Artifacts are magical items that can be used to give you a tactical advantage in the match. Artifacts aren't meant to be a total replacement to weapons. Many of the artifacts have strategic uses while others explicitly increase your weapon power.
All players start with 2 default artifacts: Speed and Heal. All other artifacts are acquired through abilities that award them to you. Artifacts are droppable like any other item so you don't always need to buy abilities to get them.
Adrenaline is a magic resource that is used to fuel artifacts in the same way ammo is used for weapons. The adrenaline system is only slightly based on the UT2004 model. Measures have been taken to make adrenaline usage more constant rather than only for the top players.
Fresh spawns will always have 0 adrenaline. All characters start with 100 max adrenaline. You gain adrenaline through various game tasks. There are also abilities that give you other sources of adrenaline which allows you to specialize how you want artifacts to work for your character.
Speed will give a speed boost to the player for a short time, increasing your movement speed, jump height and air control by 25%. This effect will stack with other movement properties. Use this when you have the flag to get out of danger quickly.
Heal will create a health explosion around you, granting 25 health instantly to you and an addition 25 health over the length of the duration. Any teammates hit by the explosion will also receive 25 health over the length of the duration. Use this as an emergency heal to get back into the action faster.
Boots of Flight
Boots of Flight will put you in a state of levitation, allowing you to fly to areas you can't normally get to as well as mitigating fall speed, allowing you to avoid fall damage. This artifact will automatically re-activate once the duration expires as long as you have enough adrenaline. The user can activate the artifact a second time to turn the effect off.
Teleporter allows you to immediately teleport in the direction you're looking up to 2000 units. You can use this to travel large distances in open spaces, travel through obstacles with small spaces or even telefrag opponents. Teleporting will force you to drop the flag.
Globe of Invulnerability
The Globe of Invulnerability puts you in a state of invincibility for a short time. You can still be affected by momentum so try not to get pushed into lava.
The Lightning Rod creates a small, repulsive explosion around you, pushing all enemies away with intense force and doing a small amount of damage. Use this to keep enemies away from you while holding the flag or just try to knock an enemy off a ledge.
Triple Damage is an alternative to UDamage which does exactly as the name describes. All damage done is tripled for a short time. This is very effective at taking out fully stacked opponents quickly.
Magic Weapon Maker
The Magic Weapon Maker will generate a random new magic property for your current weapon. If you aren't satisfied with the one you get you can try again until you do.