Shadowverse is an anime-style digital collectible card game. It is produced and developed by Cygames, who also developed mobile games such as Rage of Bahamut and Granblue Fantasy. (So yes, you might see some familiar faces if you have played those games before, like these three!)
Shadowverse is available to download and play on iOS and Android devices. It is also available on Windows and Mac through Steam. It is free-to-play, but has optional in-app purchases.
Still not convinced? Don’t worry, there’s still a lot more to it!
Visuals and Sounds
Well, I might be biased here, but the first thing to mention of course is the anime art style!
The game has almost a thousand cards, 30 different leaders, as well as several card sleeves and emblems in the game. With different art styles made by various artists, there’s a lot to feast your eyes on as you play the game. You can change your deck sleeves and emblems (your in-game icon) to show off yourwaifus and husbandos favorite cards and characters, or just to suit the type of deck you are using. The visual and sound effects of most cards (especially Legendary-tier cards) are worth mentioning because of their entrance, attack, and death animation.
Another thing worth noting is the voice acting. All leaders and followers, as well as some spells and amulets, have various voice lines for different events happening in the game. By default, the text and voices in the game are in English, but if you prefer to hear seiyuus such as Rie Kugimiya and Tomokazu Sugita (and several others), you can switch the language to Japanese in the settings.
Gameplay and Mechanics
There are seven different classes to choose from, and all of them have different traits, themes, and archetypes. However, there is a ‘neutral’ set of cards which can be added to a deck of any class. Look for your preferred playstyle!
Gameplay-wise, you’ll have your usual card game battle. You have a board, you have your decks of cards, and you have your leader. You have 20 HP, and whoever is brought to 0 HP (or, more likely, concedes) loses. Cards (followers, spells, and amulets) require play points for them do be used, and you gain one play point for every turn, until you already have 10. For every turn as well, each player draws a card from his or her deck, and every play point used from the previous turn will be refreshed.
A player will be randomly chosen to be first, being able to start playing cards earlier. However, the player going second has some bonuses so that they won’t be disadvantaged, one of which is that they draw an extra card on their first turn.
(Yes, that is Ryu from Street Fighter, but we’ll get back to that later.)
A mechanic unique to Shadowverse is ‘Evolve’. By using evolve points on followers, they gain the ability to attack enemy followers right after they have been played (a.k.a. Rush), as well as a stat boost or an additional effect (or sometimes, both!). The player going first gets 2 evolve points, usable by turn 5, while the player going second gets 3 evolve points, usable by turn 4. It is a great mechanic which can turn the tides against the other player anytime during the game. It also neutralizes a bit of the first-turn player advantage.
To make a deck, you need cards. There are a lot of ways to get cards, but the simplest way is to get them from card packs. Card packs can be purchased from the shop for 100 rupees (in-game currency) or crystals (premium, paid currency), or you can receive them as log-in rewards, mission rewards, or Take Two rewards. Rupees and Take Two Tickets can also be acquired through similar means, while crystals are purchasable for real money in the shop.
Events and Collaborations
Occasionally, the game would have special events where you could get free, and/or limited edition stuff, from rupees and card packs, to card sleeves, emblems, or even alternate leaders for each class. One of the collabs that Shadowverse had was with Street Fighter V, allowing characters from the game, such as Ryu and Chun-Li, among others, to be used as the leaders instead of the default ones. They are still currently available in the in-game shop for 500 crystals each.
The most recent collaboration was with TYPE-MOON, which has just ended last October in line with the premiere of Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel I. presage flower. Some characters from the said movie were available for a limited time for 500 crystals each, along with a log-in event and special missions.
So that the game will not be stale, card expansions are released every three months, with the next one coming at the end of December. Expansions bring over a hundred new cards for all the classes, giving them new tools to improve or change their decks, or bringing along entirely new archetypes.
But of course, out of the hundreds of cards that would be released during these expansions, there will always be cards or decks which are a lot stronger than what the developers have expected. However, Cygames has introduced balance changes occurring at the end of each month, wherein they nerf the cards which have been prevalent in decks throughout the month (weakening the cards by adjusting their costs, stats or changing their effects entirely), accompanied with statistics and their reasoning as to why they nerfed those cards.
The game is pretty fair to new and free-to-play players, as Cygames is usually pretty generous when it comes to giving free stuff. For one, right after you complete the tutorial, you will receive 10 card packs from each expansion, 3 Take Two tickets, and many more through beginner missions and single player rewards. This allows new players to get enough cards to make a decent deck right from the start.
That’s only a few things to look out for if you’re interested, but you’ll definitely learn and enjoy a lot more if you play the game and try it yourself!