If you want to buy one of Artifact’s best cards, it will cost you more than the game itself at the moment of writing. Valve’s card game collaboration with Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield launched on Steam this week to a mixed reception, and one of the most common criticisms was aimed at Artifact’s monetisation. Along with the initial cost of the game, cards can be purchased for real money on the Steam Market. The most expensive one right now is Axe, and it will set you back around £17/$21.
The price of cards constantly fluctuates and can be set by the sellers, but with Axe being an extremely sought-after card, it’s the priciest. It’s a rare hero card with 7 attack, 2 armour and a sizeable 11 health. Artifact currently costs £16/$20, making the card more expensive than the game.
Last week, Ville Kilkku estimated that it would take between $200 and $300 to build a full Artifact collection. If you want to play, you’re going to need to pay, but you can also make some of that money back.
Artifact is going to cost money to play. That’s a fact. You can play all of its digital competitors for free, and typically you can also grind your way to a top tier deck or two (even though it takes quite a bit of time). When you want to play a new deck immediately, or when you crave variety, that’s when money comes in. If you’ve already given up on being free-to-play (by the way), and moved on to spending actual cash, then Artifact is not especially expensive in comparison to other card games. In fact, with a working secondary market, you can recover much of the money you spend on it should you eventually decide to move on.
It's also worth noting that Axe isn't representative of most cards. You buy plenty of them for pennies. There are plenty of ways to play competitively without Axe, but his great stat line and accompanying card are explicitly powerful, it's not surprising people want to use him as a go-to in red decks. Theoretically as more Axes appear in the card pool over time the price should come down, but it goes to show how expensive Artifact cards can get.
Keep your eye on Will Bindloss’s Artifact review-in-progress to see if it’s worth splashing out on.