【HEX】Set 3 ~ 3 new keywords, 3 new evolution ~

One of the key component of what makes trading/collectible card games fun and unique is their constant update, which keeps them fresh.  It is a mandatory part of the genre.  HEX, of course, is not exception here.  Upcoming new set, which is a third set of the game, will have a three new keyword with each being unique to the game.

Shift

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First, let’s take a look at Marrowmage. Drawing a card each time he hits the opposing champion is sweet, but what happens when your opponent inevitably drops a blocker? With Shift, you can pay 1 resource to move this power at basic speed off this otherwise humble troop and place it on any other troop you control. Once you’ve moved the power, Shift falls off and the power is permanently on that new troop. In sapphire, there are plenty of evasion troops like Eldritch Dreamer that are much better on offense while this 1/3 can play defense. With multiple Shift troops, you can build your TCG voltron and stack multiple powers onto one troop. Break that rules text box! Or, you can tinker with troop powers previously impossible to pair. Between Shift and socket gems, the combinations are endless. You’ll see Shift on Necrotic, and you’ll find those troops in Ruby, Diamond, Sapphire, and Blood shards.

Given its digital nature, HEX allows many card modification to be permanent unlike most of the other dTCG/dCCG where effect/change are temporary until the card gets destroyed; otherwise, it become ridiculous hard to keep track when the game design assumes to support physical realm. But such design allows players to invest on one card, and even if it gets destroyed, it may be worth putting another effort to bring them back as all the investment are still there if you can bring it back.

We have already seen permanent modification of card via actions, constant i.e. Crown of Primals, charge power, and effect of other troops (e.g. inspire mechanics), and now this is just another way of achieving this.  One see Shift card as basically a troop with built in basic action.

Prophecy

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With Prophecy, now we’re working with cards still in the deck. You want to see into the future, call out “one time” as you draw something to get you back into the game. You never know what fortune holds for you, but you do know it’ll be better than your opponent could have ever predicted with this new keyword. This future booster draft staple, Nightsky Stargazer gives you a beefy body for 4 resources and also pumps up one of its buddies for upcoming battles. This keyword is perfect for you patient players who want to play the long game. With cards in play and buffed up cards waiting to be drawn, your opponent will find he or she has no outs—but you knew that this was the only way the battle would end, right? You’ll find Prophecy on Coyotles across Diamond, Sapphire, and Wild shards.

At first glance, the keyword seems not that unique as we already have multiple cards that randomly modifies cards in our decks (though such mechanics itself is very unique to digital nature of this game).  However, the difference here from just a potential physical card counter part of “next card you draw gets +2/+2” is that the effect takes place when you summon the card, and even if your deck gets shuffled afterward/before you actually draw the card, the change is still there on the correct target.  I surmise this is the main reason why we saw a subtle change in the word context of “shuffle into” compared to shuffle entire deck each time.  Interacting with a deck i.e. the card you haven’t even drawn is rather an unique mechanics in HEX.

Allegiance

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In Shards of Fate and Shattered Destiny, you’ve seen rewards for playing heavy Human, Dwarf, Shin’hare, and Orc decks. WithAllegiance, now everyone gets in the fun. All these cards need is one other of the requested troop in play or in hand. With Creepy Conspirators, you could have a Necrotic in play or in the grip to turn on that power. You’ll find this keyword on more than just troops. In Elf decks, Feralroot Acorn helps make your draws more consistent, or your champion can get a health boost to win the beatdown race. And that’s just one of the special resources in Armies of Myth—imagine what the others may do! Plus, if you’re an Arena grinder you should expect to see Allegiance expanded to more traits for even more deckbuilding action.

HEX has already an unique passive ability unlock system using threshold.  This means basically, one can cast a troop without its complete power but later when the threshold requirement is satisfied, the ability gets unlocked.  I think this is a very interesting and powerful mechanics.

Now we are adding somewhat similar but different class of unlocking ability system.  This time it is based on the tribal/trait/affiliation.  Previously, race interaction were there but this new mechanics add another layer.  What is really interesting here is what makes this mechanics unique to HEX, which is the ability on/off looks at what’s in your hand in addition to more classic what’s on the board.  It is easy to imagine latter in a physical based card game, but something based on what you are not showing to your opponent is very difficult to do in the physical game as one can potentially lie about it, or unnecessary have to show the hand to opponent.

Conclusion

Although each keywords are certainly interesting and add more depth to the game, at first glance they all seem very natural progression or part of the dTCG.  This is actually a good surprise.  Because each of these mechanics are rather unique to digital TCG and nearly impossible to replicate in a game that has a physical card counter part (though similar can be achieved).  This means probably HEX is the first one truly implementing these features.

But they appear to so naturally fitting in the dTCG therefore does not feel a big innovation.  This simply means one thing.  Perhaps all dTCG/dCCG should have had these mechanics from the beginning and HEX is being the signpost of dTCG 2.0 era.

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