From tower defence to puzzles, roguelikes, and pong, every update in Genshin Impact seems to bring the free-to-play, action-adventure gacha game closer to touching every other possible video game genre. Since the game launched in 2020, players have been spoiled with consistent events rolling out almost every three weeks, with many being time-limited. The hotly anticipated Genius Invokation TCG marks a change to the formula, however. Much like the Serenitea Pot, Genius Invokation TCG is now a permanent mainstay in Genshin Impact’s endgame. It’s also the game’s first foray into the wonderful world of collectable card games.
Before jumping straight into the deck, there are two prerequisites the game has enforced to trigger the ‘Come Try Genius Invokation TCG!’ world quest.
Players must reach Adventure Rank 32 and must have also completed the Archon Quest Prologue: Act III – Song of the Dragon and Freedom. While the latter isn’t too difficult, as it’s one of the earlier quests that occurs in the first city of Monstadt, the former will make it challenging for new players to get started immediately.
There is a decent rationale behind this decision. Genius Invokation TCG might be a separate game, but it does rely on some basic knowledge around elemental reactions, character skills, and burst abilities to truly understand how the card game works. So it’s best that players get acquainted with the basic game mechanics before moving into this card form.
Gameplay and Lore
Genshin Impact does a pretty good job of explaining how Genius Invokation TCG works, albeit in its usual dialogue-heavy (sometimes dubbed ‘Dialogue Impact’) style that quirkily involves a cat named Prince, and his lowly human assistant, Shuyun.
Players will first challenge Diona with some cards left abandoned at the Cat’s Tail, namely Diluc, Kaeya and Sucrose. These three characters form your very first deck, and will stay with you through several more matches before the quest ends, and you are free to make your own deck to challenge whoever is available.
Playing more allows you to gain Player EXP and rank up, which then opens up the possibility of acquiring more cards via Tavern Challenges, the Invitation Board, or purchasing them from Prince. Some achievements will also gift you the much sought-after Primogems which can be used to wish for actual in-game characters.
A Genius Invokation match is called a ‘duel’, and it will typically last several rounds until one side’s entire character roster is completely defeated. At the beginning of each turn, both sides will roll eight Elemental Dice, which can then be used to pay for Character Abilities (Normal Attack, Elemental Skill, Elemental Burst) or Action Cards.
The best outcome would be to roll as many Omni – universal element – dice as possible, however, having elements that are associated with your characters is also very useful. Players will then take turns setting up, with their turn ending as soon as an attack is dished out. The round is over when both players have chosen to end it, usually when they have run out of Elemental Dice.
Once you get the hang of it, Genius Invokation TCG is a game that’s easy to learn, but it can be quite challenging to master. The majority of the NPCs are not tough, and it is possible to play a game of attrition whereby the first person to attack and keep at it consistently will win.
Duels against more difficult NPCs (as marked in-game) or in PvP will require more strategy. Focusing on closing the duel in as few rounds as possible will prevent the other side from building up their Characters and playing too many advantageous Action Cards.
Utilising Action Cards that will give you more usable Elemental Dice will increase the number of moves you can make per turn. And as it wouldn’t be Genshin Impact otherwise, learning about character synergies to trigger the most effective elemental reactions will be key to delivering damage that goes above and beyond what your opponent will expect.
The Best Cards in Genius Invokation TCG
In terms of character cards, one of the most lauded team compositions amongst meta Genshin players has been the ‘Ayamiya’ team which features Ayaka, Yoimiya and a flexible third slot that is usually occupied by a Fatui Pyro Agent.
The beauty of this combination is the consistent Melt reactions that are made possible through Yoimiya’s Pyro Burst dealing off-field damage right after Ayaka’s Normal Attack that comes pre-infused with Cryo. Speed and dice-efficacy is of the essence, and when combined with Minty Meat Rolls (an Action Card that reduces the die cost for Normal Attack) and Gambler’s Earrings (an Action Card that gives two Omni-dice on each character knockout), it’s very possible to destroy an entire team in a single round.
Other popular teams are ‘Pokemon’ teams that have characters such as Fischl, Xiangling and Collei who are all able to create summons that deal elemental damage at the end of a round. Pairing up Fischl’s Oz and Collei’s Trump-Card Kitty will not only deal consistent Quicken reactions that increase damage, but help to maintain the Catalyzing Field that will also deal additional hits. Xiangling’s Guoba can also be summoned easily via her Elemental Skill and when teamed up with a character like Rhodeia of Loch and her Hydro Mimics, can deal deadly Vaporise reactions.
Character Cards might be your main source of damage, but Action Cards can also make or break a team. Weapons, Food and Artifact cards will help buff characters or reduce requirements so you can take action within the same turn, rather than wait for a new round of Elemental Dice.
Support cards in the form of People, Locations and Items can also help you take advantage on your turn, as these supply you with resources. The Liben card is one that is universally good on almost any deck due to its zero dice cost, and its ability to take unwanted Elemental Dice and turn them into Omni-dice and cards. The Parametric Transformer also rewards you with three extra dice, as long as sufficient elemental damage is done on the board to rack up points. Leave it to Me! allows character swapping to happen without surrendering your turn, an incredible aid when it comes to setting the next round-up for a new active character.
Great resources to stay on top of card and deck analyses include theorycrafter streams and YouTube videos, such as Zajef77’s ‘TOP 5 MOST Overrated and Underrated Cards in Genius Invokation TCG’. If you’re a big PvP player, it’s likely that most other players have the same base knowledge as yourself, so developing new strategies to utilise underused cards will be key to victory.
Genius Invokation TCG is a rich entry to Genshin Impact.
It has added a new dimension for existing Genshin Impact players to experience the crux of its game of speed, strategy, and elemental reactions in a refreshing way. In future update, we can expect more cards to be added, such as character cards (not every in-game character has a card yet), weapon cards, and more opportunities to play against NPCs and keep levelling up.
Unfortunately, the relatively high barrier to entry and the fact that it is still a game buried within a game will make it unlikely to attract a new crowd, beyond those already playing Genshin Impact. Will Genius Invokation pivot out to become its own game like The Witcher 3’s Gwent, or will Hoyoverse double down and weave it into the actual in-game storyline? Either of these paths could be on the cards.