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Shadowverse is a popular free-to-play collectible card game from Japan that has been primarily available to play on mobile devices. With the game recently released on Steam and a new set coming by the end of the year (according to TechRaptor’s interview with Shadowverse development team Cygames), TechRaptor staff have decided to create a series of competitive primer articles focusing on familiarizing new players with the Steam version of the game.

Much like our Magic: The Gathering competitive primer series, the Shadowverse competitive primer series seeks to introduce new players to competitive archetypes and gameplay, focusing on proven, high-ranking decks and strategies, and overall how to become familiar with how Shadowverse works. Our primary focus is to help players advance up the Shadowverse ladder and win competitive tournaments, and eventually claim the highest game rank, the Master rank.

In our last article in this primer, we discussed the basics of Shadowverse gameplay. This week, we’ll be walking our Shadowverse players through the processes involved in growing and managing their collection of cards.

Please note that this primer series does not cover “rerolling,” a method used to obtain specific Legendary cards by deleting data for the mobile versions of the game and opening the free packs of cards from the Shadowverse tutorial. As of right now there doesn’t appear to be an equivalent method for the Steam version, and this primer series focuses specifically on the Steam version of the game, not the iOS and Android mobile versions.


Shadowverse – What is a CCG?

But before that, we need to look at the context of Shadowverse as a “collectible card game,” which is a fair bit different from a “trading card game” like Magic: The Gathering , Yu-Gi-Oh!, or the Pokémon TCG. In a trading card game, players have the ability to not only trade parts of their collection with other players, but can sell or buy cards from secondary card markets (such as local game stores or established individual sellers).

In a collectible card game, such as Shadowverse or Hearthstone, that ability doesn’t exist. Players can  purchase packs of cards from the game store but have no ability to purchase individual cards from Cygames or secondary stores or fellow players. Unwanted inventory, however, can be liquidated into Vials, which are then used to “craft” wanted cards.

The inability to purchase or trade for wanted cards does have a few effects on removing the “pay-to-win” aspects that appear in other card games. In games like Magic: The Gathering, certain cards have higher monetary costs than others due to factors like limited print runs, being on lists which prohibit reprinting, or their viability in multiple formats. This has the effect of creating a monetary barrier to entry in those games—where in order to play one first needs to be able to afford a deck—and winning can sometimes come down to not who is the most skilled player, but who can afford to purchase the more expensive cards.

This isn’t the case in Shadowverse; cards of a certain rarity will always have the same liquidation value, and require the same number of Vials to craft. Whether or not the card is a staple of its craft or useless has no effect on its in-game value. This removes the barrier to entry of other card games and puts the focus on not who can afford to play a certain deck, but who can play that deck the best.


Shadowverse – Acquiring Cards

Now that we’re aware of some of the differences between collectible card games and trading card games, it’s time to look at what methods players can use to acquire cards. The easiest way is to acquire large amounts of cards for new players is through purchasing packs. At the time of writing this primer, new players are given thirty-five packs of cards—ten packs of the Standard expansion, and twenty-five packs of the Darkness Evolved expansion—after successfully completing the game tutorial. Additionally, another five packs of the Standard expansion can be obtained for players who log on using the Steam version of the game through November 30, 2016.

Each pack contains eight cards, which have rarities spanning from Bronze to Silver to Gold to Legendary. Draw rates for cards of each rarity are equal (i.e., all Gold-rarity cards have the same draw rate), and every pack is guaranteed to contain at least one Silver, Gold, or Legendary-rarity card. Each card also has an eight percent chance of being “animated,” which increases the liquidation value of that card. The draw rates for cards in the Standard and Darkness Evolved expansions can be found here (note that the draw rates are different in each expansion due to Standard having more cards than Darkness Evolved).

Packs can be purchased from the store in either one of three ways. The first way is by purchasing the packs using card pack tickets, which are obtained through daily bonuses and are occasionally given away by Cygames through social media promotions. Players can also obtain card packs as a reward for their performance in the “Take-Two” format, in which players draft temporary thirty-card decks by choosing between two pairs of two cards and compete in a series of five games.

The second way to obtain packs is by spending Rupies in the shop. Rupies are obtained through the daily bonuses, as well as completing certain parts of the solo story and practice sessions. TechRaptor advises all new players to complete the solo story before attempting to build a deck of their own. This will give new players not only Rupies but Vials to craft cards as well as certain cards that can’t be obtained through card packs. Each pack of cards costs 100 Rupies to purchase.

Daily Bonus; Shadowverse, Cygames

The Daily Bonus rewards for signing in once a day. Featured are Rupies, tickets for Standard card packs, and a ticket for Take-Two.

The final way to obtain packs of cards utilizes Shadowverse‘s microtransaction, purchasing Crystals from Cygames. Crystals are used not only to purchase packs of cards but can also be used on cosmetic items as well as purchasing tickets for Take-Two. Each pack of cards costs 100 Crystals, with the exception of one pack per day, which will cost 50 Crystals. There are a number of different Crystal packages that one can purchase from Cygames, but for the purpose of this primer series we’ll focus on ways players can build decks without having to spend money on the game.


Shadowverse – Liquefying and Crafting Cards

So, you’ve opened all your free packs of cards from the tutorial and maybe spent some Rupies on card packs in the store.  You’ve amassed a small collection of cards and have found a craft and deck that you want to specialize in—what now?

First things first, you’ll want to get rid of extra cards. You can only run a maximum of three copies of a single card in your deck, and cards from your collection can be shared between decks—you’ll only ever need three copies of a single card in your collection at any time. By turning your extra cards into Vials, you can then craft the cards you need for the deck you want to play.

To access your collection of cards, you’ll select “Cards” from the main screen, and then select “cards.” Your screen should at this point look like the screen below. By clicking the “Liquefy Extras” button at the top, you’ll prompt the game to liquefy all extra copies of non-starred, non-animated, and non-basic cards.

Card Collection screen; Shadowverse, Cygames

The “Card Collection” screen

The prompt will give you a brief summary of what is being liquefied—how many cards of each rarity, and how many Vials you’ll be receiving. Each rarity of card gives a certain number of vials that is consistent across that rarity: Bronze-rarity cards give ten Vials, Silver-rarity cards give fifty Vials, Gold-rarity cards give two-hundred and fifty Vials, and Legendary-rarity cards give one-thousand Vials.

Animated cards should also be liquefied at this point, with the exception of animated cards from the class you’re looking to specialize in; animated cards give a higher number of Vials when liquefied, so there’s no point in hanging onto them if you’re not looking to play in that class. Bronze-rarity animated cards give thirty Vials when liquefied, Silver-rarity animated cards give one-hundred and twenty Vials, Gold-rarity animated cards give six-hundred Vials, and Legendary-rarity animated cards give two-thousand and five-hundred Vials. To liquefy animated cards, you’ll have to manually toggle though your collection and select them for liquefying.

Liquefy Extras prompt; Shadowverse, Cygames

“Liquefy Extras” prompt

However, extras aren’t the only cards you’ll want to liquefy as well; Gold and Legendary-rarity cards can be liquefied as well, if they’re “junk rares”. A handy guide on reddit’s Shadowverse subforum shows what cards from the Standard and Darkness Evolved expansions are worth keeping, and which should be liquefied.

After you’ve liquefied your extra and unwanted cards, it’s time to consider what cards you’ll need to craft. The crafting requirements for cards require many more Vials than liquefying provides: Bronze-rarity cards require fifty Vials to create, Silver-rarity cards require two-hundred Vials to create, Gold-rarity cards require eight-hundred Vials to create, and Legendary-rarity cards require three-thousand and five-hundred Vials to create. If you already have three copies of a card, you can’t create any more copies of that card, and animated versions of cards cannot be crafted.

To craft cards, you will need to select the “Create Cards” option at the bottom of the collection screen. This will prompt a new screen to appear, with greyed out cards representing which cards you’re missing from your collection. You can either toggle through the cards to manually select cards to create, or you can enter the name of the card you wish to create in the search bar.

When you’ve decided on what card to craft, select that card to view the crafting requirements. If you don’t have enough Vials to craft it, or don’t have any copies to liquefy, the options to craft and/or liquefy it will be greyed out until you do.

Craftable card; Shadowverse, Cygames

An example of the card crafting prompt

As our readers can tell from the high crafting requirements for Gold and Legendary cards, it’s very important to decide what class and deck you want to build ahead of time, either by reading primers or watching videos of high-level gameplay. You don’t want to start building a deck and get halfway through to find out it’s not the right deck or class for you and be stuck with cards you’re unable to use. Additionally, having lucky draws when opening packs will cut down on some of the time required to craft decks; luckily, there exists a number of “budget” decks which utilize only Bronze and Silver-rarity cards. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to work your way up to the Master rank using these decks, they can serve as good alternatives while you’re slowly working on crafting the cards you need for more competitive builds.


Our next article in the Shadowverse competitive primer series will focus on the Take-Two draft format and how to improve your drafting capabilities so that you maximize your rewards.

Stay tuned to TechRaptor for further news and coverage of Shadowverse.

What were your thoughts on this competitive primer? Are you interested in playing Shadowverse? Let us know in the comment section below.


Brandon Bobal

Partner Manager

Brandon writes articles with focuses on video and board games, and Magic: The Gathering. When he isn't doing research for his weekly Magic: The Gathering column, he can be found enjoying the outdoors.