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Artifact’s first big update brings quicker tournament play

Also Bot Gauntlet mode, and two more Call to Arms decks


Artifact, the Dota 2 card collecting game, got its first major update since launching Nov. 28. The 1.1 update, announced at the end of the week, brings in two new decks and three types of short-duration open tournaments, to streamline participation.

So far, starting a tournament in Artifact has required players to set up their own, usually inviting players through forums or Steam chat. The Open Tournaments come in three flavors, all of which are designed to get players to the action fast:

  • Automated: Like its name says, with the touch of a button you’re in a tournament with others.
  • Pauper: This is the “inaugural Open Tourney,” suggesting that there will be a rotation of themed competitions. The first one permits only decks of common cards, but players can swap out their decks every match.
  • Free For All: In this, players have 3 hours to take on as many opponents as they can (limit two matches per opponent). At the end of that span, whoever has the most victories wins the tournament. User-created tournaments also have this format option.

Other additions include a Bot Gauntlet mode pitting players against AIs using tougher and tougher decks. A Random Mode for the Call to Arms event will gives players a pre-con deck at random before queuing up for each match. Two new decks, Death from Above and Dark Aggro, also join the Call to Arms event.

And there’s a chat wheel, leaderboards and support for color blind players, to improve the visibility and distinction of the cards themselves for those with different types of color blindness.

The full patch notes were published Thursday. In a tweet highlighting the update, developers said that 8.2 million matches have been played since launch, and the median play time for each player is 9 hours, with almost 7/8ths of the population participating in some form of PvP.

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