Caught up in the Hearthstone hype? While you’re waiting for that beta key, you might want to check out Ubisoft’s Might & Magic – Duel of Champions. The online TCG was released in March on PC/iPad and already has three expansions under its belt, including last week’s release, Forgotten Wars.




While the basics of the game will be familiar to TCG veterans – you summon creatures and cast spells in the effort to reduce your opponent’s hit points to zero – Duel of Champions offers a nice twist on the formula that helps it stand out from the crowd. Creatures are played on a 4×4 grid, and there are strict rules regarding where they can deploy and where they can attack, adding a tactical aspect to the game that makes it feel like a real battlefield.

The tutorial teaches you the game in nice, bite-sized steps, ramping you up from the basics all the way up to full games. This continues in the form of the campaign mode, which pits you in a series of duels of increasing difficulty against computer-controlled opponents. Along the way, you’ll earn gold (in-game currency) and seals (cash-shop currency), with which you can improve your deck or buy new decks altogether.

At some point, though, the NPC opponent starts cheating, and cheating hard. “Deck construction rules? Nah, screw those, I’m going to put in as many of a card as I want. Oh, and I’ll start with a creature in play, too.” I understand the need to increase challenge, but I would have preferred to see it done with better decks than outright cheating.

Once you’ve honed your PvE skills, and maybe tweaked your deck, you can head into PvP matches, either against friends or random players. Ubisoft has what looks like an extensive tournament system in place, though most of this year’s qualifiers have already come and gone. The finals will be in Paris during Paris Game Week Oct. 30 to Nov. 3.

A clash of good vs. evil

I’ll admit I went into this review with a little trepidation; I’ve seen a lot of bad TCGs, and I was worried that this would resemble a typical, fly-by-night, make-a-quick-buck-on-the-craze effort, but I was pleasantly surprised by its professional appearance.

Truth be told, I like how Duel of Champions plays more than I do Hearthstone and other basic, “summon stuff, kill the opponent” TCGs. The battlefield is a nice addition, and there are plenty of abilities that take advantage of positioning in a way that most games can’t. The interface is clean, attractive, and easy to navigate.

All those abilities are a lot for a new player to pick up on, though, and I found myself constantly having to right-click enlarge cards to remember what they did. With 16 cards, as well as decks, discard piles, and other UI elements, it’s understandable that their basic view can’t be as big as, say, Hearthstone’s, but mouseover views or small icons for special abilities would speed up (my, at least) gameplay.

Still, that and the issue with the campaign I cited earlier are minor gripes. The most glaring issue with Duel of Champions comes where you would least expect it – in the deck builder. For some reason, Ubisoft decided that, in order to use a card in multiple decks, you had to “own” multiple copies of that card. In other words, if you have a rare you want to include in multiple decks, you’d have to take it out of the first deck and put it into the other.

I understand that this more accurately mimics how a “real” TCG works, but that’s missing the entire point of bringing it online. No other online TCG that I can think of utilizes this system, and for a good reason: it’s awful. I asked for opinions on my Facebook and the responses – some from people who have actually worked on online TCGs – ranged from “terrible” to “gross” to “blatant money grab.”

I asked Ubisoft about this and they admitted that it was something they were looking to change, based on player feedback. Until they do, I’d still recommend the game – it is pretty fun – but can’t suggest you get too heavily invested in it until this issue is addressed.

Loot drops

Speaking of investment… the smallest purchase is $5 for 250 seals, and the largest is $100 for 7,000. Decks cost 1,100 to 1,550 seals, which works out to a rather exorbitant $15.71 (cheapest method) to $31 (most expensive method) for a deck. You can also buy gold, at a rate of $5 for 25,000 up to $100 for 700,000, and deck prices via that method are a little more reasonable, working out to be as low as $8.93 for the basic starter decks you choose one of for free when you begin.

Pack prices are a little friendlier, with basic packs of 12 cards in the $2.50 to $3.50 range and Premium packs (offering better chances at rare cards) about a dollar more. You can also buy packs in bulk (a.k.a. “boxes”) for a further discount.

You do get a free deck for starting, and you earn enough gold and seals along the way to buy more. I’ve got nearly enough to buy two more – one with seals, one with gold – through my few hours of gameplay. Still, when you do the math, it comes out looking crooked – doubly so when you realize that you’ll have a tough time putting a new deck together without buying a preconstructed deck, thanks to the card restrictions on deckbuilding.

As I said earlier, Might & Magic – Duel of Champions is a fun game, and I could even come to grips with the cash shop by playing for free and using my accumulated wealth to buy the occasional deck or pack. Play for free, challenge friends, and have a good time with a well-designed, deeply strategic online TCG.

But the deckbuilding restrictions are a major downer for me. Playing around with decks or building new ones is the heart of the TCG experience, and unnecessarily hampering that in the name of “realism” is a bad way to go. I’d say DoC is worth checking out, but it’s a tough to recommend it too highly until this issue is dealt with.

By Jason Winter

28 Readers Commented

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  1. hEyo on October 7, 2013

    I love Card Games, but this one… It has such an uninteresting look to it, it feels unappealing, doesn’t feel satisfatory and it is way too overcomplicated… It is a shame…

    • ioulios on October 8, 2013

      NOOB!

      • vets on October 11, 2013

        It has nothing to do with being a noob, idiot,you make no sense, its called Personal Opinion!

    • Jakuza on October 22, 2013

      Yup. This is a not a good card game.
      The Eredan fun factor is much-much better.

  2. cyprus on October 5, 2013

    This game was really fun, the strategy plays a lot like rts mixed in to the tcg stuff. I love tcgs but sometimes i do wonder if there are any games that plays more like Cardfight Vanguard in real life, really want an online version of it or anything like it but duels of champions is good too i guess. Vanguard has the really cool trigger system and soul system that doesn’t exist within any tcgs at all, online or real life.

  3. Legend1 on October 3, 2013

    ok so before i start off i will say that i havent tried hearthstone yet but i will get to it eventually.

    ive been playing this game for a about a week now and i will say this,this game is pretty damn good.The reason why i say this is because it wasnt easy to learn the game,After i installed signed in and got to the last training quest (where they put you against a pretty tough ai ) i realised like im sure alot of other people did this game is gonna take some strategy to win. and with every deck in the game having its own unique play style aside from planning out what when to play a card like the ereview mentions under the GOOD VS EVIL section with the lane positioning.

    earning gold does get grindy if you dont tweak your deck.BUT to piggy back off of an earlier post the game is generous when it comes to earning addition gold and seals.Your main gold income is going to be multiplayer matches but theres is another f2p alternative to acquire more cards and extras in a faster time .this is done through the achievement system in the game.Achievement rewards varies from gold or seals to single cards and card packs.to banners that show in battle

    there are 2 quest lines aside from the multiplayer 1 that is already unlocked and that you could do whenever ( but i personally recommend starting it after you completed the training to save yourself some frustration) the second quest line is unlocked at level 5 i believe.but those are the only 2 i see that are there.

    LASTLY!!!! this is no lastly but i will say that i wasnt into the mnm series before hand so wouldnt know about the lore and stuff but what i do know is that i really eenjoy playing this game and if your interested then give it a try

  4. from__hell on October 3, 2013

    I started playing this a couple weeks ago, and it’s not bad, i think it’s kind of gotten ignored because all the hype about hearthstone, but the game is pretty good, if You’re a fan of the genre or just curious about CCG you should check it out

  5. ExHuman on October 2, 2013

    First Look, Michel ?

    • ExHuman on October 2, 2013

      I mean Michael. Unintentionally made a French garçon of you

  6. Rondle on October 1, 2013

    Cant wait for HEX to come out tho

  7. ExHuman on October 1, 2013

    While I’m neither hardcore TCG player, nor fan of U as publisher, still decided to take a look. I found that positioning bring tactical depth and more choices to start with. It adds TBS feel to traditional card game. Strategy fans may enjoy it.

  8. ioulios on October 1, 2013

    by far better than hearthstone,f2p game i have all collection without spending any money!

    many tournaments,and most important really pro players u will encounters (and i thought i was good)

    depth strategies and gameplay,AWESOME artwork,at the bad side it has some minor bugs that is

    totally understood.Not recomending this to noobs and brainless players!Also to obtain cards

    some1 must be patient u cant have the whole collection by the first week!

  9. InDaFaceGr on October 1, 2013

    I didn’t like it on ipad.

  10. Keywielder on October 1, 2013

    is this playable on mac?

    • Finix on October 1, 2013

      no thereare no plans for a mac version right now

  11. Marinkovich on October 1, 2013

    I have no sound in game. Anyone have simillar problem that could help me to fix this?

  12. Name (Required) on September 30, 2013

    as a fan of ccg/tcg, i do recommend this game. there’s no rule about playing mmdoc and hs at the same time.

    i am level 50+ on mmdoc and am completely free player. i found the reward system to be more then generous as i’ve obtained many legendary cards to make meta game decks.

    for new players it is tough though to get used to the combat system and deck building. once you get enough cards and rank up higher you will see how different decks shine and can even make your own (i’ve had a few experiences where i make up a deck and then get 20+ win streaks and win tournaments, i never carbon copy so it throws people off).

    anyway i’ve stopped playing it though since i’ve been playing hearthstone. hs just has a bigger base and potential for serious tournaments in the US (unlike mmdoc, which only holds stuff in the uk or germany)

  13. qwe on September 30, 2013

    hey why u have so much gold and seals? omg

  14. Silentcrypt on September 30, 2013

    This game is fun but it lacks a great deal of depth. I don’t even know why they call it Might and “Magic” because you rarely use magic spells most of the fights you are going to be summoning small cost creatures until you get the resources to summon your heavy hitters and the first one to assume control over the board is pretty much the winner. I level to like 9 or something and only had, maybe, 4 matches where we used spell like, or fortune, cards, and most of them were bring target creature out of graveyard cards. The game can be fun when you save up $$ to buy packs and start collecting stronger creatures but early on your probably going to get hammered by other people who spent real money to buy all their cards. I finally got a balanced necro deck that does very well and hit 600 ranking. I honestly don’t believe this game has more depth than Magic or even Hearthstone for that matter, and no I’m not saying that because I’m a WoW fanboy. I find WoW to be extremely boring now a days, but Hearthstone does at least have spells that are worthwhile to have in your deck so that it isn’t all about creature spamming. Also this game lacks any kind of trading, which sucks, so if you have 50 creature cards you do not want you can sacrifice them for barely half of what you probably spent to get them and a chance at winning some other card you probably don’t want either. Bottom line, if you want a good CCG that’s not Hearthstone and doesn’t require the money drop like Magic the Gathering then this is by far the best, and probably only, thing on the market.

    • dynamoex on October 2, 2013

      its called might and magic because its in the might and magic world
      and i use alot of magic cards in the game it just depends on your deck

    • smartass on October 2, 2013

      Funny you say it has no depth when you havent even passed 600 elo, the difference between 600 and 1500 (or even +1000). In low elo you can get away with many shitty moves, but in higher elos you actually have to plan a strat and plan combos for your deck.

      You say this game can be barely considered “magic” when currently one of the best decks is based on 0 creatures and use a strat called “slowpoke” which is to try and clear the board while drawing cards and dealing damage with fortune cards.

    • ioulios on October 3, 2013

      totally agree with smartass i am 1500+ elo and lvl 229…Propably Sylentscript is a noob at low elo where u play only creatures and few common spells…At high lvl gameplay u have to think so much before u make ur move that the 2 minutes u have per turn seems like 2 seconds!

  15. Finix on September 30, 2013

    one of the best games of this sort though hearthstone looks awesome as well
    people complain about the deckbuilder allot on the forms I doubt its gonna be taken seriously though since ubisoft wants this game too be more profitable I guess, by forcing people too buy the same cards over and over again

  16. Hantzie on September 30, 2013

    This game is way better than Hearthstone. Hearthstone is popular due to its link to WoW and Blizzard that’s all. This game deserves more than HS.

    • asdok on September 30, 2013

      Hearthstone is more popular because the game has way more graphical polishment, detail, and animations, so for it pleases a wider range of people, including hardcore,casual, family people.
      Might and magic is more for a small “really-fans-of-m&m” and “while-no-HS-openbeta”

      • asdok on September 30, 2013

        Either way, this one seems to have more depth in terms of tactics… but again, Hearthstone wins on the simplicity and eye-candyness.

  17. Name (Required) on September 30, 2013

    it’s a CCG not a TCG

    • Jason Winter on September 30, 2013

      Old habits die hard. When I was at Scrye, we referred to everything as a TCG.

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