Artifact Classic and Artifact Foundry are two versions of the digital card game originally named Artifact, developed through a collaboration between Valve and renowned designer Richard Garfield. Artifact was designed as a deeply strategic card game, but without the limits of a conventional physical board. After a highly polarizing and ultimately disappointing initial release in November, 2018, a small team at Valve reworked the game into what would become Artifact Foundry, and the original game was renamed to Artifact Classic. Artifact Foundry was designed to address as many complaints about the original game as possible, while maintaining its strategic depth.
Economy Artifact Classic and Artifact Foundry are both free, and every player has access to every card in both games. Neither game features in-app purchases.
When Artifact Classic was released, cards were sold in card packs and could be exchanged between players on the Steam marketplace. When the game was made free and every player was given access to all cards, previously-collected cards were turned into Collectors Edition cards. Collectors Edition cards can still be bought and sold on the marketplace between players, but they are not for sale from Valve and there is nothing to purchase in-game.
Game Modes Artifact Classic and Artifact Foundry both feature global matchmaking, bot play, and various game modes, but the game modes are not identical.
Artifact Classic Game Modes
- Full-deck draft gauntlets (build your deck out of a limited selection of cards, then win 5 before you lose 2).
- Constructed gauntlets (build your deck from the entire set, win 5 before you lose 2).
- Preconstructed event with a win-streak leaderboard (choose a pre-built deck, play until you lose).
- Single game constructed global matchmaking
- In-game tournament system
- Constructed bot play
Artifact Foundry Game Modes
- 1v1 Hero Draft ladder (pick and counter-pick heroes against your opponent, then play with decks generated from those heroes, rank up based on skill).
- Constructed ladder (build your deck from the entire set, rank up based on skill).
- Tutorial (expanded)
- Single Player Campaign
- Constructed bot play
- Hero Draft bot play
- Bot puzzles (including support for player-authored puzzles)
Gameplay Artifact Classic and Artifact Foundry are both games played between two players who each bring a deck of cards and 5 heroes to a battle spread across 3 lanes, with the goal of winning 2 of the lanes before the opponent can win 2 themselves. In Artifact Classic, the lanes are played in sequence, while Artifact Foundry features a simplified zoomed-out gameplay where you can play in any lane at any time.
Artifact Classic gameplay embraces unbounded lane capacity for units, allowing for massive armies to clash with one another. Players choose to play powerful spells and resources into each lane, pressuring their opponent while balancing their momentum as enemy towers fall, or friendly towers come under threat. It features a large number of random events which skillful generals must mitigate with forethought and arcane knowledge.
Artifact Foundry gameplay gives more direct agency – almost all random elements aside from a shuffled deck have been removed – and the gameplay is more focused on heroes, which have been given a significantly more powerful role. In addition to heroes, almost every card in the game has been reworked at least somewhat to be somewhat more impactful, fun, and easier to focus on. Over 100 new cards and 20 new heroes have been introduced in Artifact Foundry.