Developed by former Blizzard developer Peter Hu and former Google X senior software engineer Paxton Mason as Rhino Games, Mythgard is an intriguing and surprisingly well designed CCG with tons of potential already showing in its current state. Find out what we thought of the current build.
Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve been putting my daily sessions of Hearthstone with my friends on hold as of late. Not because I don’t “enjoy” absolutely getting my head bounced off a table as I’m overwhelmed by clearly more advanced decks than my own. Rather, I’ve been putting a couple of hours a day into a currently in Early Access title by the name of Mythgard.
Haven’t heard of it? Don’t feel bad, I didn’t either until I stumbled across it while digging through press kits that we receive on a daily basis. Upon running our first article about the game, I couldn’t help but reach out to the PR team and see about getting my hands on the game. To put it bluntly, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as a fan of TCGs and Deck Builder titles, as this one truly stands out among its peers.
For years, I’ve put plenty of time into both The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Hearthstone, and various other mobile and PC based games such as this. For years, I’ve also found a lack of staying power due to how closely interweaved one another is. That’s where Mythgard comes into play. It doesn’t copy and paste the mechanics we’ve seen before. Sure, you will place cards on the field of play, you will draw cards, and you will use mana to play said cards, but the underlying mechanics are actually quite different than any I’ve seen before.
Getting to know Mythgard
Mythgard, before we dive deep into gameplay mechanics, is a CCG by every means of the word. You’ll play through a very well thought out and voiced over storyline, one that gives every card you use a rather deep meaning compared to a few mere sentences on the bottom of the card, and get to truly know what the cards themselves actually are.
To put it bluntly, Mythgard is a world torn apart in chaos. Mythical creatures live, clans of Valkyries, Vampires, and the likes actually do-exist. There’s even a card that takes a jab at the Greek minotaur itself – the Minitaur. Unlike most games of this kind, Mythgard has a rather deep and meaningful story that hinges on vengeance, self-preservation, and bonds that have yet to be made.
In this world, vampires, humans, valkyries, and other mythological creatures exist and none of them, as I’ve stated, get along all that well. Angels themselves frown upon those below them, smiting any they see unfit or unholy by any means while there are some, just a few, that keep to themselves.
As the story before you begins to unfolds, you’re met with some of the most intriguing dialogue I’ve yet seen in a game such as this. All of its voice acted, combat and story scenarios alike. Each one unfolds in immaculate detail, chronicling the adventures in the first ‘season’ between the Valkyries and a wanderer, returned from her own metaphorical Hell.
The best part? Every fight your characters will get into themselves, plays out as a part of the story, using CCG mechanics to fuel their combat scenarios. An interesting approach indeed. But how they work, is quite different than what you’ll experience in Magic the Gathering, Hearthstone, or even The Elder Scrolls: Legends.
Getting to understand the basics of Mythgard and how it plays
Like every CCG on the market, every game has its own unique set of rules and how a match starts out before the ball gets rolling. Just like Magic the Gathering, Hearthstone, and The Elder Scrolls: Legends – you will have a life pool that must be depleted while maintaining control of the field of play.
Just like any CCG or TCG on the market, you’ll find that both players have opposing lanes, each allowing up to seven cards to be placed on the field. Along with these seven cards, extras can be played such as enchantments, each one allowing players to optimize their play of field to their advantage. Starting out, players are dealt with an opening hand of five cards total, with a sixth being drawn during a players turn – varying based on whether it’s a story mission or an online opponent.
Once your turn begins, like any game, you have the option to play a card, but there’s a cost. In order to play a card and grow your mana pull, you’ll need to burn a card. Each card is worth a single mana stone, the type of mana it is depending on the card that is burnt. For example, red cards, they’ll result in red mana, blue will result in blue, orange will produce orange, and so forth.
Each card will, just like in Magic the Gathering, require a specified amount of a specific mana type, allowing it to only be played with that mana type if the card requires that mana type only can be met. Of course, other mana shards can be used to pay the grey mana cost while others can be used to pay for the element the card requires in order to be played.
Once cards are in play, you’ll find that you can place a card in one of the seven spots on your lane. Cards on these lanes can be automatically blocked depending on where your opponent places their card on the field of play. Cards can only attack and or block an opponents card if they are diagonally aligned with one another.
Due to this being a digital CCG, one would be right to assume that every card comes with their own unique abilities. Vampires, for example, are great at stealing life, building up their player’s health while unleashing extremely lethal blows to their lane, allowing them to sustain their lane and their health pool while on the go.
Valkyries, for example, are filled to the brim with synergy when played together. For example, if you team up a Stormdottir’s Chosen while you have several other Valkyries on the field, a Demolition Speedway, and have the Stormdottir’s Chosen on the Speedway? You’ll quickly find the Stormdottir’s Chosen has been receiving numerous +1/+1 buffs to her due to her fallen sisters.
Place a Road Queen into that mix and things can get extremely ugly rather quickly. On the other hand, you can play red, maximizing your ability to deal massive damage with spells like Ignition while placing powerful Wyvern’s on the field, allowing them to deal lethal blows to your opponent’s lanes in a single swoop while using vampires to keep your health pool up after being attacked.
Along with the combat mechanics you’ve just read about comes the ability to move your minions around the board over time. Each turn, a minion can move a single spot unless they have abilities that allow them – like the wyvern that can move to any spot on the map. However, once you do this, they can’t enter combat for that turn.
Just like playing a card fresh from your hand, you’ll find them locked into a ‘summoning sickness’ type of state that places them out of play for their turn. While they will still block an opposing attacker, don’t expect them to do much more from there. After that, it’s cleansing and repeat for those looking into how easy the game is to learn.
Deck Building is hard, but it’s a worthwhile experience
One of the hardest parts about any CCG or TCG is going to be the less apparent part of the game. Building your very own deck to play. Due to the fact this is a story-driven game and one where you will want to unlock stuff as you go, you’ll find that playing the story mode and PvE battles are going to be the way to go for just a little while longer once you complete the currently existing story sections.
As you do progress, you’ll be able to buy boosters, from there, you can earn the cards you need in order to keep your experience going. But, now that we’re here, we need to talk about it in the meantime. As like any other game of this type, you need to consider how you want to play, what kind of synergy you want in your deck.
For me, I’ve decided to stick with the vampire types and the Valkyries. I love their cards, and thus, I’ve found a balance in how they play, optimizing for cards that allow me to get them out quickly, flooding the playing field with what they have to offer, and going from there. Often times using Life Steal, Alpha Strike, and Rush (attack first) to my advantage.
But there’s an exception to what I’ve stated. Everyone plays differently and you will find that each element reflects their type of play. Red is for those who want to hit hard, fast, and ensure that the battlefield is always clear and at their advantage while blue will do its best to manipulate the playing field and tilt the odds in its favor.
Green is about building its strength, allowing itself to grow strong, buffing its cards at every turn while giving off some great defensive capabilities while yellow is just the opposite. It’s about growing ‘tokens’ and reinforcing itself with low-cost cards will getting heavy hitters on the field.
Regardless of how you play, paying attention to abilities such as Rush, Life Steal, Alpha Strike and the drag down mechanic on a card, allowing it to use specific abilities during its turn.
The art and music are more than appealing
One of the things I love about any card game out there is going to be its art. The second thing is that if they are digital, I can honestly say I can get behind the music if it’s good and properly done, which is where Mythgard comes into play. Those that enjoy art from card games such as Battletech and Magic the Gathering won’t be disappointed by any means.
The score for Mythgard is just as good, accenting itself as an epic of its own, oftentimes going between orchestrated pieces to softly synthesized instruments that are slightly drowned out by the higher pitch instruments in use. Honestly, I hope for more of it and I really do hope to see new musical arrangements debut in the later chapters of the game.
Even while there’s only one, it’s good, it’s very good and the art behind every card, every set piece and every bit of the game itself, is just as equally good if not better. But even in its current state, Mythgard is beautiful and actually easy on the eyes. It’s not super flashy, flamboyant, and colorful like Hearthstone, Gwent or The Elder Scrolls: Legends.
Even now, it’s a promising game and it only promises to get even bigger and better with age
Even in its current state, I could write you a novel on how amazingly well designed Mythgard is and how unique it actually plays, but I won’t. Rather, I’ll close it with saying this. It’s a game that promises to deliver, that promises more than it already promises in its current state.
It’s a game that is truly a piece of art in the making and it already looks like it’ll be a masterpiece once production and development of the game is done. While it will be free-to-play, the chapters themselves are promising and the story is even more so as we explore the adventures of Percy and Ingrid as tensions between the factions arise and an ancient evil seeks a rise to power.
But even now, in its early stage of development, it’s playable, it’s functional, and honestly – it’s got an easy point of entry that doesn’t just overwhelm you with microtransactions or forces you to pay in order to keep on playing unlike Hearthstone or various other titles on the market. If that’s the way it’ll stay, this game will surely put some heat on its competitor titles thanks to cross-play features that are expected to be available when the game fully launches later this year.
Our preview is based upon an early access build of the game that was provided to us by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.