Elements is an online, fantasy-themed Collectible Card Game. As the online documentation puts it, "The player is an elemental, a spirit composed of an element; elements are the fundamental building blocks of nature. Each elemental has an arsenal of skills that can be used in a duel against another elemental; each skill corresponds to a card."The game groups cards into three types:
Creatures: These attack your opponent, and can have useful abilities.
Spells: These give you an effect once, then disappear.
Permanents: These stay in play when you play them.
Permanents, in turn, include three important subtypes:
Pillars: These are your primary source of Quanta (singular Quantum). Quanta are the energy you use to play your other cards.
Some of which are Pendulums, which alternately give you quanta of their element and your "native" element (which you can change outside of duels).
Weapons: These are another way for you to attack your opponent, and most have useful abilities.
Shields: These defend you. Most focus on defending you against your opponent's attacks.
Also, the cards are divided into 12 different elements:
Darkness:Darkness elementals are masters of subtleness; they can hide, absorb energies and manage the creatures that dwell in the shadows. Darkness elementals can rely on skills like "Steal" or "Dusk Mantle".
Gravity:Gravity elementals deal with mass and size; their ability to accelerate objects makes them formidable enemies. Gravity elementals have skills like "momentum", that will make a gravity creature unstoppable and "gravity pull" that will waste the enemy attacks on a resistant or unessential creature.
Time:A Time elemental have control over the order of the events, he can slow down his opponent, reverse his actions, or hasten himself.
All Your Powers Combined: Due mainly to the persistence of quanta from generation to use (with a computer tracking numbers, there's no need for a physical game's "tap to pay" system), it's actually practical to build decks using all 12 elements at once. In fact, using at least 5 is almost de rigueur when going up against False Gods.
Artificial Stupidity: While the AI is mostly competent, every once in a while, it will make some rather boneheaded moves. In particular, the AI doesn't seem to be able to realize that, "Hey, I've already got a weapon/shield, maybe I shouldn't play a different one."
Also, it likes to bury immortal creatures, as if gaining the meaningless defense bonus was worth halfing the creature's attack.
It will also draws using the Golden Hourglasses like crazy, often decking itself out in the process.
Cap: Your deck must be at least 30 cards, but it can't have more than 60. Also, you can never have more than 8 cards in your hand, and at the end of your turn, if you do have 8, you have to discard one. Other than pillars, you're not allowed to have more than 6 copies of any particular card in your deck. Finally, as of the latest versions, there is a cap of 75 for each individual type of quanta.
Also, Stone Skin/Granite Skin gives you extra HP equal to the number of Earth quanta you have — but only up to 73-74 because of the aforementioned limit.
There are also limits on the number of creatures in play (23).
Baleful Polymorph: Entropy has Mutation effects, which change one creature into another, randomly generated creature. These effects can be used on your own creatures, or on your opponent's.
Blessed with Suck: Gravity's dragon has insane amounts of hit points, making it hard to kill, but also makes it one of the more expensive dragons, and it is even countered by Gravity's own elemental shield. This literally can happen if a user has a weight shield up and buffs the opponent's creatures to make them too large to hit.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: Averted: the game's free to play, and donating money doesn't give you any noticeable advantage. While you will get a card for a big enough donation, said card can be gotten without donating.
Each deck also has strength and weakness. There's no "best deck".
Confusion Fu: Any primarily entropic deck. Fallen elves/druids, mutation/improvement, random effects on the creatures. by the end of any high level entropy deck match you will generally be wondering what just happened even if you win. That said, entropic decks also have a chance of netting you a quick and doubtless win or might give you sub-optimal setups, but upgraded cards will all push the randomness to a positive to be more likely to benefit, and then the question is what kind of benefits.
Another one which is more contained but powerful is fallen druid's improve with an army of fodder. Improve will always give you a creature with higher than base status, give it a random activation ability, and it will keep any innate abilities (such as voodoo doll). The setup is shaky at best, a simple counter is to just kill the druid, but if it goes wild you may end up facing an army with abilities ranging from growing in power every turn to the wholesale destruction or theft of every artifact that isn't protected by creature abilities. On the same field.
Diminishing Returns for Balance: The Adrenaline effect gives a creature multiple attacks per turn. Bigger creatures get fewer extra attacks, and their attacks after the first will usually have less power.
Elemental Powers: Pretty much every single elemental power from healing to time and space manipulation is represented in one form or another.
Explosive Breeder: The Malignant Cell, which has very little attacking power in a game where creatures normally can't intercept attacks. What it can do is copy itself each turn, and so can the copies, up to the hard limit of the number of creatures a player can have in play. Most decks' capacity to kill their own creatures is decidedly limited... this creature is built to be given to an opponent as cancer.
Bonus point if the Malignant Cell is Adrenalined. It will create four copies instead of one, quickly filling the board.
Time's Deja Vu (a weak flyer) also splits into two copies. While this erases the splitting power on the copies, this game has no creature tokens - the copies are real cards, and so can be returned to the deck (which most Time decks can do ad infinitum). When a card leaves play, it returns to its pristine state and original text... so a Time player need never run out of Deja Vus (or out of cards, for that matter).
Fairy Battle: Before the Arena became the new asynchronous PvP system, you could challenge AI-controlled copies of the Top 500 players' decks. Some players in the Top 500 would intentionally build their decks to include a few rare cards, but no way to play them, and no way to win the game; this makes those rare cards far easier to get.
Note that this doesn't require you to have never been hurt, although it still usually requires a bit of skill.
Note also that you must have full Hit Points, not just as many as you started with. Some cards increase your maximum hit points. You do get extra money for winning with more than the base hit points, and you double that if you also are at your new max. The reverse happens if you have a lower max hp but are still full.
To elaborate: Desynchronization causes the AI to take over the opponent player (And of yours as well on your opponent's side). The actions of the (supposedly disconnected) player, however, clash with those of the AI as the game tries to reconnect both players. Side effects include but are not limited to: random healing, spell duplication, quanta screw, opponent summoning creatures at zero cost, opponent summoning your creatures, weapons played as flying weapons from the hand, and last but not least, mutual accusations of hacking.Feast your eyes. Its been such a long lasting glitch it has its HUD icon now.
Gradual Grinder: This is Death's primary style, both against players and creatures. In this game, damage to the latter persists between turns.
And one of Darkness's secondary styles. Players can build an enormous quanta pool and often do. A focused Darkness player can still keep an opponent almost completely quantaless for most of the game with a bit of luck, and with Nightfall/Eclipse, can do slow damage using the same creatures.
Human Popsicle: Freeze, a Water card, which freezes target creature for three turns.
Incredibly Lame Pun: The same symbol is used for Time and the in-game currency, Electrum. Like we've never seen that one before.
Luck-Based Mission: The element specific weapons cannot be purchased and can only be obtained by rolling one of them randomly on the post-game slot machine, which already has a very dim rate for common cards, or as a daily giveaway by the Oracle (who picks one card among all the cards in the game). Any deck who aspires to have a decent chance at PvP or the False Gods requires at least 2 or 3 copies of the same weapon. Have fun.
Nymphs are far worse. You cannot win any in the slots; it turns into a worthless "Relic" card that does absolutely nothing. You can only get them on the Oracle.
Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: In addition to the creature, permanent, and spell cards the player character also has access to a variety of elemental shield cards. Its amazing how much the right type of shield can make or break a game.
Mana Drain: Devourer, a Darkness creature, can absorb opponent's quanta and return it to the owner as Darkness quanta.
A more extreme example is the Black Hole, Gravity's spell. It drains up to 3 quanta per element and return it as HP. This is the bane of rainbow decks everywhere.
Mirror Match: Aside from the usual, playing against a Darkness player can sometimes resemble one, when their deck can take your weapons, shields, and the pillars to power them. Or just appropriate the defenses you included against the usual mirror match...
Aether can be far worse. Theoretically, an Aether player can set up to play up to 6 copies of every card you draw, on the turn before you even draw it. That includes your quanta generators, so they can use those cards. Realistically, they can often manage at least 2 of your cards to your 1. While humming "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better".
For bonus fun, pit two of these decks against each other. My card-copier generates multiple copies of your card-copier, then you catch mine with yours, and...
Nerf: Over time, a few cards have been changed or made more expensive to play to keep them from breaking the game.
Nigh Invulnerable: In this game, creatures normally attack your opponent directly, ignoring their creatures entirely. This is why players get weapons and shields - and both can be situationally very effective. Every element has at least one shield. Some elements can make you Made of Iron (or Rubber), able to ignore armies of weak attackers. Darkness, Water, and Aether can do a passable Made Of Air (in the form of Extreme Luck for the first two). Entropy can do a Mana Shield, in a game where there can be immense amounts of "mana" to pump into it.
Non-Elemental: Used to be impossible, after 1.29 patch which introduces "Second Generation Shard", it became possible to make a deck 100% filled with "Other" cards.
Noob Bridge: The difficulty spike from AI 3 to AI 4 and from AI 4 to FG are quite high. You are expected to use upgraded cards on them, or else you will blow up your money trying to figure out what to do. Which brings us...
Cash Gate: You need at least 9000 electrum (worth 6 upgrades) to gain at least 30% winrate against False Gods. Getting to 9000 electrum is the hardest part on the game, where each win only worth ~20 electrum and every card won worth only ~50.
Not the Intended Use: Freezing your own creature to prevent them from suiciding into a shield, exploding a frozen weapon to replace it with another one, stacking Shard of Readiness to trigger an ability several times on the same turn, etc...
Presumably the same could be said with intentionally getting a malignant cell on your side of the field. It's supposed to fill up the side with borderline useless creatures. Using Otyug or Fallen druid/shaman on them simply means you get more fodder.
Numerical Hard: Anything above AI Level 3 requires decks specifically tailored (and upgraded) to defeat, more so the False Gods. As well as the Arena Decks which begin with player defined bonuses to compensate for the lack of a real player playing them.
Flooding doesn't affect Water creatures (which makes sense), but it also doesn't affect neutral creatures. What neutral creatures does the game have? Neutral weapons when made into creatures by Flying Weapon/Animate Weapon, and Malignant Cell. That's it. So why does Flooding not affect neutral creatures? Because if it did, it would affect Malignant Cell.
For that matter, how about Malignant Cell being a neutral creature in the first place? Aflatoxin, the card that generates it, is a Death card. So why is Malignant Cell neutral instead of Death? To keep it from being affected (read: buffed) by Nightfall/Eclipse. For those who wonder why any of this would matter, Malignant Cell's effect is that it makes another of itself at the end of the turn. See Explosive Breeder above.
Mitosis used to be usable on flown weapon, but after a Game Breaker combo is discovered (Mitosis Long Sword), it is changed. Now it can't target weapons.
Shard of Readiness' effect: "Time creatures can use their skill twice this turn". When applied to Deja Vu, it creates two copies instead of one. This is also a broken combo, and is soon fixed.
Our Angels Are Different: There are two angel cards on the game, the fire Seraph card and the light Guardian Angel card. Seraph is a high hitter which can pseudo-immortalize itself, and Guardian Angel can heal wounded creatures.
Player Versus Player: A variation - while you can Random PvP players and selectively PvP friends, the organized PvP of the game happens on the official forums, with some events like Tournaments offering reward codes to the winners.
Power Copying: Crusader, a Light creature, can endow target weapon, which grants him the weapon's attack bonus and skill. This also works on the opponent's weapon.
In lesser case, Mindgate and Parallel Universe.
Revive Kills Zombie: The card "Holy Light" is primarily used to restore hit points, but when used against a dark or death aligned target it deals damage instead. (Usually more then enough to kill even the strongest creatures in one hit.)
Running the Asylum: If the developer isn't keeping the game interesting, you can bet the fans will with PvP and Forum Events.
Self-Imposed Challenge: Some people try farming Silver Arena completely unupgraded. Some people try fighting a specific False God without any rare cards or upgrades. They succeeded.
Shock and Awe: Lightning, Aether's spell, deal 5 damage to target creature. Most creatures die to just one Lightning, while barely any creature would survive a second dose of it.
To a lesser extent, Lightningstorm which acts as a mass CC, dealing 2 damage to all opposing creatures.
Also, Maxwell's Demon, another creature named after a thought experiment
Sleeper Hit: At face value, it looks like another average CCG that could've easily died once the developer went on hiatus - however, the dedicated fanbase (see Running the Asylum) have made this game pretty durable when it comes to lack of updates.
Strategy Schmategy: Entropy cards are like these in general. Pandemonium causes a random effect on every creature on the field. Discord scrambles your opponent's quanta to random element. Mutation turns a creature into an Abomination or a random creature.
Some non-entropy cards also work like this, most notably Fate Egg.
Super Drowning Skills: Any creature not Water elemental or Other elemental will drown under Flooding. Including the airborne creatures from the Air element.
Super Not Drowning Skills: On the other hand, Earth creatures like Graboid, Shrieker, and Antlion can survive a Flooding by burrowing themselves underground. Wonder how they could get enough oxygen there.
Taken for Granite: Basilisk Blood, an Earth spell, grants massive HP bonus in exchange of delaying target creature for six turns.
Gargoyle and a certain combination of Shard Golem also have Stone Form skill, which grants the same HP bonus though without the delay.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: A player starts with 100 Hit Points, gets one free Quantum of one element each turn from his Mark, and draws 1 card per turn. The False Gods start with 200 Hit Points, and draws 2 cards per turn. The False Gods also start with what is essentially two copies of a single normal deck. In short, they have twice as much everything as a normal player. Except for the Mark - they have triple the normal amount. For the False Gods, the game's pretty upfront about them not playing by the same rules.
On the bright side, you can get one prediction a day on exactly which False God you'll fight next, and their card lists and strategies are all wikied up.
Subverted in the Arena, since you can also make an Arena deck which grows in level to become closer to False God's power. It's balanced since these leveled up decks are played exclusively by the AI for you against real players.
The Phoenix: A fire creature, the Phoenix can resurrect itself after being killed and reduced to Ash, provided the opponent doesn't destroy the Ash as well.
When All You Have Is a Hammer: Rush decks are both the simplest and easiest to build. They also take down the elders quickly and reliably. Even a mono deck with 6 dragons and 24 pillars puts up a decent pounding.
Voodoo Doll: Darkness' card, Voodoo Doll, does all damage it takes to the opponent as long as it survives. Paired up with Rage Potion or Parallel Universe, it can deal huge amounts of damage fairly quickly.
Zerg Rush: This is usually the main strategy of mono life.
After the 1.31 patch, a Mono Water can also do this. Just put in 6 Nymph's Tears, 12 Water Pillars, 12 Water Pendulums, and enjoy your game.
This is also the main strategy of basically everybody in PVP-1 some days...
Which can be painful facing somebody who can simply ignore weak attacks. The more so if the rusher hit the creature cap early and lacks free space to summon anything effective.
There are also 3 types of zerg rush decks that aren't so much rush decks, but generally end up very bad in numbers:
Pharaoh/scarab: The closest to the traditional rush. The more scarabs there are, the more life they have. Pharaohs summon them. Scarabs also have devour, allowing any creature with higher life to instantly destroy a monster and gain a stat boost. If it gets out of hand, the scarabs are almost impossible to put down due to their numbers and durability, as well as clearing your field of monsters that aren't protected. Fortunately, if not fed, Scarabs on their own are rather weak, even with that life bonus.
Fallen druid/shaman: Any creatures will do, but the point is to get out enough fodder in order to mutate them all. Even though you have no idea how you are going to end up, done well you can have a diverse, powerful, an almost unstoppable army of creatures thanks to the druid/shaman.
Devour rush: Basically you try to get a lot of creatures out there in order to feed a creature with devour, see scarabs above. The whole rush part is getting enough food for the creature who devour to be unstoppable, capable of destroying any monster on the field and getting more powerful each time, switching to another tactic entirely.