by Cody "Micajah" Bye

I love games. My love isn't specifically delegated to computer games
either; any sort of game that allows me to eke out strategies and
valiantly try to turn my enemies into piles of goo or mental mush
quickly snatches up my attention. I've owned so many random cards from
so many card games, I've nearly lost count. I've collected cards from style="font-style: italic;">Magic: The Gathering,
BattleTech, Star Wars CCG, the style="font-style: italic;">Wheel of Time TCG
and more, making me a veritable chronological clock when it comes to
trading card games. Thus when my boss (and style="font-style: italic;">Warhammer Online
battleground teammate), John "Boomjack" Hoskin offered me a chance to
play-test the World of
Warcraft Trading Card Game
, I jumped at the chance and
instantly set in motion my plans to dominate the WoW TCG tournaments
and bring home uber loot for my apartment. Unfortunately, my plan for
world domination has yet to be completed, but I have been able to play
enough of the basic WoW card game to devise a thorough review for the
Ten Ton Hammer readers. Those of you who are looking for a review of
the "raiding" sets may want to look elsewhere, this is a review of the
basic gameplay from a WoW TCG beginner, and my initial experiences with
the game.

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style="font-style: italic;">The World of
Warcraft TCG already has two expansion sets and two raid decks..

With $50 of spending money in hand, I wisked to my local card game shop
and sifted through the various packs and decks available to me. Since
the cards are made by long-time sports card giant, Upper Deck, they
marketing propaganda and box art are amazing, and it would take a
giant's will to withstand the attraction. Through some deliberation and
a few recommendations from another WoW card game player, I picked up a
Heroes of Azeroth starter deck and eight booster packs - six from the
Dark Portal expansion set and two from the original Heroes of Azeroth
release. Loot in hand and $50 lighter, I drove back to my apartment to
pop open the packs and see what sort of loot I scored!

To begin with, I popped open my starter deck, which comes in a box that
reminded me of a old school Disney VHS box. The big, bulky plastic case
popped open, revealing a pre-sorted 30 card starter deck and two
booster packs to supplement the deck you cam with. That bumped my
booster pack total up to ten, which is what I'd planned in the first
place, but before tearing into the various booster packs I did a brief
tour of the rulebook. The rulebook is a colorful, glossy, picture laden
step-by-step instruction guide on the how-to's, what-for's, and why's
of the WoW TCG, and the production value of the rulebook is something
that other trading card games should emulate. When I began playing
Magic: The Gathering or
the old Star Wars
Collectable Card Game
, the
rulebooks were initially fairly short and were often cryptic in their
wordings. Starter packs for other games may include a color booklet,
but nothing like the WoW TCG's guide. It was a great help getting
started, and pretty much laid out the core concepts of the game enough
for even beginners to get started.

Like the Legend of
Norrath Online Trading Card Game
that I reviewed earlier
this week, the point fo the World
of Warcraft TCG
is to kill the opposing player's Hero or
make him the run out of cards before you do. Each player chooses
whether they want to be Alliance or Horde, and then they proceed to
fight against each other. Every player has constructed a deck based
around one Hero, which is often represented by a notable NPC from the
World of Warcraft MMORPG. My initial hero was Timo Shadowstep, a Gnome
Rogue. Not my favorite race or class - in fact I really despise Gnomes
- but I shrugged my shoulders and carried on. Heros have a large chunk
of life, making them fairly difficult to kill, and each of them has a
particular ability that they can employ when they wish to. After
studying Timo, I carried on with my initial look at the deck and the

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style="font-style: italic;">This is what $50
can get you in WoW cards.

The game is broken into three phases per each player's turn, and the
two competitors alternate turns back and forth. Each player gets three
phases: the Start Phase, the Action Phase, and the End Phase. The
beginning and end phases of each player's turn are fairly simple.
During the Start Phase, players "ready" their cards and draw a card,
and the End Phase pretty much is simply a wrap-up step where players
play any "instants" that would be appropriate during that time.

However, the Action Phase is where most of the card playing takes
place. In the action phase, players can play any of six different card
types: Ally, Weapon, Armor, Item, Ability and Quest. On their first
turn, must players will typically only "place a resource," which is the
way players pay for cards during the game. Resources can only be place
one at a time and can be any card the players hold in their hand.
Typically players would want to play "Quest" cards down as resources,
as they're only playable as quests. Quests basically act as resources
until they're completed, which can typically be accomplished by paying
a certain number of resources to activate them.

Going through the rest of the card types, an Ally acts as your
"standing army" in your fight against the other hero. While Allies are
nowhere near as powerful as a hero, they can certainly do damage if
they get the opportunity to attack a hero one-on-one. While there are
abilities and other cards that can choose to "protect" a hero, it's
often a measure of strategy to determine how you're going to be
pressing your advantage against your opponent. Weapons and Armor are
typcially played only on a Hero, as they each bestow certain advantages
onto those heroes. Items have several different uses, from potions that
make your Allies immune to particular effects to any sort of
combination of enhancement you could think of. When it comes to various
Abilities, my best explanation of these cards is to compare them with
any sort of power you exert in an MMOG.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016