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Shadow Era TCG  »  Articles  »  Beginner's Guide to Shadow Era - Part One
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The aim of this three-part guide is to help you get started with the game, become a decent player and have lots of fun in the process.

NOTE: Since the time of writing, v1.28 of Shadow Era has been released, and the minimum deck size for player vs player matches has been increased to 40 cards (including Hero). Some Hero abilities have also changed.


1. Choose Your (First) Platform

Shadow Era is free to play and available on a wide variety of platforms, so you can seamlessly switch between them with a single player account. For this reason, it doesn't matter which platform you choose to start off with, so you might as well pick whichever is most convenient for you right now:

My personal favourite is the iPad version because the game looks gorgeous and the user interface is very slick, but I have also used the Mac application and the web browser version on Chrome and Firefox.

2. Choose an Email Address and Password

This is pretty self-explanatory, but I'll offer some advice anyway.

The email address you provide will likely never receive an email, but it is being recorded in case you need support on your account. For this reason, it's a good idea to use a real email address!

There is currently no way to automatically retrieve a lost password, so pick one you can remember or jot it down somewhere. Failing that, be sure to provide a real email address, so you can reset your password via customer support.

When you've entered your input, hit LOGIN/REGISTER.

3. Choose Your (First) Hero

You are now presented with ten Hero cards to choose from. You can flick through them by clicking on the cards to the side of the central one.

The Hero you choose here will depend on a few factors:

If you are planning to buy or earn some in-game currency right away, the Hero you choose now will have little significance, since you will soon collect all of them with minimal effort/expenditure. Just pick whoever you like the look of.

If you are undecided about the game for now, and you are not sure if you will be expanding your collection quickly, I recommend picking Eladwen Frostmire or Boris Skullcrusher.

When you have your desired Hero in the centre of the screen, hit NEXT.

Note: You can only get Human Hero decks when signing up. Shadow Hero starter decks can only be obtained later.

4. Choose a Player Name

Your Player Name is currently the only way to convey your personal identity to other players in the game, as there are no player avatars or profile pages yet. (There is a companion forum, which I highly recommend, but there is nothing like this within the game itself.)

I can't really give any advice here, except that it's non-trivial to change your Player Name once you have chosen it, so have a good think about it if you foresee a long and happy relationship with this game.

When you have entered your Player Name, hit SUBMIT and, after a check for updates is performed, you'll arrive at a Welcome screen.

5. Become Familiar With Your Deck

Each game you play will involve you and your deck of cards, which you build from your collection. Before each game, you are free to make whatever deck changes you want, providing you have the required cards in your collection. Let's see how this works now.

From the world map screen, which should currently be in front of you, toggle the main menu with the icon at the top middle position, and choose DECK.

You will now see the Deck Builder, where you can click on each card in your current deck (the one that came free when you signed up) to see it more closely.

If you have played Magic: The Gathering or World of Warcraft TCG before, the card meanings should be relatively intuitive to you. If you've played any other collectable card games before, the cards should still make some kind of sense to you. If you are completely new to collectable card games, then you should probably get some basic information from the rules page.

When you click on each card in your deck, you can choose whether to Remove it or not. Pick one to remove now and you will see it appear it the lower half of the screen, which represents unused cards from your collection. Since you only have the free starter deck right now, you have no real choices about your deck, other than which single card you want to remove to get the total down to 30 (the minimum deck size). I recommend dropping Cover of Night.

Now hit SAVE. (If this button is not visible at any point, it will be because your deck has fewer than 30 cards, so add some extra ones and then save the deck.)

Bring up the main menu again and choose MERCHANT.

6. Get Some More (Free) Cards

On the MERCHANT screen, you will see an assortment of sealed product, along with two numbers at the bottom corners of the screen.

In the left, it will show that you have 0 Shadow Crystals. In the right, it should show that you have 500 Gold, which is another free gift you get for signing up.

We're going to use some of this Gold now to buy a few extra cards to customize your deck.

Hit BUY at the bottom of the screen and you will be presented with a virtual shop window of cards you can browse through.

If you picked Eladwen or Nishaven as your Hero, you will want to buy 2 Lightning Strikes. If you chose anyone else, you'll want to buy Aldon the Brave.

When you've made these purchases, you will not have much Gold left, so you will need to obtain more if you want to drastically change your deck. There are two ways to get Gold: you can earn it by winning games; or you can sell unwanted cards back to the Merchant. Let's see the latter in action now.

Hit SELL at the bottom of the screen and you will be able to browse the unused cards in your collection and click on cards you are considering selling. (Note that you cannot sell cards that are in your current deck.) Click on the Cover of Night we removed earlier and sell it.

You might now have enough Gold to buy a Supernova, if your Hero is Eladwen or Nishaven. If not, I recommend going back to your deck and adding the Lightning Strikes, removing Campfire Stories, hitting SAVE, and then returning to the Merchant to sell Campfire Stories. You should now be able to buy a Supernova.

If you picked any other Hero, you probably don't have enough Gold yet for anything decent, so just find Cover of Night again and note down its price. You will see that it costs twice as much as you received for selling it, so definitely don't buy it back!

The Sell price of cards is always half that of the Buy price, so it makes the most sense to try to accumulate a collection of cards, rather than selling off unwanted cards and then later buy them back when they are wanted for new decks. (In the case of Cover of Night, there's no need to worry because it's not worthy of going in any deck.)

Now return to the Deck Builder and replace up to two Rain Delays for your new cards and hit SAVE.

If you ended up buying four cards, you can trim down to 30 cards by removing Reinforced Armor.

7. Play Your First Game Against the Computer

If you now go to the WORLD screen, there will be one Shadow Hero face on the map somewhere. Select him and start the match.

This first match acts as a tutorial, so it is a great way to learn how to play.


Give it a try and then head onto Part Two.

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