Whether it’s something as high profile as Hearthstone or an indie game like Slay the Spire, deckbuilding card games come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors.
This is primarily due to the genre’s flexible nature that allows it to mesh with a wide array of subgenres ranging from roguelike and RPG to MOBA, puzzle, and many others.
In this list, we’ll highlight the best deck building games to play in 2023, including the best deck building PC games and best deck building games on Steam right now.
We’ll be updating this list in the future with new titles, so make sure to check back and let us know if we missed any of your favorite deck builders!
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The Monster Within
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Our first recommendation for deck building fans is The Monster Within, a 1950’s horror comic-themed card game with roguelike progression.
In it, players must try and prevent their character from turning into a monster, or give into their dark desires and embrace their new powers.
Depending on what you decide, you’ll gain access to a wide selection of cards tailored to each of the ten (currently six released) monster classes.
Most of them are based on common horror tropes like vampires and zombies but change up the game considerbaly by introducing unique restrictions that can either help or hinder performance.
Fights in Tight Spaces
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
Fights in Tight Spaces is a stylish blend of deck building, turn-based tactics, and high-octane animated fight sequences in one delicious package.
In it, players construct balanced decks that allow them to dominate the battlefield by picking the best positioning and attacks for their character.
The game features a selection of 200+ cards catering to different playstyles along with a myriad of random branching events and choices to make throughout each run.
There are also daily missions to take on, with online leaderboards that let you compare your performance against other players.
If you’re a fan of roguelike deck builders then Inscryption will likely scratch the same itch with a dash of unsettling atmosphere.
The game comes from Daniel Mullins, the creator of Pony Island and The Hex, and explores similar themes of horror while serving as a love letter to video games at large.
In it, you take on the role of a prisoner forced to play a sadistic card game against an unhinged host with multiple personas shrouded entirely in darkness.
The main gameplay component is card-based battling using animals as vessels for violence, though you’ll also encounter escape-room-style puzzles that reveal new cards.
Platforms: Windows, Nintendo Switch, Linux, Mac
Combining deck building gameplay with roguelike mechanics, Loop Hero is a one-of-a-kind tactics game with an auto battler feel that runs well on most machines.
In it, you’re tasked with arming a hero with powerful loot before sending them on along a randomly generated loop path filled with various enemies and other obstacles.
As you complete loops, your deck expands, granting you new enemy, building, and terrain cards that can be placed in key points to farm for resources used to upgrade your camp.
The game offers infinite loop path variations along with an array of unlockable character classes that will have you switching up your approach every run.
Across The Obelisk
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
One of the more recent releases on this list, Across the Obelisk is becoming increasingly popular with deck building fans who crave a new game.
Throwing co-op into the mix, the game allows up to four players to band together and choose from 11 characters with unique starter decks and game-changing abilities.
These cover a wide range of fantasy archetypes along with some more unconventional heroes with clever playstyles that can synergize with teammates.
If you’ve ever wanted to play through a deck builder with a friend, then Across the Obelisk is the perfect game to do so.
Banners of Ruin
Platforms: Windows, Switch
Next up, Banners of Ruin is a roguelike deck builder that sees you assembling a party of up to six animal-based characters with unique cards and abilities that can define your deck’s playstyle.
The game is set in Dawn’s Point, a fantasy-inspired city on the brink of collapse as rival factions fight for control, forcing you to crush any enemies that try to get in your way and forge new alliances.
Along the way, you’ll collect weapons and armor that grant special effects to your characters and give them a fighting chance in battle against increasingly challenging and unpredictable foes.
Players can use the knowledge from failed attempts to make better decisions as well as earn tokens to unlock new cards and passives for their next run.
Gordian Quest is another deck builder currently in Steam Early Access that shares some similarities with other games on this list while differentiating itself in a number of ways.
The first is a greater emphasis on positioning, with certain cards having special effects that become activated whenever your character is placed onto a specific spot on the battlefield.
Additionally, the game has you controlling multiple characters with their own decks and level progression instead of just one.
There’s also a skill tree that affects the mechanics for drawing new cards, upgrading certain cards, and assigning stat buffs to each character in your party.
Tainted Grail: Conquest
Continuing on, Tainted Grail: Conquest is a dark fantasy-themed deck builder with roguelike progression and RPG mechanics that make for a satisfying blend.
In it, you’re tasked with exploring ever-changing maps while fighting deadly enemies as you look into the fate of the mysterious island of Avalon.
While traveling through these treacherous lands corrupted by dark forces, you’ll take on quests, save NPCs, and help build up your own village.
Tainted Grail boasts nine different character classes that can be further modified to create new and inventive combinations with unique synergies.
Trials of Fire
Trials of Fire is another deckbuilding roguelite with more tactical-based combat in which players choose three heroes before setting off across a post-cataclysmic wasteland.
Battles center on card-battling as well as making tough tactical decisions and positioning characters to get the most from every turn and card in your deck.
To this point, the game places a major focus on deck customization, allowing you to build a party that’s prepared to take on any challenge as you carve your path in a fantasy world in ruin.
The expanded number of three hero decks presents new opportunities for creating synergy and tackling challenges.
Legends of Runeterra
Platforms: Windows, iOS, Android
Developed and published by Riot Games, Legends of Runeterra adapts many of the concepts from the studio’s popular MOBA to deliver a refreshing take on deck builders.
This is most evident when looking at the game’s card selection, which is broken down into three sections: Champions, Followers, and Spells.
Each category features a wide range of unique abilities and effects that aren’t currently offered by other deck-builders.
Couple this with the game’s MOBA-inspired design and LoR starts to feel like a completely different beast that never strays too far from the classic card battle formula.
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
Minion Masters offers fast-paced, MOBA-inspired tower defense gameplay in which players assemble decks of cards and summon minions to do their bidding in battle.
In addition, players are assigned a Legendary Master with special abilities that can be further enhanced with a deck of spells that complement their playstyle.
Once minions are summoned, their movement and attacks are controlled by AI, allowing you to focus on planning your next move.
It’s perfect for both competitive and casual battling and features online matchmaking with 1v1 and 2v2 co-op modes.
Magic: The Gathering Arena
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Currently available on PC, Mac, and mobile, Magic: The Gathering Arena offers the best digital incarnation of the classic deck builder to date.
Even better, it’s been able to cater to veteran Magic players while still being approachable enough to attract newcomers, attributed mainly to its free-to-play model.
Many of the same deck strategies and techniques from classic Magic: The Gathering work in Arena while benefitting from cool digital effects and animations.
Developer Wizards Digital continues to support the game with ongoing updates and gameplay balances.
Slay the Spire
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android
Slay the Spire is a 2D card-strategy roguelike in which players pick from one of several playable characters with unique starting conditions that affect their run.
The goal is to ascend a series of levels within a spire while encountering numerous enemies and rewards depending on the path taken.
Along the way, you’ll have a chance to rest up at campfires, buy and sell cards at shops, obtain new gear from chests, and gain other bonuses through choice-based encounters.
If you’re a deck builder fan, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy playing Slay the Spire and exploring each character’s playstyle.
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, Switch
Another recommendation for anyone who loves Slay the Spire is Monster Train, in which players try to guide a train filled with monsters across a hellish landscape that has frozen over.
You have five monster clans to pick from that can be leveled up throughout the game to unlock new cards for future playthroughs.
Combat is naturally turn-based and features modified card-battling mechanics that allow you to mix and match minions and spells from several clans instead of just one.
Whereas Slay the Spire is all about vertical progression up a tower, Monster Train focuses on horizontal movement using three active battlefields instead of just one.
Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac
If you’re looking for a new deck building game like Slay the Spire or Monster Train, Roguebook will do you good.
Each card has a cost and serves a specific purpose that can be boiled down to attacking your opponent or defending your characters from taking damage.
Instead of just one hero with a distinct attack style and deck, you’re controlling two whose playstyles differ significantly.
Where it sets itself apart is the addition of world exploration, with your characters traversing a tiled world filled with treasure, new cards, and of course, more battles.
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Linux, Mac
Seeing how welcoming fans have been of Klei Entertainment’s deckbuilding RPG Griftlands, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard of the game.
Either way, we’ll take any opportunity we can get to highlight a fantastic game from a fantastic developer whose catalog includes indie hits like Shank and Don’t Starve.
The game does a good job of striking a balance between card-based battles and narrative sequences that change based on the player’s choices.
This results in typically longer runs compared to other deckbuilding roguelikes as Griftlands takes its time establishing its setting, characters, and stakes.
Platforms: Windows, iOS, Android
Developer SnoutUp appears to have a strange infatuation with games involving pigs that has spilled over into deck builders.
Best described as a ‘swine-based dungeon crawler roguelike,’ Card Hog manages to stand out in a couple of different ways.
For one, the cards on-screen double as the actual map your character is traversing; second, dungeons are jam-packed with enemies, traps, weapons, and loot to hoard.
If you’ve grown tired of the same old deck-builders, Card Hog is a great alternative that will change how you view the genre.
Platforms: Windows, Switch
Another underrated indie gem that will appeal to deck building fans is Dicey Dungeons, which acts plays like a deck builder despite presenting itself as a dice game.
Cards are swapped out for dice that determine the player’s actions as well as attack sequence and the damage amount dealt from each one.
The story is presented as a game show of sorts in which the player character is trying to make it to the end to have their biggest wish granted.
There are a variety of characters to play as, each taking on a different persona and class with unique passives based on their natural skills, personality, and motives.
Platforms: Windows, iOS, Android
There’s a good reason why Blizzard’s card battler remains one of the most popular deck building games on the market.
Blizzard has always focused on making Hearthstone appealing to a broad demographic of players, even those who typically don’t play card games.
The game features an easy-to-read UI, engaging animation and sound design, matches with consistent pacing, and a slew of card expansions released throughout the years.
Add the fact that it’s free to play, and it’s easy to see why it’s still the go-to deck builder for many players.
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android
First appearing as a highly-addictive minigame in The Witcher 3, Gwent would later release as a standalone card game in 2018.
Played primarily in taverns on gambling tables, the Gwent we know today has been drastically expanded upon with quality of life improvements.
This includes new card designs, visual effects, and a wider selection of spells, units, and special abilities than the Witcher 3 version.
It also features support for ranked and casual multiplayer with a free-to-play model that makes it easy for anyone to pick up.