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For the first time in centuries, the Eternal Throne sits empty. Many futures lie before you...

The realm of Myria is in turmoil. King Caiphus is dead; his remaining relatives (his trueborn daughter Vara, his bastard son Kaleb, his widow Eilyn, his sister Talir, and his uncle Rolant) all have claim to his title, but each has his or her own personal agenda to pursue. The capital city of Argenport is wracked by civil war, and the frontier is all but lawless. All the while, strange and supernatural threats are emerging from the Shadowlands. Build your armies, defeat your opponents, and fight to claim the Eternal Throne!

Eternal is a Trading Card Game created by Denver, CO-based Dire Wolf Digital. The game touts itself as a middle ground between Magic: The Gathering and online CCGs like Hearthstone, and its stable of designers includes several prominent Magic pros. Unsurprisingly, it shares most of its features with Magic: players must play "Sigils" to increase their mana cap; players may only have four of any card (besides Basic Sigils) in their decks; units are "Exhausted" after attacking or blocking; the defending player can block attacking units with their own; players can play "Fast Spells" at certain points during any turn; there are five factions that can be combined in any way you please. However, it also shares Hearthstone's PvE elements, slick visual aesthetic, premium "foil" cards, and ability to convert useless cards into shiftstone and then into actually-useful cards of your choosing. Finally, it has a few traits completely unique to itself, such as the fact that units' stat changes or abilities gained are persistent across zones; if you give a unit +1/+1, it will retain that bonus in the graveyard ("Void") and retain that bonus if taken out again, although many bonuses are explicitly temporary. As of Spring 2019, the game has released five major sets and four minor "campaign" sets.

The game has multiple modes, including multiple single-player campaigns (as in Hearthstone, single-player campaigns must be purchased with either gold or real money but contain exclusive card sets which form 'side sets' released between the main sets), a Gauntlet mode against AI opponents, Ranked matches against other players on a ladder, the new "Expedition" format (essentially a rotating set-limited format) a Puzzle mode that tests your knowledge of the game, and single-player and multi-player draft modes. It also has surprisingly deep world-building, following the adventures of the five Scions as they maneuver for political and military advantage against an explosive six-guns-with-sorcery setting.

Gameplay tropes:

  • Anti-Magic:
    • Silencing a unit removes all of its abilities.
    • The Aegis skill blocks the first spell or ability used on a unit or player.
  • Ascended Meme: A scarf was removed from Sandstorm Titan's art during Eternal's Beta, and the community's common joke was asking when it would get its scarf back. In the 4th set, the Fall of Argenport, a card was added called "Sandstorm Scarf", which depicted the scarf and possessed the same special text (units cannot fly) that Sandstorm Titan himself did.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Keywords like Warcry (when this unit attacks, the top unit or weapon of your deck gains +1/+1) and Spark (if the enemy player has taken damage that turn, this card has an additional effect when played) encourage this, while Reckless (this unit must attack if possible) enforces it.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: A concede option is available, to speed up an inevitable loss.
  • Boring, but Practical: Several very basic effects, like dealing 3 damage, permanently locking down an enemy unit, or even just drawing two cards, are nonetheless very well-used.
    • The preconstructed Fire/Justice deck, Rakano Glory, is the Eternal equivalent of MtG's Boros. It's filled with Warcry, so you don't have to really think about your plays; you just Attack! Attack! Attack!, knowing that even if you have a sub-optimal trades this turn, you'll inevitably draw something huge. Even at low levels of player skill, this deck will get you pretty far in Casual or Forge.
  • Boss Battle: Available in Gauntlet mode. The seventh battle always has a gimmick, such as all units having Charge, automatically drawing 7 cards when your hand is empty, or every spell coming with a free unit. Naturally, the AI decks are made to fully exploit their gimmick.
  • Breakable Weapons: all "relic weapons," which are deployed on your avatar (IE Hearthstone's weapons), add Armor, and shatter when you have taken more-than-that-amount-of damage.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Since it's a Collectible Card Game, this comes with the territory: most in-game purchases accept either Gold (earned in-game) or Gems (bought with real money). However, the game is generous with gold and card packs earned through playing, and you can keep all of the cards you obtain in Forge and Draft.
  • Cap: There are two of them related to the number of spells you can play per turn. "Power" is the amount of mana you can spend each turn. In general, it only goes up by one every turn, as you can only play one Sigil (what Magic would call a Land) per turn (though naturally there are cards that let you get around this). "Influence" controls what colors of spells you can play. There are one- and two-color power cards, the latter of which typically come into play "Depleted" unless you meet certain other conditions. If you play a Depleted power card, then your Power cap will go up but the available Power will not change.
    • This system results in a number of convolutions over the "tap a land for mana" system from Magic. First off, you don't use up Sigils every turn; they're just a pass-fail check. If your hand is filled with (say) 1-mana red spells and you finally get a red Sigil, you can then dump all those red 1-drops in one turn, because all they require is that you have one red Influence on the board. Additionally, the two-color Sigils add two Influence but only one Power, so they don't enable two-mana spells on their own. Finally, there are some really interesting mana costs in the game, such as Sand Warrior, which doesn't cost any mana, but cannot be played (for free) unless you already control three yellow Sigils.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Impending Doom deals 1 damage to you each turn, in exchange for being a powerful, yet cheap card.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The game's five "factions", similar (but not identical) to Magic: the Gathering's color pie: Fire (red), Time (yellow), Justice (green) Primal (blue), and Shadow (purple). Multifaction cards are black, while cards with no faction requirements are grey.
  • Color-Coded Item Tiers: Common (grey), Uncommon (green), Rare (blue), Legendary (orange), Promo (purple). Promo cards have three-quarters the cost of Rare cards, but are earned by playing the game during a certain time frame, then afterwards can only be obtained via crafting.
  • Counterattack: Certain cards can be used to punish an opponent for attacking, such as cards that deal damage to an attacking unit or kill an exhausted unit.
  • Counterspell: Backlash and Spell Swipe, among others.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Void decks are particularly vulnerable to cards that mess with the enemy’s void, and it's possible to totally shut down enemy combo decks if you have the right answer.
  • Crutch Character: Aggro decks dominate the early game, but if they can't pull out an early win, they'll have a hard time catching up.
  • Deader than Dead: Cards with "Voidbound" in their effects cannot be retrieved from the void under any circumstance.
    • Further invoked with the spell "In Cold Blood". If used on any other enemy unit, it just kills them. If it kills a Justice unit, however, it kills the unit, all copies of that unit in-hand and in-deck are discarded, and the copies are voidbound to ensure they can never be taken out again.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Token decks rely on whittling down the opponent with a swarm of small units, which can quickly become a swarm of not-so-small units when certain cards are played.
  • Down to the Last Play: As is typical for card games. In even matches, victory or defeat can be decided by a single draw.
  • Enemy Summoner: Mostly the stock of the Grenadin, but present in all factions.
  • Faction Calculus:
    • Fire: Playing with Fire, Blood Knights, Zerg Rush, small creatures, most of the Attack! Attack! Attack! keywords, a lot of "Relic Weapons" which go on your hero. No card draw, no ways to deal with really big creatures, no ability to play from behind.
    • Time: Dishing Out Dirt, Badass Army, Magikarp Power, Mana ramping, health gain, bounce. No Relic Weapons, little direct damage outside of the "Killer" keyword which lets a unit, only once, attack an enemy Unit directly the way they can in Hearthstone.
    • Justice: Redshirt Army, buffs, control spells, the only board-wipe in the game, "Endurance" (vigilance). A weird hybrid color that shifts from an early-game aggro strategy to later-game control.
    • Primal: An Ice Person, Shock and Awe, card drawing, Flight, direct damage, lots of spells, Anti-Magic. Weak, mana-inefficient creatures, and difficulty dealing with opposing fatties.
    • Shadow: strong removal, units that grant bonuses once they hit the opponent, Life Drain, Back from the Dead, etc. Very specialized counterplay can leave it high and dry if it doesn't draw exactly what it needs. Ultimately, though, it's the most powerful faction due to its consistency and the fact that killing its units is rarely enough to stop it.
  • Fastball Special: Based on cards like Yetipult and Jotun Punter, the general strategy of the yeti is "if you can't throw rocks or snowballs at it, throw other yeti at it".
  • Flight: Units with the Flying skill can only be blocked by other flying units.
  • Forced Transformation: A useful way to permanently remove a unit's abilities is to transform it into a Frog (Polymorph, Rain of Frogs) or a Pig (Feeding Time, Cirso, the Great Glutton).
  • Forced Tutorial: The game opens into a starting fight. After the fight finishes, you have to play a five-part tutorial, each section unlocking a deck for the color you played in that section.
    • Having said that, the very first thing you get to do is choose between logging in to a pre-existing account or starting a new one (and thus experiencing the Forced Tutorial). This is a marked contrast to many other Mobile Phone Games, where the Forced Tutorial comes before the chance to prove you didn't need it.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The X Ally keyword, which gives a bonus (typically creating and playing a free unit or buffing the card with Ally) when a unit with type X is in play on your board.
  • Healing Hands: Direct healing effects are mostly the domain of Time and Justice, such as Sanctuary Priest and Combrei Healer.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: Most factions have access to effects that target multiple enemies, or affect the entire board.
  • Heroic Second Wind: The first time a unit with Revenge dies, it's shuffled back into its owner's deck and gains the Destiny skill, which means it'll be instantly returned to play when drawn. Certain Revenge units gain a bonus on the second pass, such as Watchwing Conscript.
  • HP to One: Most debuffs reduce a unit's health by a fixed amount, but the Withering Witch will always set enemy units' health to 1 regardless of existing buffs or debuffs (and if a unit has already taken damage that turn, said damage will carry over, causing it to drop dead on the spot), making her one of the most potent tools in Feln's arsenal.
    • In an inverse example, Last Stand at the Gate sets your own health to one, but plays three sturdy units and a powerful weapon for free.
  • I Shall Taunt You: There's a full communication wheel, including a Threaten emote.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Most weapons give units an attack and health boost, with shields trending towards the latter.
  • Magikarp Power:
  • Mook Maker: Present in most factions. Marisen, the Eldest summons a random vermin on each player's turn, The Tormentor summons a Spiteling each turn as long as he's in the void.
  • Mutual Disadvantage: Cards that affect every unit on the board.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: the single-player campaign "Jekk's Bounty" is all about this. Each of its 16 matches involves some sort of altered rule. Some of them apply to both players (Mission 2, "All units, when played, deal their Strength in damage to a random target"), some of them involve Equivalent Exchange (Mission 1, "The opponent's units are all +1/+0, but you draw a card when you kill one"), some are particular challenges (Mission 3, "Get the opponent down to 3 Health or less and then defeat it using a specific spell which you are furnished with"). The kicker is, of course, the last one: Jekk himself, who gets several advantages.
    • While some of these rules can obviously be used to advantage, the final battle of the Horus Traver campaign is the first where a rule unambiguously benefits the player: at the start of each turn, you play a random Stranger. Your opponent does not get this benefit. Instead, he starts with 5 Power and 5 Influence of each color.
    • Inquisitor Makto, the Recurring Boss of the third campaign, gets this with a side of Serial Escalation. Each battle has a special rule that killed units cause Warcry 1 / 2 / 3; Makto's deck is built to take advantage of this, with tons of Revenge units. Additionally, in the second battle he starts with 35 Life to your 25; in the third, 50.
  • Necromancer: Several Shadow cards allow you to pull cards out of your void and put them back in play.
  • No-Sell:
    • A few units, such as Ancient Terrazon, are invulnerable to combat damage, though not immune to spells.
    • Decimate bypasses Aegis and cannot be negated by counterspells.
  • Not Quite Dead: Sleeping Draught resummons a unit that died on that turn.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Exploits involving certain cards are sometimes patched out. In particular, any interaction that generates an infinite combo (usually involving cards with Echo) will usually be nerfed.
  • One-Hit Kill: Units with Deadly will kill whatever they deal damage to, no matter how much health it has. The Last Word extends this to players.
  • Play Every Day: Daily quests, and a free card pack for your first Versus win of the day.
  • Power at a Price: Common with Shadow and Fire, with several cards activated by sacrificing other units.
  • Purposefully Overpowered: A number of cards in any set would qualify, but special mention goes to Sandstorm Titan, who is the most heavily overstatted card in the game, at 5 attack/6 health for 4 power, aside from his powerful battle skill and situationally useful card text.
  • Save Scumming: Campaign levels can end up involving this trope, because luck of the draw — both towards you, in getting a strong opening hand, and your opponent, in getting a bad one — can be such a deciding factor in a game where you don't automatically increase your mana cap every turn. If at first you don't succeed, just Retry until the Random Number God finally blesses your hand. The third campaign, "Dead Reckoning," ups the ante by making you play pre-constructed decks in its first couple of missions, meaning that opening hand is basically the only thing you can control.
  • Single-Use Shield: "Aegis" gives one that protects a Unit (or player) against a single spell or effect. It does not work on battle damage from another creature or a relic weapon, nor does it protect against an effect cast by its controller (so you can't put Aegis on your creatures and then have them survive your own board wipe spell, for instance). This contrasts with Hearthstone's Aegis, which protects against one source of damage, but does not protect from silencing or other effects that don't deal damage.
  • Situational Sword: Some cards have very narrow uses, like removing attachments. If your enemy has no weapons or curses, it'll just sit there in your hand.
  • Splash Damage Abuse: Averted, unlike many other card games. Units with Aegis are protected even from effects that hit the entire board (unless the effect came from their controller).
  • Straight for the Commander: As in Magic, you declare attacks at your opponent directly, and he declares which of his units are blocking your attackers. Averted only with units with the Killer skill, which lets them attack another unit directly (once).
    • As of Set 5, Defiance, a new card type, "Site", has been added. If your opponent has a Site in play, you declare attacks either at his life total or at his site, but all attacking units target the same one.
  • Stone Wall: Any unit with high health can be this. Units with Deadly can also be this, since they guarantee that you'll kill an attacker.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: There are spells and Summon effects that will return units to their owner's hands, such as Teleport or Praxis Displacer; these can be used to neutralize an enemy unit or protect one of your own. Other versions are more specific; Safe Return specifically makes the returned unit stronger, while Lost in the Mist makes it harder for the unit to be played a second time.
  • Thanatos Gambit:
    • Units with Entomb have special effects when they die, encouraging you to let them die, sacrifice them yourself, or bring them back into play so their Entomb effect can trigger again.
    • Units with Tribute, on the other hand, encourage you to get your own units killed before deploying them, since they get bonuses if one of your units was sent to the void before you play them.
  • Zerg Rush: Fire does this the best, especially with Grenadin, almost all of whom summon more Grenadin.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: the final level of "Dead Reckoning" involves the Player Character dealing a Plotline Death to someone else. As a result, said victim is trapped at 1 HP and 0 Power; you take your turn first and are not allowed to pass it; and you are given more than one way of dealing lethal damage. There is no way the boss can survive your turn. The only way you can lose is by Conceding.

Setting and Flavor tropes:

Character and Story tropes:

  • Another Side, Another Story: The last portion of "The Tale of Horus Traver" retraces segments of the Empty Throne campaign, particularly Talir's story and Caiphus' last stand in the throne room, with the player in control of the Strangers instead.
  • Anyone Can Die: Prominent characters integral to the initial plot die in the campaigns of Eternal.
  • Arc Words: "Finding the way" comes up frequently.
  • The Bard: Diogo Málaga and his electric guitar.
    Diogo: A discovery for the ages! (guitar riff)
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: None of the Scions seem to particularly like each other, with most of them being indifferent or tolerant at best. The only exception seems to be Eilyn towards her daughter Vara, and even that is one-sided. Notably, everyone hates Rolant. Eilyn and Kaleb do seem to have come to terms following set 4, The Fall of Argenport however.
  • Cloning Blues: Kaleb journeyed down into the Sunken Tower and found... something. Taking Marisen's cryptic message into account ("The acorn seeks a second tree..."), it's implied that Kaleb himself is a clone of Caiphus.
    • However, he comes to terms with it in Chapter 18 and is seeking to claim the throne himself.
  • Death Seeker: Upon losing his family, Horus wandered into the Shadowlands to die. Azindel found him first.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The "Jekk's Bounty" campaign refers both to Jekk's work as a Bounty Hunter, and the bounty on him, which the player character defeats him in the last stage to collect.
  • Evil Chancellor: Caiphus' vizier baited him into tapping into the power of the Eternal Throne, knowing damn well what the consequences would be.
  • Evil Twin: Kaleb has the Failed Reflection, an alternate clone of Caiphus that was mad with isolation.
  • Framing Device:
    • The starting campaign is narrated by Jekk, recounting each of the Scions' tales before his execution by the Crownwatch. At the end, it's implied that Icaria comes to his rescue.
    • "The Tale of Horus Traver" is narrated by a future version of Talir, who also serves as the penultimate opponent, reaching back through time in an attempt to stop Horus and save her brother.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The end of the starting campaign, with Caiphus' battle against the Stranger horde.
  • How We Got Here: the Horus Traver campaign is a Whole Episode Flashback to the death of King Ciaphas.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Rolant's efforts to protect Argenport from the Resistance started with forced conscription into the Crownwatch, then quickly spiralled into a Magic Nuke and the subsequent cover-up thereof.
  • Killed Off for Real: Icaria and Rolant in Dead Reckoning
  • Knight Templar: Inquisitor Makto. He is absolutely dedicated to crushing the last vestiges of the Rebellion and ensuring loyalty to Rolant.
  • Missing Mom: Kaleb is Caiphus' illegitimate son. His primary goal is to learn the identity of his mother, though he stumbles upon some interesting discoveries along the way...
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Icaria was the first Valkyrie, but turned against Rolant and now leads the rebellion against him.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Rolant repelled the Resistance's siege of Argenport and dealt them a crushing blow in the process, but wiped out an entire district in the process, plunging the city into further chaos.
  • Rebel Leader: There have been several leaders of two different rebellions to date: first General Izalio, who was killed by Rolant in the final tutorial mission, then the iconic Icaria, the Liberator, killed by Inquisitor Makto at the end of act 2 of Dead Reckoning.; Milos Izalio took over but his father's rebellion was rendered moot by the events of the Fall of Argenport; Milos then signed on to lead another rebellion in distant Kosul to restore the rightful ruler, Svetya, to the throne and topple Yushkov, the Usurper.
  • Rebellious Princess: Caiphus' daughter Vara is the favored heir to the Eternal Throne. She's not interested in political machinations, instead venturing into the Shadowlands to find her own path.
  • The Reveal: Caiphus was killed by the Eternal Throne itself.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Every Scion is a powerful warrior, each specializing in one of the five Factions.
  • Start of Darkness: "The Tale of Horus Traver" chronicles Horus' descent from ordinary homesteader to Stranger boss.
  • Succession Crisis: Following Caiphus' death, each of the five Scions has a claim to the Eternal Throne.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Azindel guided Vara through the Shadowlands and back... and then tricked her into accepting a cursed amulet which wiped her memories. Once she recovered, hunting down Azindel became her top priority.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm:
    • Rolant, as head of the Crownwatch, became the de facto ruler of Argenport following Caiphus' death. His attempts to maintain order within the city created an oppressive regime, which galvanized an existing resistance movement into a full-on rebellion.
    • As a consequence of the above, Makto is placed in charge of the valkyrie after Icaria's defection.
  • Warrior Poet: Darya, a Praxis warrior hero added in "Defiance" (set 5) is titled "Warrior Poet."
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Eilyn left her clan when she married Caiphus. Many years later, she decided to pay them a visit, only to find out that the clan (in particular, her brother Vadius, who had risen up to lead the clans in her absence) had long since rejected her. However, she regains her position as leader by defeating Vadius in combat.