With only one month left until the release of Halo Wars 2, Xbox Live Gold members and Windows 10 owners on PC are now able to take part in a beta for a new game mode, Blitz. The beta will continue to be available until January 30th.
The game mode sets itself apart from the typical RTS lot by incorporating pre-game deck-building elements that determine the way you are able to play during each of the short, fast-paced matches. Each deck consist of 12 cards and is forefronted by a leader unit that provides passive bonuses throughout the game. The rest of the deck is made up of units (both ground-based and aerial) and powers such as the ability to launch missile strikes. Much in the same way that cards within games like Hearthstone and Shadowverse work, each card within Blitz may have additional effects to further increase their tactical value.
Using these cards requires energy which randomly spawns on the map. As you might expect, energy is a highly-sought-after resource and many of the major skirmishes you engage in will be the name of boosting your own energy while depriving your opponent of theirs.
More cards can be obtained by playing the game or, if you're the impatient type, you can buy random packs of cards in hopes of snagging something special. Assuming you have the right combination of cards you can easily create a deck with purpose – perhaps to focus on healing or offense. With 1v1, 2v2 and 3v3 matches, experimenting with different deck types to produce synergy could take your strategic options to the next level.
Outside of the deck-building, Blitz still possesses the same style of rock-paper-scissors combat you've come to expect from a Halo Wars title but with a much quicker pace and an extra layer of accessibility for the more casual fan.
To download the beta or pre-order the main game for its February 21st release, head to the Windows Store.