If you can imagine, I’m even less of a pro in many card games than in Overwatch and League. The issue, however, is that it isn’t a deterrent — and that’s fine. The margin for error in these games is just as good a feeling as topdecking (drawing the best card from your deck for that situation). It’s silly, no one denies it, that the shows and cinematics portray the games in an extremely over-the-top fashion, but the games themselves harbor quiet and introspective play that requires a huge amount of careful attention and luck.
Something every card game has in common is the opening of card packs. All varying shapes and sizes, cards and card packs are, together, part of the most exciting aspect of card games: testing your luck. From Hearthstone to Yu-Gi-Oh, the chance of opening something that you desperately need to complete a set or want to have is the largest part of the industry, but also the hardest obstacle for newcomers: Shelling out money in order to actually obtain the cards — I’ll go into how to assuage this later. Understanding this makes the hobby seem odd: Why pay money to continue to do something you love ? With ban lists and rotations, your favorite deck is guaranteed to be snuffed out someday. But being able to adapt to change and take these matters into your hand (Pun intended), it’s easier to swallow. These games are just and fluid as they are rigid; sometimes there’s room for substitution and others, if it can’t be done a certain way, it can’t be done at all. What matters, ultimately, is up to your discretion and reasoning.
With a lot of these games, there’s really no way to get over the paywall. For most card games, the easiest method would be to get hand-me-downs from someone who got into the hobby before you and dropped it. Most games, though, have the advantage of being physical games, but two that I play often and new decently well are Hearthstone and Armello; Online card games that, given their virtual setting, give way to many interesting developments to make up for that. Hearthstone includes a system of quest giving (Also likely in part to being based largely off of the immensely popular MMORPG World of Warcraft) which give “gold,” a currency that can be used to purchase card packs at no cost to the player, 100 Gold to 1 pack. Hearthstone also has a policy of giving away 3 free card packs to any player for logging in when new expansions (Sets of new cards) are released. As of this writing (April 12th, 2018) the newest expansion “The Witchwood” has dropped sometime within the last five hours. After waiting for the 15 minute line to log in following the release, I had 12 card packs waiting for me on account of holding onto gold. With packs giving 5 cards, I had 60 cards waiting for me. I really want to go into Hearthstone in depth, but I’ll save that for another time. (I didn’t get super lucky in my packs regardless.)
Similarly, Armello employs drops and cards-at-encounter to determine what you can get. While locked behind a $20 paywall, the art, game-play style and theme can keep you held in. A tabletop game at its core, Armello’s Mechanics are easy to pick up for anyone whose played Candy Land (Which, now that I think about it, isn’t too far off from what Armello is).
Hopefully there’s been some nice takeaway from what these card games are and what they have to offer the player. There are competitive scenes for these games, but they aren’t as heavily emphasized as those of League of Legends or Overwatch.