After getting tired of Hearthstone and pretty much only select classes completely dominating the ladder even in early ranks when Karazhan came out…
I decided to go back to a CCG I played a couple of months ago with a fresh start!
Heyo, everybody and long time no see! notKotori is back with a general review/spotlight of: Shadowverse!
Shadowverse arrived on the Steam platform on October 28, 2016, but has been out on the iOS since June 17, 2016.
I played for a little while, with a janky little budget Aggro Shadowcraft deck and dropped it since I didn’t really know what I was doing and I was mainly into Hearthstone at that time.
When I dropped HS and opened up Shadowverse on release, I immediately got into it as it was fast to get into and the community was definitely great help.
Now I’ve dropped over 180 hours into the game in just a span of a few months~!
Now to move on to the nitty-gritty!
Shadowverse is pretty much what you’d expect from an online CCG nowadays – similar gameplay and such to that of Hearthstone. There’s ranked play, unranked play, fighting against AI, an Arena, and even customizable emblems and changeable heroes/characters. There’s also a story mode which you can play through for exclusive cards and a free Arena entry if you finish one of the classes’ stories.
What makes it (in my opinion) more enjoyable and unique would be some core mechanics, gameplay, and the new player experience which I’ll be discussing now!
The game starts you off with one of the character’s stories as a tutorial and teaches you the basics, but literally after the tutorial, you’re immediately given over 20 packs (not including those given for promotions or extended maintenance), which is pretty huge considering there’s 8 cards in each pack.
The better part of it is that you can actually reroll (given that you have a mobile device or an emulator) in order to get a better start, may it be all-around or directed towards a certain class or “crafts” as they are called in these game.
Once you get a decent roll, the generosity really doesn’t end there. There’s daily log-in bonuses, daily missions, some easy to do achievements and (once again) the story mode.
Doing all of ’em gives a beginner what’s basically around 65 packs and 10 free Arena tickets. Pretty damn generous.
In Shadowverse, there are 7 crafts to choose from, each with a unique trait which is usually what is played around. Some even have other unique traits which can be built around.
- Swordcraft – Swordcraft pretty much centralizes on a “tribal” synergy, where there are Commander cards and Officer cards. Officers usually rely on Commanders for extra effects, with an example being Centaur Vanguard, which gains Storm (can immediately attack enemy leader) when a Commander is on the board.
- Forestcraft – Forestcraft relies on low-cost cards to combo with other cards and get their effects off, with these cards usually being 1 play-point Fairies. An example of these cards would be Glimmering Wings, which draws 1 card but will draw 2 if two or more cards were played before it.
- Bloodcraft – Bloodcraft’s unique trait is in its Vengeance mechanic, where if you have 10 or less life, extra effects of cards activate. A good example would be Alucard, which restores 4 defense to your leader if you’re in Vengeance in addition to being a 7 play-point 4/4 Storm.
- Dragoncraft – Dragoncraft has Overflow which basically activates once you have 7 play-points. Its cards synergize in the sense that it can “ramp” or gain play-points in advance and some cards have effects when Overflow is active like Dragonguard, which gains Ward (has to be killed before you can hit the enemy leader) when Overflow is active.
- Havencraft – Havencraft’s gimmick it plays around would be their Countdown amulets. These amulets are usually delayed effects which only happens once their Countdown goes to zero and Havencraft has cards which speed up their Countdown. Dual Flames is one of these cards, which after two turns summons two Holyflame Tigers which have 4 attack and 4 defense.
- Runecraft – Runecraft has two main gimmicks it plays the around. The first of which being Spellboost which, depending on the card can do anything from reducing cost by 1 play-point every spell cast or maybe increasing the damage output of the spell. An example of a Spellboost card would be Wind Blast, which gains +1 damage for each spell cast before it.
- The other gimmick would be Earth Rite, where cards depend on an Earth Sigil amulet to be in play in order for an effect to activate. Ancient Alchemist is one of these, and it destroys an Earth Sigil to add three Conjure Guardian spells (which summon 3/3 Guardian Golems with Ward) to your hand.
- Shadowcraft – Shadowcraft’s cards usually revolve around shadows – a resource gained from dead followers, used spells, discarded cards, and destroyed amulets. Some of its cards have Necromancy (X), where X is an amount of shadows needed to proc it’s extra effect. One card which uses the Necromancy effect would be Wight King, which can be simply played as a 3/4, or if you activate its extra cost of 4 shadows, it gains and additional +1/+1, Ward, and Bane (destroys any enemy follower on damage regardless of defense left).
Moving on to what the gameplay is actually like, it really is similar to that of Hearthstone.
The objective is to reduce the opponent’s HP down to zero in order to win. You start off at 0 play points (or mana) up to 10 and you gain one each turn before drawing a card from a deck of 40 (with 3 of a certain card max). You play cards to help further your goal towards enemy health depletion.
However, besides just hitting face, you can win in other manners such as by the effect of a card (Seraph Lapis, Glory Be) or by decking out. Yes, unlike Hearthstone, once you draw from an empty deck you immediately lose.
The uniqueness of Shadowverse comes from its faster-paced gameplay (20 health, yeah) and the Evolve mechanic.
The Evolve mechanic is basically a thing where once it’s the first player’s 5th turn or the second player’s 4th turn, they may opt to evolve one of their followers. Evolving a follower allows it to attack opposing followers immediately, while also activating effects, may it be gaining stats or perhaps something else like dealing damage to a target follower.
This mechanic is basically what allows it to be a bit unpredictable and more fun as some Evolve effects can really turn the tide around, like Ancient Lion Spirit dealing 2 damage to all enemy followers post-Evo or the legendary card Lucifer which either heals you for 4 pre-evo or deals 4 damage to the enemy’s face post-Evo at the end of the turn.
Here’s a video example of the Evolve mechanic with Ancient Lion Spirit wiping a board and allowing a minion to get through!
Do note that the yellow outline of the Ancient Lion Spirit represents Rush, or its ability to immediately attack an enemy follower and not the enemy leader.
Speaking of legendary cards, that’s another different thing from Hearthstone. Legendaries I’d say are a bit more common over here, but you can actually put up to three Legendaries in a deck (same with the other regular cards). It makes decks feel a bit more expensive, but considering how generous the game and how easy it is to get packs it isn’t really that bad.
Another point of uniqueness is the different Arena system. Instead of the usual 3-choose-1, you pick by pairs to eventually make a deck of 30 cards. Also, 3 losses doesn’t kick you out ASAP, but you instead play 5 set games and get rewards depending on the amount of wins.
Lastly, here’s the ranking system of the game, which I think is one of the things people would like to know about the most.
You basically start up from Beginner 0 and end up in Master.
In between C3 and B0 and similarly for every rank after that, there begins Trials which is basically you needing to win half or over half of an amount of games before reaching the next rank. You’re going to be stuck in Trials until you succeed, which is pretty nice.
The thing about the SV Ladder is that your rank NEVER resets unless you’re in Master, in which case the Master Score comes into play and that becomes a global ranking.
This may be a positive or a negative point depending on each person, but I think it’s completely fine and stops veterans flooding early ranks for easy wins.
Also, the ladder is the only way for you to get Ranked Score, which needs to be earned not only to rank up but also to get monthly rewards, the major of which would be 2 sets of Card Backs and Emblems (user icons).
So that’s Shadowverse. I really like this game. New players get a lot, ranking isn’t super hard even with a semi-complete deck, Arena/Take Two is fun, and I just generally prefer the faster-paced gameplay of Shadowverse with the Evolve mechanic.
Hopefully you guys give this thing a try~!
notKotori’s Personal Opinion Corner: Favorite and Most Hated Craft?
I’d say that my favorite craft would be Bloodcraft. Be it a fast aggro deck or a solid control deck, it’s pretty fun to play and the vampire motif is pretty nice. Vania also a QT and her JP voice is great when you use her as the alternate character. (Not saying Urias is also great).
I don’t really have a “most hated craft” but for some reason playing Swordcraft isn’t really my thing (but do note I have yet to play its control decks yet).
As for a matchup I don’t like, I really don’t like fighting against Forestcraft since they have a lot of tricks up their sleeves while also having a lot of burst. It’s good fun to play since it does require a decent amount of thinking and isn’t brain-dead straightforward.
…And on that note, here’s notKotori signing out~!
(Hopefully I post more soon!)