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What to know before starting Genshin Impact’s new trading card game

Genius Invokation TCG is as compelling as it is confusing

Characters smile in key art for Genshin Impact’s new trading card game. Image: MiHoYo

The card game train won’t slow down for anything. Case in point? Its latest high-profile passenger: Genshin Impact. Yes, the incandescently popular genre-spanning live service game has a card game. Called Genius Invokation TCG, it’s a permanent minigame rolled out in Genshin Impact’s update 3.3.

As a deck-building card game, you can think of it as Gwent: Teyvat Edition. But Genius Invocation is a little different than the Continent’s favorite barroom past time: It also features elements, dice, and a duel with Little Timmie. If all the rules sound head-spinning, the following Genshin Impact Genius Invokation TCG guide should help you get up to speed.

Timaeus talks to players of Genshin Impact about the new trading card game. Image: MiHoYo via Polygon

How to Unlock Genshin Impact TCG

As with most new gameplay features, the Genshin Impact card game has a minimum adventure rank requirement and introduction quest. The quest, called “Come Try Genius Invokation TCG!,” automatically pops up in your journal if you meet the following requirements:

  • You have an adventure rank of 32 or higher.
  • You’ve completed the Archon Quest Prologue, Act III, Song of the Dragon and Freedom.

How to Play Genshin Impact Genius Invokation TCG

Every Genius Invokation TCG deck consists of three character cards and 30 action cards. The character cards are placed openly on the table. They’re used to attack opponents, but they also take damage. If all three of your opponent’s character cards are destroyed, you’ve won the game. The action cards, on the other hand, are kept in hand. They consist of equipment cards that enhance character abilities, event cards offering a variety of immediate effects, and long-lasting support cards.

Cards crowd the board of Genshin Impact’s new trading card game. Image: MiHoYo via Polygon

A character card has a certain amount of HP (displayed in the top left) and three different abilities: a normal attack, an elemental skill, and an elemental burst. These abilities come with a cost that can be paid for with dice. More on that below, but let’s take a look at ability cost first:

  • Normal attack: costs one die of a matching element and two dice of an unaligned element.
  • Elemental Skill: cost three dice of a matching element.
  • Elemental Burst: cost varies, but usually three or four dice of a matching element, plus a certain amount of energy. One point of energy is gained by landing one normal- or elemental skill attack.

Now, what about those dice? Every round of Genius Invokation TCG starts by rolling eight dice that display the game’s elements instead of numbers. One side has an omni element, which may represent any other element. Once you’ve got your dice, exchange them for character abilities. If you want to use Kaeya’s elemental skill, for example, you need three cryo dice (or additional omni dice).

Note that some action cards also cost dice. If the number on the card is white, the dice must be of the same element (omni dice still counts!). If it’s black, you may use any dice. Also good to know: you may discard any action card in your hand in return for elemental tuning, allowing you to change one of the dice to an element of your choosing.

What a game of Genius Invokation TCG looks like

The best way to learn a new game is by playing it. Now that you know the basics, here’s a step-by-step Genius Invokation walkthrough:

  • Step one: Each player draws five random action cards from their deck. Click on them to see what they do, then decide which ones you’d like to redraw (up to five, with only one redraw opportunity).
  • Step two: Set an active character. This character is the only one capable of initiating attacks, but is also the one to suffer all incoming damage (apart from special effects). You can switch the active character at the cost of one die.
  • Step three: Roll the dice, then select every die that doesn’t match with your character card elements for a reroll. For example, if you get a dendro die but none of your three characters is a dendro, it needs to be rerolled.
  • Step four: Choose an action, such as an attack. If your active character is unable to do so, you may switch to a different character whose element matches with your dice. Don’t forget about the five action cards in your hand either; you can use them, or exchange them for elemental tuning.
  • Step five: You and your opponent will continue to play turns (one action per turn) until you’ve both run out of dice to use. When that happens, click “end round” to go to the next phase, which starts with a fresh dice roll.

Tips for playing Genshin Impact Genius Invokation TCG

Before we send you off to fight Timmie, here are a few more Genius Invokation tips:

  • If you’ve forgotten your characters’ elements or weapon types during the reroll/redraw phases, click the little eye icon in the top right of the screen.
  • Don’t hesitate to switch characters. Creating elemental reactions, building energy, and distributing damage is very much worth the cost.
  • Elemental reactions still exist in Genius Invokation. For example, you can use a cryo attack followed by a pyro attack to trigger a melt reaction, resulting in two extra damage points.
A map of Mondstat shows where to start Genshin Impact’s new trading card game. Image: MiHoYo via Polygon

How to find Genius Invokation TCG matches and build decks

As you set out to become Teyvat’s top Genius Invokation TCG player, there are three more things you need: better cards, a deck-building tool, and opponents. To obtain additional cards of your choosing, speak to Prince (yes, the talking cat) in the Cat’s Tail Tavern. He doesn’t accept Mora though, only lucky coins obtained from Genius Invokation TCG victories.

To review your deck or build a new one, use the casket of tomes in your inventory, under the gadget tab. Use the same tool to find matches near your location. Click on the blue card icons on the map to see the opponent’s name and the match rewards.

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