If you’re looking for a deck building card game, check out Eternal on Switch. It’s a deck-building card game that borrows its looks from Hearthstone, but much of its strategy will be familiar to Magic: The Gathering players. The monetization scheme is fair and you can earn every single card without paying a dime. The developers are very active and release new expansions on a near two-month schedule.

Better Gameplay

A typical board setup in Eternal.

Gameplay in Eternal borrows a lot more from Magic: The Gathering than Hearthstone. Players have power cards placed in their deck that are needed to play stronger units and spells. There is no guaranteed mana gem tick at the start of every turn like in Hearthstone. Also much like Magic, players declare all of their attackers at once to give the other player a chance to defend.

Learn the basic differences between Eternal and Hearthstone with helpful videos.

Eternal has nine modes including expedition, ranked, draft, league, gauntlet, forge, campaign, puzzle, and events. PVP modes are fun enough and support many strong meta builds. New players are recommended to start in the AI modes to learn the game before moving on. Most card games don’t let you keep rewards gained against AI players, but Eternal does.

Plenty of Single Player Content

Most players play Hearthstone for its ranked competitive mode. Eternal features plenty of single-player campaigns. These campaigns cost in-game money (20K gold/1,000 gems) and can be played to unlock new decks. Cards aren’t locked to certain classes in Eternal, but rather the player’s power base.

Fair Monetization Scheme

Eternal’s economy is very generous compared to Hearthstone. Every first win of the day in Expedition mode gets you a free pack. The game grants gold with every single win and it takes roughly 10 – 12 wins to get enough gold for a pack. Gauntlet chest rewards are pretty respectable if you can consistently reach the boss. Puzzle mode also grants bits of gold and teach certain mechanical tricks of Eternal.

Draft mode is considered the best way to get cards and dust in the game. Players draft cards for four packs and then build a deck to go for seven wins or three losses. Eternal allows players to keep the cards they draft, too.

Eternal card packs feature 12 cards over Hearthstone’s 5 per pack.

Dust rates for the game may seem worse than Hearthstone on the surface, but that’s not true. Every opened pack grants 100 dust, including those opened in draft. You also get 12 cards per pack instead of five like in Hearthstone. Eternal card packs feature 8 commons, 3 uncommons, and 1 rare or legendary card. The legendary rate in the game is 10% per pack.

The level of respect toward a player’s wallet and time is unprecedented in a deck-building game. Hearthstone, Gwent, Magic Arena, and Shadowverse have nothing on Eternal. Dire Wolf Digital have made it possible to enjoy the game without spending a time. That’s worth your time, even if its just to download a free card game on Switch.

Eternal Crossplay

Dire Wolf Digital has worked hard to make sure the game is crossplay on all platforms. You can play Eternal on iOS, Android, Steam, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. If you already have an account from another platform, you can use that account on the Switch version of the game.

The only downside to the crossplay implementation is that gems bought on Switch can only be used there. That means if you buy 1,000 gems on the Switch version, you won’t see them if you log into the same account on your iPhone. Keep that in mind if you plan on purchasing content in the game. If you already have an account, link your Switch to it before you make a purchase in-game.

Getting Started with Eternal

You can get some free card packs for Eternal if you link your account to Twitch. Twitch Prime members get even more card packs for free. You can sign-up for a free trial of Twitch Prime to get the rewards ⁠— extra card packs, a premium card back and avatar.

You can also regularly watch Eternal streamers for a chance to win additional card drops. These drops come at a steady rate and include cards and unopened packs from each Eternal expansion.

If you’re new to the game and sign up for the game using my friend referral link, we’ll both get rewards. Those rewards include three unopened packs and an exclusive themed deck.

The developers are also offering three free card packs to those who make their first purchase on Switch. If you decide to try out the story mode, you can snag $5 towards eShop credit on Raise for free.

Learn how to get $5 and 10% off your next eShop purchase here.