Welcome to my first of what will hopefully be a number of articles about Hex TCG. Who am I you ask? My name is Jeff Hoogland. While I am still a bit new to the game of Hex, I am not new to the world of CCGs. I have spent the last few years as a professional Magic the Gathering player and have a number of results to my name. The first time I played Hex I was hooked. The client looked great, the gameplay was interesting, and the design space that was not possible with a paper CCG was amazing.
Some of you might be reading this and wondering what exactly is Hex TCG? Well, Hex is a digital card game similar to Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone, but with a number of distinct differences. You can find a general overview of Hex TCG on their homepage here.
Like most trading card games there are a number of different types of games you can play with Hex. These include limited (drafting and sealed deck), constructed, and even an RPG style campaign where you play against computer AI.
Today’s piece is going to focus on two things. First I am going to talk about some of the things you will find different in Hex if you are already familiar with Magic the Gathering. Then I am going to give an overview of how to best get started playing constructed in Hex.
Gameplay Differences from MTG
If you are familiar with Magic the Gathering, picking up Hex will not be too difficult. There are a number of small nuances that make Hex unique and I would like to talk about the ones I feel are most important to know about when getting started here.
The most important part of any TCG is what you need to play your cards. In Hex there are two things to keep track of with regards to your resources. First is your total resource count, which is in the upper left hand corner of each card where you will see a number. This is the total resources it will cost you to play that card. The second thing you need to keep track of is the “threshold” a card requires to be cast. This is the minimum number of that color you must have for that card to be castable.
You obtain these resources by playing “Shards” from your hand. When you play a basic Shard you gain a threshold of that shard’s color as well as one resource. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say you have played one Sapphire Shard and three Wild Shard. This means you have four total resources, one Sapphire threshold, and three Wild threshold. That means with what you have available we could play any of the following combinations of cards:
Take note that even though we only have a single Sapphire threshold, we are able to play four cards that cost one that require a Sapphire threshold. We are also able to play two cards that require double Wild threshold even though one of our thresholds is Sapphire.
If you ever played the old variation of Magic called “Vanguard,” the concept of Champions are very similar. Your Champion is something you select during deckbuilding. It determines your starting life total as well as a special “Champion Power” that you have.
You use your Champion’s power by meeting its threshold requirement and then expending a certain number of “charges”. You gain charges from playing particular cards. Most notably you gain a charge every time you play a Shard for a resource.
Let’s take a look at a champion:
This Champion’s ability requires you to have a threshold of two Blood to activate and costs 4 charges to use. Using it makes you pay two life to draw a card.
Another unique feature to Hex TCG is the ability to “socket” certain cards. After you add something to your main deck that has the ability to be socketed, you can right click on the card to assign things to its socket(s):
It is worth noting that different gems have different threshold requirements. So be sure to select gems that are colors your deck can produce!
Four other important things to note when socketing.
First, different copies of the same card can have different sockets. This means you need to use the arrows at the top to change between copies and assign gems to all your copies.
Second is that when you are changing your “reserves” between games you are able to change the gems your cards are socketed with. You will be required to assign new gems to anything you bring in from your reserves – even if you had already assigned something to that reserves card when building the deck.
Third, there are Major and Minor Gems as you can see from the screenshot above. Cards can have “Socketable Major” and “Socketable Minor.” What is important to note is that you can equip a Minor Gem in either socket regardless of Major or Minor title, but a Major Gem can not be used in a Minor Gem Socket.
Lastly, just like cards, you can only have max 4 gems of any one type socketed into your cards. Currently the gem choices are as follows:
Permanence In Buffs / “Tokens”
The last thing that takes some getting used to in Hex when coming from Magic is that all modifiers applied to cards are permanent regardless of what zone they enter unless specified “until end of turn.” For instance this card:
Gives the card you target +2/+2 and Crush (essentially trample) for the duration of the game. It maintains these bonuses even if it is returned to your hand, sent to your Crypt (Graveyard in Magic), the Void (Exile in Magic), or even shuffled back into your deck.
Similarly, cards that create new cards are permanently created for the duration of the game. They can be returned to your hand, sent to the Crypt, the Void, and even shuffled back into your deck.
Finding Top Decks
If you are impatient like me and just want to start playing some constructed Hex, the first thing you are going to need to do is determine which deck you want to get started with. Thankfully there is a website that makes all of the top decks easily searchable called HexPvPTools.
Once you have a deck picked out you want to play, you have a few different methods of getting cards.
The first method is purchasing in-game platinum and searching for cards to purchase on the built-in auction house:
A second method is using a third party site such as the HexPrimal store to purchase all the cards you are looking for directly.
The last option is best if you have a plethora of time on your hands – grinding PvE for gold. Gold is the currency you get for completing in game quests. As of my writing this the gold to platinum ratio is about 12,000 : 100, or 12,000 gold : 1 USD. This can take a good bit of time, but it is an option for those who would prefer not to make an actual monetary investment to get started with Hex.
Types of Events
In addition to single player game play there are lots of different ways to can enjoy playing Hex competitively against other players. When viewing the things below keep in mind that 100 platinum is approximately 1 USD.
On Demand Events
Standard Constructed Ladder – Price: Free
The constructed ladder simply requires you own a standard legal constructed deck to play. Constructed ladder matches are best of three games. The ladder allows you to earn rewards for winning matches while progressing from Bronze to Cosmic in ranking. Every ladder season is two months long. If you progress all the way to Cosmic you can obtain the following each season:
7x Current Set Boosters
2x Current Promo
Unique Deck Sleeve
Hex Primal Immortal Queue – Price: Free
The Immortal Queue simply requires you have a constructed deck that is legal in the Immortal format. Immortal Queue matches are best of three games. When you win a match in the Immortal Queue you will get One Immortal Championship Ticket. Twenty Immortal Championship tickets are required to enter the Immortal Championship that is described below.
Limited Ladder – Price: “Free”
I say the limited ladder is “free” because while you do not have to pay anything extra to earn the rewards from it, you do need to enter limited events which have varying costs described below. The ladder advances from Bronze to Cosmic on two month seasons just like constructed. If you reach Cosmic in limited you have earned the following prizes on top of the normal prizes from the limited events you have played:
7x Current Set Boosters
2x Current Promo
Unique Deck Sleeve
Evolving Sealed – Price: 500 plat
Evolving Sealed starts you with two booster packs worth of cards and supplemental commons and uncommons. You then build a forty card deck to play against other people with forty card decks. When you win your first match you are given a third booster pack to add to your deck. When you win your third match you are given a fourth pack to add to your deck. Evolving Sealed matches are best of one game.
You stop playing when you have lost three games or won five games. If you reach five wins you will get an additional pack to keep.
Traditional Sealed – Price: 1400 plat
In traditional sealed you open six booster packs that are a mix of current sets and construct a forty card deck from them. You then play with your same card pool until you win five or lose three matches. Matches in traditional sealed are best of one.
Prizes based on finish:
1-3: 1 Current Set Booster
2-3: 2 Current Set Booster
3-3: 3 Current Set Booster
4-3: 4 Current Set Booster
5-x: 6 Current Set Booster
Draft Gauntlet – Price: 700 plat
Draft Gauntlets fire on demand every time there are eight new players ready to start drafting. One pack at a time players draft decks from 17 card packs until they have gone through three packs. You then play up to three matches that are best of three games. You earn prizes based on your final record:
2-1: 2 Current Set Booster
3-0: 6 Current Set Booster
Five Shards Arcanum Vault – Price: Free
This is a scheduled event that happens on a different week day each month at 11am PT and 6pm PT on the scheduled day. It is standard constructed and rounds are best of three games. Players earn prizes based on their final swiss standing. Note the promo for the Vault events differs from the Promo players earn while playing on the ladder.
4-0: 3x Current Set Boosters and 3x Current Promo
3-1: 2x Current Set Boosters and 2x Current Promo
2-2: 1x Current Promo
Five Shards Weekly Series – Price: Free
The weekly series happens every Saturday at 4pm PT and every Sunday at 7am PT. These single elimination standard constructed events vary in rounds based on the number of players. Rounds are best of three games. Prizes are awarded to the top 16 finishers at the end of the event. Top finishers in the weekly series each month are invited to the weekly series final.
1st – 10000 Platinum
2nd – 16 Boosters
3rd-4th – 8 boosters
5-8 – 4 boosters
9-16th – 2 boosters
Five Shards Cup Series – Price: Free
The cup series generally takes place on the second Saturday of every month. It is swiss based on the number of players. Rounds are best of three games. The format varies month to month, but most often it is standard constructed. At the conclusion of the swiss rounds there is a top 8 cut where the players play single elimination matches.
1st: 48 Set 5 Packs
2nd: 32 Set 5 Packs
3rd-4th: 16 Set 5 Packs
5th-8th: 10 Set 5 Packs
9th: 8 Set 5 Packs
10th-16th: 6 Set 5 Packs
17th-32nd: 3 Set 5 Packs
Hex Clash 1k Sealed – Price: 1500 plat
The Hex Clash 1k Sealed happens every Sunday starting at 8am PT. This is a sealed event that includes six boosters in your entry free. Players build a forty card deck and then play a number of swiss rounds based on the number of players. Rounds are best of three games. At the conclusion of the swiss rounds there is a top 8 cut where the players draft and then play single elimination matches.
1st place – $500 + Wizard Battleboard + Herofall AA Sleeves + Herofall AA card
2nd place – $250 + Wizard Battleboard + Herofall AA Sleeves + Herofall AA card
3rd & 4th place – $125 + Wizard Battleboard + Herofall AA Sleeves + Herofall AA card
5-8th place – 15 Packs (With Scars of War this would be 7 Herofall Boosters & 8 Scars of War Boosters) + Wizard Battleboard + Herofall AA Sleeves + Herofall AA card
9-16th place – HEX Clash Ticket + Herofall AA Sleeves + Herofall AA card
17th-32nd place – Herofall AA card
Five Shards Monthly – Price: Free – Qualification Required
The Monthly happens the last Sunday of the month. Constructed single elimination event for players who qualified via the weekly series events. Rounds are best of three games.
1st – 12500 Platinum
2nd – 7500 Platinum
3rd-4th – 5000 Platinum
5th-8th – 2500 Platinum
HexPrimal.com Immortal Championship – Price: Free – Qualification Required
The Immortal Championship happens every other month and is open to all players who earned at least 20 Immortal Queue tickets in the on demand queue. The dates for the 2017 Immortal Championship are:
April 15th 2017 9AM PT
June 17th 2017 9AM PT
August 12th 2017 9AM PT
October 21st 2017 9AM PT
December 16th 2017 9AM PT
The Championship is Immortal Constructed and the rounds are best of three games. The number of rounds is based on the player count. At the end of the swiss rounds there is a cut to the top 8 players who then play single elimination matches.
1st) $500 Store Credit; 1 Complete Set Pack; 20 Shards of Fate Packs & 20 Shattered Destiny Packs
2nd) $200 Store Credit; 20 Shards of Fate Packs & 20 Shattered Destiny Packs
3rd & 4th) $100 Store Credit; 20 Shards of Fate Packs & 20 Shattered Destiny Packs
5th-8th) $50 Store Credit; 20 Shards of Fate Packs & 20 Shattered Destiny Packs
9th-16th) 20 Shards of Fate Packs & 20 Shattered Destiny Packs
17th-32nd) 10 Shards of Fate Packs & 10 Shattered Destiny Packs
Cosmic Crown Showdown – Price: Free – Qualification Required
The Cosmic Crown Showdown (CCS) is a split format event that happens at the conclusion of each ladder season. The top 64 players from both the limited and constructed ladder are invited to this event that is seven rounds swiss rounds of standard constructed followed by a cut to the top 8 players who then play a single elimination draft to determine a winner. Rounds are best of three games.
1st Place: $2,000 and the Cosmic Crown Showdown Animated Sleeve
2nd Place: $1,000
3rd-4th Place: $500
5th-8th Place: $250
9th-16th Place: 25 boosters from the current set
17th-32nd Place: 10 boosters from the current set
33rd-128th Place: 5 boosters from the current set
Hopefully you found this guide a useful introduction to Hex TCG if you already have a Magic background. Have any questions about specifics, feel free to leave them in a comment below!
~Jeff Hoogland (@JeffHoogland)