Our complete Hand of the Gods (Smite Tactics) guide contains the top decks, a strategy overview, a card breakdown, and information on the Ranked and Arena modes.
Hand of the Gods - formerly known as Smite Tactics - was released by Smite developer and publisher Hi-Rez Studios a little earlier on this month. This new collectible card game borrows elements from quite a few different games, but has a central strategic gameplay that will be very familiar to anyone who's dabbled in Duelyst over the last year or so.
To help you get to grips with this new collectible-card-game-meets-strategy-hybrid game, we've put together a comprehensive Hand of the Gods guide which will give you a grounding in every area of the game. From the broadest strategic overview to the ins and outs of Ranked play, we've got everything you need to know to get started with the game.
This is a pretty meaty guide, and so we've included links below which will take you straight to the topic you're most interested in. Let us know if there's anything else you'd like to see added to this article, and we'll make sure it's included in the next update.
- 1. Strategy overview: How to play Hand of the Gods
- 2. Campaign: Tutorial and future of the mode
- 3. Cards: Leader cards, card rarities and card packs
- 4. Currencies: Favor, Runes and Canoptic Dust
- 5. Decks: How to build decks in Hand of the Gods
- 6. Daily Quests: Rewards and replacing quests
- 7. Ranked play: Divisions, MMR and Qualifying Games
- 8. Arena: How to draft an Arena deck in Hand of the Gods
Strategy overview: How to play Hand of the Gods
Hand of the Gods is a turn-based strategy game, described by the publisher itself as a blend of the card game Hearthstone and tactical strategy title XCOM.
While there is a Campaign to be played through, the bulk of the game experience takes place in player-versus-player encounters.
The tactical action takes place on an 8 x 5 playable grid of 40 squares in total.
Each player chooses a Pantheon “faction” around which to build a deck of cards. Different Pantheons contain special cards that are exclusive to that Pantheon, although there's a Neutral set of cards that all players can make use of as well. When played, these cards are used to summon fighting forces onto the board, or cast spells which help friendly units or hinder/damage enemy units.
Playable units have an attack and a health value, the latter of which decreases as the unit in question takes damage. When a unit’s health reaches zero, it dies and is removed from the board. Keep in mind that when you attack an enemy unit, the enemy unit will retaliate with its own damage in kind.
Some units are able to attack defensively from range, while others need to be much closer to their targets to dish out their damage. There’s also a huge number of special effects sprinkled throughout the card collection, so check each one carefully to see what makes it so special.
Every card costs a certain amount of the Mana resource to spend. Each turn your Mana resources are reset and grown, allowing you to play more and more powerful cards (or just multiple cards) as the game plays out.
The ultimate objective in Hand of the Gods is to destroy the opponent’s Summoning Stone, which has 25 points of health. Once it’s been destroyed, the game is over and the winner is declared.
Note, however, that the majority of units can only be spawned within a certain radius of your friendly Summoning Stone. This ensures you can’t just drop a massive spawn of creatures onto your opponent’s Stone, and in doing so win without at least a bit of strategic back and forth!
Between the start and the end of each match there’s a huge amount of counterplay involved before the losing Stone crumbles into dust. A delicate blend of defense and offense is therefore required to ultimately snowball your threat and ensure you emerge victorious from the encounter.
Campaign: Tutorial and future of the mode
As well as the game’s core competitive mode, Hand of the Gods also features a campaign.
The first part of the campaign is actually a tutorial which will do much to familiarise you with the ins and outs of the mechanics in Hand of the Gods. Playing through this will ensure you gain the fundamental knowledge required to play the game effectively.
More campaign content is expected in the near future. For now, here's a video of the tutorial being played through on YouTube:
Cards: Leader cards, card rarities and card packs
This being a card game, you should of course expect these to be the anchor around which all of the gameplay is actually built!
There are many different types of card to collect and play in Hand of the Gods. Some summon creatures to fight on the board for you, while others can be used to cast powerful spells which heal or cause other effects to be triggered.
In much the same way that Hearthstone draws its direct inspiration from the characters and settings of the Warcraft universe, so Hand of the Gods leans on another title from the publisher Hi-Rez Studios, Smite. Expect to see many familiar faces make their way from that game into this one.
Let’s talk about the different kind of cards that are available in Hand of the Gods. These are split into four distinct categories:
Leader cards: These determine your so-called Pantheon - see more detail in the strategy overview section featured above.
God cards: Exceptionally powerful units you can play to achieve a distinct advantage on the battlefield.
Minion cards: A collection of creatures that vary in terms of combat-impact and relative strength.
Spells: Cards that cause an effect to be triggered on the board, whether temporary or permanent.
Moving on from the actual classification of the cards in Hand of the Gods, each card can be separated into different Rarities. As the name suggests, rarer cards are harder to come by from opening card packs, and they also cost more to craft. They are of course, more powerful as a result!
There are five different card rarities in Hand of the Gods, rarities which will of course be very familiar to Hearthstone fans: Common, Free, Rare, Epic, Legendary. As the name suggests, Free cards are provided to all players and do not need to be crafted or looted, but they also can’t be broken down into crafting resources.
If you’re unsure as to what rarity the card you’re looking at is, just look for the icon below its name. You can also tell the Pantheon that a card belongs to by looking at the colour of the outline that surrounds the card frame. The Mana cost of the card in question is displayed in the top-left corner of the card in question.
Your choice of Leader cards determines which Pantheon set of cards you can make use of, in addition to the Neutral set of cards that all players are allowed to dip into.
Every Leader also has a special ability - unique to that leader - that can be used to shape the course of battle.
Here’s a breakdown of each Leader card that’s currently available in Hand of the Gods. Note that more Leaders are expected to be released in future updates to the core game.
Chinese - Nu Wa: This is a ranged unit that only does 1 point of damage but has 18 health in total. For 2 Mana, Nu Wa can spawn a Stealth Cloud around friendly units which prevents them from being targeted by the enemy. Take a look through our pick of the Top Chinese (Nu Wa) Decks you can play in the current meta.
Egyptian - Ra: Another ranged unit with the same stats as Nu Wa. He has a different special ability, however, which allows you to restore 1 Health to all friendly units in a specified area. This again costs 2 Mana to cast. Check out our Top Egyptian (Ra) Decks page for inspiration!
Greek - Zeus: Again, a ranged unit with the same stats. Spend 3 Mana as Zeus and you’ll be able to draw an extra card to your hand on the same turn.
Mayan - Ah Puch: This Leader has a unique ability that allows him to place a 1 / 1 minion anywhere on the gameplay area.
Norse - Odin: This character has 20 Health and can deliver 1 point of damage to a target. Odin’s special ability costs 2 Mana and grants a targeted minion an extra point of damage and health until the beginning of the opponent’s turn. Our Top Norse (Odin) Decks page contains free, budget and pro decks for you to try out.
Roman - Bellona: Character attributes will be added in a future update to this guide.
In a future update to this guide, we’ll bring you a list of every single card that’s currently featured in Hand of the Gods
Card packs are the bread and butter of upgrading your Hand of the Gods card collection, and are purchased from the in-game store.
Each pack that you open in the game contains five cards. It is guaranteed that at least one of these cards will be Rare or better in terms of quality.
Logging in each day rewards you with a certain amount of currency to spend in the game shop. Log in every day for a week and you'll also get a free card pack.
Currencies: Favor, Runes and Canoptic Dust
There are a handful of other currencies that you need to be aware of in Hand of the Gods:
Favor - This is the bog-standard currency in the game, and it’s used to buy individual card packs from the in-game store. Each pack costs 300 Favor when purchases are made using this currency.
Runes - These are slightly different and can be used to purchase bundles of card packs at different rates. Here’s a breakdown:
- 2 Packs - 150 Runes (75 per)
- 7 Packs - 500 Runes (approx 71 per)
- 15 Packs - 1,000 Runes (approx 67 per)
- 40 Packs - 1,000 Runes (approx 63 per)
- 60 Packs - 3,500 Runes (approx 58 per)
We will be adding regional Rune pricing to this guide at a future update. For now, simply find the rates by logging into the game in your own region.
Crafting cards with Canoptic Dust
If the luck of the gods (no pun intended) is holding you back, you can craft any particular cards you want for your collection.
Canoptic Dust is the currency of choice for Hand of the Gods. You gain dust by “disenchanting” duplicate - or plain unwanted - cards that you own, and you can then use this resource to create those cards that you want the most.
Decks: How to build decks in Hand of the Gods
Player-created decks in Hand of the Gods are made up of a total of 25 cards. You can only have two of any given card in your deck. You form your decks in the deck builder section of the game.
We're in the process of adding guides to the best free, budget and pro decks in Hand of the Gods. Guides for the Norse set are ready now, and we'll have the other Pantheons ready for you in very short order:
Daily Quests: Rewards and replacing quests
As well as winning matches, there’s another way to get your hands on extra Favor by working your way through the Daily Quests system.
You receive a new Daily Quest every 24 hours, but you can only hold up to three of these challenges at any given time. For that reason it’s important to try and keep at least one slot free so you never “burn” a possible quest.
If you don’t like a Daily Quest that shows up you can send it back for a replacement, although keep in mind that you can only do this once per week (not per day, like in Hearthstone).
Here are all of the Daily Quests that are currently available in Hand of the Gods. The All Nighter quest rewards you with 210 Favor, while all of the rest reward 150 Favor each.
- Chinese Conquest: Win 2 games while playing as Chinese
- Egyptian Conquest: Win 2 games while playing as Egyptian
- Greek Victory: Win 2 games while playing as Greek
- Norse Loving: Win 2 games while playing as Norse
- The All Nighter: Play 8 games
Ranked play: Divisions, MMR and Qualifying Games
Once you’re ready to really show the meta who’s boss, you can participated in the game’s Ranked mode. This is where the meat of the competition for Hand of the Gods takes place.
Before you can get stuck into Ranked play properly, you’ll first of all need to play a total of 10 Qualifying Games. Your performance in these matches will determine which division you’re placed in, which in turn helps to ensure you meet players of a similar skill level to your own.
Your MMR (Matchmaking Rating) increases when you win games, and decreases when you lose games. It's pretty simple stuff really, although we don’t have details of the precise algorithm that powers your movement up and down the various ladders.
Here’s a breakdown of the individual divisions, including the rating you’ll need to achieve if you want to advance to the next tier:
- Bronze: 0-1275
- Silver: 1276-1500
- Gold: 1501-1725
- Platinum: 1726-2100
- Diamond: 2101-2250
- Masters: 2251+
Arena: How to draft an Arena deck in Hand of the Gods
For something a little more off the beaten track, you can get stuck into the Arena mode of Hand of the Gods. Note that the cost for entering the Arena is 450 Favor or 150 Runes (see the currency section further up the page).
When you begin an Arena game, you’ll first have to choose from one of three Leaders. Choose carefully, because once you’ve picked you cannot change your mind!
Once you’ve established a Leader, your next job is to build the deck itself.
You’ll be presented with three cards, from which you have to choose a single one for your deck. This process is then repeated until you have a full deck of 25 cards.
The Leader you’ve chosen determines the card options you’ll be given. If you select Odin as your Leader, for example, you will see a combination of Neutral and Norse cards for the entirety of the drafting process.
Unlike Casual or Ranked play - where you can only use cards that you own in your collection - you can potentially draw into any card from the qualifying sets in question. You can also stack more than two of the same card in Arena!
You can win a maximum of 12 wins with any given Arena deck before you have to start over. Note, however, that if you rack up three losses, it’s the end of the Arena run in question.
We'll details of Arena rewards to this article as soon as we have the details.