Welcome to Team Rankstar, in partnership with Inked Gaming’s new series capturing what we love about the card games covered by Team Rankstar. I’m erobert, a writer focusing on an exciting new game about to hit Open Beta: Mythgard. I was picked up by Team Rankstar to write about this game as an avid card game enthusiast, and having put a LOT of hours into the Friends and Family Alpha, sitting at the top of the XP track (mercifully, my phone doesn’t log how many hours I’ve put in).
I started playing Magic in 1994, and I think in some ways, this has been an important part of how I connected with Mythgard. It is a card game for people who really like card games, and is, as my colleagues have noted, a game which is very fun to learn and play, but which also allows for continuous improvement for those who are invested in honing their skill. The craft of building your own deck, trying your own unique style of is tantalizing and fun on its own, but the excitement of procedurally generated play against a live opponent can be both agonizing and exhilarating! Every game has specific things to offer, and Mythgard has a well-defined style.
Why you should try Mythgard:
Complexity: The first and last thing I will always praise about Mythgard is its mechanical depth. At the end of the day, the game itself is engaging, strategic, and just fun for anyone who likes paper or digital card games. Its gameplay mixes old and new, featuring a resource system that supports mixing and matching colors without having to manage dedicated resource cards. If you’ve ever played Duel Masters, it’s kind of like that: cards in hand are “burned” (shuffled back into the deck) to produce a corresponding gem and mana which can be spent to play cards. The system is streamlined in terms of gameplay and deck design, focusing on the actual cards in your deck without having to worry about balancing painlands, taplands, etc. Even more exciting, the game itself is organized around a seven-lane board where position matters. Minions occupy specific lanes and can dart around blockers, occupy enchanted lanes for buffs, or hide in corners. Every game of Mythgard is full of decisions at every level, resource development is intuitive and flexible, combat is fun and tactical, and we’re really only scratching the surface in Alpha. Just in the core set, we’ve seen decks from the fastest aggro kills to grinding control winning by decking an opponent, and everything in between, and I’m still excited to see new decks pop up.
Art and Story: I’m usually so focused on gameplay that I don’t always stop and pay attention to the graphics and music in a game, but this one is an exception. I have actually gotten distracted in game by wanting to look closer at card art as it was introduced, and I’m not the only player who turns on music for this game and only this game. The art director, Hoon, has assembled an exciting and eclectic group of artists to bring the world of Mythgard to life, drawing on many different artistic styles and traditions, and yielding breathtaking results. The story is only one chapter deep, but it lays the groundwork for exciting campaigns through the Mesoamerican magitek of Aztlan, and the Slavic folklore of Dreni. The art is showcased in a Gallery Mode and honestly, I still enjoy spending idle time waiting for an opponent to queue up by flipping through artwork. Like the original core set of Magic, the artists all have unique styles and the variety feels exciting and interesting, like the design is open to many possibilities down the line, rather than confined to a specific paradigm.
Polish: Though Mythgard is in Alpha, it has been in development for well over a year, since long before I arrived and, frankly, it shows in the product as we’re approaching Open Beta. The game can pass smoothly between mobile and steam clients, not even missing a turn if your phone runs out of battery and you open the game on your laptop. Mythgard has viewable replays of every game, including the ability to spectating ongoing games in real time. You can pull up your past couple dozen games and watch them slowed down, sped up, even switching to your opponent’s perspective, allowing you to see the board from the other side. An in-game deck tracker keeps a comprehensive record of what cards have already been drawn, burned, left play, making it easy to remember what has already gone in and out of your hand, and calculate what options you have left and the likelihood of finding them. New players can test drive “Featured Decks” made by members of the community and available to play in ladder while building up one’s own collection. Quality of life features are constantly being introduced and tinkered with, catering to both mobile and PC players.
Game Modes: Constructed play, just casual games and a ranked ladder, is exciting and engaging in the ways outlined above, but the other various game modes are also thoroughly enjoyable. “Gauntlet” is a quick draft deck played against a battery of AI drafted decks and shows the dizzying variety of possible card combinations in a fun casual format. Quick “Brawl” games against the AI are a constructed format you can play while waiting in queue, and are also perfect for quick mobile play, as you can stop and start easily, seamlessly suspending and resuming play (perfect while chasing around a toddler in my case). The real star of the show, however, is “2v2.” Just what it says on the tin, it is like Two-Headed Giant in magic, with you and a partner facing off against two opponents. The center lane of the double-sized game board is shared by both players on the team and can be used to give potent universal effects to both players or pass a minion to your partner. Gameplay in this mode is chaotic and unpredictable and just a ton of fun for all skill levels.
Rhino Team: I think this may seem obvious, as it is threaded through the previous descriptions, but I cannot speak highly enough about the developers, Rhino Games Inc. The game itself is well-designed and polished, but also many quality of life features, facets of the in-game economy, and even balance of the cards themselves, come from the close relationship they have with the community on Discord. Often, it can feel like individual voices aren’t heard by a developer, but the lean mean Rhino Team is very transparent about working with the community to address concerns raised and suggestions offered. When people said they felt like it was hard to get started in the game economy, Rhino listened and added new reward tracks. When people said it was hard to know where to start with decks and a limited collection, Rhinos found an interesting way to make phantom decks available to new players. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I believe them when they say on their company site that Rhino Games was formed to do something they were actually passionate about. They set out to make the card game they said they always wanted to see and it is hard to argue with the results. The community manager, Turbo, is a wonderful face for the company, but you can also talk to Phu and hear his perspective on development or get design notes from Xeneth and Nines. After big patches it’s not uncommon to see the team celebrating in game and play 2v2 with Rhinos. I have very limited experience with digital card game communities, but I’m led to believe that this is exceptional and I can say from my perspective that it makes it easy to fall in love with Mythgard.
It probably goes without saying that I’m quite committed, having been immersed in the Friends and Family Alpha for several months, but I can say quite sincerely that I’m still happy with the game and looking forward to wider release. Mythgard offers so much in terms of gameplay and design, but also just being a part of the community and seeing what this charming indie studio can do has been a treat.
I’m overjoyed I gave it a shot and I’m hoping you do too, Mythgardians!