With the rapidly growing digital age, digital card games have become much more prominent with games like Hearthstone, a popular esport, and the new Legends of Runeterra, spun off from the League of Legends series. While there are many digital card games circulating the player base, a particularly enveloping and charming presentation of the medium comes in the form of Shadowverse from Cygames (creators of GranBlue Fantasy and Dragalia Lost.) Boasting a highly customizable gameplay experience and thought-provoking challenges, Shadowverse is definitely a game individuals should seek out.
Shadowverse is both a mobile game and available to play on Steam for free with paid content. The goal of the game is to use your deck of cards to bring the opposing player’s life points to zero and defeat their leader. Shadowverse has three types of cards known as followers, cards that are responsible for attacking and bringing the leader’s life points down, spells, which activate immediately to perform a special effect, and amulets, cards that can’t attack or be attacked and provide support for followers. The game has a mana-like feature known as play points which start at 1 point and increase to a maximum of 10 and are spent on playing cards of varying costs. Shadowverse also has a unique “evolution” system, in which players can evolve their follower cards to strengthen them in battle.
Shadowverse features heavily customizable gameplay, with 8 different deck strategy classes. These classes are known as the following:
Forestcraft: This class utilizes building strategies around summoning several low cost Fairy cards that will in turn help higher cost followers activate special abilities.
Swordcraft: This straightforward class centers on “commander and officer” followers, in which officer followers can be built upon and strengthened by commander followers’ effect boosts and effectively create a strong vanguard.
Runecraft: This class focuses on the execution of spell cards to gain “spellboost” augments to your other cards, such as strengthening the card or lowering its cost to put into play.
Dragoncraft: This class functions on the accruement of play points to summon high cost, powerful dragon followers. Dragoncraft has a special mechanic called “Overflow” in which cards can receive special effects when a player reaches 7 play points.
Shadowcraft: This class makes use of “shadows” that are obtained when a card is played or a follower is destroyed. These shadows can then be spent to carry out Necromancy, which can strengthen cards and activate special abilities.
Bloodcraft: This class uses a mechanic called “Vengeance,” which activates when the player’s life points drop to 10 or below. In Vengeance mode, cards and followers become more powerful and gain access to special effects.
Havencraft: This class utilizes many amulet cards that have a “Countdown” to perform abilities like summoning followers or restoring life points once it runs out. Countdowns can also be influenced by cards played in this class, for example, accelerating the countdown.
Portalcraft: This class was added later to the game and functions using a mechanic called Resonance, which becomes active when there are an even amount of cards in your deck. Resonance will augment the strength of cards. Portalcraft also utilizes special types of cards known as Artifacts that can only be placed in your deck or hand via card effect.
In addition to its innovative and captivating gameplay, Shadowverse is an aesthetically pleasing game, especially for fans of anime elements and design in games. The original story, known as The Morning Star ~ Invasion of the Worldweaver centers around the journey of eight characters, Arisa, Erika, Isabelle, Rowen, Luna, Urias, Eris and Yuwan, who represent and act as “leaders” for each of the play classes. In August 2020, Shadowverse introduced a new storyline known as Fate’s Trigger, featuring a new cast of characters and leaders of the current play classes. The cast of characters is diverse and each of their story routes lead the player to get to know each play class in a fun and creative way.
I’m personally not the best at card games, but I found myself returning to Shadowverse frequently. The gameplay is addictively fun and the characters and presentation are very pleasing to the eye (Especially if you’re a JRPG junkie like myself.) While the game is certainly complex and requires solid strategizing, it’s an exhilarating and fulfilling play experience. There’s a deep sense of satisfaction in being able to customize your playstyle as well as the healthy challenge. Shadowverse is also free-to-play with paid content, but the game gives many outlets to new players to create decent deck builds without having to spend anything. What’s more, Shadowverse is an esport: Cygames is hosting the Shadowverse World Grand Prix 2020, which has a grand prize of 1 million USD (although the tournament has been postponed due to COVID-19.) Shadowverse Opens hosts tournaments to gather contenders for the World Grand Prix, which would have been held in Japan this year.
Shadowverse is an impeccable digital card game with enjoyable mechanics and aesthetic presentation. With the ability to make your own unique playstyle and an interesting role in the esports world, this is a game sure to grant players an exhilarating and gratifying experience.