The 8 best digital card games

These card games offered the best online experiences to players.

Digital card games continue to thrive and evolve while the classics still scratch your card-casting itch. This genre of games doesn’t rank at the top of Twitch’s most-watched list, but that doesn’t stop players from enjoying a wide variety of playable options.

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Slay the Spire, one of the most popular digital card games to date, combines roguelike mechanics with card game aspects to progress in the levels of each available spire. Shadowverse, on the other hand, presents anime-inspired characters as cards while engaging players to indulge themselves in a strategic turn-based combat system.

The best digital card games are free-to-play, although some have friendlier monetization systems than others when it comes to expanding your collection. But it is the experience of playing those cards that matter for card game fans. From cracking open packs to directly purchasing the cards you want in your meta deck, here are the best digital card games players should check out.

Legends of Runeterra

Everything we know about Legends of Runeterra | Dot Esports
Screengrab via Riot Games

Legends of Runeterra is a free-to-play card game developed by Riot Games that was released in April 2020 that is also available on mobile. Since its launch, LoR has continually challenged the norms typically associated with the best PC card games. The digital card game’s monetization system is the best overall, rewarding players via free regional battle passes, weekly chest rewards based on XP, and the option to purchase cards directly by completely doing away with cracking packs.

The animation within LoR is intense and players will never get tired of repeating voice lines from classic League champions. And the gameplay mechanics are full of complexities that aren’t hard to learn.

Casting spells within LoR works a little bit differently from other games, allowing you to save up to three unused mana, which can then be used on spells but not on creatures. And the spell system features three speeds of spells— Fast, Slow, and Burst—providing players with a number of different lines of gameplay each round.

There are also multiple playing options within LoR to hit every type of PC card-gaming itch. Players can challenge friends or hit the ranked ladder. But if the meta isn’t up to par, there’s always Expeditions, a unique version of Draft. And for single-player storyline options, there’s the Path to Champions, hitting those Slay the Spire feels.

Magic: The Gathering Arena

MTG War of the Spark planeswalkers Limited draft guide
Image via Wizards of the Coast

Magic: The Gathering is widely considered to be the grandfather of modern card-based duel games, available on PC and mobile. Wizards of the Coast invented the iconic MTG competitive format which has captivated the imagination and strategic sensibilities of millions of players since it first hit the shelves all the way back in 1993. 

The basic concept behind MTG is that you are engaged in a wizard’s duel with your opponent. It is one of the most strategically rich games ever invented and its popularity spawned the creation of many of the other card games on this list. Cracking packs for cards is the backbone of the MTG Arena monetization system. But free-to-play players can still have fun competing in non-ranked modes.

And when it comes to mode options, MTG Arena has a ton to choose from. There are Live modes like Alchemy and Historic that tap into eternal and digital-only formats, along with the classic Standard Constructed and Limited modes.


Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment

Hearthstone is a dueling card game that is available to play on mobile devices and PC. It was developed by Blizzard Entertainment and released back in 2014. The gameplay in Hearthstone is similar to MTG or LoR, with players drawing cards from a prebuilt deck and playing those cards using a mana pool which increases as the game goes on. The first player to exhaust the enemy health pool wins the match.

Monetization within Hearthstone is slightly better than MTG Arena but not as good as LoR. Upon cards getting nerfed or rotating out of the meta, players have the option to turn those cards into Dust, using that Dust to purchase the cards they want.

Players can compete in a variety modes, from Standard and Wild Ranked to Arena or Duels. Battlegrounds mode, on the other hand, is an autobattler, where eight players challenge each other to fight it out in one-versus-one rounds and recruit units along the way to improve their warband. These minions have different stats and effects depending on their class, and they can be upgraded as each round progresses until only one player stands tall.


Image via Faeria

Using grid-based tactical movement, Faeria sets itself apart from the other best PC card games. Unlike the other digital card games, it’s not free-to-play but is still worth the $20 price tag. Created in 2017 by Agrakam Entertainment SA, Faeria still has updates and new DLC expansions available for an additional $10.

Animation within Faeria is similar to Hearthstone, but the strategy aspects outdo the classic digital card game. The game is also new-player friendly, despite having been available for several years. The grid-based board creates unique strategies that other card games don’t have, affecting how a player attacks and defends.

Building a deck is easy within Faeria thanks to the Codex system. The system is friendly to new players and has a ton of flexibility, separating out casual competitors from the die-hards.


Image via Griftlands

Created by Klei Entertainment, Griftlands is a deck-building, roguelike digital card game that launched in June 2021. It’s not a free-to-play game, costing around $20, but Griftlands is worth the price tag as it combines RPG mechanics like turn-based actions, and a solid storyline—similar to Slay the Spire.

The animation within Griftlands is cartoonish and clean, and there is a total of three campaigns and three main characters. Cards are earned as you progress, along with the plot of the story. Strategy plays a major role, despite following a storyline, allowing players to repeat a campaign with different results.

In addition to turn-based action fights, players are also required to negotiate with cards, adding another layer of strategy into the best PC card game. Choices you make in Griftlands matter and each campaign can be completed in around three to four hours of gameplay.

Pokémon TCG Online

Image via The Pokémon Company

The Pokémon TCG is one of the longest-running physical trading card games of all time. Even if the mainline video games of the franchise serve as its backbone, the presence of the Pokémon TCG makes it refreshing for fans to have a different take on how to battle using the Pocket Monsters in the form of playable cards.

The Pokémon Company took a big leap in 2011 when they released a digital and online version of the Pokémon TCG. The cards players can use in Pokémon TCG Online are synced with the current releases for the physical version of the TCG. As for its gameplay, it retains all the rules and mechanics from the original TCG. This includes the turn-based system, the winning condition of getting all of a player’s prize cards, the application of Special Conditions, and more.

In Pokémon TCG Online, players can get card packs by either using the in-game currency or buying physical packs, which will have a code that players can use to gain in-game packs. Players can also trade cards with other users.

You can go up against other players in Pokémon TCG Online. There is also a story mode where you can unlock cards along the way.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

Image via Konami

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links was released in 2016. It introduced the Speed Duel format, where players can have faster matches compared to the traditional format of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. In a Speed Duel, players will only have 4,000 life points rather than the original 8,000, as well as the reduction of the Monster and Spell/Trap zones from five to three.

Duel Links is also known for removing the Main Phase 2 of Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG matches. The main deck size is also reduced from 40-60 cards to 20-30 cards. One major difference from the traditional way of playing the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is the inclusion of Skills. They can affect the flow of every match, including adding cards to the hand or field, adding stats to Monster cards, having more life points, and more.

You can use various characters from all of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series. This includes Yugi Mutou/Yami Yugi and Seto Kaiba from the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series, Jaden Yuki from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Yusei Fudo from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, and many more. As for the cards you can collect and put in your decks, you can get those from the decks you can unlock by beating other characters, buying packs from the in-game store, and from the Card Trader, where you need to use various items.

Marvel Snap

A cast of characters from Marvel Snap.
Image via Nuverse

Marvel Snap takes Marvel fans into an immersive experience where they get to see their favorite characters as playable digital cards.

In Marvel Snap, match

The game offers fast matches with 12 cards per deck and six turns per battle under normal circumstances. Cards can be vanilla units that don’t have a special effect, or they can feature abilities that are patterned on the hero or villain’s ability in the Marvel universe. An example of this is Thanos, which can let you use the six Infinity Stones as cards with various advantages for your side.

Locations make Marvel Snap stand out from other digital card games. They serve as the playing field to showcase your strategy. They all have different effects which can affect the flow of the game, giving either a disadvantage or an advantage to both players. For instance, the Cloning Vats gives you a clone of a card that you play there. Fisk Tower, on the other hand, destroys the cards you play in the location.

As for acquiring new cards, you can get those by progressing your Collection Level. Card classifications are divided into Pools, which correspond to your CL.You can earn rewards as you progress, including new cards. You can also get cards by purchasing each Season Pass, as well as getting Collector Tokens which can be exchanged for limited-time cards in the Token Shop.

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Danny Forster
Lead Magic: The Gathering/Teamfight Tactics scribe and staff writer for Dot Esports. Danny is a gamer beach bum residing in Spacecoast Florida and has been a journalist for seven years, of which five have been at Dot Esports. Prior media outllets Danny wrote for were Screen Rant and TheGamer. You can typically catch Danny playing TCGs and a variety of strategic games. He also hangs out on Twitter @Dannyspacecoast.
David Gealogo
Strategic Content Writer for Dot Esports from the Philippines, mainly for Marvel Snap, Fortnite, card games, MOBA, battle-royale, general gaming, and more. Previously wrote news articles and guides for Gfinity Esports, Sportskeeda,, and GINX Esports TV. Also a competitive Marvel Snap player under my in-game name: Davidwaaaa, a leaderboard Infinite player and joining multiple Snap tournaments. Sheesh. Let's get in touch: