SkyWeaver is a digital CCG from Horizon Games. It is currently in closed beta and runs on the Ethereum Rinkeby Test Network.
We managed to get an invitation to the SkyWeaver beta. So we decided to use this opportunity to learn how to play it. This article will explore what we learned.
There are many blockchain CCGs competing for the attention of players. So this article will focus on the features of SkyWeaver that are unique.
SkyWeaver takes place in an alternate reality called Sky. You are a SkyWeaver, a being who traveled to this other dimension to explore, play, and battle with other skyweavers.
As you battle with others, you acquire resources from Sky. This also allows you to learn how to control the units that inhabit it.
Over time, as skyweavers play and compete with one another, Sky itself evolves and becomes something greater.
SkyWeaver is similar to other digital CCGs such as MTG: Arena, Hearthstone, and Gods Unchained. But it also has quite a few unique features.
Here is a list of gameplay elements that make SkyWeaver stand out from the crowd.
In SkyWeaver, players control a special character called a Hero. If this character’s health goes to zero, the player loses.
The Hero is a fully functional unit. It has attack and defense stats, and it can even attack other creatures or the opposing Hero.
Even if a player has no cards on the board, he can still attack other creatures or players using his Hero.
Units (creatures) in SkyWeaver can carry attached spells. These spells behave just like spell cards.
The player can activate an attached spell by paying its mana cost.
Each unit can only have 1 spell attached to it at a time. If a card causes a unit to gain a new attachment, the old attachment goes away.
Maximum 6 units on board
A player can only have 6 units on his side of the board at a time. If a card would cause a new unit to enter the board on his side, the card simply cannot be played.
This feature is intended to cut down on board clutter and prevent cards from becoming unreadable on mobile devices.
A player can only have 9 cards in hand at a time. If an event or action causes the player to have more than 9 cards, the oldest card that he drew gets shuffled back into his deck.
Players cannot choose which cards to discard. If the player wants to keep a card that he drew many turns ago, he must play cards to keep his hand from going over the limit.
Keywords are a staple of CCGs. SkyWeaver has many unique ones.
Here is a list of some combat keywords used on SkyWeaver cards.
Guard – Prevents the player’s Hero from being attacked. Guard units always show up to the right side of the Hero on the board. A unit cannot have both guard and stealth at the same time.
Stealth – Prevents the unit from being attacked as long as it remains within stealth. When the player’s hero is damaged, this unit’s stealth is “broken” until the end of the turn. Stealth units are always placed to the left of the hero and any non-stealth units. A unit cannot have both guard and stealth at the same time.
Armor – Prevents 1 point of damage done to a unit. A units with armor can easily be identified by the glowing ring around it.
Banner – Gives the player’s Hero +1 attack. This benefit stacks.
Lifesteal – Indicated by pink swirlies. If the unit damages the enemy Hero, the player’s Hero gains health equal to the damage it does. This effect does not happen if an enemy unit is damaged.
Wither – When a unit with wither damages an enemy unit, the attack power of the enemy unit falls by one point for every point of damage it takes.
In SkyWeaver, a player can place enchantments on enemy cards. But these enchantments can be removed if the owner of the affected card pays the mana cost of the enchantment.
Thus, negative enchantments can easily be removed. If a player removes an enchantment though, he is slowed down by the mana cost this incurs.
Instead of having colors of magic as in Magic: The Gathering, SkyWeaver has prisms that cards belong to.
When a player builds a deck or starts a game, he must choose 1 or 2 prisms to use in his deck. If he chooses 1 prism, his deck must be a minimum of 20 cards. If he chooses 2 prisms, his deck must be a minimum of 30 cards.
Mono-prismatic decks will draw the same cards more often, which could provide an advantage. On the other hand, decks with more than one prism will have more strategies to choose from. So players must weigh the benefits and disadvantages of each when deciding how to build their decks.
Beginning accounts only have access to Strength Prism decks. Other prisms become available as the account gains levels.
Here is a list of prisms.
Strength (available from the beginning) – Focuses on powerful units, damage buffs, and damage spells. Good for “aggro” decks.
Wisdom (unlocked at level 5) – Focuses on healing, card-drawing abilities, and board clearing mechanics. Great for “control” decks.
Agility (unlocked at level 10) – Emphasizes “sacrifice” mechanics such as spending life or discarding cards to gain an advantage.
Heart (unlocked at level 15) – Uses the graveyard to recycle creatures and overwhelm opponents.
When players participate in matches, they win cards based on the prism of the deck they are currently using. For example, a player who plays a strength deck will win strength cards, while a player who uses a heart deck will win heart cards.
Most beginning players start off in Discovery Mode. In this mode, the player first chooses a prism. Next, a random deck is generated with cards from the chosen prism. The player is then matched up against another player who is also using a random deck.
The emphasis in Discovery Mode is on gameplay skill and luck. A player cannot gain an advantage in this mode by having a large collection of cards.
Discovery Mode is free to play, and players earn cards by participating in matches. If a player takes part in enough Discovery Mode matches, he can potentially build a deck to play in Constructed Mode for free.
Once a player has gained some cards from playing in Discovery Mode, he can choose to build a deck from his own collection and participate in Constructed Mode.
If the player doesn’t have enough cards to build a legal deck, he can choose to have the remaining spots in the deck filled by random cards. This way, even players with small collections can still compete with the cards they own.
As with Discovery Mode, players who participate in Constructed Mode earn card rewards. Skilled deck builders prefer Constructed Mode because it gives them an advantage over less-skilled ones.
Drawing from Prism
If a player runs out of cards, he does not automatically lose the game. Instead, he continues to draw cards “from the prism.”
In this case, a random card is drawn from beyond his deck. This random card is from one of the prisms used in the deck. He loses one health each time this happens.
Because drawing “from the prism” costs health, it’s a good idea to try to prevent this from happening. But sometimes, it may be the only way to have a chance at winning.
A player will also “draw from the prism” if he plays a card that requires him to draw a particular kind of card (1 fire card, 1 unit with 1 health, etc.) that he doesn’t have in his deck.
Many cards in SkyWeaver are “elemental.” These cards work well with other cards of the same element. There are 8 elements in total: Air, Dark, Earth, Fire, Light, Metal, Mind, and Water.
Each element has its own theme for game mechanics. For example, Air cards often have the stealth keyword or the shroud enchantment, making them difficult to target. And Earth cards often have keywords guard or lifesteal or the enchantment roots that slows enemies.
Some elemental cards can search for cards of the same element. Other elemental cards have inspire effects that trigger when cards of the same element are played. Building decks with many cards of the same element is a key to winning.
At the same time, not all decks need to be mono-elemental. Rainbow element cards can be used to bolster a deck that contains cards of multiple elements. Rainbow cards become more powerful based on the number of cards a player has in his graveyard, hand, or on the board.
Getting started with SkyWeaver beta
If you’re interested in joining the closed beta for SkyWeaver, here are the steps to getting started.
Contact the devs on the official SkyWeaver Discord. Tell them you are interested in testing the beta. If you are approved, you’ll get an access code that allows you to sign up.
Open a browser and navigate to https://beta.skyweaver.net/.
Push the start button.
You’ll be asked which Ethereum wallet you want to use. If you prefer to use Metamask to maximize security, click the continue button below the Metamask logo.
If you are a crypto beginner or otherwise just prefer not to store your own seed words, click continue below the Arcadeum logo to connect using Arcadeum wallet.
When trying to connect to the game, you may receive a message telling you to switch to the Rinkeby Test Network. From Metamask, this can be done by clicking the phrase Main Ethereum Network and selecting Rinkeby Test Network from the drop-down menu.
When you’ve successfully connected your wallet, you’ll be asked for both a username and the early access code you were given by the developers.
Enter this information. The main menu will open.
If you want a detailed explanation of the user interface and game rules, click learn how to play. Otherwise, you can click start match to play a sample game with no rewards.
Once you feel confident that you understand the basic mechanics of the game, click play in the upper-right corner of the screen.
This will open the select game mode screen. Click competitive → discovery → start to be matched up with an opponent to begin your game.
Is SkyWeaver worth playing?
We spent a few hours pouring through the game rules, learning about the user interface, and playing some matches with random opponents.
We were impressed with SkyWeaver’s fluid, fast-paced gameplay and complex mechanics. Players expect these kinds of games to require them to think on their feet, and SkyWeaver doesn’t disappoint on this front.
We were also impressed with how simple it was for us to get started. It took us just a few minutes to get into a match. No purchase was required, and we didn’t have to worry about getting beat up by opponents that have bigger collections than us.
We can think of only two criticisms of SkyWeaver. First, the game currently runs on the Rinkeby Test Network. This means that the cards you earn in the game aren’t “real” Ethereum NFTs. In other words, they can’t be traded at OpenSea and similar sites.
However, this problem will likely be eliminated once the game goes into open beta.
Second, we had no problem finding an opponent in our initial test at around 2 p.m. EST. But at 8 p.m. EST, we found that we got stuck in a queue and couldn’t play.
So for now, some SkyWeaver players may have to wait until certain times of the day to play. Still, this problem will be short-lived if more players discover the game and realize how easy it is to get started.
Overall, we found SkyWeaver to be a great addition to the blockchain CCG genre.
Are you interested in playing SkyWeaver? What do you think of the concept of Discovery Mode?
Should new players of CCGs be allowed to play with random decks made of cards they don’t own?
Or is this ruining the whole idea of collectible card games? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!