Deck Building and Strategy in ArmaGallant: Decks of Destiny

ArmaGallant: Decks of Destiny
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I bring to you another great Real Time Strategy game, but this time units and battles are controlled using card decks to conquer the enemy. The game, ArmaGallant, allows players to build a deck and battle other players in 1v1 or 2v2 battles or against the AI.

It’s a MOBA style game that has players battling each other in an arena to capture specified points. Those victorious in battle unlock new cards and earn gold to improve their decks, taking their game to the next level. It takes a strategy to beat your opponent, but it’s your choice on how to play. Build your deck, find your battle, and dominate the arena in ArmaGallant using strategy and personalized card gameplay.

ArmaGallant: Decks of Destiny
Setting up your deck.

When entering the world of ArmaGallant, which is being released as PlayStation 4 exclusive for now, you will find that because you build your own deck, it really personalizes gameplay. There are aspects of ArmaGallant that all players must know, which is covered in a tutorial, but beyond this it’s how players use cards that determine success. In the tutorial players will learn about how to control units, select and move, use of the cards, mana requirements, enemies, and how to capture points. Along with the tutorial, the game cues players when an opponent captures a vision point or monolith, or even when your units are under attack. Decks are only covered briefly, but a player can learn how to use units and spells appropriately through battles, whether its practice AI battles or against a real player.  Once you get into the main game, it’s a fun and an exciting challenge.

Central to the game is the deck. A deck includes one champion, units, and magic cards. How many of each you have is up to your play style, whether you want to have more units for brute combat, pummel your opponent with spells, or a balance of the two. Spell cards will be a necessity in order to have an edge in the game but you also require units. The units used depend on the number and type available, and your game style. Part of deck building is to find cards that complement both the units and spell cards, which also depends on your champion and strategy for battle.

Card unlocks. As a player completes battles more cards become available.

As you play, different and stronger units become available, including ones that increase damage or give better spells to aid allies or take out enemies. For the units, there are many different types to choose from. You can have flying, bulwark, spell attuned, or ambush units. Bulwarks have higher damage, these include cards like the Mountain Cyclops, while ambush units are good for stealth like the Squever. Some like the Mountain Genie can reduce the cost of random spell cards. Units also have a variety of attacks including ranged and melee.

The magic cards in a deck have various effects including creating areas, dealing damage, or healing. For example, the meteor spell targets an area with a meteor impact dealing large damage to opponents in range. Healing salve heals allies, while rain will create an area for allies and provides vision.

ArmaGallant: Decks of Destiny
Engaging in the fast paced combat of the game.

In order to use both unit or spell cards a player must have the required mana. Cards have mana costs on them and the higher the card the more mana is required to use them. This is similar to games like Hearthstone, which also has a player build a deck with heroes and spell cards. A deck also must contain twenty cards. When building your deck the game will not allow you to save a deck unless it has twenty cards.

Building your deck is where the strategy comes into play, knowing which cards to use to win the battle. Part of this knowing is learning about each card and its own unique aspects, whether it is damage or works with spells, the card cost, health, and how it attacks. Looking at this game from a card based strategy game perspective, it works well. Units and spells accompany each other and it doesn’t take long to get the required mana.

ArmaGallant: Decks of Destiny
Mountain Genies at a vision point.

One thing I liked was that cards become available quickly, making the game fast paced and not boring. That brings up another point; it’s a fast paced game. Once opponents attack, all units in the vicinity attack and a player must take out the enemy before they do.  The map monoliths and vision points are placed in various locations and away from spawn points. To control the map, player units must capture the points and defend them, which can lead to units being spread across the map. I had the problem early on of having too many units engaged with opponents at multiple monoliths.  With the pace of the game it can become a problem, especially if your deck isn’t up to the challenge.  However, I found this to be a good way to learn proper techniques and choose cards based on how I played or wanted to play.

Because of the challenge and strategy aspect of ArmaGallant, it would be good for experienced players and could be great for competition and eSports. For those less experienced, like myself, at MOBA type games I would recommend ArmaGallant for it’s level of challenge but easy to follow gameplay. In addition to the gameplay being easy to follow, once you begin to learn the cards and begin building good decks it is a fun game. Match up with different opponents with different game styles and the game gives enough challenge to not get boring. Even the practice AI is challenging.

ArmaGallant: Decks of Destiny
Capturing a Monolith.

As for the gameplay itself, it’s straightforward except for the strategy part. Players select units, individual or grouped, and click where you want to move them. Adding more units is easy, select the card and confirm its use. The unit will then spawn at a spawn location. To know more about each unit, cards have detailed information about attack rating, health, movement speed, and description. This also goes for spell cards. Laid out prior to beginning a battle, the objective is to capture monoliths and the contested vision points where opponent units will fight for control. Crystals also spawn that can be captured, which adds to experience and gold. To win, the team left at the end is victorious. The team that loses all health loses the battle. It’s a fairly simple gameplay, you just need to know how the cards work and which to use against the opponent.

ArmaGallant: Decks of Destiny
Winning battles and doing quests can provide gold to purchase card packs from the card merchant.

As stated before, ArmaGallant is a strategy game and most of the gameplay goes into moving your units to take control of the arena, battle opponents using units and spells, and taking advantage of the environment. Around the map there are areas with no vision that can hide units from the enemy, or your units won’t be able to see an enemy. This helps with ambush units but can work to your overall strategy. Still, the point of the battles is to keep control of monoliths and vision points, or take them from the enemy.

Once a battle is finished, experience points and gold are rewarded. Gold can be used toward new decks. Cards are also unlocked as battles are played. One other thing that adds to the game and increases gold is quests. Complete quests and earn better cards and decks.

The game units are fantasy characters with each card having its own specific graphic and accompanying 3D game character. In the game, the graphics and models are very well done with animations to show capturing points and battling opponents. As with other magic fantasy games, there are lots of magical graphics and effects to add to the game’s ambiance. Accompanying the fantasy theme is the music that boosts the gameplay, has an inspirational tone, and is made up of drums and instrumentals.

With good deck building and unit and spell card selection options, ArmaGallant is a fun and quite unique RTS game for the PlayStation 4. It’s also is a great addition to the MOBA genre of games, and may one day become an eSport contender.

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