Valve’s new CCG Artifact will come to mobile in 2019; will not be free-to-play

By Joe Robinson 09 Mar 2018 0

Our new friends over at PCGamesN were lucky enough to attend a meeting with Valve last night regarding their upcoming CCG Artifact. There’s good news, and there’s bad news:

The good news is; the game is definitely coming to both Android and iOS devices.

The bad news; it won’t be till mid-2019!

Which sucks, because PC gamers will be getting their hands on it by the end of this year. In fact, the game will likely have already had its first $1 million tournament before it even launches onto handheld devices.

So, what else do we know?

The game will feature 280 cards and 44 heroes, with matches played across three lanes. Artifact is being designed in collaboration with Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield and seems to be quite a remarkable translation of the MOBA into a card game.

Each of the three boards represents one of the lanes in DOTA 2, and each player bust try to destroy the other’s Tower using a combination of heroes and creeps (the latter, we imagine, come from the card pool since Heroes are mentioned as a separate thing). You reportedly have five heroes to assign to lanes, but once your tower has fallen you’ve lost that lane. Lose two towers, and you’ve lost the game, although once a tower falls it is replaced by an ‘Ancient’, which has more health. If your opponent defeats the ancient, they then win the game anyway without having to go after your other towers.

PCGN’s Ali Jones has written up a more in-depth analysis on how the game plays out and what the potential strategies and implications are there, we highly suggest you give it a read. The game gets more complex with gold, loot and items, board-specific mana... are we sure this is a card game?


Beyond that, the most crucial factoid to come out of the meeting was the Artifact will not be free-to-play, unlike most other competitive CCGs on the market. Even Faeria, which started off as a premium game during its early stages switched over to F2P for release.

It’s a bold move, and if anyone would attempt it would probably be Valve. Cards will be purchasable via a marketplace, and the intent is to try and reward player investment. Apparently buying and opening a new pack should feel like a “rent payment”. There was also mention of specific types of purchases being tied to specific games modes like draft and sealed decks.

The only other info relevant to mobile gamers specifically is that Artifact will still be using the Source 2 engine when it comes to iOS/Android. This engine hasn’t been used in a game since DOTA 2 migrated over in 2015 and Artifact will be the first game to use this engine on mobile devices. We imagine this may account somewhat for the delayed released as it’s an unproven entity on tablets and phones. Android especially, with its diverse hardware pool, might prove especially difficult when it comes to porting.

There may be more bits and pieces that will emerge about the game over the weekend, so we’ll keep you updated if we hear anything more about the mobile versions specifically.

Are you interested by Artifact? Think it’ll be able to take on Hearthstone? Let us know in the comments!



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