Earthcore: Shattered Elements is a different kind of collectible card game. Plenty of previous titles have made similar claims, but Tequila Games has actually pulled it off, blending simple game mechanics with sneakily deceptive layers of strategy.
On the surface, it’s a game of rock-paper-scissors with some additional bluffing and memorization elements. The battles are quick, and they can be over in one unforgiving moment if you make a mistake or forget something you’ve already learned about your opponent’s cards.
Intrigued? We can help you polish up your skills at this particular card battling challenge. Just keep reading and take in all of Gamezebo’s Earthcore: Shattered Elements Tips, Cheats and Strategies and you’ll be sure to get a leg up on your competition, whether its of the AI or human variety, in no time.
- Let’s start with the most basic game mechanic in Earthcore: element is absolute. The relationship between elements goes Fire > Earth > Water > Fire, and the relative strength of the cards involved doesn’t matter. If you have a Fire card across the board from a Water card at the end of the round, it will lose. Cards of the same element will draw against each other, while cards turned to Dust will lose to cards of any other Element.
- Unlike most card games, there are no energy values, hit point or most of the common statistics. The only number you need to worry about is the card’s Risk value, which is right at the bottom of the card. If your card loses, that Risk value determines the damage done to your Health total. In case of a draw, the Risk value is “saved” in that column of the board and is added to the total you’ll lose in the next round, raising the stakes.
- So what makes one card better than another? In most cases, it’s the card’s skill, which could be a passive effect that activated automatically when the card is played (called Instant skills) or something that you need to activate during your turn (known as Manual skills). You can only play one active skill during your turn, and the player who has to go first in any particular round has a final chance to play a skill after both players have used up their three turns. Skills can only be played from cards in play — in other words, not from cards in your hand — but they can be activated at any time during your turn, before or after you play a card to the board.
- When you first start playing Earthcore, you are asked to select a faction. Mages have more skills that manipulate elements, Rogues concentrate more on moving cards around the board and Warriors utilize more cards that deal direct damage to the opponent. The choice you make should reflect your desired play style, but don’t dwell on it, as you can change factions later by spending 15 Diamonds, the game’s premium currency.
- All cards in Earthcore at launch can be used by any faction. However, using cards from your own faction (as determined by the small icon in the lower left-hand corner) allows you to play them for -2 Risk. Thus it’s a smart idea to build a deck mostly from your own faction, unless the skills from some other cards are too vital to your strategy to leave out.
- Speaking of deck-building, you’ll have to use the opposite mentality from many other CCGs. Instead of focusing on one or two elements, you’ll want to have a balance of all three in order to deal with the RPS aspects of gameplay, at least until you understand some skills that can help you operate without keeping the ratio about even. For example, the Traitor card has the Betrayal skill that allows it to switch places with the opposite card, though it changes its Rick to 2 in the process. Having several copies of this desk can allow you to play less Fire cards, because it can defeat an Earth card by swapping with it.
- Another skill that is extremely helpful in a very obvious way is the Revealer skill used by the Fire Scout. It shows you the elements of the cards still in the opponent’s hand, which is perhaps the best info you could possibly have in Earthcore. Similarly, cards that win their columns return to the players’ hands, so it behooves you to remember what was played in any column where you lose during a round.
- When the end of a round arrives, the individual column battles are resolved from left to right. That’s important to remember in situations where it appears both you or your opponent could be reduced to zero health at the end of a round. If you can win the first column and deal your damage first, you can ensure yourself of a victory.
- See the ‘x2’ arrow in the middle of the board? That means double damage is dealt to whichever player loses that column in that particular round. The arrow rotates back and forth between players after each round, and there are skills that can turn it around or even shift it to other columns during play.
- Hero cards obey the same rules as normal cards, but they have slots for three different skills. That adds a level of customization to the most powerful cards that you won’t find in other CCGs. To craft your own Hero, you’ll need to have one with at least one skill slot still open and three copies of a compatible card — which you can easily determine by checking the ‘Compatible’ button within the crafting screen. The cards you use are sacrificed in order to give the Hero their skill, so be sure you can part with them without adversely affecting your deck. You’ll also need gold for the crafting process, though not large amounts.
- New cards can be obtained as rewards in solo play, especially if you can win certain battles by fulfilling the requirements to earn all three stars. Packs of cards can be purchased for gold in the Armory; packs of 4, 8, 12 and 20 are available. All boosters have the same chances for dropping any card. Also, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for special, limited time only boosters that you can only buy with Diamonds.