Shadowverse is a f2p digital collectible card game that has many mechanical similarities to both Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering. Shadowverse most closely resembles Hearthstone in its mechanics, making it easy for any seasoned Hearthstone player to find success in the game. There are, however, a number of differences that allow Shadowverse to set itself apart. At a glance, the art style of the cards shows itself to be drastically different from Blizzard's CCG. The style is quite obviously "anime" which entirely makes sense considering that Shadowverse originates in Japan. In game, one will notice that the game board just looks better, though the boards lack the interactive elements.
Yes, these visual differences set Shadowverse apart quite a bit; however, it's the mechanical differences that really seal the appeal of the game. Once you've started the game, you will notice a few missing mechanics. Firstly, both players mulligan 3 cards regardless of who goes first though Shadowverse also starts the 2nd player with an extra card in the form of 2 cards drawn their first turn. What the second player does not have is "the coin," a free card that boosted the player 1 full mana crystal until the end of the turn. Instead of "the coin," the 2nd player receives 1 extra evolve point and can evolve 1 turn sooner than the 1st player.
This brings us to the primary difference from Hearthstone, the evolution mechanic. All Follower cards (cards equivalent to Minions in Hearthstone and Creatures in MTG) can be evolved into a version of themselves that has a special effect, improved stats, or a combination of the two and can attack enemy followers during the turn they are played (like MTG and Hearthstone, summoning sickness is a thing.) This makes games very back and forth and it's pretty fun strategically using these evolutions to their fullest to swing the game in your favor.
As far as other small differences and similarities go, deck size is strictly 40 cards, you can have up to 3 copies of the same card in your deck (including legendaries,) and the starting and max life total is 20. There are a lot of other similarities and differences to Hearthstone and MTG, but I'm not about to list every single one.
Although it is a CCG that requires one to buy packs, the game is surprisingly generous with free packs, making it far less p2w than any other CCG. If you're willing to only focus on building a deck for 1 or 2 factions, you can easily make a high tier deck right off the bat by liquefying cards you have no immediate use for. I, for one, created the Dimension Shift Runecraft deck, a high tier deck, and I was able to make Aggro Shadowcraft soon after that. From there, I planned a deck for each other class and am gradually filling each deck out. I'm only 6 cards away from making a Midrange Shadowcraft deck even, possessing all of the pricier cards already.
New players and Hearthstone players will be happy to know that the Arena exists in Shadowverse as well. It's a great way of earning packs+gold and experiencing cards you might not have in your own collection yet. This arena is played as 5 games against 5 different other players. The more of the 5 games you win, the better your rewards, with the top reward being 1 standard pack and 250 gold.
Need a friend? Feel free to add me:
Edit: I rerolled my account for a better start. User ID above is the latest iteration.
There is now a Shadowverse Discord Chat! PM me if you're interested in joining.