Almost all of your information about MTGO is incorrect. Others have pointed out some of them, but game length is wrong, max players is wrong, and real world currency trading is wrong. MTGO doesn't have set limits on casual games, tourney games are set at different levels. Max number of players in a tourney is 128 right now, but there are many many options. Finally the biggest error is the real world money support. THERE IS NONE. In fact MTGO actively squashes anyone trying to post card on ebay. The best you can do is sell to a dealer and cash out but that is completely 3rd party and if you get scammed, you will LOSE EVERYTHING.
I sold my collection in MTGO and haven't looked back since backing Hex. To me it's an investment in making a quality game. MTGO been around for 12 years and is nothing more than a glorified spreadsheet with a gambling foundation that allows kids to enter. I love magic, but I can't support that company.
Your interpretation of the MTG:O content is incorrect. What is written in the TOS only applies to the online game. The fact that you can turn their digital cards into actual cards flips everything on its head regarding 3rd party trading. I appreciate your criticism, but for what I am providing at face value, the content for MTG:O is correct for generalizations.
Real world money? - I don't remember that being a category? It does however lend itself to 3rd party trade.
Players in a tournament? - It was players simultaneously...not in the same queue
Game length is arguable. I am going by countless draft games I've played there. Which is normally longer than constructed games.
One game that hasn't been mentioned (AFAICS) is Urban Rivals, which also just did a beta release for its spin-off, Fantasy Rivals (very similar system).
In your deck you have 8 cards of limited power (usually 25 starts all in all, cards rate from 1 to 5 stars, also depending on their individual cards as you level them up through experience). For each battle 4 of those are selected randomly.
You play the game in four rounds, and in each round you need to "bet" 0 to all of your 12 beads, which acts as a multiplier.
Example: You have a character with attack value 4 and bet 3 beads. Your final attack value is 4 * (1 + 3) = 16. You opponent has AV 3 and bets 4 beads, he ends up with 3 * (1 + 4) = 15, and therefore loses. The winning character then does damage to the opponent as per his damage value. You win if you prematurely "kill" the opponent (IIRC you have 12 or 15 life points) or if after 4 rounds you have more life points left than your opponent.
It's F2P, but if you get into it you sink some money into it to get more characters. There is a very efficient auction house, so if you limit yourself to just one of the 20+ factions, you'll do fine. Games usually take around 5 minutes, if not less. And yes, being able to do quick calculations in your head is a plus.
The biggest drawback for me is that it's 95% PvP and I simply don't have the free and unmolested time anymore to play it (hence my PvE focus for Hex).
Was unaware of Hex until I saw it mentioned on the Scrolls board. Honestly, it looks like what MTG online should have evolved into by now- and I think that's a great thing. As far as competitors I've tried:
Duel of Champions looks and feels great for a couple days, and then you realize what a grind it is to collect cards for free or throw good money at the random wheel of luck. I like the champion model, but it's frustrating that you can't play or create a different deck without having the appropriate champion and have to luck into finding one. I don't like including a powerful legendary rarity into a CCG either, it makes fielding a competitive deck all the more grindy/pricey.
Loving Scrolls, but games are starting to take way too long and the limited card pool is making a fairly stale Meta. Community is great. $20 price point is ridiculous if any of the other big FTP CCG's were currently playable- kind of doing the Torchlight/Runic model, give people the kind of game they're waiting for Blizzard to finish. So far it seems like Mojang has a decent system to discourage botting yet still allow trading- issues DoC and Hearthstone don't want to address.
I love the idea of Hearthstone, but I'm so worried about not being able to trade and it turning out like DoC. I like quick matches, iOs compatibility, but I don't want a game to feel boring and limited because "need" to grind to improve my deck.
Just gonna throw Hex in the back of my mind and be pleasantly surprised if I get a Beta invite in a few months.
I'm actually not particularly worried about not being able to trade in Hearthstone, since they've unveiled a new crafting system that looks like a pretty good substitute. Basically you can destroy your cards at will for arcane dust, and use dust to craft any card you want at a price depending only on rarity. The prices for selling/buying are 5/40 for commons, 20/100 for rares, 100/400 for epics and 400/1600 for legendaries. Given that you can only include one of any given legendary or two of any other card in your deck, this seems pretty reasonable to me. The big questions are how rare the epics and legendaries are going to be, and how hard it will be to earn the 5-card booster packs in-game.
That said, Hearthstone looks like it's going to be more a(n extremely fun) gateway game than a serious competitor to Magic or Hex in strategic depth. So you should probably play both.
Just gave Kingdoms CCG a shot, was having a great time until I stepped into the beginner arena and quickly realized it's just a bot farm. I guess I'll stick with Scrolls and pray Hex figures out how to stop the FTP CCG bots.
From a Free-User stand point (this includes what is available right now without paying to get into a beta) I'd say Sol Forge is the best available right now
I've bounced around a number of Digital Card games recently and thought I had found a home with Duel of Champions till I saw all the bots and how slow progression was
You can easily get 100 cards a week in SF and will likely hold my attention until I pit it against Hearthstone (which I'm no longer excited about) and Hex's cooperative modes which could be really fun even if done poorly