Though the card game rush of the mid-2010s may be over, there are still plenty of high-quality competitive mobile card games to get stuck into. Whether you're new to mobile gaming (like our own Lloyd Coombes), or simply looking for nostalgia, fun, competition, or all over the above, these are the best mobile card games on Android and iOS right now.
As an added bonus, all off the best mobile card games below can even be played on PC (some on Mac) with full cross-progression and crossplay support.
The Best Mobile Card Games on Android and iOS
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
Entering its fourth year now, by limiting the play space, deck size, and shortening turns, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links cleverly reimagines the hit 2000s card game for bite-sized battles: presumably to suit the pre-pandemic busybodies on the trains. But that hasn't stopped it from being a blast to play during these strange times.
For fans of the series past or present, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links serves as an All-Stars game. It brings its long, storied history and thousands upon thousands of cards into one long online mobile card game. Starting with the first series and its comparatively simple mechanics, the narrative has expanded over the years to include characters, cards, and mechanics from the GX series all the way to V-Rains.
Like most phone games, there's plenty to do outside of challenging others to fights; from NPC battles to big character unlock events, you can play this like a single-player title for years, building up your dream decks and working character skills into your strategy.
When you're finally ready, you can take part in those big tournaments you were never brave enough to enter all those years ago. Yes, I'm talking about myself right now.
Legends of Runeterra
Though I never did play as much of this as I wanted to when it launched last year, the time I did spend was never regretted. Legends of Runeterra takes a lot from other popular TCGs like Hearthstone and Magic.
What it does is turn a handful of League of Legends' finest characters into the heart of soul of a deck. You build around their key skills, adding powerful minions and wacky spells to the mix, shaving off health from other cards, and weighing up the pros and cons of defending or attacking as the turns fly by.
There's a lot of forward-thinking needed with this one. You have to be two or three steps ahead of your initial decision. It looks simple on the surface, but it's a brainteaser for sure.
Like the rest of the best mobile card games on Android and iOS above and below, Legends of Runeterra is constantly evolving. With new story events to fight through and seasons packed full of new cards and mechanics, there's always a new goal around the corner.
With the backing of one of the biggest competitive multiplayer companies, there's the potential for Legends of Runeterra to turn into a very serious career path.
Magic: the Gathering Arena
When Arena first launched on PC a couple of years ago, it being locked to the platform was a bewildering design decision from Wizards of the Coast. TCGs are inherently portable, and by skipping a mobile TCG, Arena was severely limited in its potential audience.
Then it showed up. While Hearthstone has begun to fade into the background in recent years, classic TCGs like Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon and Magic have seen a resurgence in popularity; both down to nostalgia and the larger TCG movement bringing new fans into the fold.
Magic: the Gathering Arena makes one of the world's most popular (and complex) TCGs more accessible than ever. No more physical cards or in-person meet-ups. You can learn and master the game from just about anywhere. It's easily one of the best mobile card games on Android and iOS right now.
If you end up down this rabbit hole, be sure to check out our sister site MTG Rocks for things like new card reveals, deck ideas and strategies.
Though this one certainly isn't as well-known in the West as it is in Japan, it's been kicking around long enough to be an extensive TCG you can play on the go.
Look on Twitch even today and you'll likely see a devoted eastern audience watching others duke it out. It's not much a looker these days, but Shadowverse using a similar system to Hearthstone where clever resource management is the key to victory over a prolonged battle.
Shadowverse is made by Cygames--the very same company behind Nintendo's woefully underappreciated Dragalia Lost. Oh, and they also have a hand in Granblue Fantasy, Princess Connect! Re: Dive, The Idolmaster, Zone of the Enders, Zombie Land Saga, and that weird anime about horse girls.
They're kind of a big deal in the Japanese anime/games space nowadays, and played a big part of its initial growth with Rage of Bahamut. In fact, you can even hear Persona 5's Morgana in the staring role before voice actor Cassandra Lee Morris voiced the famous cat-that's-not-a-cat.
Despite the age of the 2016 RPG-heavy Shadowverse game, a more traditional anime involving its players only recently wrapped up its 48-episode run. Basically, if you're an anime fan, there's a lot to love about Shadowverse. Expect a lot of promotional crossovers.
Pokemon TCG Online
For whatever reason, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company International just refuses to give the Pokemon TCG Online game the love it deserves. It's certainly functional. Its quick-fire online tournaments are a blast. But its basic art style is laughably cheap and childish, it's only available on tablets for some reason, and getting cards is a royal pain the butt.
For a game that focus on cards, getting them certainly isn't as easy as it ought to be. You can't buy cards outright. You can use points earned in-game to grab them, but the only way to use your own money to amass a collection is by going out and amassing a physical collection.
With money-hungry scalpers buying up the cards designed for children, that's a terribly hard thing to do right now. You rarely even get the same cards you pull from a pack, either. You just get a code for another randomized in-game pack instead.
Still, if you manage to make things work, the Pokemon TCG Online game on iPad and Android tablets is a fun, simple card game to wind down with or get super serious about. There's no complicated story or grind-heavy in-game events. It's just a battle simulator.
You earn your cards, build you deck, and battle against the computer or another player. Its tournament system is rewarding, and you can use it to carve out a proper place for yourself in the official, physical Pokemon TCG competitive circuit.