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MAGIC the GATHERING 2015: Duels of the Planeswalkers

When the game started I was asked the question “How experienced am I in Magic the Gathering?”. But then it seems that no matter how experienced you are at playing Magic the Gathering, the card game, you still need to complete the Tutorials proffered before you are able to unlock the Equipment Deck and the Campaign game. One thing that happened to me, not sure if there is a hiccup in the game or if I made an error, but while I was running through the tutorials I went to check the Extras. After checking this option out I had to quite out and restart the tutorials again. Knowing me, I must have made a mistake but I thought it worth mentioning so that you can avoid doing the same as me.

Going through the tutorials, which I must say are short, succinct and easily followed (though you do win the battles a little too easily to begin with) I didn’t discover anything new, but I did have a good time and was ready for the main game when I had finished.

TUTORIALS:

The first tutorial is a Green (you) versus Red (PC) and teaches the Basic Draw & Play of the game.

Tutorial two is Black versus Blue which introduces Flying and Instants to the basics.

Tutorial three pits White against Black decks and teaches Augmentation, Auras and Enchantments.

Tutorial/Quest four: The decks are Blue versus Green and have all of the above, plus Counterspells, Trample and Giant Growth.

Tutorial/Quest five: and the decks are now Red v White and the addition to play this time is equipment.

Exiting the tutorials you are offered the choice of starting deck – Green, Red, Black, Blue or White – though this isn’t quite as straightforward as it first appears. The decks are actually twin colours, so your choices are based on the colour you choose and built accordingly. I chose Blue and was offered these options:

Cruel Denial – Blue Black

Echoing Roar – Blue Green

Blazing Intellect – Blue Red

Freezing Winds – Blue White

Once I had selected from these I was faced with the final quest/tutorial “Prove your worth” which is literally a tough challenge using your chosen deck against whatever the game’s intelligence throws at you.

If you are new or inexperienced at playing Magic the Gathering these tutorials will show you how to play in just one run through. Naturally they cannot teach you experience, you'll learn that through playing over again and changing decks whenever you can so that you also learn the nuances associated to each colour and how useful Instants and Enchantments are when played at the correct time.

       

The decks are all fairly well balanced with variations on play from slow and steady to go for the throat from the off tactics but you do not have any additional boosters available at this point to let you tune the deck to your liking, you get what you get, that’s it.

As each game starts you are dealt a hand of seven cards. If you don’t like these, for example if you have a hand of high value spells and no Lands then you aren’t going to be in the game for some while, and then you have to depend on drawing Lands. You are given the opportunity to mulligan (discard all your cards and draw a new hand) but you will draw one card less. To test this I accepted the mulligan and drew six cards (actually they were automatically dealt) then I chose to mulligan and was dealt five cards, this carried on (I don’t suggest you actually do this when you are playing) until I had one card dealt to me, and then I did another mulligan leaving me with no cards except the one I draw at the beginning of my turn. As you would expect I was easily defeated before I even had a half-decent hand to play from.

You can play Single Player (you v the game), Multiplayer (which pits you against other human – surmising that you are human – players) and then you also have the options of Card Collections, Shop, Decks, Player Profile, Store Locator and the aforementioned Extras. Plus of course you have the Help & Options option.

These Extras include a gallery of super artwork, the Planeswalkers video, Promotions and you can also go to Leaderboards to see how you’re doing.

       

When it is your turn you pass the cursor over your cards and select the one that you wish to play – usually a Land to begin with as Lands give you Mana and Mana can be used (spent) to cast spells, bring out creatures, throw instants, surround previously played cards with auras or enhancements etc. In fact if you haven’t any Mana you cannot do anything, so Mana management is a huge part of the play, and the better you are at it the more likelihood there is of you being victorious. Naturally the cards you are dealt and when they are drawn has a major impact on the game but that is about the only Luck there is in playing Magic the Gathering.

There are not a lot of sparkling effects or overblown executions or explosions when spells are cast, mainly the cards swish in and out of the play area with oil greased fluidity, just as they are drawn, dealt and discarded, efficiency is perfect in all aspects of play. When you attack or use cards against other cards, arrows power out from the attacking card(s) to point at their target(s). Select Attack and the cards whirl into the centre of the screen and numbers flash up as the stats of each card are compared, damage dealt and dead cards discarded to their respective piles – efficiency in motion again.

If your character (you may know this as an avatar from other card games) takes damage then you will see your life value descend. If it hits zero you lose. Obviously if you knock your opponent’s life to zero you win. The game, especially when playing a single player game against the computer, has a distinct way of drawing you in, letting you think you are winning and then wham! It hits you with a one, two, three and your life value drops dramatically and the game turns around in the blink of an eye. Be wary and be careful and go for the kill at the earliest opportunity, don’t play around (like Christian Ronaldo teasing the opposition) just for fun, it will backfire on you without a doubt.

Magic the Gathering 2015 online is a great way to play MtG if you don’t have regular human opposition who can visit you (or you them). Once you have played and advanced then you get to buy new cards, boosters and decks from which you can select cards to bolster your personal deck. The main difference between MtG2015 and MtG2014 is the availability of a whole set of new cards and thus new wonderful illustrations and the possibility of different tactics and strategies.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015