A Deeper Look into Gods Unchained
A Deeper Look into Gods Unchained

By Daniel Goldman | The B.C.U. Times | 14 Oct 2019


Gods Unchained is a collectible trading card game built on the Ethereum blockchain. It's a fairly large product and could be a major competitor to Blizzard's Hearthstone, especially as Blizzard comes under fire for its recent ban of a player who spoke out in support of the Hong Kong protesters. The game has the backing of a number of large players, including Coinbase, and while currently in beta, it has a lot to offer. 

General Information

Blockchain: Ethereum
Token Type: ERC721
Type: Turn based, collectible trading card game.

Sets

There is a core set which is currently off chain. For now at least, these cards are locked to the account. They cannot be transferred to the blockchain and cannot be traded or sold. Additionally, after the beta period ends, players will have their core cards reset in order to create an initially even playing field. 

However, there are one time sets in the game. These sets consist of ERC-721 tokens with a fixed rarity. Set cards may be common, rare, epic, legendary, and mythic. The final type is limited to four completely unique cards per year, so they're incredibly rare. As with Splinterlands, there is a way to combine cards together to increase their scarcity. Unfortunately, combining cards does not increase their stats, at least for now. It just increases their "shiny," which is an extension of the concept of foil cards for physical TCGs. While not useful, it does act as a sort of status symbol and the differences in shiny is rendered in game.

Currently, the only set released is the Genesis set, which is fairly powerful. There're a few ways to get Genesis cards. The first way is to simply buy them with Ethereum. You have a few different options. There is going to be a marketplace where people can buy and sell cards. But for now, you can buy packs which are priced in Ethereum. And since the Genesis set and other sets will be ERC721 tokens, any ERC721 compatible token market can be used to buy and sell the cards. There are packs which guarantee a rare, an epic, a legendary, and a shiny legendary. Honestly, the shiny legendary pack is 1 ETH while the rare pack is 0.012ETH. Each pack has five cards in it, so for the price of one shiny legendary pack, you can get 83 rare packs. That really seems to be the way to go.

Competitions

You can also enter weekend ranked matches using your pre-constructed decks. Ranked matches, whether on weekends or not, will help you rank up for the weekend event. The more wins you get, the more you'll rank up, and the higher your reward tier will be. The actual rewards are determined by your highest rank obtained through the duration of the event, and how many wins you get. However, losses risk causing you to drop ranks, so a degree of caution is required.

Additionally, whether you win or lose, you'll gain experience points which will allow you to level up. Each time you level up, you'll get a core pack which can be used to bolster your decks. As I've just started out, my rank is pretty low. There are seven tiers and the tier you're in is determined by your rank and the number of wins, so you can increase your tier by ranking up, and/or by getting more wins. However, even at 200 wins, ranks 1 - 6 can only get to tier 4, so it's a good idea to level up with ranked matches during the week.

The Gods Unchained blog has a full article on the weekend ranked constructed matches.

Solo Play

Another good strategy, if you're a deck builder, is to try out your decks using solo play. The AI system does a decent job, though it's definitely not as challenging to default the AI as it is a real person, especially if you're giving the AI one of your decks to play. Still, you'll want to get a feel for the deck you're using before you use it in a ranked match, unless you really feel like living on the edge.

The Arena and Gameplay

The arena layout looks nice, and there is going to be an option to switch overlays, so that'll be great. It probably won't change the actual gameplay, but at least it'll keep things interesting. Each deck consists of 30 cards. You also select your god when building the deck, or using a precon deck. Some cards will work with any god of which there are six, while others are specific to a god. You can only have a maximum of six creatures on your side of the battlefield, and only six cards in your hand. From a layout perspective, those limitations make sense, but it does reduce the flexibility in the game.

I imagine that over time a lot of different variations will come out. Maybe with different layouts or tournaments the hand and creature limit will change. I'd also expect there to be a number of different restrictions for cards and decks, sort of like MTG has standard, modern, EDH, et al. and Splinterlands has rotating rule sets to keep things interesting. Perhaps there will even be leagues with restrictions such as core cards only, commons only, or the opposite such as epic+ only or shiny only.

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Deck Building

I'm a deck builder. I love building decks more than I like playing then, so I'm glad that there's a lot of variety in the cards that are already released and that there are a decent number of mechanics already available. There are a number of improvements that could be made however.

The deck construction system is called the "Workshop." One thing that isn't present however is a deck export tool. But I'm sure third party deck building systems will become available soon. Right now, the main option for such construction is gudecks. However, as far as I can tell, there's no easy way to import the deck construction into the game. Another issue is that it seems that once a deck is started the god cannot be changed. Obviously changing the god would invalidate the deck, as the mana types would be different. But that should be okay as long as you make it valid before playing. 

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Regarding the decks themselves, while there is some flexibility, more cards will be needed before I can really start enjoying building funky decks that do weird things. You can also only have 30 cards in a deck, so that kind of limits the flexibility. EDH in magic has a 100 card deck, although there are no land cards, so that does make room for more useful items.

Documentation

Here's the real problem. While things will obviously things will improve once the game is out of beta, the documentation isn't great. It can take a while to figure out what all the different mechanics are, as there's no easy keyword search like there is when you're checking out mechanics for MTG. 

Final Thoughts

I've been playing for a few days now, and I like the game a lot. It's definitely got most of what I look for in a TCG. The fact that the cards are ERC721 tokens is of course nice, as I like control over my cards. Hearthstone, MTG Arena, etc lock you into using their system only. With ERC721 tokens, third party developers can create new use cases for the cards you already have. As I've mentioned before, third party support is where cryptoasset based games are really going to shine.

If you're interested in checking out the game, you'll need a beta access referral link. Using that link will give you access, and it'll help me out too. If you're thinking of waiting until the full release, that's fine, but the Genesis set will no longer be available for direct purchase if you wait. 

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Daniel Goldman
Daniel Goldman

I’m a polymath and a rōnin scholar. That is to say that I enjoy studying many different topics. Find more at http://danielgoldman.us


The B.C.U. Times
The B.C.U. Times

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