Best Card Games to play in 2023
From MTG’s impressive legacy to stand-out newcomers like Lorcana and One Piece, these are the best card games you can pick up and play in 2023.
With new games breaking into the market and old favorites still going strong, there is a healthy selection of card games available to play in 2023. Innovative TCGs have been steadily cropping up over the last few years, with diverse new mechanics drawing in a substantial audience and providing an easier entry point to the hobby than ever.
That being said, TCG collecting can be an expensive hobby, and it’s best to know what you’re in for before committing. We’ll walk you through a selection of the best card games available this year, so you can find the game – or games – that are right for you.
1. Magic: The Gathering
The best card game overall
The game that started it all. No list of the best Card Games could be complete without including MTG. Consistently innovating with new sets, mechanics, and worlds, MTG is a game that is in a constant state of refinement and reinvention.
It isn’t just its long-term pedigree that earns Magic its spot here either. 2023 has been an eventful year for Wizards’ flagship TCG, with Commander Masters causing a stir for its inflated price points. But it’s the strength of Universes Beyond products such as Tales from Middle Earth and Doctor Who that have really made a splash this year, proving that real passion and clever overlap between mechanics and storytelling can make something special out of what could have just been a hollow brand crossover. What’s more, there’s way more to come.
2. Pokemon TCG
The best value card game
Nintendo’s monster-catching franchise has been a global phenomenon right from the start, and the Pokemon TCG has seen immense popularity right along with it. While Pokemon shines as a straightforward yet compelling TCG, what really makes it easier to recommend than its peers is the game’s prices.
TCG players, especially those that cut their teeth on Magic, can be all too used to the often overwhelming spikes in the price of its most competitively viable cards. But the Pokemon TCG offers a more affordable alternative, with even its tournament-winning decks being easily accessible by most players. It cannot be overstated what a breath of fresh air it is to have a TCG wherein high power doesn’t always have to mean high prices.
The best card game for beginners
Standing strong throughout the years, Yu-Gi-Oh! is one of MTG’s only competitors in terms of longevity. While it is an excellent option for TCG veterans, learning all of Yu-Gi-Oh!’s diverse summoning methods and complex interactions can be overwhelming for newcomers.
That being said, the barrier for entry has been significantly lowered with the addition of Rush Duels. Yu-Gi-Oh! finally has a beginner-friendly format that doesn’t require instantly learning all of the additions, complications, and new summoning mechanics added over the years.
Effectively a whole other TCG in its own right, Rush Duels does not use cards printed in mainline Yu-Gi-Oh! sets, instead printing its own streamlined products.
While Rush Duels can’t hope to match the depth and complexity of the mainline card game, they serve as an excellent intro to teach players the mechanics before diving into the world of Links, XYZ, and Synchros. Aside from being an effective teaching tool, Rush Duels are a straightforward and exhilarating format in their own right. After years of working around summoning limitations, it can be a real thrill to play as many cards as possible each turn and restock your hand to full over and over again.
4. Flesh and Blood
The best original property card game
Some new TCGs can set themselves apart through sheer presentation value, tying into existing popular properties. Flesh and Blood has swiftly become beloved by doing the exact opposite. This is an original property that provides a well-crafted experience by focusing on the TCG fundamentals.
With hero-based gameplay and an original setting that is growing all the time, Flesh and Blood, proves that, at the end of the day, thrilling and tactical gameplay is what many people come to TCGs for. In an age of dime-a-zone crossovers, it isn’t mandatory to capitalize on an existing IP to achieve success as a card game.
5. Disney Lorcana
The best new card game
A newcomer to the TCG scene, but one that is already making waves through its absurdly high demand and rush to reprint. Disney Lorcana was always going to have a popular initial release. But some of the design choices made for Lorcana’s second set, Rise of the Floodborn, suggest that it has the potential to stick around as a real competitor to Magic’s throne.
Rise of the Floodborn shows that Lorcana’s designers are unafraid to think outside the box, reinventing classic heroes and archetypes and generating a lot of faith in the long-term survivability of the game as a result. Lorcana’s release set was built around some solid and unique mechanics, but it’s the first expansion that has really solidified its chances of future success.
6. The One Piece Card Game
The best franchise tie-in card game
As the high-selling comic of all time, One Piece is an impressively long-lived epic that can serve as source material for years worth of TCG sets. Even as a newcomer to the card game scene, the One Piece Card Game is quickly carving out a place for itself among the greats.
As the Manga has entered its final saga and the anime goes from strength to strength, expected the One Piece Card Game to remain relevant in the years ahead. Now’s a great time to jump in and get to grips before the mechanics and complexity inevitably deepen.
7. Digimon Card Game
The best alternative card game
While many card games draw liberal inspiration from popular games that have stood the test of time, the Digimon Card Game has been focusing on its own exciting design space, allowing it to clearly stand out from other franchise tie-in TCGs,
Rather than branching out and building as wide a board as possible, the Digimon Card Game takes things in another, equally interesting direction. The franchise’s focus on ‘Digivolution’, monsters evolving into powerful new forms, is the key gameplay element that sets Digimon apart. The Digimon TCG emulates this by starting with cheaper, low-rank monsters and slowly evolving and building them up into unstoppable forces of nature.
Anyone who has encountered the Mutate mechanic in MTG will understand the basics of Digivolving. But it works so much better in a game designed around it, than the ungainly fit with Magic’s mechanics.
With its thrilling tug-of-war memory system, Digimon again sets itself apart from imitators of MTG’s mana casting. While most new TCGs are content to iterate on the greats, the Digimon Card Game is taking risks and pushing ahead into bold new areas of play.
Best Card Games FAQ
What is the best card game 2023?
Magic: The Gathering is 2023’s best card game thanks to the success of its Universes Beyond sets.
What is the cheapest card game in 2023?
You are likely to save the most money on the Pokemon TCG due to its low-cost competitively viable cards
Which card game is best for beginners?
Yu-Gi-Oh! Rush Duel is the best option for easing newcomers in TCG mechanics.
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