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As with all trading card games, you are at a severe disadvantage in Shadow Era if you don't have a complete playset of cards, since you have fewer options for making your decks and you might be missing powerful cards that other players aren't.

It is for this reason that Shadow Era players with serious ambitions of having a high rating, or being a tournament winner, will want to get a complete collection as soon as possible.

In this article, I will discuss the four main ways of achieving this.


By grinding, I mean repeatedly playing the game to accumulate in-game items rather than playing for enjoyment or challenge. The main advantages of grinding against the Shadow Era AI, to gain EXP (for levelling up) and Gold (to buy individual cards), are that it's easy and it costs no money. The huge disadvantage is that it can take up a lot of your time. Dependent on how much time you have to spare, this may not be worth it to you.

Note that in your early games against the AI, for which you will be earning Gold and EXP, you aren't really grinding, since you are learning the game and probably enjoying yourself. It is also very easy to level up. But, as your level increases, the AI gets harder and the amount of EXP you need to gain to level up increases. By Level 14, where you will have earned only 325 Shadow Crystals (13x25) so far, you need to win another 30 games to get to the next level.

I should state at this point that you can also earn EXP and Gold by playing against other players, but that will likely take more time and will be harder.

My advice is that you should at least play against the AI to reach Level 5, whereupon you will have earned 100 Shadow Crystals to buy a Starter Deck. Beyond this, you will slowly earn EXP and Gold as a side-effect of playing other people, but it should not be the motivating factor.

Earning Crystals

Dependent on which platforms you have access to, you might be able to take advantage of offers that provide Shadow Crystals.

In the case of the web browser, if you go to this web page and enter the Email Address corresponding to your game account, you can see what's on offer right now. There is usually at least one short video to play (you don't even need to watch it) to earn 4 crystals, and some surveys to fill in. These all take a little time, but they are quicker than grinding, and they also will lead to Wulven Studios (the makers of Shadow Era) earning some small amount of money.

In the case of mobile phones, you might be able to earn crystals by installing other apps. Again, this is very quick to do, and it will lead to Wulven Studios getting a minor financial contribution for your efforts.

My advice here is to have a look at the offers and do the application installs, if they are available to you, since you can delete them afterwards. (You might even find another app you like, such as Tap Zoo, which I have been using daily since I discovered Shadow Era.)

Winning Crystals

Some tournaments and leagues offer Shadow Crystals as prizes, so if you've made a fantastic deck from your limited card pool, then you might be able to win your way towards more Cystals and a larger collection of cards. If you think you've got what it takes, this is much quicker than grinding and a lot more fun.

My advice here is to not pin your hopes on winning crystals this way, but there is not really much to lose by taking part in free-to-enter tournaments and leagues, so keep an eye on the Organised Play section of the forums.

Spending Money

Providing you have the money, this is the easiest way to finish your collection, and it is also what makes the Freemium business model work: when you pay a price for convenience, it allows the grinders to play for free. For me, given that I have very little spare time to waste, and I've spent far more money on games I've spent less than an hour on, it's a no-brainer to just buy my way to a complete collection. It also feels good to be supporting the developers directly with my money.

My advice here is to consider what you can afford and what the game is worth to you. I've been happily spending some spare mobile phone credit now and again to build up collections in extra game accounts for playtesting.

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