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Digital Life
 
SPOTLIGHT

Duel Of Champions

Published on May 16, 2014 6:00 AM
 

Free to play

Those who grew up playing the Heroes Of Might & Magic series will recognise the style of the heroes and creatures in this strategy card game.

The six factions in Duel Of Champions - Haven, Stronghold, Necropolis, Inferno, Academy and Sanctuary - closely follow those of Heroes. Haven (like the good guys from Heroes) is a noble collection of humans, griffins, knights and angels, while the evil army of the Necropolis consists of undead such as ghouls, vampires, zombies and skeletons.

In Duel, players create decks of cards to be used in battle against the computer or against other players online. Each deck can have only one hero or heroine, who has unique abilities.

Strong decks should have cards which are a good fit with the hero's abilities. My current favourite now is Sveltana, a Necropolis hero with the ability to resurrect low- to mid-level vampires. Obviously, I filled my decks with these vampires which drain life and heal themselves as they damage their enemies.

Combined with Dark spells that cripple and destroy enemy creatures outright with a single cast, the strategy is to whittle down the enemy till they can be overcome by an endless army of vampires which can be brought back to life.

Unlike Hearthstone and Magic which have no formations to think about, Duel plays on a 4x4 battle grid like a chess game.

Each player can summon up to eight creatures on his side of the battlefield, in four rows and two columns. In the front column are typically melee-style and tougher creatures that can soak up the damage, while the ranged attackers of the back column take out enemies from a distance.

If your enemy has creatures on a particular row, you would want to have at least one on the same row to prevent enemy creatures from damaging your hero. Whoever reduces his enemy hero's life to zero first wins the game.

Each faction has unique characteristics.

You start by choosing a basic deck and earn more cards by completing the campaign. The sheer number of cards makes this a challenging affair, especially when you couple this with the glacial pace of earning enough virtual credits to buy new card packs.

It is clear that this game requires players to spend real money to get more cards and the game does get challenging for those who will not pay.

When you complete the single-player campaign, you can then focus on online battles against other players and take part in tournaments that reward winners with free card packs. Unfortunately, you need tickets to join tournaments and they cost about US$5 (S$6.30) for a stack of six.

Like Hearthstone, Duel is available on both PC and Mac plus iOS for mobile devices, and your profile is saved and synced across all the different platforms.

This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on May 14, 2014.

Background story

Pros

  • Great versatility in deck creation strategy
  • Deep gameplay strategy
  • Board-game style combat
  • Familiar Heroes Of Might & Magic universe

Cons

  • Rather complex and inaccessible to casual players
  • Takes too long to unlock more cards

DL rating

8/10