Mabinogi Duel is an online TCG/RPG on mobile devices with high quality artwork, a lengthy single player campaign, strategic card battles, hundreds of cards to collect, real-life card trading and PVP duels, daily missions, and an engaging storyline. Mabinogi Duel is based on the PC MMORPG, Mabinogi.
Type: Mobile TCG/RPG
Release Date: November 18, 2015
Pros: +Appealing artwork. +Interesting story. +Many cards to collect. +Strategic battle system. +Great soundtrack.
Cons: -Pay-to-win aspects. –Asynchronous PVP.
Mabinogi Duel Overview
Mabinogi Duel is a 2D TCG-RPG hybrid developed by devCAT Studio, the makers of the PC MMORPGs, Mabinogi and Mabinogi Heroes (Vindictus), and published by NEXON, a well-known Korean publisher behind the mobile games, Pocket MapleStory and Legion of Heroes. Join Remiel and Sarah on an exciting adventure to find First Man’s Lake while meeting new companions and advisories along the way. Battle opponents with strategic turn-based combat that involves creature cards, resource cards, spell cards, and more. Collect hundreds of unique cards and build the ultimate deck. Experience an immersive storyline and battle other players online in asynchronous PVP battles. Connect phones with your friends to activate Soul Link that allows for real-time duels and card trading. Participate in Daily Missions and climb the ranks in PVP to become Champion.
Mabinogi Duel Key Features
- No Card Draws - Players start with their entire deck of 12 cards in hand. Victory requires skill and strategy rather than luck.
- 5 Resource Types - Craft a custom deck using cards incorporating 3 of the 5 resource types: Gold, Mana, Light, Nature, and Dark.
- Level Up! - Players gain more actions and cards become stronger over the course of a duel, making the game more intense.
- A New Generation - Constant updates in the form of Generations that add new cards and scenarios to experience.
- Rich Story and Lore - Mabinogi Duel includes an extensive single player campaign and over 1000 cards to collect.
- Arena PVP – Battle other players online in asynchronous combat and climb the ranks for better rewards.
Mabinogi Duel Screenshots
Mabinogi Duel Featured Video
Mabinogi Duel Review
By, Herman Y.
Mabinogi Duel is a free-to-play, TCG/RPG hybrid developed by devCAT Studio, the makers of the original PC MMORPG, Mabinogi, and published by NEXON, a well-known Korean publisher behind the mobile games, Pocket MapleStory and Legion of Heroes. Mabinogi Duel was first released in South Korea in June 2015 (5 months before the global launch) and was so successful that it led to several Mabinogi Duel E-sports tournaments hosted throughout Korea by devCAT Studio. Mabinogi Duel is both a trading card game with hundreds of unique cards to collect as well as an RPG with a lengthy and well-written single player campaign. Unlike many mobile card RPGs, the battles are very in-depth, hands-on (no automated option), and require a lot of strategy without being too complicated. It is easy to pick up and play, although there is a slight learning curve, and has both PVE and asynchronous PVP.
An Engaging Single Player Campaign
Mabinogi Duel features an interesting and lengthy, story-driven single player campaign. The story is divided into many missions and each mission consists of a lot of well-written character dialogue. Players play as Remiel, a half-elf human on a journey to First Man’s Lake to fully become human; According to legends, bathing in First Man’s Lake turns half-elves into humans. Remiel is accompanied by his childhood friend, Sarah, who is supposedly in love with him, and they meet many charismatic and charming characters along the way, such as 3 Witches who want him for their mischievous deeds, Elysis, a passionate Elven guide who wishes to protect him, and Ruairi, a hubristic warrior who seeks to defeat injustice. There are also many additional companions and advisories to meet throughout the story, some of which actually join the player’s deck as a card, and the story is very well-written and immersive. The story plays out through character dialogue before, after, and during battles and the mood ranges from humorous, to serious, to emotional, with a lot of plot twists. While players can choose to only participate in the PVP, the single player campaign is a must to fully maximize one’s enjoyment of the game as well as to level up and obtain new cards and other unlockables such as avatars.
Strategic Card Battles
Unlike many mobile TCGs (and CCGs), Mabinogi Duel has a very in-depth battle system that is strategic, hands-on, and easy to pick up and play. The battles take play on a 5x2 grid in which each side can summon a maximum of 5 cards at once. Each player has 12 cards in their deck (no more and no less) and each duel begins with all 12 cards drawn. However, players cannot simply summon any card they want in the beginning because cards require resources, and the stronger the card, the more resources it requires. The battles are turn-based and players can choose either to charge (draw) resources or summon a card at each turn. There are also 5 different types of resources in the game (maximum of 3 in each deck) and charging resources draws one type at random. Players also have levels, which is a fairly unique feature. Completing actions gives experience and when players have enough experience to level up, they can choose to level up (maximum level 3) which gives additional actions per turn (2 at level 2, 3 at level 3) and makes cards stronger but also makes them require more resources. The level system adds a new level of strategy to the game, although players will generally level up as soon as they get the chance.
The objective of each PVP battle (some PVE battles have different objectives) is to reduce the opponent’s health to 0. Players can do this by having a creature card attack the opponent directly if there is no card in front of them, or with certain Hero-targeting spells. Each creature card has a certain attack power and HP, and some also have defense (and possibly a special ability depending on the card). Creature cards will attack directly across from them (with the exception of creatures of targeting abilities) at the end of the player’s turn after having been on the field for one turn unless they have the special ability to attack immediately. Creature cards with defense will absorb the amount of damage their armor can take before taking the rest of the damage onto their health. In addition to creatures, there are also spell cards that do various things such as healing the player’s HP, damaging certain monsters on the field, resurrecting cards from the grave, and much more. There are also resource cards that generate resources each turn, and buff cards that provide buffs to cards on the field, both of which are summoned like creature cards but have no attack power and can be destroyed. Finally, because there is no card drawing in this game, players are given the option to revive all their fallen and used up cards at any time into their hand which has to be used strategically because it uses up an action and takes part of the player’s health.
Many Cards to Collect
Mabinogi Duel has a large selection of cards to collect. Players can obtain cards from randomized booster packs which they can either buy from the shop or obtain from level up rewards, login rewards, and the story. There are many different types of cards which include creature cards, spell cards, and buff/resource cards. Each creature card has a specific attack and defense value and most of them also have a special ability such as attacking the enemy with the lowest health, vampirism, ally buffing, giving resources when they die, and much more which makes each of them unique. Some creature cards also have defense that absorbs a certain amount of damage and each card is one of five resource types (Gold, Mana, Light, Nature, and Dark). Like creature cards, spell cards also have a large variety of usages such as dealing great damage to single monsters or to every monster on the field, debuffing enemies, taking resources from the opponent, and more. They can simply be activated or dragged onto certain targets, and don’t have to be placed onto the field. Finally, there are buff/resource cards which are placed onto the field like a creature card that have health but no attack. These cards can buff allies each turn such as healing or raising attack power, or generate a certain amount of resources per turn. Because these cards cannot attack, they must be placed strategically so that they can generate resources or deal their as much as possible before getting destroyed. These cards can also include bombs that can be thrown onto one of the opponent’s slots that explode or stun opponents after one turn if not destroyed. Overall, there is a large variety of different cards to collect which add a lot of strategy to the game and it is quite addicting collecting new cards.
PVP and Daily Missions
In addition to the main story mode, players can participate in the Arena (PVP) and Daily Missions. In the Arena, players can battle other players around the world asynchronously, meaning the other players’ decks are controlled by AI. While many will dislike the asynchronous battles, it does work well for mobile since players can battle others at any time and the AI is fairly intelligent. For real-time battles, players can meet up with others in real life and via the game’s Soul Link system, they can duel each other and trade cards. There are different rankings in the Arena which include Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Champion based on the player’s rank, and players can raise their ranks by winning battles. Rewards such as booster packs, coupons, Gems, and more are given out based on the player’s ranking, and each Arena tournament only lasts for a couple of days before it resets. Although the battles are asynchronous, they are still fun since the AI is decent and every player generally has different cards. The battles can also get very intense if similarly ranked players are matched up.
In addition to the Story mode and Arena, there are Daily Missions which include Daily Missions and Random Draft Challenges. In Daily Missions, players can battle NPCs with several difficulty levels using their PVP decks and each missions gives a lot of in-game gold. Players will have to defeat a series of NPCs, similar to waves of enemies in other games, before they can acquire their rewards which makes it somewhat lengthy but the gold rewards are worth it. Random Draft Challenges are similar to Daily Missions in format except players are given a deck of completely randomized cards. This mode is a fun way of trying out new cards and makes the battles more exciting due to the randomized deck. The Arena also has a Random Draft mode as well. Both Daily Missions and Random Draft Challenges give out a lot of gold, which can be used to buy booster packs in the shop, and add some extra content to the game.
Cash Shop/In-App Purchases (IAP)
The main in-app purchases in Mabinogi Duel are booster packs and energy. Considering Mabinogi Duel is a trading card game, collecting cards play a large part in the game. With Gems (premium currency), players can purchase a variety of different themed booster packs containing 5 cards with 1 guaranteed 2-star card. There are also booster packs players can purchase with in-game gold sometimes that last for a temporary amount of time. For a flat fee of $9.99 or $23.99, players can purchase memberships to get free Gems every day for a month, as well as discounts on new booster packs. Overall, the game is somewhat pay-to-win due to the booster pack system but players can still obtain a lot of free booster packs from level up rewards, login rewards, and the story as mentioned before. Also because the Story mode and PVP decks are separate, the story mode has no paywall. PVP cards, however, do have a sort of monetary value behind them since they can be traded, and with new cards consistently rolling out, spending money will give advantages in building better decks for serious players.
Final Verdict – Great
Mabinogi Duel is a fun and unique mobile TCG/RPG with strategic, hands-on card battles. Although it has some pay-to-win aspects and some players may not like the asynchronous PVP, it provides an engaging single player campaign with a well-written story, lots of unique cards to collect, an in-depth battle system that many mobile card games lack, and a competitive Arena that makes it one of the best mobile TCGs on the market.
Mabinogi Duel Videos
Mabinogi Duel Links
Mabinogi Duel System Requirements
Android 3.0 and up / iOS 6.0 or later.
Mabinogi Duel Music & Soundtrack
Mabinogi Duel Additional Information
Original Release Date: June 9, 2015 (Korea)
Closed Beta Date: May 2015 (North America)
Global Release Date: November 18, 2015
Development History / Background:
Mabinogi Duel is the first game by studio devCAT specifically targeting the Western audience. Best known for the anime styled Mabinogi and the action RPG Vindictus, devCat has recently moved into the mobile gaming market with titles like Ring Toss, Bubble Ring, and Vampire Princess.
Mabinogi Duel draws its inspiration from Hearthstone by Blizzard Entertainment, but offers innovative features. Among them is the emphasis on local play through the SoulLink system which allows players in close proximity to trade cards and battle each other directly. The game also has plenty of solo content in the form of a singleplayer campaign complete with quests.