I am Magnnarot, an Eternal Card Game (ECG) top 100 Master player and a veteran from the moment the game reached open beta way back in 2017, on top of being an avid gamer in general and a dog parent. I have played countless card games, from paper Magic: The Gathering (MTG) and Yu-Gi-Oh, to digital Hearthstone and the deceased Might and Magic: Duel of Champions.
You might not have heard about the game as Direwolf Digital (DWD), the company that develops and publishes it, seems to have a bit of a hard time when it comes to advertising, but that’s what I’m here for, to present to you what came to be my favorite digital card game to date!
Eternal is a free-to-play digital card game that truly puts the digital in card game, being available on a wide range of platforms such as PC, Android, iPhone, Xbox and soon the Switch. With some mechanics that are likely impossible to replicate on paper without having to jump through some major hoops, the game brings about a unique experience that is both entertaining and competitive. Such mechanics range from buffing the next card you’re drawing with extra stats (Warcry), to revealing and allowing you to play a card from the top of your deck as if it was in your hand (Warp), which is actually a key mechanic in the game’s latest set, Dark Frontier.
The game can trace its grassroots to MTG, having a resource system very similar to it in that to play your cards you have to draw and play power cards (MTG land counterparts), but instead of every single power having to be tapped for its own color, they all add towards a “threshold”, that allows you to play cards and activate their abilities, known as influence and give you your turn’s spending budget. There are many key distinctions that differentiate ECG from MTG (too many to be covered in a single article). The most glaring one being the turn steps streamlined for digital play requiring less clicking, which allows you to fight against your opponent and not the UI.
While constructed seems like the focus of the game at first glance, it also has a very well developed limited environment, sporting both draft and sealed game modes, both of which require in game currency or real money to enter. In draft you pick and pass cards from four packs along until you end up with your final pool of cards with which to assemble a deck and as a bonus you get to keep the cards, even if you lose all your games! Meanwhile, in sealed you get to open up to 14 packs and build a deck around those cards. Leaderboards reset monthly and similar to the constructed experience, they have prizes attached.
Being easily the most generous digital card game I have ever played, Eternal has adopted a white hat approach when it comes to its in game economy (for example, one of its core design values is that players shouldn’t be gated by acquiring the game’s power cards, putting said cards at easier to acquire rarities), with enough playing it is quite possible to acquire the entire collection and that without losing your social life or spending a single cent in the process. Not only that, DWD has graced us with a prize pool of $100,000 USD for an upcoming World Championship this Spring along with smaller monthly tournaments that have $5,000 USD pools and act as qualifiers for the World Championship.
Catering to both casual and more competitive types of players, the game has had a thriving competitive scene with weekly community tournaments for a while, but it is in the game’s ladder that the game’s real magic happens. Facing off against other people’s brews or just the usual net deck and climbing to get your free monthly premium legendary card at the end of month just by hitting Master, then proceeding to either dispute your spot on the top 100 leaderboard or running your own homebrews is a monthly routine. Did I mention that this game has an ENORMOUS potential for brewing? With around 2,000 cards now in its card pool and no announced rotation so far, the potential to come up with crazy ideas that no one has thought about before is huge. Be it rushing down people with an aggro deck, doing midrange things or turning the corner as a control player the game supports a huge amount of playstyles and in some very unorthodox ways.
The game has plenty of janky strategies for when you are in a more playful mood, take your opponents drown with frogs! Give a clockroach (yes, a clockroach, as in cockroach that is made of clockwork, or something like that… time mages are strange) every single battle skill in the game! Make a 30/30 relic weapon by turn 7! All of which are things I have fond memories of. Every set has a considerable amount of cards dedicated to more meme-like strategies than actually being competitive, which isn’t to say that there is a low amount of highly competitive cards every expansion for those more serious players.
Starting out can be a daunting task but getting to a point in which you are genuinely having fun by playing one of your 30 potential decks shouldn’t be too hard. The game’s official discord routinely gets people claiming they hit Master for the first time within their first couple of months without spending a single dime (I myself have done it during my third). While your collection is still small, it is common practice to play against the AI (which is not so intelligent) for in-game gold.
PS: Some of the screenshots are very outdated, but among the funniest moments in Eternal I have managed to capture, there are plenty more of which I remember but have either lost or forgot to save. Making your own memorable experiences isn’t hard at all.