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Mechanics are the inner workings of Artifact. For non-gameplay related information, see Game Systems page.


Artifact is played on a board that is divided into 3 sections, called Lanes. Each lane is played in one at a time, and for the most part cards can only be played to a lane during the round set in that lane.

Victory Condition[edit]

Each lane has one tower, which, if destroyed, exposes the Ancient. The game ends if 2 towers or the Ancient is destroyed by either party. It's possible for the game to end in a draw if both players destroy complete the victory condition in the same lane at the same time (same battle phase).

Game phases[edit]

Info Icon.png This section is large enough to warrant it's own page -- Game Phases


All interactions in Artifact are, in one way or another, based on cards. Here you can read all about the specific properties of different cards and learn about different interactions.

There is no limit to how many cards you can have in your hand.


Mana is a resource players use to play their cards. Each lane has a separate manapool, that starts at 3 at the beginning of the game, and increases by 1 each turn. There is no upper limit to the manapool.


Stats are properties that heroes and creatures inherently possess and can be improved by items.

Stat Description
Health The amount of damage an unit can sustain before dying. Damage persists across rounds.
Armor Incoming damage sources are reduced by the amount of Armor on this unit.
Attack The amount of damage a unit deals during battle.

Damage types[edit]

Damage Description
Normal The basic type of dealing damage.
Piercing This Damage type ignores all armor.
Siege When blocked during the combat phase, in addition to battle damage to the combat target, also deal Siege damage to the enemy tower.
Cleave When blocked during the combat phase, in addition to battle damage to the blocking unit, also deal the Cleave damage to that unit's neighbors.

Ability types[edit]

Abilities are either innate, or can be granted by items and spells. They fall into one main category, depending on its behavior. Abilities with cooldowns start ready to be used, unless they belong to a hero, in which case they start on cooldown.

Ability type Description
Active ability Abilities that requires the player's action to execute. After that, they are inactive for the duration of the cooldown.
Reactive ability Abilities that automatically activate after a certain trigger (e.g. End of the combat phase or after a spell is cast).
Continuous effect Abilities that are always active.
Play effect Abilities that are triggered when the card enters a lane.


Abilities are unique powers or behaviors that are provided by spells, items or innate skills. They provide certain effects which can impact the battlefield.

Mechanic Description
Rapid Deployment When a hero with Rapid Deployment dies, it is immediately ready for deployment, so it can be deployed at the start of the next round.
Condemn Instantly destroy.
Move Move a Hero to another lane.
Heal Restore Health to an unit.
Summon Create a Summon.
Swap Exchange the positions of 2 units.
Draw Place a card from your deck into your hand.
Damage Immunity Make a unit impervious to attack.
Modify When an effect modifies another card it applies a permanent buff or debuff to the target. Heroes retain modifiers through death.
Silence Stop a unit from using abilities, items, or spells.
Disarm The disarmed unit can not attack for the duration.
Discard Throw away a card from your hand
Retaliate When attacked during a battle (even outside of the combat phase), deal this much extra damage to the attackers.
Taunt Force units to target a certain enemy.
Cross Lane This card can target any lane.
Regeneration Heal this unit during the combat phase.
Purge Permanently remove effects from a Unit.
Stun Disarms and silences a unit.
Pulse Update gamestate before resuming the card effect.
Death Shield If a unit would die, instead remove its death shield and it survives with 1 Health. A unit may only have one death shield at a time.
Lock Prevents opponent from playing a specific card from their hand for a number of rounds.
Bounty Defines the Gold award for eliminating a unit.
Quicken Reduce cooldown by 1, but not below 1
Equip Effect This ability will trigger immediately after the item is equipped to a hero.
Decay Damage this unit during the combat phase.
Rooted Disables movement for affected unit.
Bounce Send a hero to the Fountain, or a creep back to players hand.
Feeble Excess damage (overkill damage) will be dealt to the tower instead of the unit.