We now take a step aside from our regularly planned videogaming editorial to talk about Magic: The Gathering.
Magic: The Gathering 2013 is now upon us. 2013 comes to us only one year since the 2012 decks were released, and only two years since the 2010 expansion. Wizard of the Coast is really pushing its brand hard with its fifteenth expansion - but Magic passes this yearly check up with flying colours. That being said however, as much as things have stayed the same – a lot has been subtly changed - and it’s wild and unpredictable.
The brilliant illustrations and rock-solid play mechanics that Wizards is known for remain unchanged in the form of 249 new cards that can only really be described as line blurring, as far as colours (and their respective niches). But I’ll speak more on that later.
From the premade decks I’ve been playing games with, every colour seems to be packed with a showstopper card. I don’t recall if this has always been the case with core sets - but there are definitive creatures packed into every deck that once cast essentially bring the match home for you. I lost my third game with the logic shattering health of -6115, due to this card. The Exalted play mechanic also makes a return having not been seen since the Shards of Alara expansion released in 2008 and the instant hampering Hexproof makes its debut.
Now on to what I feel is the most remarkable change to Magic. The styles of play available to the different mana pools have been expanded. In 2013 Green players are drawing new hands and casting creature-destroying instants. Alternatively, Red players are removing artifacts and enchantments and having more late-game staying power. It’s quite the shock to what you’re used too, and have come to expect. Cards have gotten much stronger (and versatile) for the same the same mana cost of some tenth or eleventh edition cards – while having vastly more options in their tapped or passive abilities. Much more is happening in background during a 2013 game than some players might be used too. With each colour having many more sneaky cards in their arsenal - planning and meta-gaming is more important than ever.
This withering of colour difference comes as a surprise, but it opens up new avenues for the players to explore. The new options available to players may just be giving a heavily tapped core set of rules the breadth needed to be able to spur some new excitement in the community. The use of colour blending has many advantages now, with more cards seemingly built around dual colour combinations
Players will be happy with the feel and excitement that comes with 2013, even if it only has been a year since 2012. If Magic appeals to you, you’ll be all over this like an Arbor Elf. If Magic 2013 sounds like something that you would like – definitely check out any local card shop for Friday Night Magic, or try the just released Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 videogame, which will be getting the video review treatment from the office champion Tim Ashdown later this month.