I Am Garbage at Shadowverse

The last time I seriously played a collectible card game was Magic the Gathering – in the year 2000, when I was heavily into the Mercadian Masques set. I’ve picked up a few starter sets to play with friends now and again after the fact, but it was always dabbling and easily forgettable. My kids have a few Pokemon decks they’ve collected for the artwork, but none of them have ever really played the game. Digitally speaking, the idea of spending money on a card game is even harder to justify. Strangely, this has been less of an issue for a lot of the gacha style games I’ve played over the years that I’ve dumped money into. Brave Frontier, I’m looking at you. :C

Shadowverse could best be described as “Hearthstone, but for weebs.” It has a very anime-inspired aesthetic and it has a number of deck styles relegated to a “leader” that changes what sort of cards can be used and how they are all played. A deck of 40 cards is pitted against an opponents deck of 40 cards and they each take turns doing things until one of the player’s lives reaches 0 and that person loses horribly and feels horrible because seriously who looses at an anime card battle game? (I do. A lot.)

I’ve looked at it and considered it a number of times over the last three years but never pulled the trigger. Then my friend Hank/”NeoRadium” (who runs the blog Neoteny, go check it out) pushed me over the edge and I decided to give it a shot. It’s been a ride.

There’s a story mode, and I’ve spent a lot of time making my way through it, although because of the way I play I’ve been going through it one character at a time. I’ve only beaten chapter 1 with one character though, and I’m almost done with a second, so my understanding of the story might be a little off. Basically, there’s these Shadows, and they screech in English even with the Japanese dub, and that’s just not a very good thing. Arisa is a forest protector and she wants to rescue her best friend and senpei Losaria who has been kidnapped by the shadows for plot reasons. There’s also Erika, who is like a protector of the princess but it’s written in a way that’s kind of suggestive and none of this matters because I had Swordcraft, it annoys me, and I just want to go back to using Forestcraft.

And there’s 6 other deck types I haven’t gotten used to yet!

The story modes allow players to use pre-built decks. PVP matches require building a deck from scratch, using cards acquired from pulls. I was given a lot of cards in the beginning, but frustratingly quite a few of these were from sets that aren’t in the current rotation so I’m limited in when I can use them. Still, I’ve got an okay Forest deck I can use. I probably can make better decks from better cards, but I have to get better at the game first. That hasn’t happened yet.

Still, I’m not completely hopeless. I did a video of my third attempt at a PVP match. I recorded the second one as well, but I lost that one so it doesn’t count. Forestcraft really benefits from cheap cards with bonuses that allow for even more cheap cards to get on the field. Some day, I might not be beginner rank!

I am surprised how chill the community is. I did a stream to show Hank which cards I had, which lead to me doing some story missions, and about a dozen people joined and stuck around just to help me learn the mechanics. I’m sure there are some toxic people, because let’s be real this is a card game, but I’ve not intention of playing this more than casually and that helps steady expectations.

Still, if anyone wants to add me, they are welcome to. Not sure what benefit adding someone does…

I also learned there’s an anime named after the game currently running, which surprisingly is about a bunch of annoying toddlers playing the card game and not actually the in-game universe, and it looks like it would have been awful if released 20 years ago. Not sure who the target viewer base for that one is. When it’s finished running I’ll have to read up on if it was truly god-awful or just mediocre.

Feel free to share what some of your favorite tips, tricks, websites, or whatever for this game is. I’ll probably continue to play a couple of rounds a day, at least in story mode, until I get better.

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