Elder Scrolls: Legends Overview
Although there’s still no word on when official release will be, Bethesda has sent out their latest wave of beta invitations for the highly anticipated trading card game based on their Skyrim series. Yours truly is one of the lucky participants, and I’m here to give you my blessing in beginning your Legends journey! Here’s what you can expect from the game, from character creation to building your deck.
Players starting a new game will be thrown right into the thick of battle, following a short cinematic. These small videos give you insight into the background of your character, and the role you play in this story. Narrated by a mysterious party of adventurers and an owl, your character fights their way out of an arena of Daedric Cultists as you learn how to play the game in this immersive tutorial.
Starting the game after the tutorial, you’ll be greeted with this screen. From here, you can see your character’s avatar, and your current rank. The Store can be accessed, you can edit your character and deck, or you can jump right in by hitting ‘Play’.
Of course, this isn’t the only way to edit things, it’s just a convenient place to do so. Also, you’ll receive daily challenges here that can be completed in-game.
Successfully completing a challenge will reward you with gold, which you can use to buy card packs from the Store.
Elder Scrolls: Legends Game Modes
Hitting ‘Play’ will take you here, to the Main Menu. As you can see on my screen, Solo Arena and Versus Arena modes are still locked. This is because you must complete certain levels of the Story mode before you can advance into other modes. Another good thing to know is that win or lose (and yes, the game does keep track of your record), you always get XP. So don’t give up if you get beaten once in a while!
Story Mode serves as your tutorial throughout the game, and each battle will be increasingly more difficult as you progress. You’ll fight against a variety of AI, from Cultists and Wolves to Pirates and Spriggens, each one teaching you a new strategy to implement in your game.
You’ll also unlock decks and cards as you play through the levels, making decisions that will determine the nature of your hero. Will you be chivalrous and kind, or heartless and cruel? Your rewards for that quest will reflect your decision!
Versus Battle Mode is a one-on-one online match based on rank. This way, you never get paired with a player tougher than yourself! It’s a fun way to brush up on your skills, or learn some new ones. This mode is available after completing Act I of the Story mode.
Practice Mode is a good place to build and test your deck before trying a Versus match or continuing in Story mode. Select the difficulty from Novice, Adept or Expert and choose your deck. You can pick a pre-built one you’ve unlocked in Story mode, or make your own from cards you’ve acquired.
Elder Scrolls: Legends Character Creation
Just like Skyrim, from the start of the game you’ll be asked to choose the Race of your hero. Choosing will not only determine what color of cards you’re most likely to win as rewards, but will also dictate how you get those rewards.
For example, the Redguard race shown above will be more likely to reward you with Weapon cards than any other race. The avatars themselves are decorative, so just pick one that appeals to you.
The other races break down like this:
Imperial: Grants cards that summon and build large armies
Wood Elf: Collects cards that prey on weakened enemies
Argonian: Rewards players for drawing out a game
Breton: Collects cards likely to deflect damage
Dark Elf: Collects cards that strengthen with defeated allies
High Elf: More likely to pick up Spell cards
Khajiit: Players will be rewarded for playing a quick game
Nord: Rewards players who brutally attack their enemies
Orc: Picks up Orc cards more quickly
Don’t get too hung up on picking just one, though. You can change your race any time between matches to suit your play style, just like your decks.
Elder Scrolls: Legends Deck Building
This is where it starts to get really interesting. By playing through Story mode, you get pre-built decks suited to a theme consisting of two colors and usually some colorless. If you find yourself a little lost about the colors and what they represent, check out my previous article here:
You can either keep the pre-built decks as they are, or you can customize them with cards you collect to suit your style. Or, if you want a more original approach, make your own! In the beginning of the game, your deck capacity starts at 50 cards, but can hold up to 70. Sometimes, less is more, and keeping a smaller deck increases the likelihood of anticipating the draw.
Keep in mind that up to two colors at a time can be used to create a deck, so it’s a good idea to pick attributes that complement each-other, like Blue + Yellow, for a Mage deck. If you don’t want to spend time picking out each individual card, you can select your desired attributes and click “Finish Deck” to let the game automatically fill in your cards. I recommend early beginners use dual attribute decks, just because there is a limited amount of cards in the decks you receive. As you progress and earn more cards, it will become easier to create decks with one sole attribute.
Elder Scrolls: Legends Battle System
There’s no shortage of intense battles here, and no lulls in strategy as you compete. With many TCG’s, there is a complicated turn system that restricts you by playing in phases. For example, Draw Phase, Pre-Phase, Battle Phase, etc. Legends doesn’t have such a system, and you can play cards at any time during your turn. Some cards you can even play during your opponent’s turn!
Attack first, and play cards after, or use your Magicka and then choose your attack. It’s up to you and your play style. Special abilities like Prophecy cards can be played on your opponent’s turn IF they are revealed when a rune is broken. Guards keep your life points safe by forcing enemy creatures to attack them first, and Breakthrough cards send any residual damage left over from attacking a creature directly to the opponent. There’s a ton of special effects to learn and utilize, each one adding just a little more depth to the types of decks you can create.
When attacking, always remember that the highest Strength number will win. There are advantages to “sacrificing” or purposely killing your creatures if they have Last Gasp effects, usually letting you draw a card or deal some damage to an enemy. If the Defense number is high, you can always chip away at the creature by attacking as it will sustain damage over time, and therefore be easier to take out.
That’s just the start of the game! The story is as captivating as it is instructive, and has been a great way to learn the game. It feels like an RPG that plays like a TCG, and is quickly becoming one of my favorite hybrids. I believe comparing it to any other mobile card game isn’t doing Legends justice. The story is deeply infused into the fabric of Legends, making it easy to believe this is a new part of Tamriel we haven’t yet seen rather than the “cash cow” some critics have deemed it as.
I hope the impending release comes swiftly for all of you ready to play, and I look forward to seeing you online.