By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Infinity Wars is a CCG that does something that pretty much no other trading card game I’ve played has offered: Trading! Yes, in Infinity Wars you can trade cards with other players [at least cards that aren’t soulbound], and I think that’s magnificent. I fell off the bandwagon though, when “Shrine” stopped working. That and being overwhelmed by reviews to write, it’s hard for me to stick to more than one or two games at a time. But I finally get to come back to it and check out the “Reborn” patch, which made some pretty big changes to the look and feel of the game! Now, I’ll grant you, the gameplay has not changed. If you’re coming back and worried that the core rules/makeup of the game are going to be different, you’ll be delighted to know that they are not! There are more cards, and more decks/ways to play the game, but the game itself as a whole is still very much the same. For those unfamiliar with Infinity Wars at all, I’ll be sure to give you a full rundown of the gameplay as well as the recent changes.
Infinity Wars is a fully animated CCG from Lightmare Studios, which offers a few unique ideas among the saturated landscape of online card games. One of the biggest being “it is not a Hearthstone clone”. Repeat not. In order to win a game, you have to bring your opponent’s fortress health to zero, or their morale, both starting at 100. Deckbuilding is different as well: You have a series of factions, each with their own cards, unique characters, and traits that make them special. The game uses a “purity” system to decide what cards you can use in your deck. Your deck has three commanders, each of them with a “Purity” rating on the left top of the card. You can have up to three purity, so if one of your commanders has two in a faction, you can only have one of a different faction. You still will have three commanders… just two of them will be the same faction [unless it has three purity for some reason. Then you just have three cards from that faction]. They don’t have to be uniques, either. You can use any creature card that you’d like. And since those cards are “already in play,” you can cast them from that spot, right onto the battlefield. That’s not the only unique portion of this game either.
Infinity Wars also uses a two-lane system, similar to what was ultimately used in Elder Scrolls Legends. The board is split into sections: You have the Support Zone [where new permanents are released to initially], and from there you can place them in your Assault or Defense Zones the next turn. Players also take their turns simultaneously, so when both players have pressed the “Done” button, things start happening! But one of you will have initiative, which switches every turn. Using that initiative is crucial to success so you can make sure the abilities you want to pop will go at the right time, and not be wasted/killed. Creatures that are in the “Assault” zone will automatically attack every turn, and the ones in the “Defense” zone will wait for your opponent to attack. The order that they are in on that zone matters too though! Seeing what order theirs are in/yours are in is imperative to the strategy of this game. Killing creatures lowers their morale, and directly attacking their fortress will lower the health of said fortress. So there are a variety of ways to play, and simply front-loading creatures into the assault zone will not guarantee you success. You really have to consider a variety of things, and do it pretty fast! Personally, I prefer to play control decks, where I slow the game down to a pace that suits me, until the point of no return happens, and I win – allowing my opponent minimal chance to turn the tide. Because you know, I’m awful.
But what all has changed in Infinity Wars: Reborn? Is it worth it? Is it interesting enough to come back and play again? Well, yes and no. If you didn’t like the gameplay, that hasn’t changed enough to push or pull someone to or fro. The new campaign system is a lot more fun though and is a great way to unlock decks of cards that while not OP, will show you what sort of mechanics work well together in a deck of that faction. So it’s a good idea to play the campaign for those. Also, the campaign teaches you all aspects of playing the game, what cards do, how game mechanics function, et cetera. The first chapter of it definitely is to help you learn the game, but from there you can progress and try playing as other factions to unlock the decks that you are most interested in getting cards from. In addition to the chapters that already existed in the game, they added a chapter for Sleepers of Avarrach and Descendants of the Dragon, which completing these will give you a deck for both.
“But Jason! These decks are worthless! You can’t do anything with those deck because they aren’t strong enough for online competitive play!” I can just hear the mashing of keys now. But I have an answer! “Stop being such an elitist! They have a purpose!” There’s a PVP Mode now that caters to new players who want to really get into the game and feel how it is with other people that are relatively new.
If you don’t have a solid constructed deck, and would like to get into the game, you can play the “Fixed Deck” mode, where you can only utilize pre-made decks against other players. This is another great way to get new players to really understanding the game without having to be upset that their deck sucks simply because other players are leagues ahead of them. And that’s a crippling thing to have to deal with in a CCG, and can ultimately drive players away. The other big complaint I always hear is “There are too many OP cards!” and sure, there are tons of really powerful cards in Infinity Wars. But are any of them unbeatable? No, duh. Every card game has ludicrous combos and ways to win. It’s up to you to find the one that works best for you!
Still One of the Best Card Games: 4/5 [Great]
There were not a huge pile of changes for Infinity Wars: Reborn. No new factions that I saw, no gigantic playstyle/gameplay updates. The purpose of this update to me seems to be focused on new players, which I think is the right idea. The people who already play it know how to play, and are focused on getting better. And sure, a new faction would’ve been great, but they have eight right now. To add more would probably unbalance their delicate eco-system. The Star Trek factions do not count, as they are not legal in any ranked format that I’m familiar with. But it was fun to play around with them. They do lots of tournaments, they have a pretty strong community and it is easily one of the most unique and fun card games that I’ve ever played online. It’s more interesting to me than Hearthstone, Runescape Legends, you name it. They’ve built a fun world, every card is animated, the voice acting is a little… It’s good, mostly… but far and away, what makes this game shine is the community and the gameplay. Being able to trade cards really helps people get into the game, if you can find players willing to help you build the deck you want to really get moving. I was fortunate when I came to IW, since I had friends who had been playing since early beta. I was able to build my vaunted control deck, and immediately took to ranked. If you left the game because you were bored, you might not find this update to your liking, but if you need/want a new card game that’s going to offer endless tactical possibilities and isn’t based off of an established IP, this is going to really do the trick. Infinity Wars: Reborn rekindled my love of an already great card game. It reminded me that everyone starts somewhere. Card games can be very hard to get into, and they’re really pulling out all of the stops to help build their audience. It’s got their Arena mode, it’s got puzzles, and lots of ways to be rewarded for gameplay. It’s not to be missed!