Thursday, 20 Jun 2024

Artifact: A Fresh Take on Card Games

After watching several rounds of Valve’s new card game, Artifact, and playing a couple of my own, it’s clear that this game has the potential to become a standout in the genre. Designed by Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering, Artifact combines the complexity of Dota 2 with the strategic depth of card games. While it may seem intimidating at first, especially if you’re new to the genre, don’t let that deter you. In this article, we’ll explore the intricacies of Artifact and why it’s worth giving a try.

A Game Across Three Lanes

At its core, Artifact is a game that is played across three separate battlefields, each with its own health pools and positions. The game revolves around five heroes, each with their own color-coded affinities. Red heroes are stronger but have weaker abilities, blue heroes are weaker but have powerful spells, green heroes offer various stat buffs and creeps, and black heroes have mobility options and direct damage. The affinities play a crucial role in your strategy, as most cards require a matching color hero to be played in a specific lane.

The Challenge of Three Lanes

One of the biggest challenges new players will face in Artifact is managing the three-lane structure. Unlike other card games that focus on one lane, Artifact requires you to pay attention to all three lanes simultaneously. While this may seem overwhelming at first, it adds a strategic layer to the game. Every decision you make, from distributing your heroes to playing your cards, can have a significant impact on each fight. It’s a game that rewards careful planning and adaptability.

Fighting, Shopping, and Annihilation

The gameplay in Artifact consists of three phases for each lane: fighting, shopping, and annihilation. During the fighting phase, you’ll play cards to buff your heroes, summon creeps, and cast spells. Each hero has unique abilities and access to specific cards, adding depth and variety to your strategies. After the fighting phase, you’ll have the opportunity to shop for items using the gold you’ve earned by defeating units. These items can be game-changers and provide you with an advantage in future rounds. Finally, if you manage to destroy towers, you’ll move closer to winning the game. It’s a delicate balance of offense and defense, where every decision matters.

No Longer Free to Play

Unlike traditional card games that follow a free-to-play model, Artifact requires players to buy in. While this may seem like a barrier, it’s actually a way to ensure that rarity doesn’t equal power. Valve has made it clear that common cards can be just as powerful as rare ones. The game also incorporates elements of an economy, where players can buy and sell cards on the Steam marketplace. This creates a shared economy and allows players to trade cards, giving them more freedom to experiment with new strategies.

Polishing Up The Edges

Valve is treating Artifact as a serious endeavor, and it shows. The game offers a higher skill ceiling and a more intricate approach compared to other card games. While it may take some time to fully grasp the depth of the game, the learning process is part of the fun. Just like Dota 2, Artifact rewards experimentation and continuous learning. With closed beta on the horizon, it’s an exciting time for card game enthusiasts.


  1. Is Artifact suitable for beginners? While Artifact may seem complex at first, it’s designed to be accessible to both beginners and experienced card game players. With time and practice, anyone can become a skilled player.

  2. How do I get started with Artifact? When the closed beta launches, you’ll have the opportunity to join and experience the game for yourself. Keep an eye out for announcements and sign up to be one of the first to try it out.

  3. Will Artifact be available on multiple platforms? Yes, Artifact will be available on PC and Mac, allowing players to enjoy the game on their preferred platform.


Artifact offers a unique and refreshing take on the card game genre. With its innovative three-lane structure, deep gameplay mechanics, and player-driven economy, it’s poised to become a favorite among card game enthusiasts. Whether you’re a fan of Dota 2 or simply looking for a new card game experience, Artifact is definitely worth checking out. So, gather your heroes, build your deck, and get ready to embark on an exciting journey through the world of Artifact.