World of Warcraft Trading Card Game
The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, commonly referred to as "the TCG", is a physical collectible card game based upon World of Warcraft.
The TCG was first released in October of 2006 by Upper Deck Entertainment. In March 2010 they lost the license from Blizzard Entertainment, and on March 24th, 2010 Cryptozoic Entertainment announced the acquisition of the game's license.
The TCG was produced for nearly seven years, when it was announced on August 23, 2013 that Set 21, Timewalkers: Reign of Fire would be the last set made. The announcement came a week after closed beta started for the digital card game Hearthstone, a spiritual successor to the TCG which features many of the same characters, abilities and artwork.
Unlike most TCGs, the game has a larger focus on multiplayer, having both raids and battlegrounds.
Each player uses a hero card and a deck consisting of allies and other supporting cards. In booster and starter packs, gamers can find cards representing weapons, abilities, armor, items and quests. Some booster packs also contain legendary rares, or loot cards (i.e. special versions of normal cards) which contain a scratch-off code. This code can then be redeemed in the online game for a virtual prize. The prizes include special tabards, gimmick items, noncombat pets, and mounts.
During play, players start with a single hero, and then play additional cards to augment the hero's powers or add additional members to his or her party. As in games such as Magic: The Gathering, the goal is to reduce the remaining health of the opponent to zero. Unlike Magic, combat attacks are always directed at individual heroes or allies, rather than simply declaring an attack with a number of creatures. Furthermore, damage done to characters accumulates between turns, making combat more expensive for both the attacker and defender.
In addition to standard 2-player game play, the game also features "Raid Decks", representing struggles involving large numbers of players against epic foes. These need 1 "Raid Master" and 3 to 5 other players. The Raid Master controls all monsters and foes, while the other players control the characters participating in the raid. Players who are victorious may be able to win certain "loot" cards from the treasure pack that came with the deck. A treasure pack contains holofoils, and sometimes contains a random insertion of a "loot" card. Upper Deck Entertainment also made treasure packs available from their UDE points store, although the cards in these packs are not holofoil.
As of 2010, five Raid Decks have been released, each based on a location in the WoW MMORPG: Onyxia's Lair, Molten Core, Magtheridon's Lair, The Black Temple, and Naxxramas. Next raid to be released is Assault on Icecrown Citadel.
The following types of cards are featured in the game:
- Hero - The character which a given player is playing as. Each player starts with a hero, and it is the hero which determines what other cards can be utilized or included in the deck (e.g., Horde heroes can only have Horde allies). The hero card provides information about starting health, race, class, specializations, and professions. Lastly, each hero has a unique power which can be used once per game (after which the hero card is turned face down).
- Master Hero - Master Hero cards replace a player's hero in favor of a new card. However, Master Heroes still work like regular cards with a casting cost. The original hero is removed from the game and any damage, abilities, equipment, tokens or attachments that were on the hero beforehand are brought onto the Master Hero. Master Heroes, unless specified otherwise, can use all equipment and abilities, but abilities on cards that look for specific types cannot be activated. Abilities originally on heroes do not carry on to the Master Hero.
- Ability - Cards played from the hand to cause some immediate impact to the game. Abilities can either be of the standard type, able to played only during one's turn, or can be instant abilities, able to be played at virtually any time. As with a number of the cards, many abilities include a trait icon, which limits what classes can include the card in their decks.
- Ally - Other individuals and companions who assist and fight on behalf of the main hero. Most allies are affiliated with either the Horde or the Alliance, so only cards matching the hero's own affiliation are permitted in a deck. Neutral allies can be included in either faction. Once brought into play by paying the appropriate cost, allies remain until destroyed or removed from play. Allies can attack (or be attacked), and can also provide special powers or abilities.
- Armor - Defensive cards which protect heroes from damage. Once played, by paying the appropriate resource cost, armor can be exhausted each turn in order to reduce damage dealt to a player's hero. Players are limited in how many different pieces of armor they may equip on any given "body part" (e.g., only one piece of chest armor at a time). Armor cards may also have additional effects above and beyond their defensive value.
- Weapon - Offensive cards which can augment a hero's melee or ranged capabilities, as well as provide other benefits. As with armor cards, players are limited on how many weapons they may have equipped at once. In order to use a weapon card to increase attack power during combat, a player must pay a resource cost associated with the weapon. Weapons can be used when either attacking or defending, but usually only one weapon can be used per combat.
- Item - Gear your hero can have in addition to weapons and armors. Rings, potions, and trinkets are examples of items.
- Quest - Special cards which act as resource cards, but with additional abilities. Quests can be completed by fulfilling a condition described on the card. When this is done, a reward is earned (e.g., drawing additional cards) and the quest is normally turned face down.
- Location - Location cards are similar to quest cards, but are not turned face down to use their abilities. Only one location can be controlled at a time, even if locations have different names.
- Loot - Loot cards are special versions of cards which can be used within the card game (e.g. as normal allies), but which also contain a scratch-off code. This code can be entered into the website for the online game, which will provide a unique in-game item.
World of Warcraft reward items
The TCG offered "legendary" loot cards. These cards are special versions of the normal card, however, they have a scratch off bar which contains a long hexadecimal code. These cards are entered on the Blizzard web site which converts them to a similar code that is specific to the realm of your choice. You then use the code with , a vendor in Booty Bay, to obtain the item. The codes are single-use, so you get one item on one character on one server for each loot card code you get. You do not get the item on all your characters, unlike the collector's edition pets. If you are having trouble with your loot cards, check out the loot card walk-through.
These loot cards are divided into three categories:
- Common - Common loot card, which is now usually a consumable item.
- Rare - A rare loot card.
- Very rare - A very rare loot card.
For more information, see Loot Cards.
One of the original "pulls" of the WoW TCG was that each booster pack had a guaranteed UDE points card, which featured 100 UDE points on it. These cards could be turned in at the Upper Deck website, and be used to buy various items. After a while, the points cards became material cards, while still featuring points. The UDE points program did not transfer with the TCG when it moved to Cryptozoic, so material cards released after Wrathgate no longer have UDE points on them.
For more information, see TCG UDE points.
Rules and errata
The current version of rules is 5.0.
The descriptions on the cards are not considered canon. There is no tie-in story for the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game. It is not a mini-game within World of Warcraft like with Hearthstone. Unless it's in World of Warcraft, it's not canon. The artwork of each card was overseen by Blizzard's Creative Development department to be as close to canon as possible.
- The Alliance Art Card Set
- The Horde Art Card Set
- The Art of the Trading Card Game volume one
- Miniatures Game