Grand Archive Design Analysis: Why We Pay Taxes

Written by Remetic

Created 19 July, 2023

Last updated 20 July, 2023

After being memed about it for a while now, I’ve finally decided to write my analysis on the cost of cards within Grand Archive. This will be my first article where I talk about card design in Grand Archive.

The Easy Stuff - Regalia

Regalia design by default is limited, due to the nature of their versatility. To compare them to Magic the Gathering, your entire regalia deck can be likened to a companion or command zone, enabling cards to be used at any point in the game and having a large variance of usable effects. Because of this versatility, regalia can’t have overly powerful effects. While a potential 7 cost 5/3 sword seems weak at first glance, ditching your entire starting hand in order to push 15 damage is still usable. The closest comparison is Sealed Blade. If its floating restriction were removed, it would most likely be one of the most powerful regalia in the game, being usable starting on a player's second turn (first turn if using a wind deck) to pushing 9 damage by default. Every weapon in the game is limited by class bonus, due to their immediate use and strength (weapon regalia immediately threaten Power x Durability damage), as well as their low cost. There is not a weapon regalia where its additional effect is not limited by class bonus.

The limitation of being available at any point in the game contributes to why any regalia that draws a card usually requires an equivalent memory cost, such as blade of avarice being 2 cost. The only regalia that ignore these rules are the elemental baubles (restricted by opponent element requirement) and Grand Crusader’s Ring (restricted by having the divine relic keyword).

These limitations make analyzing the cost of regalia interesting. You have to look at a regalia’s immediate impact on the game, its Class Bonus effect, and its intended function of a regalia is to determine the cost. Two similar cards are Blinding Orb and Orb of Choking Fumes, both being 2 separate types of hand disruption. Going hand-neutral with these cards requires class bonus, despite having incredibly powerful effects by default, resulting in their worth being seen as equal. While Orb of Choking Fumes can technically disrupt your opponent more effectively by forcing more cards out of their hand the more actions they take in a turn, Blinding Orb’s immediate usefulness can be much more disruptive.

Due to the general low cost of regalia, analyzing their cost is typically quite easy. If they draw, they will always have a heavy restriction or require an equivalent memory cost. Any weapons will typically have a low attack stat increased by class bonus, have their effects limited by class bonus, and/or have low durability. 

The Fun Cards - Main Deck

First, what restrictions are in place for cards in the main deck? These include: Element, Class bonus, Type, Speed, and in-effect restrictions. All of these increase the overall reserve cost of a card playable within the main deck. Typically, the equation for determining the cost of these cards goes as such:

  • Inputs: This is where all restrictions and costs associated with playing a card go, adding together to create the “positive value for a card”, the things going towards reducing the overall reserve cost of a card

  • Outputs: The impact of the card. Including stats, effect, and speed. These will increase the overall reserve value of a card.

Cost Analysis Example

Currently, there is only one card I know of that we have gotten the cost analysis of directly from a Grand Archive game developer (Sylidar). This card is Spirit Blade: Ascension. Here is that analysis:


  • Restriction: Crux +9

  • Restriction: Sword(s) in material deck (deck construction) +1

  • Cost: Return Sword regalia to the material deck +7

  • Cost: Reserve +1

  • Cost: The card, Spirit Blade: Ascension from your hand +4


Bring out a sword regalia for free from material deck or banishment

Similar Derivatives:

  • ”Materialize” -6

  • Ignore up to 2 memory cost with current sword regalia pool -5

  • Ignore element restriction of a regalia -9

  • Fast -2

Obviously this is a relatively extreme example as one of the most powerful cards in the game, being an advanced element and one of the few cards that can materialize in the main phase, but it gives us useful insight into the value of certain effects and restrictions.

However, ally analysis is rather difficult. Not only do you need to analyze the effect and uses of the ally, but also take into account the statline of the ally. A good comparison is Honorable Vanguard versus Veteran Soldier. Despite having a 1.66x increase in stats, Veteran Soldier costs 2.5x Honorable Vanguard. This is due to the importance of the immediate use of its stats. There is an exponential increase in value from 1-2 attack, and 3-4 health, where the higher the stat the more commitment is required to remove them. Health has sharp increases at certain numbers, such as 4, and 8, because those cards begin to require 2 or 3 cards from your opponent to remove them.

So what determines the cost efficiency of something in the main deck? Overall, from most to least restrictive, cards with both a basic element and class bonus are typically able to be played in 1 deck, enabling them to have the highest cost effectiveness. This is why a card like Fireball is fast speed while Erratic Bolt is slow speed. They are very comparable, however Fireball generally has much more flexibility due to its lower cost and fast speed.

Additionally, cards that draw generally need a heavy restriction. Very few main deck cards plus on card advantage, once again having conditions behind them to do so. Take something like Arcane Disposition, for example. While it does go +2, you must use the cards in your hand or otherwise risk losing every remaining card in your hand at the end of turn.  This condition forces Arcane Disposition to be a win-or-lose card. The best way to plus in the main deck are in fire, where a significant number of cards will go neutral in hand, such as Creative Shock or Cremation Ritual. In addition, the capability for fire to dump floating memory into a graveyard is considered a plus in the context of the game.

Another Cost Analysis Example

One of the first things I was initially asked to do about analyzing the cost of cards, from Sylidar: “remetic, do cost analysis on Kaarl”

So I’m here to do just that. All numbers are estimated and unconfirmed. Kraal, Stonescale Tyrant


  • Restriction: Tera +9

  • Restriction: Class bonus +8

  • Restriction: On Attack +2

  • Restriction: Preserve Cards in main Deck +2

  • Cost: Banish two Preserved Cards +4

  • Cost: Reserve +5

  • Cost: The card, Kraal, Stonescale Tyrant, from hand +5

Total: 35


  • Stats: 6 attack -10

  • Stats: 8 Health -8

  • Effect: On Attack: Preserve top 2 cards of deck -2

  • Keyword: Intercept -4

  • Keyword: Spellshroud -2

  • Keyword: True Sight -1

  • Keyword: Vigor -4

  • Combined Vigor + Intercept: -4

Total: 35

Overall, Kraal is an interesting card. At a certain point, health stops being meaningless as it takes 2-3 cards to remove him from the board. Similarly, attack above certain values can already remove most other cards in the game, so it starts being a view of how much damage the card pushes on play. The combination of intercept and vigor increases the value of the card as well because of the large synergy of the two.

All in all, cost analysis is one of my favorites parts of analyzing the game, and I’m looking forward to writing more balance and game design articles.

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