Power cards.

That’s right, you are limited to building a deck with at least 25 of the cards being Power cards. The restrictions and rules on deck building also applies in some way to the limited (draft and sealed) environment, with it being a minimum of 45 cards than the usual 40.

Another major difference is the card interaction. Being a digital card game, there are some interactions that cannot be done in paper card games like Magic the Gathering. For instance, the card Oni Ronin which has Warcry. Warcry is a mechanic that states “When this creature is declared as an attacker, the top creature card in your deck gets +1/+1”.

This is an interaction where a digital card game would have an edge by being able to keep tabs on the top creature card and buffing it without revealing the cards to any of the players. Imitating these kinds of mechanics would be difficult for a paper card game. There are other various mechanics in Eternal Card Game which should be looked into as they are both exciting and interesting.

I find that the problem with Eternal Card Game is the Power System, which is both a blessing and a curse. The Power system keeps check on fast Agro decks by stopping them from consistent draws. Agro Players will have a hard time drawing threat after threat when one out of three cards drawn will mostly be Power Cards (since 1/3 of the deck must be Power Cards). This is a prevalent problem in Hearthstone where Pirate Warrior decks still reign supreme and Patches the Pirate still slaps people in the face, hard.

Still, the Power system as a resource is an archaic and frustrating system. The same frustrating feeling that can be felt from Mana Screw and Mana Flood from Magic the Gathering is prevalent in Eternal Card Game. There are cards that mitigate this by having cards that fetch Powers from the deck either in the form of spells or creatures but drawing three Powers in a row in the late game is still not a good feeling.

This comes to my greatest concern where, in a match-up that leads to a late game and spending most of the player’s resources, it comes to a stage of “who can draw the non-power card first.” A simple 2/2 creature can deal a lot of damage if a player can’t draw any usable cards in late game. Playing spells and creatures that fetch powers do stabilize in the early stages but prove to be useless later in the game.

I have to admit that the visuals of the game are extraordinary as each creature and each spell have their own voice lines. Each mechanic, attack and spell has their own visual style and art that fits the identity of each Power. Furthermore, Eternal Card Game is free to play, compared to Hearthstone which requires you to grind more.

Each day you will receive a quest to earn gold and each week you will get a FREE themed deck for you to keep and play with (until you have been given all available theme decks of course). It has a great Forge and Draft mode where each card you pick will be yours to keep unlike in Hearthstone.

Therefore, there is a feeling of satisfaction while playing. You can earn each card in the game with patience and, of course, grinding. But overall, it feels rewarding when you grind out in the Ladder or Draft.

All in all, I would say Eternal Card Game is the successor to the Titan as an Online Trading Card Game. A player can sit comfortably at home drinking water and eating dinner while drafting or playing an event that has been launched for the month. If you are looking for a card game that has the complexity of Magic the Gathering and the visual beauty of Hearthstone, you can find Eternal Card Game on steam, free to be downloaded.

Till next time, keep on slinging spells.

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