Ascension: Deliverance Comes from Years of Deckbuilding Refinement
Designed by another former Magic pro, Stoneblade Entertainment's Ascension doesn't make all the possible cards you can buy available at the beginning of the game the way Dominion does. A limited number of cards from a huge deck is dealt into a center row, with cards replaced every time a player acquires a card to improve their deck using the in-game resource called Runes. As an added wrinkle there are also monsters that appear in the center row and players can earn points and other effects by defeating with a separate resource called Power. It also has a rich science fantasy theme, filled with wizards, lycanthropes, assassins and cyborg monks. I was quickly hooked.