10 card games like Hearthstone you should be playing right now

Artifact

Whether you're new to collectible card games or you're an expert who sees every line of play, it's hard to go wrong with Hearthstone. Blizzard Entertainment's wildly popular card game has helped many players fall in love with digital card gaming, with its fun, flashy presentation, diverse deck archetypes, and varied ways to play whether you're looking for PvP or PvE content. But sometimes, you might need a break from Hearthstone, and want to explore other card game horizons.

Maybe you don't care much for the Warcraft theming, or you feel like the RNG is just too over the top. Maybe you adore Hearthstone and just want to see what else is out there for the love of deckbuilding. Whatever the case, these 10 games will scratch that same itch of strategic thinking, exciting interactions, and endless replayability. You know the drill by now: most of these games use free-to-play frameworks where real-money microtransactions are the fastest way to a full collection. Their turn-based, one-on-one battles might be made for single-player campaigns or thriving multiplayer arenas where you can test your wits against others. Whichever of the following card games you choose, you'll be well on your way to fun decks, engaging matches, and a growing card collection before you know it.

Magic: The Gathering Arena 

Developer: Wizards of the Coast
Platform(s): PC
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

If Hearthstone feels a bit too whimsical, why not go with the godfather of trading card games? Magic: The Gathering has dominated the real-world card game scene for over 20 years, and MTG Arena acts as the perfect gateway for virtual deck builders to make the jump to physical play, or vice versa. Your cards in Arena look like, well, cards on a table, but certain creatures are literally summoned onto the board in impressively flashy fashion. Magic is a somewhat slower game compared to Hearthstone - with mana sources taking up space in your deck - so sometimes you'll get some pretty unexciting draws when you get flooded with lands. But there are endless deck-building possibilities thanks to the many ways you can combine the five basic mana colors - each with their own distinct attributes and playstyle - and tons of Hearthstone pros on Twitch have taken a shine to the ways of MTG Arena.     

Artifact 

Developer: Valve
Platform(s): PC
Price: $19.99

Artifact is Valve's first foray into the card game genre, featuring the many heroes, minions, and items of the iconic team brawler Dota 2 (which still tops Steam's most-played charts daily). In keeping with its source material, Artifact takes place across three lanes, a bit like playing a trio of Hearthstone games at the same time. Minions spawn, towers must be taken down, and heroes from one of four unique colors duke it out across each lane. The way you manage your hero cards is key: they can be deployed into a different lane after they're killed, and you'll be equipping them with gear that persists through death. Unlike Hearthstone, players can actually trade and sell cards via the Steam Community Market - and if you play the market just right and get a few lucky packs, you can even make your money back on Artifact's $20 entry fee. Those who aren't interested in spending more money can enjoy the Phantom Draft mode, which lets you play free drafts forever as long as you don't mind a lack of rewards.

Gwent 

Developer: CD Projekt Red
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

For some, Geralt's cross-country card-slinging in the metagame of Gwent was the best part of The Witcher 3 - so developer CD Projekt smartly broke it out into its own full-fledged title. The presentation in Gwent is unparalleled, with gorgeous card art that looks alive thanks to silky smooth animation, complemented by a clean, easy-to-parse UI. Gwent's gameplay is distinct in that each side's cards are played across two separate rows (down from the original minigame's three) representing their range of attack, and each match is a best-of-three, so you always need to keep strategies for the long game in the back of your mind. The theming is all pitch-perfect Witcher, with five factions to choose from when building your deck, and there are plans for an expansive single-player campaign featuring branching dialogue trees and many familiar faces from the Continent. If you favor bluffing and careful planning over constant card draw and minion-to-minion combat, Gwent should be right up your alley. 

Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales 

Developer: CD Projekt Red
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Price: $29.99

Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is, without question, the best single-player card-gaming experience currently available. This full-fledged RPG (lasting 30+ hours) takes the game of Gwent and makes it the basis of a sweeping story, following the determined Queen Meve as she fights back Nilfgaardian invaders who are rampaging through her kingdom. Though most battles play out as a strategic deployment of resources just like Gwent multiplayer, there's also a host of ingenious puzzles woven throughout the isometric overworld, and no two play alike as you decipher the correct solution and revel in your own brilliance. When you're not playing cards, you'll be invested in Meve's journey and her relationship with her traveling companions, who have the same diversity and lovable banter as Geralt's motley crew. It all comes together thanks to an outstanding performance by an eloquent narrator, making Thronebreaker an amazing example of how much you can do with solo card gaming.

Eternal 

Developer: Dire Wolf Digital
Platform(s): PC, mobile
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Eternal is effectively a hybrid of Hearthstone's polished presentation with Magic's fundamentals, from a design team full of pro Magic players (including beloved Hearthstone caster Brian Kibler). As in Magic, the mana you use to cast spells comes in different colors and takes up space in your deck (called Sigils here instead of Lands). Eternal's in-game aesthetics are similar to Hearthstone, with card art featuring crisp, colorful portraits inhabiting a detailed game board. But there's no limit to how many combatants you can summon on your side, so you can go wild with a Magic-esque army of tokens if you so choose. Eternal also borrows a brilliant page from the Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers playbook by including clever puzzle scenarios, which help you master basic mechanics and train you to look for the kind of tricky card combinations that win matches.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends 

Developer: Sparkypants Studios
Platform(s): PC, mobile
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

The Elder Scrolls: Legends is the perfect card game for anyone who's spent hundreds of hours roaming the worlds of Skyrim, Oblivion, and Morrowind. Its defining feature is the way it divides the board into two separate lanes, so the way you place your forces is crucial. Do you go all-in on one side and hope the enemy can't establish proper defenses in time, or do you play the odds and fortify both sides of the battlefield? There's also the unique mechanic of runes: automatic card draws that trigger when you're reduced to certain life totals, which can potentially result in free casting costs should you pick up a card with the Prophecy keyword. If you're partial to the thrills and upsets inherent to that kind of RNG, Elder Scrolls: Legends offers a lot of interesting card synergies to build around and a solid single-player story. 

Developer: Konami
Platform(s): PC, mobile
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

YOUR MOVE! When it's time to d-d-d-d-dddduel, Konami's perpetually popular card game is there for you, and Duel Links is a pleasantly contemporary take that's built to foster a free-to-play community. Your favorite characters from the classic anime are here, including the Blue-Eyes White Dragon-obsessed Seto Kaiba, complete with lovably earnest and/or over-the-top voice lines. Yu-Gi-Oh has always been a game of incredibly swingy plays and fast matches, with the 'Gotcha!' moments inherent to trap cards and plenty of decks built around one-turn-kill (OTK) combos. You just might bear witness to the five-card summoning of the almighty Exodia (an iconic win condition which gave Hearthstone's Exodia Mage deck its name).

Shadowverse 

Developer: Cygames
Platform(s): PC, mobile
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

If you love the Japanese high fantasy stylings of popular mobile games like Rage of Bahamut and Mabinogi Duel, you should definitely check out Shadowverse. With monsters and waifus as far as the eye can see, this is essentially an anime spin on Hearthstone. Shadowverse's defining twist is the ability to evolve your minions (called Followers here) as you enter the later stages of a match, buffing them up with increased stats or powerful new effects. It's also a great opportunity to appreciate a pleasing visual flourish that's popular in Japanese card games: tweaking the art's color palette and/or costuming to give evolved Followers a completely different feel. Like Yu-Gi-Oh, Shadowverse has some shockingly powerful card combos, so expect quicker matches than you might otherwise be used to.

Faeria 

Developer: Abrakam
Platform(s): PC, mobile
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

As with Artifact and The Elder Scrolls: Legends, positioning is important in Faeria as your cards turn into units on a map - but there's even more complexity to consider here. Before you can summon your creatures onto the hexagonal tiles of the game board, you need to build out the actual terrain that'll bridge the rift between you and your opponent. The layout and type of terrain you choose will ultimately shape your plan of attack, creating an interesting push and pull as both players jockey for board control across an ever-shifting battlefield. Of all the card games on this list, Faeria feels the most like a living board game as well - and it boasts some lovely visuals and tons of single-player content to conquer.

Card City Nights 2 

Developer: Ludosity
Platform(s): PC, mobile
Price: $10 (PC) / $5 (mobile)

I'd like to cap things off with a somewhat unconventional pick: Card City Nights 2, a thoroughly charming cardventure set aboard a space station full of delightful oddballs to duel. The bright colors and cute character designs evoke Steven Universe and OK K.O., and the soundtrack is smooth like butter with its soothing synths and ambient beats. CCN2 is all about positioning your cards on a simple gridded board so you can trigger the links between your own cards while denying them from your opponent. It's the only game you'll find here without a free-to-play option, but the cheap price tag is well worth it for all the pack-opening and deck-building you'll be doing across the expansive, humorous single-player campaign.