[Review] Magic the Gathering 2015



* Note: This is a two part review. First, I am going to talk about the physical card game and the 2015 set.  After that, I will get in to the virtual side of Magic and share my thoughts on Magic the Gathering 2015: Duels of the Planeswalkers. 

Whether you have played Magic before or just want to get started, there is never a better time to get started than with the release of a new set.  The new 2015 set has recently hit store shelves, but is it worth your time? For starters, there are three ways to buy into the 2015 set.  For players looking to start a collection there is the deckbuilder’s toolkit which contains over 200 cards as well as 4 booster packs from various editions of Magic.  For new players, there are five intro packs which each contain a ready-to-play 60 card deck and 2 booster packs.  Of course for players who already have their own card collections, the 2015 cards are available in individual 15 card booster packs.

The Cards: The 2015 set includes 269 cards, some of which are brand new to the game while others are returning from previous editions for various reasons.  People could argue about what makes a good Magic set until they are blue in the face, but ultimately 2015 is a well balanced set with a variety of fun cards to battle your friends (or enemies) with.  Arguably the most important aspect of Magic the Gathering is the color wheel. The color or colors you choose to play with determine your gameplay style, as each color acts a certain way.  With that being said, Magic 2015 does a good job of tending to each color, and no matter what your favorite color is you are sure to find a few new favorites.  The set seems to attempt to place a  focus on enchantments, this is evident in the five intro decks especially.  Additionally, 2015 sees the return of 2005’s convoke ability.  Convoke is the ability to tap creatures in order to lower the cost of using a spell.

The Intro Decks: Intro decks are the best way to get into Magic the Gathering. Intro decks allow you the ability to play right away with a pre constructed deck that is made to compliment itself.  While intro decks play fairly well you will have a hard time beating a well constructed personal deck.  Magic 2015 has two of the best intro decks we have seen.  The White/Back deck named “Price of Glory” is an excellent deck for newcomers, that focuses on the ability to gain additional life in rapid succession.  This is a great deck to start with because it allows new players to stay in the game longer and teaches them to stack their abilities.  The other great intro deck from 2015 is the Blue/Red deck “Flames of the Dragon”.  The deck has a heavy focus on enchantments and flying creatures which can be a deadly combination to wield.

Whether you are a newcomer wanting to get into Magic the Gathering or you are an experienced player looking to add more cards to your collection, the 2015 set has good options for you and their has never been a better time to start playing

Part 2: Duels of the Planeswalkers

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Along with a new year set for Magic the Gathering cards comes the new edition of the video game format, Magic 2015: Duels of the Planeswalkers.  Currently available on Steam, iOS and Xbox 360, with a delayed release in the works for the Xbox One, Duels gives players the chance to take the popular trading card game online once again.

Duels 2015 tries to do more to drive the story of Magic, unfortunately it comes up short in a few places.  With a weak attempt at a story and a frustrating card collection system, the game quickly becomes frustrating.  Due to microstransactions for booster packs and new decks, players who do not wish to pay extra are at a clear disadvantage as they slowly trudge through with weak cards.  This effect hits even harder as you take the game to the online battlefield.  Players who spend extra money will likely steamroll those who chose not to.  If you are interested in playing Duels of The Planeswalkers I would recommend one of the earlier and more well rounded versions.