Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Magic 2015

I've been playing Magic 2015 on my iPad for a few days, and it will be released on Steam later this week. At first one wonders why the game is 10€ on Steam and "free" on the iPad, but obviously the later isn't real: You only get the tutorial plus 4 games before the free game ends and you need to pay 9€ to unlock the main game. Both platforms also allow you to buy the 30€ complete bundle instead, but that only unlocks all the cards you would otherwise unlock by playing, so I don't recommend it. Complete bundle or manual unlock, there are cards that you can't get either way, and you need to buy those in 1.79€ boosters of 15 cards if you want them. Well, Magic the Gathering was never a cheap game.

The interface is quite well done. Instead of stopping every second to ask you whether you want to cast an instant or interrupt, there is a stop timer, and you need to act quickly if you want to do anything, otherwise the game progresses. Also some decisions like damage distribution are automated by default, but you can turn that off in the settings. The AI is playing reasonably well, although in the campaign the difficulty is more about the computer having the better decks. The game is divided into several planes, each with a series of fixed encounters and a set of random exploration encounters you can play once you beat the fixed games. The first time you beat a fixed game and every time you beat a random encounter, you earn a booster full of cards. But you can get only cards from that plane, so after you got all from one plane, you need to move on.

With all cards unlocked if you pay more at the start, plus the premium boosters with cards you can't get by playing, Magic the Gathering is definitively a Pay2Win game. Which is why I didn't even try multiplayer. But the campaign is fun enough and decently priced, so I'll be having fun with this for a while.

I own both Magic 2012 and 2013 on the Xbox 360. Inexplicably, 2014 isn't an available title. 2015 is one of the titles that I'm waiting on before buying the Xbox One.

As far as the series goes, I haven't found the AI to be very challenging but the 4-player multi-player games are really enjoyable.

I played the real MTG from near inception (Unlimited) until around 1999. Oddly, the Xbox version led me to buy the card versions of the game again and each new release has prompted me to go out and buy more cards.

I didn't notice this until now, but I played 2012 online, and I went and bought real 2012 cards. Same thing for 2013. I didn't play 2014 online, so I didn't go buy real 2014 cards.

You would think it would be the opposite impact but I think having exposure to certain cards in the online version unlocks your imagination for decks that don't exist in the video game.
How would this ipad version match up against the likes of Hearthstone ? I admittedly haven't played MtG in ages, but been fooling around in Hearthstone, but not quite sure about my long term interest in HS as opposed to the more ageless MtG.
I had the same problem with Hearthstone, not enough long-term interest and deck variety. Furthermore I consider the first expansion, Naxxramas, to be rather expensive.
Hmm seems somebody has a very different review:

I really no play these type of games but just curious...
It seems that the problem many people have with Magic 2015 is that you only get one starter deck and you need to play a lot before you have the cards to build another deck from the ground up. And apparently not all starter decks are equally good, so if you have a weak deck and need to win to get cards, that can be annoying.

Pro-Tip: Choose the red and green Smash & Burn deck as starter deck. Red/green decks are famous in Magic to work well even without having fancy rares.
Like in real life, you pay for the cards.
True, but at a significantly lower cost per card. You can get just about all cards for $50, while getting all real cards of that edition would cost you hundreds of dollars.
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