Top 5 best free card games online
Duelyst is essentially a combination of Hearthstone and Final Fantasy Tactics. The combat and card mechanics are extremely similar to Hearthstone, but you summon your units onto a five-by-nine grid where they can move around each turn. It’s a simple game to learn with a massive amount of choice and decision-making spurred by its board. It also has an interesting ‘replace’ mechanic that lets you mulligan one card from your hand every turn which, when coupled with its 39 card decks and allowing three of each card, makes drawing what you want a lot more consistent.
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2. The Elder Scrolls: Legends
The Elder Scrolls: Legends takes one big step toward Magic: The Gathering from Hearthstone. It allows you to mix cards from up to two of its factions, but still keeps Hearthstone’s auto-increasing mana. It also uses similar damage and combat mechanics to Hearthstone, allowing you to choose your attack targets and having minions keep damage taken. But Legends separates its playing field into two lanes that rarely interact with each other, and one of which protects minions played there for a turn. It also has a rune system that lets you draw a free card for every five health you lose, making it important to plan carefully when you are deciding to deal damage to your opponent.
From the same developer of The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Eternal is kind of the opposite—it takes one big step toward Hearthstone from Magic: The Gathering. It looks and feels a lot like Hearthstone in practice, but brings back things like ‘instant’ cards that can be played during your opponent’s turn, mana cards with specific colors for each faction, decks with any number of factions mixed, and declaring which of your minions will attack and then letting your opponent choose their own blockers. The key here is Eternal has managed to make all these things quicker and more satisfying than most other digital CCGs that try them, not sacrificing depth for accessibility. It also has one of my favorite Draft modes of any game on this list, having you draft a deck from four card packs that you keep for your collection after the fact.
4. Hex: Shards of Fate
Hex: Shards of Fate feels a lot like someone said “what would Magic: The Gathering look like if it was designed to be digital from the start?” With a few exceptions, it plays exactly like Magic, but has a much better client and play experience than any official digital Magic game—making it a better choice for Magic fans than any of them, thus their exclusion from this list. It also does some cool things that paper Magic can’t with persistent buffs, copying cards, and transforming cards. It likely has the highest cost of any game on this list, mostly requiring you to trade on its marketplace to get PvP cards without spending real money, but its PvE campaign is shockingly deep and a huge amount of fun on its own.
5. Infinity Wars
Infinity Wars was by far the most requested game when I wrote a much shorter version of this list two years ago. It’s a game with familiar combat mechanics to Hearthstone but the added depth of being able to swap your units around in different zones—so you could change the order the units in your offensive zone attack in, or swap a stronger unit to your defensive zone if your opponent is about to pull out something big. It’s also a faster paced CCG as players take their turns simultaneously, meaning you’ll do less waiting around as the rope burns down. To be frank, the voice acting in this game is really bad, but the art style and theme itself is a cool blend of sci-fi and fantasy.