Artifact – Understanding Color Identity

Blue. Green. Red. Black.
Long ago, the four colors lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Ancients attacked.

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There are four colors in Artifact: Red, Green, Blue and Black.
They are commonly referred as R, G, U and B respectively.

Each card (with the exception of Items) has a color.
You must play 5 heroes in a deck. There is no restriction on the color composition.
A card can only be played if a hero of matching color is on the active lane.

Each color has an identity, they have strengths and weaknesses.
Each color is not balanced by numbers, but what and how the color perform as a whole.

Below is a carefully crafted chart on what each color is good at.

Artifact - Understanding Color Identity


Red is the color of the Bold.

Red loves direct combat. They use their superior bodies to bully and overwhelm their opponents.

They focus on keeping their units big and scary, and oppositions staying weak and puny. They thrive on early game because of their innate stats, an advantage that will allow them to inch towards victory. However, they have little means of retaliation outside of building their elite few.

Red’s playstyle commonly revolves around adapting to enemy presence and pushing the appropriate buttons to ensure they are eliminated within as few combat phases as possible.

Spill: Cleave

When blocked during the combat phase, in addition to battle damage to the blocking unit, also deal the Cleave damage to that unit’s neighbors.

Red loves to fight unit vs unit. They often don’t have much reach, but stand within one and you will feel the pain.


The unit’s current combat target that isn’t a tower.

Red benefits for standing directly in front of their targets. Many have modifiers when they deal battle damage to their target, and certain powerful spells become usable.

Device: Armor

Armor reduces each incoming damage source by that amount.

Many red units have armor. When their armor exceeds incoming damage, they take no damage. This allows them to firmly stand their ground for extended time, sometimes with little external support.

Debuff: Offense

When an effect modifies another card it applies a permanent debuff to the target. Heroes retain modifiers through death.

Red ensures that they are huge in comparison, and wearing their adversaries down is a valid strategy. They can apply debuffs such as reduced Attack or Armor via spells or battle damage.

Modify: Heroes

When an effect modifies another card it applies a permanent buff to the target. Heroes retain modifiers through death.

The motto of Red. Most of their cards either give their heroes permanent increases, or temporary boosts to overcome even the harshest punishment.

Removal: Improvements

Improvements are persistent assets that are unreachable by units. Red is the only one who has the ability to remove them.

Weakness: Support

Red is selfish and stubborn. While they ensure they are strong and tall, they have little influence at areas that are outside their reach, this includes dealing with other lanes, and lanes swarming with units.


Black is the color of the Cunning.

Black is efficient, spending as little as possible to eliminate strategic key targets.

Their focus lies within precision and aggression. Their targets are few, but are hit fast and hard. They assume victory by depriving and delaying their opponents’ strategic assets. Offense is the best defense. However, they have very specific game plans and have trouble competing should their plan foil.

Black’s playstyle commonly revolves around aggressively eliminating important assets that might get in their way before the opponent can make use full of.

Spill: Siege

When blocked during the combat phase, in addition to battle damage to the blocking unit, also deal the Siege damage to the enemy tower.

The objective of the game is to take down the towers. The tower is a target Black can paint.


Gold is a resource used to purchase items between rounds.

Amassing gold is a strategy Black can choose, either via investments or snowballing aggression (gold is awarded for kills). With powerful items, they become much more capable at performing other objectives.

Device: Mobility

Move or attack between lanes and combat positions.

Black has many options to move their units and damage around the battlefield to ensure everything is where they should be. Their reach is very flexible.

Control: Single

Mark a unit for death.

Black has many tools that allows them to deal instant direct damage at a single target. They can also boost and redirect battle damage.

Disrupt: Mana

Mana is a resource used to play non-item cards.

By delaying opponent’s resources, Black can go uninterrupted for more turns by siphoning or reducing opponent’s mana pool.

Removal: Target

None rivals Black when it comes to wanting something dead.

Weakness: Defense

Black is a glass cannon, and relies on offense to protect themselves. Should they find themselves in unfavorable grounds with no suitable resource to spend, they tend to go down quick.


Green is the color of the Dreamer.

Green builds powerful armies and crush their enemies through sheer number and force.

Their forte is keeping stuff alive. If units don’t die, reinforcement eventually comes, and their numbers begin to spiral out of control. However, they are often powerless until the combat phase.

Green’s playstyle commonly revolves around tending to their side of the board, protecting and working towards favorable combat phases, passively winning with their blooming army.

Mana: Ramp

Mana is a resource used to play non-item cards. Each round, towers refresh their mana and increase the amount by 1.

Green wants to accelerate their growth. They have tools to increase mana beyond current capacity, allowing them to introduce bigger threats sooner than others.


The unit heals during the combat phase. Regeneration is applied before checking for death.

Green excels at keeping as many allies alive as possible by keeping their health above 0 through any necessary means.

Zoo: Growth

Persistent units grow in both size and number.

Green’s units are capable of growing on their own, as long they are kept alive.

Debuff: Defense

Avoid unfavorable conflicts, or make unfavorable conflicts favorable.

Green prefers not to have their units die, they may prevent their opponent from engaging, either by reducing their attack, disarm, or moving them out of the way.

Modify: Creeps

When an effect modifies another card it applies a permanent buff to the target. Heroes retain modifiers through death.

It is not just numbers, Green ensures that even their weakest unit can stand on their own, with tools that either affect entire lanes, or select units that buffs their neighbors.

Removal: Modification

Green can remove both temporary and permanent positive/negative enchantments placed on either side. Green wants all the advantage they can get.

Weakness: Initiative

Green is fair and self-absorbed, and have little ways to influence their opponent’s board until the combat phase, allowing the other player to execute with little to no interruption.


Blue is the color of the Wise.

Blue is the premier spellcaster. They command powerful spells that can turn the tide of battles.

They have plethora of utility at their fingertips. With the correct cards at the correct time, the opposition could be annihilated with just a single move; they can even work towards future advantages while facing an empty board. However, Blue units are squishy and tend to be pushed around before their powerful spells become available.

Blue’s playstyle commonly revolves around manipulating the battlefield and unleashing their wrath when on the most opportunistic moment.

Mana: Refresh

Mana is a resource used to play non-item cards. Each round, towers refresh their mana and increase the amount by 1.

Blue has many powerful cards to play, they have ways of refilling their mana so they can play more cards than others. Unfortunately, they must still work within the boundaries of their maximum mana.


This allows me to draw two more cards from my deck!

Blue, by far, has the most amount of spells that draw cards, sometimes in addition of a minor effect (cantrip). This allows them to find their trump card sooner.

Zoo: Token

Create a unit and immediately put it into a random empty combat position.

While they are masters of ravaging entire armies, Blue is capable of making their own at a pace faster than most. However, their troops aren’t as resilient.

Control: Area

A stunned unit is silenced and disarmed.

Blue has many ways of stopping their attackers on their tracks, ranging from disallowing them to use cards, attacking or even eliminated without lifting a finger.

Disrupt: Lock

Cards cannot be played as long as they are locked. Lock is applied for a duration in rounds. At the end of a round, all locked cards lose 1 Lock.

To ensure that Blue is the only one with surprises, they can lock their opponents cards and render them unplayable until it is too late.

Removal: Board

Blue is unparalleled when it comes to smiting entire oppositions and reclaiming lead.

Weakness: Sustain

Blue is expensive, although they have powerful cards are explosive that will sure leave a mark, their resources do not generate lasting value that stays beyond the turn they are cast.

Mixing Colors

While it is possible to have any color combination in a deck, take precaution on these restrictions:

  • There must be 5 heroes in each deck.
  • Cards can only be played when hero of matching color is on the active lane.
  • Minimum of 40 non-item cards in a deck.

Why play more than one color?

Playing more than one color allow them to utilize traits from the other color while also possibly covering each’s weaknesses. More color means more perks, but they will be spread thin as each color will no longer be able to be present on every lane, thus restricting card play.

Ratio and composition

The common advice is to have 8:1 card to hero ratio for each color, but adjust accordingly base on playtesting. Heroes who can stay on the field more frequently might be able to afford better ratio.

  • For example, take a Red/Green (RG) deck, with 3 red heroes and 2 green heroes. The color ratio would be 24 red cards and 16 green cards, for a start.

Having only one hero of a color is called ‘splash’. Be careful, your opponent might take advantage of this and continuously kill that hero to deny the color before any card can be played.

Sample multi-color archetypes

  • G/U – Green’s ramp in conjunction with Blue’s refresh for excess mana.
  • R/B – Black’s precision to redirect Red’s powerful bodies in the right direction.
  • R/G – Red’s armor and Green’s heal for a very resilient lineup.
  • U/B – Blue’s constant draw to replenish Black’s relentlessness.
  • R/U – Red to protect Blue until their powerful spells become ready to use.
  • R/B/G – Green’s ramp to allow Red/Black to play their powerful cards sooner.

Nothing is exclusive

Each color has exceptions, some that might borrow traits from another color for whatever reason unknown to us. For example, (Black) Tinker’s March of the Machines is an AoE damage improvement that would easily fit Blue otherwise.


Items are available to every color and they tend to allow decks with limited colors to patch one or two weakness without introducing another color to the deck.

Written by Disaccord Noob

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