Valve set out to create its own collectible card game in 2018. Fans received the teaser trailers with skepticism but overall looked forward to its release. The game had a promising start when it launched but a harsh fall-off in player numbers finally took its toll. Valve tried to work around its numerous problems with the title but ultimately decided against continuing any development for the game. Artifact will now be a completely free-to-play game.


Valve set out to recreate the game after the disappointing 2018 release. A small team at Valve broke off to rework the game into an entirely new title called Artifact Foundry. Additionally, the developers renamed the original build of the game to Artifact Classic. Valve hoped Artifact Foundry addressed and fixed many of the criticisms and problems of its predecessor but it never saw the light of day. One spokesperson from Valve spoke in length about the company’s decision to ultimately halt all development for any Artifact title.

“While we’re reasonably satisfied we accomplished most of our game-side goals, we haven’t managed to get the active player numbers to a level that justifies further development at this time. As such, we’ve made the tough decision to stop development on the Artifact 2.0 Beta.”

Ultimately, as a result of Valve’s decision, both Artifact Classic and Artifact Foundry have now been turned into free-to-play titles. The in-game purchase function has also been effectively removed from both games. Artifact Foundry and Artifact Classic continue to be available for play for players everywhere. The two games share similarities but Valve clarified each game’s strong points.

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  • Full-deck draft gauntlets (build your deck out of a limited selection of cards, then win 5 before you lose 2).
  • Constructed gauntlets (build your deck from the entire set, win 5 before you lose 2).
  • Preconstructed event with a win-streak leaderboard (choose a pre-built deck, play until you lose).
  • Single game constructed global matchmaking
  • In-game tournament system
  • Constructed bot play
  • Tutorial
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  • 1v1 Hero Draft ladder (pick and counter-pick heroes against your opponent, then play with decks generated from those heroes, rank up based on skill).
  • Constructed ladder (build your deck from the entire set, rank up based on skill).
  • Tutorial (expanded)
  • Single Player Campaign
  • Constructed bot play
  • Hero Draft bot play
  • Bot puzzles (including support for player-authored puzzles)

Surprisingly, Artifact players will still be able to compete with other players via global matchmaking. There’s no word if any future patches will come out for the game or if it will ultimately be left to fade into obscurity. If you’ve ever wanted to give Artifact a shot, there’s no better time to give it a try now that it’s free-to-play.