Top 10 Best Digital Card Games You Can Play Right Now
9. Hex: Shards of Fate
8. Elder Scrolls: Legends
5. Magic Arena
4. Artifact: The DOTA card game
3. Pokemon Trading Card Game
1. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Eternal is one of the lesser known best digital card games on the list but it’s worth checking out. The game’s mechanics aren’t wholly unique, as it takes a lot of influence from Magic: The Gathering while having a user interface and card design similar to Hearthstone, which makes it familiar to players of either game to jump into.
Though Magic Arena is slowly gaining popularity, Eternal has has started to give itself a unique identity with a number of interesting keywords and abilities that take advantage of the digital format, The rules of the game are a little more streamlined as well, making it more inviting for newcomers that may be turned off by how complicated Magic: The Gathering can become. Overall, it’s a fun game, even if Magic players may feel a little too much at home with it.
Hex: Shards of Fate
Hex: Shards of Fate also shares a lot in common with Magic: The Gathering – so much so that Wizards of the Coast actually went after developer Cryptozoic Games for infringing upon their design when Hex was first released. Since then, Hex has become more of its own beast but still holds over a lot of mainstays from Magic The Gathering, such as a stack-based response system, abilities and spells that can be used during your opponent’s turn, and tapping units after they attack to ‘exhaust’ them.
Still, that’s not a bad thing, as it means Magic: The Gathering players can jump right into the game without much extra know-how. The game includes some unique designs such as each deck having a champion with a special ability that can be activated when you have enough charges similar to Hearthstone’s hero abilities, and a lot of new keywords and designs have come out of Hex’s nine expansions over the years.
Elder Scrolls: Legends
Elder Scrolls: Legends is Bethesda’s attempt to get into the digital card game scene, and even though it can look a bit bland at times, it offers some unique ideas and designs. Though combat plays out similar to Hearthstone, there are a number of differences, such as a built-in catch-up mechanic that lets a player draw a card anytime they lose 5 health and a second lane called the Shadow Lane where creatures have a turn of protection before they can be attacked.
In typical Bethesda fashion, the game also features a robust RPG mode that lets you choose a class and then advance through the story, leveling up along the way to unlock character buffs and in-game currency. It’s a good way to appeal to solo players that don’t want to worry about the competitive meta and grinding for the best cards and really helps this game stand out among its peers. Plus, the lore of Elder Scrolls is so extensive that the game will appeal to players that just want to play with their favorite heroes and monsters from the series.
Faeria is not a well-known name like Magic: The Gathering or Hearthstone, but it has a lot to offer players that are willing to give it a shot. It smartly blends strategy into its card game by integrating a tile-laying mechanic into the core game, requiring players to create a board as they play to reach resources around the map.
Each turn, you can lay down two regular tiles or one special tile, building a path for your creatures to attack the other player as you go. The approach you take to building your path is one of the biggest centers of focus as you attempt to build a route that nets you the most resources to play better cards while limiting your opponent’s options.
Through the card game aspect of this game may not be at the forefront like other titles on this list, it smartly blends a lot of different strategic decisions into one unique game.
Gwent isn’t just a cash in on the Witcher series, as CD Projekt Red has made a fully realized strategy card game experience from the minigame that was present in The Witcher 3 while still making veteran players feel at home. Gwent is a game about showing restraint and knowing when to play out your cards for maximum impact, as you can only play one card per turn.
Gwent offers more strategy than some other card games, as the placement of your cards and units on the board is one of the most important factors in gaining enough points to win a round. Coupled with a deep system of reward trees that unlock cards, items, and in-game currencies based on the faction you play, the game offers a lot for players to invest into.
If you are interested in Gwent, CD Projekt Red recently also released Thronebreaker, a story-based game that incorporates the basics of Gwent and helps new players learn the ropes while experiencing an engaging narrative as well.
Although Magic Arena is still finding its footing in open beta and missing some features that dedicated fans have come to expect, the experience shows a lot of promise and is great for newcomers to the (sometimes overly complex) world of Magic: The Gathering. The game features a great user interface and deck builder, along with quick and easy options for players to respond to triggers and abilities.
Though the game lacks mobile support, Wizards of the Coast is finally on the right track to bring Magic to the masses, and including promo codes for packs and drafts alongside Magic product is a great way to boost awareness of the game. Once they integrate other popular Magic formats like Legacy, Modern, and EDH, Magic Arena could easily start skyrocketing in popularity.
Artifact: The DOTA card game
One of the newest contenders to the list, Valve’s ambitious digital trading card game has a lot going for it, but also has an uphill battle to try and gain some market share. The premise is unique, combining the three-lane strategy of a MOBA with traditional card game elements and adding the ability to have a hero unit you can equip with new weapons and armor over the course of a match.
Artifact also has an open economy, letting players buy exact cards they need for their decks from other players with no grinding for an in-game currency required. The game shows promise and with designer Richard Garfield and the resources of Valve and the Steam marketplace piloting it, the game might just fight through the cluttered digital TCG space and become a juggernaut all its own.
Pokemon Trading Card Game
Some people may think themselves too ‘advanced’ to play the Pokemon card game and may relegate it to a starter card game compared to the complexity of other games. Regardless of your stance on it, the Pokemon card game digital experience is incredibly well done and features a great interface and animations to bring the cards to life.
One of the best things about the game is the ability to use codes found in Pokemon product to get booster packs, cards, and promos, which The Pokemon Company has been doing for years, unlike the more recent Magic Arena. The digital game even allows you to trade cards with other players by making trade offers, which is something that almost no other digital card game offers, making it a true trading card game experience.
When Shadowverse released in July 2016, it quickly became the most popular digital card game in Japan, and for good reason.
Though it has similarities to other cards games, Shadowverse introduces a number of unique mechanics, including an evolution system that allows players to utilize a resource called Evolution Points to power up units over the course of a game. This means that weak threats played early can turn into more dangerous ones by the mid-game without needing to play additional cards.
The game also boasts a unique anime art style and offers a clearly defined class system that restricts card options for decks and bestows unique abilities depending on which one is chosen, giving players a wide variety of gameplay styles to choose from.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
If you know anything about videogames, you must have expected that this would be at the top of the list. Hearthstone was one of the first digital card games to hit true mainstream success in the digital marketplace and has been paving the way for other card games to follow (and sometimes break away from), allowing the genre to become as pervasive as it is today.
Hearthstone has a layer of complexity but it’s easy enough to understand and jump into thanks to its streamlined interface and ruleset. Extra modes like Tavern Brawl and Adventures help appeal to more casual and solo players that don’t want to manage the metagame and deck-building, while the ranked ladder is the spot for power gamers to test out their class-based decks against the best of the best.
With Hearthstone, Blizzard struck gold in a big way, and though it may not be for everyone, it has had a landmark influence and remains the reigning champ when it comes to the best digital card games today.
Though Magic Arena is slowly gaining popularity, Eternal has has started to give itself a unique identity with a number of interesting keywords and abilities that take advantage of the digital format, The rules of the game are a little more streamlined as well, making it more inviting for newcomers that may be turned off by how complicated Magic: The Gathering can become. Overall, it's a fun game, even if Magic players may feel a little too much at home with it.
Danny is a graduate of Kennesaw State University, where he learned how to paint pretty pictures and earned his BFA in Drawing and Painting. When not working on art, he tries to find time to play videogames, play Magic:The Gathering, or DM way too many campaigns for his own good.