Recently, many Hearthstone players expressed an interest in Gods Unchained. Though many mechanics of the game will likely be familiar to veteran CCG players, we wanted to write a specific discussion piece for those of you who enter the world of Gods Unchained with a plethora of card-slinging experience already under their belt. 

What makes this game different from the rest in the field and which aspects of it are going to be the most interesting to you? Read on to find out!

The mana system

Speaking as a veteran Hearthstone player, this is perhaps the most interesting aspect from a gameplay perspective for me. 

It’s become pretty clear over the years that tempo is the governing gameplay element in Hearthstone, and basically any card game which has the same sort of guaranteed flat mana increase turn after turn – instead of the higher-variance system popularized by Magic: the Gathering where your resources are essentially tied to card draw, and mana screw or mana flood decides a non-insignificant portion of your games. 

Basically, the “Hearthstone model”, if you can call it that, requires expensive cards to be brutally effective the moment they’re played, or they are essentially useless in a constructed environment because putting them in battle eats up so much of your time, something which you cannot afford if you’re behind on tempo and could use better if you’re ahead.

Gods Unchained’s solution to this conundrum is the mana lock system, an interesting variation on the flat increments which smooths out the power spikes and creates additional decision points over the course of a match. 

Basically, the resource ramp goes as you’d expect until turn five, but successive mana gems from then on have multiple locks on them, taking more than just a single turn to become available. Your sixth mana gem will therefore be only be accessible on the seventh turn and the seventh on turn nine, allowing more time for middlegame back-and-forth

The ramping process slows down even further from then on, with three mana locks on your eighth gem and four on the ninth, meaning you’ll only have access to them on turns twelve and sixteen respectively.

What does this mean from a gameplay perspective? It gives your big bombs a better chance to shine, ensuring they aren’t immediately eclipsed by something even better on the very next turn. It also means that late-game cards can truly be spectacularly powerful. 

On the other end of the spectrum, the mana lock system ensures that even the slower decks will have to play early-game minions; and if they’re viable tools across every archetype, it means their power level doesn’t have to be capped the same way it has to be in a game like Hearthstone. (Veteran players will remember how insane Undertaker used to be. Well, check out Broken Harvester, for instance!) 

Basically, you won’t be swept off the board in the early game by aggro and you can’t simply get wiped by an AoE for good later by control decks, ensuring more back-and-forth matches with many added decision points. You can find more details about the game’s mana system here.

The unique, blockchain-based economy

Of course, this is the biggest selling point of the game, and the aspect which attracted so many non-CCG players to it in the first place, is its unique take on the relationship between developers and players. 

In a climate where everything you own is just a license and companies can change or outright shut it all down on a whim, you can appreciate a commitment and a technological guarantee to keep your collection even if you are otherwise uninterested in the crypto aspect of it all. 

For the uninitiated, Gods Unchained’s blockchain-based technology essentially ensures that every individual card is unique with a special identification number, and the ones you purchased are yours forever, without any way for the developers to change or destroy their value (barring an initial balance adjustment period after their release). 

No trade-locks will wreck the economy, you are not tied to a platform, the rarity numbers are real and trackable – this is what true ownership looks like. This also allows for nifty little things like streamer-signed individual cards and the like, which is pretty awesome. 

*sample only – not representative of final version

You can find more details about it here.

The plentiful game modes and card mechanics

Let’s face it: Hearthstone keeps things ridiculously simple. Over five years after its release, stuff like Twinspell is considered groundbreaking innovation and a selling point for a new set. 

It took years to figure out the true power levels of Charge. Many other card games in the space have much more interesting attributes to play around with, and Gods Unchained is no exception. 

I’ve really enjoyed mathing out Burn (basically the opposite of Regen, dealing damage to minions at the end of every turn, an attribute which can be cast on the opponent’s minions and employed in many other capacities).

Burn: long-term impact

It’s also nice to see multiple kinds of protection mechanics (basically, the difference between Protected and Ward revolves around spells and direct damage). 

With this being used as a baseline, there’s going to be a great variety of interesting card text tools to look forward to later down the line.

Ward: glows blue, while Protect: shines gold

Veteran card game players will also feel right at home with the faction and card design’s many nods to the lessons learned by other entries in the genre and elements which feel familiar yet fresh in Gods Unchained’s unique systems. 

In many cases, the little bells and whistles paint them in an entirely new light and add a completely different gameplay experience. 

For instance, the ability to choose your God power before each match is a very interesting way to create added counterplay and metagaming options while also changing up the way the different games play out as well. This flexibility also enables the developers to create God powers which are more powerful than what you would normally see in Hearthstone or other similar games.

So what are you waiting for? With the full release just around the corner, there has never been a better time to check out Gods Unchained than now. 

More reading:

Credit – Luci Kelemen