Epic is a game where two Elder Gods are vying for superiority. Each can call upon mighty champions or game changing events to alter destiny. The cards themselves and the gameplay really exemplify this. But is this game worth a shit?
The game is fully card-based, so what you get is a cheap box full of cards. The box won’t hold more than a single sleeved preconstructed deck (60) of cards despite it coming with 128. The box is also low quality. Basically, getting a storage option is necessary to keep the cards protected. If you buy 3 boxes for a full playset, get a large storage option (384 sleeved cards).
The cards themselves are of middle quality. I was able to safely have 20 matches shuffling these before I saw wear on the edges enough to make me want sleeves. On a scale of “Yu-Gi-Oh” to “Vanguard” I give them a “Pokemon”. Anyone who has felt all 3 know that Vanguard is amazing, Yu-Gi-Oh feels like you pulled it out of a garbage dump and Pokemon is dead center. I did find out that the cards are slightly hydrophobic, which no other TCG is to my knowledge besides Cardfight Vanguard. It gets major props for that smooth waxy finish protecting it.
The card frame design is pretty amazing considering the subpar quality of White Wizard’s other game, Star Realms. This far and away beats other card games out there right now.
The art in this game is fabulous and takes your breath away like in Star Realms. White Wizard seems to have found a handful of amazing artists who they reuse frequently and are on par or better than Magic’s new Zendikar art.
First, players each gain 1 “gold” which is used to pay for all of the powerful champions. Gold champions must make up at least 2/3 of a player’s deck. Currently, only 1 gold cost Champions exist which is necessary due to how the game is balanced. Champions with a 0 cost are silver and can be played any number of times per turn. However you may only have up to 1/3 of a constructed deck being silvers.
Next, the turn player draws a card and play begins. The turn player may attack in any order, play cards in any order, and attack-and-play in any order. What this means is that you can start right off with an attack, then play a Champion, then attack, play an Event, etc. There’s no fixed phase system in play. This greatly increases the number of choices a player has. When a Champion is placed into play, it goes into the “Preparation” zone face up. This denotes that it cannot use its expend (turn sideways) abilities or attack that turn, but can block on the opponent’s turn. If a Champion has blitz, it ignores those restrictions while in that zone. Before this phase is actually a step where the turn player prepares all of their champions, taking them out of that zone and turning them vertically.
A player may attack and play cards until they are either content with their actions or have no more to take, then end their turn. This is the last time an opponent could play a card on the turn player’s turn. Only Events and Champions with Ambush can be played on an opponent’s turn and only during specific moments. These moments are:
- When your opponent attacks, you can play an ambush or event
- When you would declare a block, you can play an ambush or event
- When your opponent’s turn starts to end, you can play an ambush or event
These seem limited, and relative to other games they are—but for Epic this is just right. There’s no “stack” in Epic, and they got rid of the old version of this game’s hideous “the line” as well (Epic was once an old terrible TCG). Instead, due to the new rules about when cards can be played, a card is fully resolved before priority of play passes to another player. So for instance, if you ambush in a Champion when the opponent attacks, you have time to declare it as a blocker too!
Combat essentially works the way you think it will (attack, block, subtract power from defense, break 0 defense champions) but with an important twist: An attacking player may declare an attack group of any size. This completely ruins the problem in Magic the Gathering where two players’ fields become a Game of Chicken. Your opponent can also block with any size group against yours. Usually both players have equal field standing and will be attacking and blocking one at a time. This is because a player chooses how her Champion’s power is divided among the opponent’s defense which could leave a player with many broken Champions depending on the situation. Combat feels fresh and fast in Epic, with many “back and forth moments”.
You start with 30 life. Attack your opponent directly or play burn events to reduce their life to 0 and win!
Focuses on spamming tiny humans for guard, airborne angels (air champions can only be stopped by other airborne) and rapidly increasing their health. They feel powerful as they continue to move the opponent’s goalposts. Most of their attacks will be in the air and direct while having a huge ground army for guard as well as playing keep away with life. This makes for a gap-engineering play style.
Has several ways to synergize its champions, often by getting many types of boons from spamming mid-point demons or weak zombies. When I say “spam” in this game is mean it. Put 3 zombies into play. 3 demons. 6 humans. 4 wolves. Fuck your face. In addition Evil can nuke the most and has highest sheer quantity of spot removal.
Wild decks drop big shit that’s fast and aim fire at your face. Tons of their best stuff has Blitz which allows you to do things NOW, Ambush which is for very impatient people who want to summon on an opponent’s turn, and the ability to take huge 18 power champions and Breakthrough opposing guard for spillover damage. What if you aren’t going spasticly fast or hard enough? Make them eat fireballs to the face.
Sage focuses on having an answer to everything. Between constantly increasing their hand and options, Sage can usually play cards on their turn and opponent’s every round. With absolutely ridiculous endurance and reduction of chance, it’s rare you can come up with a situation to put Sage into that it can’t get out of. All your stuff is unkillable? Okay, they are just wolves now. By the way, freeze your whole field while I hit you in the air and drop dragons on your champions. My turn…draw 2 cards.
The actual exchanges in the game require tight assessment from both players. There is a lot of interactions. Despite this, you cannot stop your opponent from doing anything. It just happens to you. The best you can muster is an after-the-fact play. With 2/3 of cards costing 1 gold (the rest are free) and each player getting 1g per each turn (yours and your opponents) games can afford to have epic exchanges right off the bat with no boring buildup such as in magic, but no spunk-gargle cardspam such as in Yu-Gi-Oh. My best take on the feel is “Midgame in a MtG World Tournament” at all times starting at turn 1.
Magic players will struggle. You will constantly try to “translate” the game into MtG terms and fail because this is not Magic. In addition, you won’t be able to keep up with the deadly pace if you’re used to turns 1-3 being “do nothing but set up”.
Some reviewers and casual board gamers have called Epics games “swingy”. The idea being that since every single card is game shattering, it just randomly screws you. However, I have not found this. Maybe because my opponents are pro tour material. Every single card played can turn the game so that counts for your own. The entire game is about seeing the right play and reducing misplays.
Can I recommend this game?
I am morally obligated to. It beats every TCG on the market despite not being one (it’s an ECG, or Expandable Card Game). Epic comes with 1 of every tournament legal card you need. 3 boxes ($10-14 each) gets you a full playset and enough to cube draft. The base box has 4 balanced 30 card preconstructed decks. It has a reusable sealed format built in to each box as well as draft and open draft. The rules support multi-player and even some unique multi-player formats. The main site also states that more formats are coming. Basically $30-46 gets you every card for every format for a great game.
Verdict: We’ll be supporting this one on V-Mundi.
If you’re looking to get started more on Epic, try the following: