Lost Ark Card System Guide

I love in-game collecting. More than that, I love card collecting. Whether it’s trading card games, sports cards, or mini-game cards from a video game, something about gathering sets and building decks gives me immense satisfaction. Lost Ark seems to have a little of everything in its vast world, including a card system. While you won’t be using your cards to duel other players, they will be able to significantly empower your characters.

There are three elements to the card system that you need to know in order to get the most out of it. The first is equipping a deck, the second is your Book collection. And the third is enhancing or awakening your cards. In this guide, I’ll explain how each of these aspects of the card system work, as well as why they are important.


You’ll notice I keep saying characters, plural. That’s because cards are roster-wide. You will collect cards from different activities throughout your time in Arkesia: the Adventurer’s Tome, field bosses, Guardian Raids, Abyssal Dungeons, and random drops from card packs. You can look up cards in the Codex (Alt+D) if you need to find out how to acquire a specific one.

As your collection grows, so will the range of benefits you can apply to your characters. But don’t be in a rush to unlock specific sets and Books. Cards are an extremely late-game endeavor in Lost Ark. You’ll only really reap the maximum benefits from them once you have multiple sets unlocked and Awakened.

Equipping card decks

The first way you can empower your character in Lost Ark with its cards system is by equipping decks. You can have six cards in a deck. But you don’t just equip any card because the individual cards have no effects. You need to equip cards from the same set. Usually, if you equip two cards from a set in your deck, you get a bonus. If you equip four cards from a set, you get another bonus. And if you equip six cards from one set, you can an additional bonus.

Lost Ark Cards

If you look at the image above, you can see I have four cards from the Trixion set and two from the Field Boss II set. The Trixion set gives me an additional 5% Damage Reduction from all Elemental Damage for every two cards I have in my deck from that set. The Field Boss II bonus is an increase of 4% to my health for every two cards from the set.

There are many different versions of these bonuses. You can reduce damage from a specific element, increase healing from recovery items, reduce the damage you receive from Guardians, reduce the cooldown of your movement skills, and plenty more. As you can imagine, these bonuses can be incredibly useful in raids that predominantly deal one type of elemental damage.

Awakening your cards

You may have noticed additional bonuses from the sets that mention Awakening pieces. These have nothing to do with your character’s Awakening skill. Rather, you need to upgrade your cards to access these bonuses. You can see my Aporas card in the image below has a yellow gem on it. That’s because it has been upgraded once.

Lost Ark Upgrade Or Awaken Cards

Awakening your cards like this will give you access to some very nice bonus effects in your card decks. These will usually be offensive bonuses, whereas the bonuses from equipping sets are typically defensive. However, it’s going to take you a long time to be able to upgrade enough cards.

You need two things to Awaken a card: a duplicate versions of the card, and Card XP. You also need Silver, but that’s the least of your worries. Card XP is obtained by consuming items like Eternity Essence and Soul Leaf. These look like cards in your inventory, but they don’t have a name present in any collection. They’re just XP cards.


Soul Leaf and Eternity Essence.

As for the duplicate cards required, this is where you’re going to struggle. To Awaken a card once, you need one duplicate. But you can Awaken cards up to five times. And yes, you need five duplicates to Awaken a card for the fifth time. The good news is that the Awakened card bonuses will count the total number of yellow gems on all the cards you have equipped in your deck. So, you don’t necessarily need to upgrade them all to level five.

Here’s an example. To unlock the 12-piece Awakening bonus from the Trixion set, you can upgrade four of the cards three times each to reach a total of 12. Alternatively, you can Awaken one card five times, another four times, and a final one three times to also make 12.

A good collection of books

The final element of the card system in Lost Ark is Books. This is something that you will slowly grow over time. Every card belongs to a number of Books, which you can see in the Books tab of the cards page (Alt+C). Completing a book will reward you with a minuscule increase to one of your stats. However, there are tons of books. So, all the minuscule additions you unlock will eventually become substantial.

LACS Books

Let me explain what you’re looking at in the image above. The left column includes all the Books you can collect. There are a lot of them. It’s going to be a slow process to collect a significant amount, so don’t set your sights on anything in particular. The middle column shows you the cards needed to complete a Book. Plus, it shows you the bonus you’ll receive for completing the Book collection. Once again, you can see that Awakening your cards provides additional bonuses. These will eventually require you to reach level five with every card in the Book to tap into the highest bonus. Finally, the right column shows you the total bonuses you have unlocked with all your completed Books.

That’s all there is to the Lost Ark card system. It looks a lot more complex than it really is. If you’re a beginner, you can put it out of your mind for now and just enjoy collecting cards and playing the game. If you’d like more help with Lost Ark, be sure to check out our guides and features hub.

Logan Broadley
Logan is an enthusiastic player of games (sometimes too enthusiastic according to his wife at 2 AM), and a video game reviewer, esports writer and gaming news writer. Originally from South Africa, he started out as a writer in advertising agencies, but has since moved on to a much higher calling: video games.

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