If you ask any gamer to name their favorite trading card game, odds are they’ll say Magic The Gathering, Pokemon, or possibly Yu-Gi-Oh. All three have multiple physical and digital versions to choose from, and all of them are worthy finalists for any best-of list out there.
What about card games outside of those three? In the digital world, Hearthstone stands as an equal with the big three of the physical card world. These four TCGs can give you hundreds of hours of play. But what other card games are worth playing in the digital realm? Well, we’ve gathered up five of the best trading card games that you may not have heard of. Each one brings its own unique style and mechanics to the table (pun intended), giving you new challenges that you won’t get in the Big Four. So get ready to shuffle your deck, learn new strategies, and conquer new foes in our top 5 digital trading card games to try in 2021.
- Developer: CD Projekt RED
- Release Date: October 25, 2016
- Platform(s): PC, Android, iOS
Pick a faction, each with its own champion and playstyle. Build your deck from hundreds of cards. Each champion, beasts, and other cards are all pulled straight from the lore of the Witcher universe. Place your cards wisely in the melee and ranged rows of the battlefield. It’ll take knowledge of the combos and synergies between cards to rule the field of battle and vanquish your foe.
- Developer: Shiny Shoe
- Release Date: May 21, 2020
- Platform(s): PC
As the name implies, the battlefield of this roguelike deck builder (check out our review here) is a train headed to the heart of hell. With a vertical playing field, the player must defend the pyre located on the fourth floor from the beasts attacking the train. At each stop along the tracks, players can adjust their deck, restore some health to their Pyre, and upgrade their champion. Can you build a deck that can make it all the way to the heart of hell?
- Developer: Abrakam
- Release Date: March 8, 2017
- Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
When you play a land card in Faeria you aren’t simply playing a resource card, you’re actually creating the battlefield. As you play each land card – prairie, mountain, forest, desert, or lake, you are forging your path to your opponent. Whether you make a beeline for your opponent or try to maintain control of the power wells for extra resources, the layout of the map is just as important as the cards in your deck.
- Developer: Mega Crit Games
- Release Date: November 14, 2017
- Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android
Most, but not all, trading card games focus on 1v1 duels where both players (human or AI alike) bring their deck to the table, with the goal of obliterating their opponent. In Slay the Spire there’s only one deck, and you have to build it as you play. It’s you against room after room of monsters, with some rest stops, card vendors, and secret areas thrown in. Pick your path across the map, weighing risk vs reward for each stop along the way to each boss battle. Playing too loose or too tight will leave you unprepared for your final fight.
- Developer: 1939 Games
- Release Date: April 12, 2019
- Platform(s): PC
Put away your dragons and magic wands. In KARDS – The WWII Card Game you’ll be bringing tanks and planes as you take the side of one of five superpowers from the WWII era. Each nation takes to the battlefield with its own strengths and weaknesses based on real-world traits. The strategy goes beyond simple attack and defense. Will you build your forces around air superiority, plan a ground attack based on sheer numbers, or dig in and protect your homeland in a war of attrition? The choice is yours in KARDS.