Deck Heroes, An In-Depth Review

8.5 TCG RATING
Gameplay: 8/10
Sounds: 7/10
Graphics: 9/10

Outstanding card art. | Addictive, fast game play. | Lots to do each day.

Combat might be too light on strategy for some.

iOS, Android, WindowsPhone

Free to Play / Freemium

December 29,2014

English

Check out our new Deck Heroes Strategy Guide right here for all the best hints, tips, tricks and hacks to get ahead in the game!

Deck Heroes is a new fantasy card battling game available on iOS and Android. It features an enjoyable experience tailored towards card collection, leveling, fusion and battling your way through the game’s single-player world as well as against other players’ decks in the Colosseum. Each battle takes 2-3 minutes at the most, making it easy to fit in a few quick games anywhere.

Combat

The battle screen, where you will be spending most of your time in combat!

Overview

Unlike many other card battle games available for tablets and mobile devices, Deck Heroes provides more strategy and interaction than simply sending in your cards to fight automatically with the outcome being revealed after a few combat animations and little to no player involvement. Even though your deck will only contain up to ten cards (the precise number depending on your Hero’s level), your deck is still shuffled and your starting hand drawn randomly. This means that you are not always able to play the strongest cards in the most ideal order, so you must think strategically about how best to send forth your units and navigate around whatever special abilities your opponent’s cards have.

Cards themselves usually have three distinct abilities that are unlocked depending on what level they have reached through enhancement and evolving, which is the now common “fusion” mechanic of infusing a card with weaker ones in order to give it experience points and level up in strength. Creating a deck with card abilities that work together is 50% of the strategy of this game – the other 50% being the order you summon your units to the playing field to take advantage of the attack order in combat resolution, and triggering heals and blocks at the most beneficial time.

Deck construction screen

Deck construction is quick and easy. You can have up to 10 cards in your deck.

Each deck also has a chosen Hero character that brings another set of abilities to the table, triggered after a certain amount of damage is taken by your cards collectively. These can often turn the tide of a battle, so it’s important to use the right Hero for your deck. You can enhance your Hero’s abilities further with Glory Points earned in the Trials arena.

The Four Factions

There are four distinct Factions in the game’s card pool: the Faen, elven forest beings, the Humans as knights and clerics, the Neanders who are tribal warriors and beasts and lastly the Mortii, dark dragons, demons and various undead denizens. Nothing will prevent you from mixing Factions during deck construction, but I found some of them do seem to work best when played purely on their own, such as the Faen’s habit of healing and boosting the health of other Faen.

The art style, world and characters of Deck Heroes is clearly very influenced by both World of Warcraft and Heroes of Might and Magic, yet it is some of the highest quality art I’ve seen in an Android card game. I cannot emphasize enough how fantastic the artwork is, and it is one of the biggest draws of the game for me personally. That said, there are some scantily-clad female characters which I tend to find a bit off-putting, but it is much milder than some of the other battle card games you can find out there.

Campaign map location

Each location provides a number of battles, each with three difficulty levels.

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Campaign

The single player campaign requires the player to travel through a range of locations, fighting and exploring along the way. Quest battles are sometimes more than just the usual fight to the death, too. In order to complete the higher difficulty version of each stage, you must attempt to complete the level with a unique goal such as not letting your Hero’s health fall below 90% or not letting more than one creature die during the battle. This adds a further dimension of strategy needed in order to win the levels of higher difficulty.

As the quests continue, the difficulty increases and you’ll find it necessary to change up your deck to meet the challenges of facing different deck types by navigating around their own strengths and weaknesses. Also, once per map a unique dungeon called a maze will appear. This offers an extra style of exploration resembling a simple board game. Moving along a set track of tiles with die rolls, different events trigger depending on the symbol you land on and you can find chests with slightly rarer cards than usual as you fight your way to the maze’s boss.

Home screen

The main screen links you to all of the different areas and features of the game.

Each day you log in, there is more than enough to do without ever needing to spend real cash. You can explore locations you have already completed up to five times a day, and each time you explore you are rewarded with gold, experience points, random card drops and also shards used to construct more valuable cards when you have a specific number of them. There are timed events throughout the day which make it worthwhile logging in to gain some free energy or see what’s come up in the newly refreshed Bazaar.

One other unique feature of the game is called ‘Remove Seal’. Here the player has the opportunity to unlock a powerful creature card “sealed” into the middle of a pentagram by sacrificing five different cards specifically required by that seal in order to release that creature. While those cards are destroyed in order to do this, it is definitely worth it to obtain the powerful 5-Star card within. I liked the thematic style of the mechanic and it really feels like you’re summoning a powerful entity by sacrificing smaller units to it.

Remove Seal feature

The Remove Seal feature is a unique way of obtaining extra rare cards.

In the Colosseum, your deck is pitted against others’ automatically rather than in a player-controlled duel. This has several advantages, however. It makes it fairly quick and easy to raise your rank and earn yourself some free gems to spend elsewhere. As you cannot select the order your cards are played in this mode, you’ll have to pay close attention to the construction of your deck and how well your cards work together using their special abilities.

While thankfully the game does not force any kind of Facebook or Twitter integration upon you, you’ll find that social interaction within the game is extremely limited. Friends are usually randomly added people in the game with whom you can send and receive small amounts of energy each day, but this can be helpful when you’re in need of a boost to keep playing.

Lastly, the music is of an extremely high quality, being composed of fantasy-tinged orchestral themes that suit the style of the game perfectly. However, playing for long periods can render some of the songs a little bit repetitive as they are looped constantly in the background. I turned off the music eventually because of this and just left on the combat sound effects instead.

Draw Creatures feature

Summoning new cards is fast and exciting.

Overall, the user interface is extremely well polished, giving the impression that the developers wanted to craft the most enjoyable player experience possible and this really shines through. Deck Heroes is clearly aiming for a spot in the market between more simple card battle games of the Asian variety and those games which require a bit more strategic engagement in combat. However, this game is not as complex as a fully fledged trading card game and thus may disappoint those looking for such a game. Nevertheless, Deck Heroes fulfills its purpose in being a simple time waster while also offering a broader experience which has seen me playing it even at home happily for several hours at a time until I’ve been forced to stop due to running out of energy.

Can you play this game without putting money into it? It’s certainly possible, by enhancing and evolving cards into their strongest possible forms, but some cards are always going to be out of reach unless you pay to acquire them in some way. Overall, I recommend this game as a much better alternative to most generic card battle games out there, but you’re not going to find anything too revolutionary here either. It’s the overall presentation and flow of the game that makes it feel rewarding – and ultimately quite a bit addictive. It’s no Magic: the Gathering or Hearthstone, but for those looking for something stylish and fast-paced, you could certainly do much worse than Deck Heroes.

For more screenshots, click here.

Also check out our new Deck Heroes Strategy Guide right here for all the best hints, tips, tricks and hacks to get ahead in the game!

What Else Do We Have on Deck Heroes? Read Next:

Deck Heroes Map Guide – Hints and Tips

How to Play Deck Heroes – Strategy Guide – Hints, Tips, and Tricks

Deck Heroes Screenshots

Games Like Deck Heroes

External: Deck Heroes Merchandise

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Zac Phoenix
Author: Zac Phoenix View all posts by
Zac Phoenix graduated with First Class Honors in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics and has been playing strategy card games since childhood. He has a keen interest in the underlying mechanics and player interactions of trading card games, as well as tabletop game design in the digital space. He also designs card games in his spare time.
  • Shawn Caplan

    Very addictive game.Haven’t found a better TCG for mobile devices than this one.Waiting r o see if Elder Scrolls makes a TCG game.Until then,Deck Heroes is on every chance i get time to play

    • Zac Phoenix

      Eagerly awaiting the Elder Scrolls CCG, too!! As soon as we know anything concrete, we’ll let you know!

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  • Joseph Kim

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    Clear Dungeon 3-1 with at least 1 Star and enter the referral code in Menu to claim a reward.

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  • cronical246 .

    Deck Heroes is good but has a lot of problems when it comes to power creep, most games after a while will be determined whether or not you have a 4 to 5 star on the field. What it needs is better balance between weaker and more powerful units.

  • John Smyth

    How does this game get such good ratings? It basically plays itself with virtually zero skill involved. Worst “ccg” ever.

    • ZacPhoenix

      Coming from a traditional TCG background, you’ll possibly be disappointed, as this type of game doesn’t play the same way. It’s more about managing your cards as units which gain XP and can level up and be trained to gain new abilities and effects. It’s not really a TCG/CCG-style game.

      • John Smyth

        I know, I played it for a while because it’s one of the best rated things on the store when searching for ccgs. It’s even called Deck Heroes, suggesting that it is in fact a real ccg for the ccg crowd. But instead it’s just another monster collecting game with all the stars and fusions.

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