Ahead of the game’s launch next month, the Halo Wars 2 beta has dropped on PC and Xbox One, featuring its unique combo card-based / real-time strategy Blitz mode and snack-sized Banshees, available from now until 30 January.

“Blitz is a new addition to the Halo Wars experience offering a twist on RTS gameplay that combines the deck building and split-second decision making of card-based strategy play with explosive tactical combat in the Halo universe,” 343 Industries community manager Brian Jarrard explains. “Your card deck, along with your faction leader, are your greatest resources as you assemble a collection of air, ground and infantry units and seek to out-think and out-maneuver your opponents on the battlefield.”

The developer has also released a tutorial video for the beta, next to a very comprehensive (and, uh, somewhat intimidating) written guide that explains what’s what.

Game’s out on 21 February.