Plaidhat Games' brilliant Summoner Wars Second Edition.
Image: Plaidhat Games

Trading card games are very popular today, with many excellent established and fresh franchises, settings, and gameplay mechanics to try. From Magic: The Gathering to Disney Lorcana TCG, there are tons of collectible card games to focus on or add to your collection. Each is unique, but we only bring you the top ten titles that have established themselves over the years.

In our list, you will find the TCG games that will present you with some new ways to experience competitive card games and find a new one to try. Some of the games we list are more dependent on secondary markets, but others, such as Marvel Champions and Ashes Reborn will get you going without any problems or the need to go through intricate deck building. Let’s check what the best trading and expandable card games are!

Best Collectible and Expanding Trading Card Games List

1. Disney Lorcana

Ravensburger's First Chapter Disney Lorcana TCG
Image: Ravensburger
  • Designer: Ryan Miller, Steve Warner
  • Players: 2-6
  • Play Time: 20 Min
  • Age: 12+ 
  • Complexity: 2.75/5

Disney Lorcana is one of the newest collectible trading card games to take on the ambitious task of becoming a Magic: The Gathering killer, or at the very least – a worthwhile rival. The game is designed by two Ravensburger veterans who will be taking on the experience from scratch. In the game, the players will try to cast powerful evocations that will help them add to the lore and story of Lorcana, the magical land in which the game is set. 

These characters come from all across the Disney franchise – both new and timeless fairy tales and branching storylines, along with the characters and items. Players will create glimmers of characters and items and use them to go in a head-to-head battle with their opponents. 

Disney Lorcana uses many popular mechanics from other trading card games, such as exhaust, which means that whenever a new character is summoned, they won’t be able to immediately attack their opponents, that is unless they have a special keyword to attack. Another element of the game is the persistent damage or damage that carries on.

In other words, the damage will not fade at the end of each round as it does in Magic: The Gathering. The gameplay is streamlined with cards being either characters or items, with each casting or bringing some mechanic based on a keyword to the game.

Players will be able to “stun” or “bash” their opponents and unleash attacks on their opponent’s Illumineer while they try to realize the full potential of their decks. The game is exquisitely designed in terms of visuals that add to the enjoyment of the actual gaming sessions.

Disney Lorcana will be available in September 2023.

2. Flesh and Blood

Flesh and Blood TCG Monarch set.
Image: Legend Story Studios
  • Designer: Jason Chung, Chris Gehring, James White
  • Players: 2 
  • Play Time: 10-50 Min
  • Age: n/a
  • Complexity: 3.52/5

Flesh and Blood TCG is a collectible trading card game that was released by Legend Story Studios in 2019. The fantasy setting of the game has made it a distinct success with TCG players. In the game, players take on the roles of Legends who battle in head-to-head skirmishes and use a unique deck of cards known as heroes, weapons, and equipment to best their opponent.

Each hero will bring forward a variety of strengths and weaknesses to the battlefield and allow players to come up with a unique strategy. You will once again attempt to take your opponent’s life to a zero to vanquish them and triumph in a battle of Flesh and Blood. The game also comes with a special mechanic that sets it apart known as pitching.

This allows you to play cards straight from the deck and pivot your strategy a little differently every time you battle a player, giving the game its variety and depth. Flesh and Blood has a very solid gameplay and balance that underpins the experience and makes it an exceptionally popular game.

It’s also touted as a luxury game in the sense that it’s one of the best collectible trading card games in terms of card quality and art. There are also quite a few limited editions and rare cards that are wanted by collectors and players. As a trading card game, Flesh and Blood stand out under its exceptional quality.

This only gets better when you factor in the deck-customization options, the evolving storyline, and the strategic and immersive gameplay that is continuously enriched by new and worthwhile additions.

Buy Flesh and Blood TCG on Amazon US

3. Magic: The Gathering

Magic: The Gathering Lord of the Rings
Image: Wizards of the Coast
  • Designer: 2 
  • Players: 2
  • Play Time: 20 Min
  • Age: 13+
  • Complexity: 3.25/5

Magic: The Gathering is one of the best collectible card games in existence. It was created by Richard Garfield, a famous mathematician who has spent the majority of his lifework in building unique trading card games. The game was first released in 1993 to a somewhat tepid reception but quickly became synonymous with trading card games. 

Players draw from an array of artefacts, creatures, and spells to best their opponents in head-to-head battles that require their summoners to construct decks. There is a very strong deckbuilding element in this game that allows players to not only excel by knowing what cards to play and when, but also by planning more powerful decks independently from each other.

Magic: The Gathering is a highly-strategic game that is loved by professional poker players and casual fans alike. Each player is designated a starting amount of points and tries to reduce their opponent’s life to zero through the use of mana cards that power offensive and defensive creatures and spells. 

The storyline of Magic: The Gathering is set in a fantasy world with a rich history and one of the best arts in the game. The game has a very strong secondary card market where you can trade and purchase the specific cards you need to complete a new and powerful deck. 

The “meta” of the game changes quite often in formats such as Standard, which focuses on the latest releases of cards, and not so much in the Legendry and Modern formats, which allow players to draw on cards from previous releases. Overall, things in Magic: The Gathering are very dynamic, and this is one of the reasons why this is one of the best trading card games you will ever have the chance of playing.

Buy Magic: The Gathering on Amazon US.

4. KeyForge

Keyforge TCG card game.
Image: Keyforge
  • Designer: Richard Garfield
  • Players: 2
  • Play Time: 15-45 Min
  • Age: 14+
  • Complexity: 2.48/5

KeyForge is a unique collectible card game by Richard Garfield, the man who designed Magic: The Gathering, which features pre-constructed decks that cannot be changed in any way. A special algorithm is used to produce these decks from a pool of cards that are then combined so that no two decks are ever the same. 

This creates completely randomized outcomes that are based on the game’s three factions, each of which features a distinct gameplay style that is not available with another deck to an extent. This makes KeyForge a card game of great replayability and a continuous attempt to improve your gameplay. 

KeyForge also features special mechanics such as the Æmber and chains. The game has a unique balancing feature, the chains, which restrict the number of cards a player can draw if they have drawn too many cards in a round – and more than their opponent. This way, KeyForge adds another condition that players need to monitor and ensure that they are playing through their decks at a pace that allows them to pivot to their full strength. To win a game of KeyForge, you need to be the first player to forge three keys and unlock the great Vaults. 

KeyForge has also spawned many expansions and new instalments, and the game is headed for a fresh release with a brand-new algorithm. There are plenty of fantastic expansions that introduce new cards, decks, and ways to muster a strategy. Experience with KeyForge will help you triumph, but it’s that hidden element of surprise that truly enriches the game and gives it a spicy and strategic punch line. 

Buy KeyForge on Amazon US.

5. Ashes Reborn

Ashes Reborn cards and set.
Image: Plaid Hat Games
  • Designer: Isaac Vega
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 30-120
  • Age: 14+
  • Complexity: 2.90/5

Ashes Reborn is one of the most original collectible card games (CCGs) you will find and enjoy. It’s designed by Isaac Vega who has been working with Plaid Hat Games since 2015 to expand the game and offer multiple tweaks to the core gameplay. Over the years, Ashes Reborn has continued to increase in popularity forming a tight community around it.

The game uses several unique and innovative mechanics, including dice to determine how much of a given resource you have. In Ashes Reborn, the players play as the Phoenixborns, who are protectors of the world and half-gods and are capable of mustering various elements and powers.

Apart from managing your dice resources, you need to also make hand-management choices that will determine what cards you can play and when choosing to use your beasts and creatures to protect your Phoenixborn or bid your time to cast a more devastating attack. Each mechanic is important and has to be used smartly, with a minimum degree of luck.

The game has an array of expansions and new decks you may try, various configurations to explore, and a deeply tactical play that requires a focused mind in a strong fantasy setting. Ashes Reborn has a unique dynamic that may appear slow to an outsider but is reflective of the game’s underlying breadth of strategy 

You may customize your deck beyond the pre-built options, adding even more variety to your gameplay. Players can trade and collect cards as much as they like, to build even more innovative decks and plunge into Ashes Reborn. 

Buy Ashes Reborn on Amazon US.

6. Summoner Wars Second Edition

Summoner Wars' Master Set intro summoners.
Image: Plaid Hat Games
  • Designer: Colby Dauch
  • Players: 2
  • Play Time: 40-60 Min
  • Age: 9+
  • Complexity: 2.59/5

Summoner Wars 2nd edition or as it’s often abbreviated, Summoner Wars 2e, is a redesigned game of the original expandable and collectible card game of the same name. The original was published in 2009 by Plaid Hat Games and was refurbished and launched fresh in 2021.

In the game, you take the role of a summoner who will play across a board in which the various champions and beasts will move. The summoner is in control of the army, sacrificing energy to call forth allies and bring more units into the fight. Casting spells and using special active and persistent effects is also an option.

Each of the decks in Summoner Wars is deeply unique and special in more than one way. There are dozens of factions today, with some coming as part of the Starter and Master Box Sets, and others expandable through individual purchases. 

Many decks have unique strategies and combinations of champions, cards, and effects. To summon allies, you need to lay down portals known as Gates that allow you to deploy armies in strategic positions and possibly gain an advantage over your opponent. 

There is a deck-building mechanic to the game which stimulates some players to swap cards, but overall, all decks are fantastic with only minor adjustments here and there along the way needed. A player wins by defeating the opponent’s summoner using and moving their units across the board in a chess-like fashion. 

Summoner Wars 2nd Edition is a deeply rewarding and strategic game of depth and intense gameplay. The singular factions that are introduced by the publishers make for a vibrant and worthwhile game you can enjoy with your friends casually and competitively. 

Buy Summoner Wars Second Edition on Amazon US.

7. Legend of the Five Rings

Legend of the Five Rings core set TCG.
Image: Fantasy Flight Games
  • Designer: Brad Andres, Erik Dahlman (I), Nate French, Tyler Parrott
  • Players: 2
  • Play Time: 45-90
  • Age: 14+
  • Complexity: 4.02/5

Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) is a collectible card game that is set in feudal Japan and combines elements of deckbuilding as well as role-playing, making it a game that stands apart from many of its other competitors. Players start with a specific number of honor points as they try to undermine their opponent’s standing in society and bring their honor to zero. This happens through the destruction of provinces which are assaulted by the two players while one tries to defend and the other – to raze them to the ground.

There are many card-coded effects and abilities that make the experience all the more rewarding and bring you all sorts of ways to create a strategy that your opponent may not expect or needs to adapt to on short notice. The game features an intricate deck-building mechanic that boils down to you carefully hand-picking cards and incorporating them into your deck to create the best synergies between your cards. 

L5R also features a role-playing element which allows you to create a personalized character and plunge deeper into the lore of Rokugan, the setting of Legends of the Five Rings. There is a big emphasis on the politics of feudal Japan and the fantasy narrative that gives the game its unique qualities and immersiveness. 

If you are big on Japan, and love the intricate setting of the game, Legends of the Five Rings trading card game may just be the right choice for you.

Buy Legend of the Five Rings on Amazon US.

8. Pokémon TCG

Pokémon Trading Card Game set with boosters.
Image: The Pokémon Company
  • Designer: Takumi Akabane, Tsunekaz Ishihara
  • Players: 2
  • Play Time: 20
  • Age: 6+ 
  • Complexity: 2.02/5

Pokémon TCG is a collectible card game inspired by the Pokémon franchise. The game was built around the established universe and enjoys global acclaim and success. In Pokémon TCG, players will battle against each other using different Pokémon. Players start with several fixed Prize cards and bring their own Pokémon into battle in an attempt to defeat the opponents and collect their Prize cards instead.

The way a victory is secured in the game is refreshing and unique, giving this card game its uniqueness and edge. Your Pokémon will have a lot of abilities to muster and use in battle, securing different attacks that are unique to it. Once again, players will rely on the deckbuilding mechanic to create the decks that allow them to pull ahead of the competition, but clever deck-building is hard – both in terms of actual theory crafting and sometimes – securing the right cards.

Thankfully, there is a great secondary market that will allow you to grab a few copies of the precise cards that you need. In the meantime, there are main core sets to get you started that will offer you a balanced and competitive entry into the hobby. There are many tournaments and a very popular World Championships which is a lofty aspiration for anyone who wants to try their hand at “catching them all.” 

Pokémon TCG makes for a highly-rewarding and successful experience that will be fit for players of all ages, no matter how competitive they tend to be. 

Buy Pokémon TCG on Amazon US.

9. Marvel Champions: The Card Game

Fantasy Flight Games' Marvel Champions collectible card game.
Image: Fantasy Flight Games
  • Designer: Michael Boggs
  • Players: 1-4
  • Play Time: 45-90 Min
  • Age: 14+
  • Complexity: 2.92/5

Marvel Champions: The Card Game is a cooperative Living Card Game (LCG) but commonly referred to as a trading card game as well, designed and published by Fantasy Flight Games. In the game, players take on the role of iconic Marvel superheroes, with Thor, Ant-Man, Supernova, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and many others. 

Each hero then can choose from a pre-built deck or customize their deck, using the game’s deck-building mechanics which is a great way to add variety and optimize your gameplay across different encounters. Speaking of encounters, Marvel Champions will have players always face a different villain or complete scenarios. 

Players will have to stay alive and manage their resources smartly, but also navigate the difficulties of keeping their real identities hidden, switching between their superhero alter ego and their everyday selves. There are tons of Marvel Champions expansions that you can explore to explore different parts of the Marvel franchise and universe and fight various villains.

The game is highly-thematic and beautifully executed, and it has maintained design and canonic robustness that makes it a very rewarding experience to enjoy. There is an almost unending variety of heroes, scenarios, campaigns, and villains to pick from, with more in the pipeline all the time. 

Whether you are a fan of the Marvel comics or movies, you will come to appreciate Marvel Champions: The Card Games, one of the best collectible card games or LCG if you care to put too fine a point on it. You can still trade many of your Marvel Champions cards, but in the meantime, why not grab a copy of the core game to get yourself started?

Buy Marvel Champions: The Card Game on Amazon US.

10. Yu-Gi-Oh TCG

Konami Yu-Gi-Oh starter set.
Image: Komami
  • Designer: Konami
  • Players: 2
  • Play Time: 20 Min
  • Age: 6+
  • Complexity: n/a

Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Card Game is a collectible and expandable card game that was released by Konami in 1999 and designed by Kazuki Takahashi. The game is loosely based on Magic: The Gathering but uses its distinct setting and mechanics. In Yu-Gi-Oh, you are going to use spells, cards, and trap cards to defeat your opponent, which happens by reducing their health to zero. 

You can achieve a victory by locking down your opponent’s monsters and leaving them defenceless or attacking them with your monsters. The game has been evolving in its rule set, introducing new and unique ways to victory. 

Players have the chance to construct their decks and can do so from a variety of booster packs that offer randomized cards. These cards can then be traded and exchanged for other cards the players need, hence why Yu-Gi-Oh is a trading card game in the first place. 

The secondary market is strong, although some of the cards are very rare, and might sell for six or seven figures. Nevertheless, Yu-Gi-Oh has a vibrant competitive community globally with many tournaments, a World Championship event, and so much more. 

Yu-Gi-Oh is an exciting collectible card game that is welcoming to players with any deck and skill level, whether you are just playing a few games casually or willing to go further and join your local club.

Buy Yu-Gi-Oh TCG on Amazon US.

11. Arkham Horror LCG

Arkham Horror LCG
Image: Final Fantasy Flight
  • Designer: Nate French, Maxine Juniper Newman, Matthew J. Newman
  • Players: 1-2 
  • Play Time: 60-120 Min
  • Age: 14+
  • Complexity: 3.53/5

The dystopian world of Lovecraft invites you to step into what is one of the best collectible card games set in this franchise. Designed by Fantasy Flight Games, the game has been around since 2016 and has shown no sign of slowing down, not least courtesy of the dozens of expansions that have gone live since the first print. 

In true Lovecraftian style, you will be courting cosmic doom, venturing down strange cases that involve the occult and leading you down an eerie path of discovery. The game has several players, usually two, band together to try and solve each case and prevent a major calamity from happening, which involves one of the many horrors written about Lovecraft. Each of you assumes the role of an investigator who brings their unique, personality, and abilities to help you tackle whatever horrendous mystery lies ahead. 

Whether you are fighting the Ancient Ones or trying to prevent their servants from bringing outworldly destruction to Earth, you will have your sanity tested in each step of the campaign. Every action you make throughout the game will have a consequence and lead to a different outcome. This all plays out across hundreds of cards and scenarios, add-ons and expansions, and in one of the most iconic places of the Lovecraftian universe – Arkham, the New England town where many have perished engulfed by unnamed horrors. The game combines a nice touch of role-playing and mixes it with the straightforwardness of card play. 

Buy Arkham Horror LCG on Amazon US

12. Lord of the Rings LCG

Lord of the Rings: The Card Game Box Set
Image: Fantasy Flight Games
  • Designer: Nate French
  • Players: 1-4 
  • Play Time: 30-90
  • Age: 14+
  • Complexity: 3.46/5

Lord of the Rings is a game designed by Fantasy Flight Games’ Nate French who has been single-handedly developing one of the best collectible card games of all time, with the game achieving a cult status over the years and spanning dozens of expansions. In the game, you will take on the role of one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s heroes featured in epic fantasy and embark on thematic quests and adventures in Middle Earth.

Players need to make sure that they contribute to the party and the campaign by putting their characters and abilities to good use, overcoming foes in deadly combats, and warning allies of the impeding danger emanating from Sauron’s domain. As one of the characters, you will focus on developing a unique deck as well as your core attributes, such as leadership, tactics, lore, and spirit among others.

Lord of the Rings LCG has an immense pool of cards with many adventure packs to tackle and dozens of expansions to use and make for an, even more, fun adventure. There are different campaigns and modes to play, and you can even enjoy a standalone experience if you wanted to. By and far, Lord of the Rings is one of the best collectible card games to add to your collection and continue to nurture over many years to come. 

The game offers you everything, from cooperative play to immersive and thematic play, to a deep core strategy that will make you feel that every decision and character has a distinct purpose and make their luck. 

Buy Lord of the Rings LCG on Amazon US

13. One Piece 

One Piece booster and starter sets.
Image: One Piece
  • Designer: Bandai
  • Players: 2 
  • Play Time: 20 Min
  • Age: 14+ 
  • Complexity: 2.5/5

One Piece TCG is a collectible card game based on the popular anime and manga series of the same name and published by Bandai. The game features characters from the entire One Piece franchise, but it holds a strong appeal with players who are not familiar with anime, manga, or movies. Like other TCGs, the game is designed to entertain players to a head-to-head battle.

One Piece is fast-paced and tactical. Even though it’s printed in Japan, it’s also remarkably accessible in terms of price tag, while not lacking depth, variety, or strategic play. Players can include up to four copies of a card of the same number in their deck, building and customizing their deck around what they believe would make for a strong showing in organized play, or tiptoeing around the meta by bringing some big upsets in the strategy of their opponents. 

The game is spread across five phases, to name Refresh, Draw, DON!!, Main, and End Phase. Each allows you to prepare for the next turn or carry out an attack right now. One Piece is set to emulate other Japanese TCGs in a sense but brings its original twist to the fore. 

Buy One Piece on Amazon US

14. Cardfight!! Vanguard TCG

Cardfight!! Vanguard TCG set
Image: Bushiroad Inc.
  • Designer: Satoshi Nakamura
  • Players: 2
  • Play Time: 20 Min
  • Age: n/a
  • Complexity: 2.80/5 

Cardfight!! Vanguard TCG is another popular collectible card game inspired by the namesake anime and published by Bushiroad. The game has been around since 2011 and has established itself globally, running a successful competitive format, and introducing unique mechanics such as raid and trigger, pioneering new TCG playstyles in the process. The game allows both players to interact with each other during another player’s turn by responding to attacks through intercept and other interesting incorporations. The clans and decks in the game also differentiate from most other card games, and as such, Cardfight!! Vanguard TCG is a refreshing way to experience the entire genre. The game has taken a big deviation from the traditional archetype of a TCG by not depending on mana or casting spells, and it has created a dynamic that feels exciting and entertaining, achieving some truly outstanding in the genre. 

Buy Cardfight! Vanguard TCG on Amazon US

Stoyan Todorov

Stoyan entered the hobby over seven years ago and his collection has been growing at a pace his spouse has described as “concerning.” Willing to push the boundaries of the connubial bliss to its extremes, Stoyan is here to bring you the latest updates and developments from the world of board games.

Stoyan entered the hobby over seven years ago and his collection has been growing at a pace his spouse has described as “concerning.” Willing to push the boundaries of the connubial bliss to its extremes, Stoyan is here to bring you the latest updates and developments from the world of board games.