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Richard Garfield on 'Upkeep Kills' in Valve's card battler Artifact

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Keeping the hype train for Valve's new card battler, Richard Garfield has another blog post and video out. This time, covering what they call Upkeep Kills.

I thought this was quite interesting, a nice little insight into some of the tactics you can employ. Since I don't play a lot of these card games myself, learning a little more about it was fun.

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Any card that gives the potential for an upkeep kill should be weighed as providing more value than it first may appear, at least to the untrained eye. An example of such a card is the March of the Machines, which is the include card for Tinker, a black hero. March of the Machines is an improvement that does 2 damage to the enemy tower and each enemy before the action phase, as long as it has charges (it begins with 3). With this improvement in the lane, if you can get enemy heroes low enough you can score an upkeep kill. You set this up during the action phase for that lane – or using cross lane damage from other lanes. Once your kill is in place you don’t even have to worry about getting priority to make the first move in the lane – you will effectively be scoring a double kill.

As a reminder, Valve confirmed to us directly that Linux will see same-day support with Artifact on November 28th when it releases to the public.

Don't forget, there's also a tournament happening this weekend to show off their built-in feature to allow people to run their own. The tournament will be across November 10-11, both days will start at 9AM PST/5PM UTC on their Steam.tv streaming service. A feature that I am quite excited for, since we will likely run some of our own as long as there's enough interest.

See more on the official site and follow it on Steam.

6 Likes, Who?
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skye 9 November 2018 at 10:42 am UTC
I'm pretty fond of card games because I like theorycrafting, looting & strategy elements in games so I'm excited to check this out esp with some future gol tourneys Funnily enough it's also why I like arpgs.


Last edited by skye at 9 November 2018 at 10:46 am UTC
Eike 9 November 2018 at 10:49 am UTC
skyeI'm pretty fond of card games because I like theorycrafting

I wonder if that's the very reason I never got attracted by such games.
Feda 9 November 2018 at 11:54 am UTC
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It sounds interesting but I'm way into Faeria right now.
razing32 9 November 2018 at 1:26 pm UTC
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I'll be honest that explanation flew over by head by about a mile.
Guess it shows i don't play card games.
Salvatos 9 November 2018 at 6:35 pm UTC
razing32I'll be honest that explanation flew over by head by about a mile.
Guess it shows i don't play card games.
"For dummies" version (making general assumptions about this kind of game, not Artifact in particular):
- The player's turn is divided in phases. Typically there's a "start of turn" where a few things happen automatically to set you up for your turn, then an "action phase" where you actually play cards and take actions, and an "end of turn" where you wrap up by drawing, discarding, etc. and pass. Sometimes, card effects trigger during start or end phases rather than during the main action phase (such as March of the Machines).
- Removing an enemy during the start of the turn is better than during the action phase because it doesn't get to react (typically in those games a unit that is attacked also deals its damage to the attacker simultaneously) and it's no longer in your way during the rest of the turn to hinder your attacks or provide special effects to the opponent.
Eike 9 November 2018 at 6:41 pm UTC
Salvatos- The player's turn is divided in phases. Typically there's a "start of turn" where a few things happen automatically to set you up for your turn

I'm surprised by the term "upkeep" for this phase.
Salvatos 9 November 2018 at 6:56 pm UTC
Maybe there's a cost to keep your units in play? I have no idea about Artifact's specific mechanics. Since Garfield is the creator of MTG, he might just be reusing that game's vocabulary:
GamepediaThe upkeep step is the second step of the beginning phase. At the beginning of the upkeep step, any abilities that trigger either during the untap step or at the beginning of upkeep go on the stack. Then the active player gains priority the first time during his or her turn.

During this step, all upkeep costs are paid. The cost can be paid to gain something (Farmstead) or to prevent a sacrifice (Force of Nature). The cost can also be cumulative.
mortigar 10 November 2018 at 1:05 am UTC
Looking forward to the game!
Guess they need to get as many people interested in the game as possible because it's buy to play so need to get that initial player base.
Rhythagoras 10 November 2018 at 10:42 pm UTC
but Tinker's March of the Machines ability in Dota 2 does not damage towers...
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