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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013′ best ‘Magic’ game so far

    “Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013” delivers on all its promises while bringing the classic card game into an updated video game form.

    For anyone who has played the paper game, things haven’t changed there. But, as with any new “Magic the Gathering” game, the cards have changed. There are plenty that veterans will recognize; the decks, however, are all new, though some have stayed true to the same themes they’ve had in past games.

    Players can use decks that deal damage with spells, beef up tons of big monster cards and then attack with overwhelming force. You can control the game by manipulating the cards in an opponent’s hand or discarding cards from their deck, helping you gain obscene amounts of life to outlast everything. Others involve classic builds, like an elf-rush deck, or ones that exploit a single rule, like Exalted.

    More than the cards changed, of course, and that’s where the real draw is. A minor change that makes a huge difference is being able to manually tap land, which makes playing with multi-colored decks far easier. Then there’s the new mode, “Planechase,” which is a chaotic game mode that keeps players on their toes.

    A regular campaign is there of course, and while there’s no story at all, there are new challenge decks interspersed between normal enemies that mix up what could otherwise be pretty static gameplay. Puzzles are back as well, and tougher than ever, often requiring long analysis or a trip to the internet for “hints.” More than any other single-player mode in a “Magic the Gathering” game, “Duels 2013” will help players grow and learn.

    The game is very accessible to new players and modern devices. Available on the iPad, “Duels 2013” seems to have found a perfect new home. With the average length of a match staying under 15 minutes, it’s great for on-the-go gamers.

    As for problems, there aren’t many. The biggest one is inherent in match-based games like “Magic the Gathering” — if a player doesn’t like the situation they’re in, they can just leave the match and start over with brand new odds to win. If someone really abuses the ability, they can obliterate every opponent by just exploiting probability. Still, this problem only hurts the players who play this way, as they’ll get very little out of the game.

    There is still no ability to make decks from scratch, which is something many players have been asking for since the “Magic the Gathering” games started coming out in 2009. Wizards of the Coast, the makers of the game, can’t be blamed however. While part of their motivation is likely an effort to keep their “Magic Online” business flowing, they’re also trying to protect players and the game. By restricting what kinds of decks players can use, the game remains balanced and diverse, instead of a “best deck build” that rises above the others and be the only construction anyone uses.

    All in all, fans of the series, fans of trading card games and fans of strategy will all love “Duels 2013.” There’s plenty of re-playability with online play and a different game in every campaign match, so it’s sure to keep anyone busy for some time too.

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