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Magic: The Gathering 2013 Expansion Pack Review

October 3rd, 2012 by

The newest iteration of Wizards of the Coast card game, Magic the Gathering, launched a few months ago to a good response. We even gave it an eight out of ten in our review, which you can find Here. So what does the latest expansion add to the game and the overall experience?

Well, firstly it address one of the few flaws in the initial release in that, barring one exception, all of the original decks were a single colour, which tends to get, well, kind of boring when compared to its real life counterpart.

This expansion adds five new decks to the game:

 The Blue/Red Izzet guild deck:

This deck is for the spell/combo lovers. Much like the straight “burn” decks, if it isn’t a spell it will be a card they will combo with a spell to make it more powerful. With a skilled hand, or – as in my case – a little bit of luck, you can pretty much kill an opponent in a single turn with a five to ten hit combo.

Black/Green Golgari guild deck:

This deck is a bit of a strange one, the more you kill your own creatures, the better cards you get with new or bigger creatures and more land.  Obviously you need to micro manage this as, get the balance wrong, and your opponent will wipe the floor with you. Get it right however, and you are a nigh on indestructible machine.

Green/White Selesnya guild deck:

This deck initially seems ineffective when compared to the others in this expansion. Once you begin to understand the concept of maximum effectiveness and with some careful planning you can wipe out games within five turns.  If you love overloading the board with creatures then you will love this deck.

Black/Red Rakdos guild deck:

This is my favourite deck, not only of the expansion but the whole game in general. This deck is for the players who like to ask the questions with their card laying which will keep the opponents on the back foot for the majority of the match.

And finally, the Blue/White Azorious guild deck:

This is the “Stealth” deck and as such raises the bar on the evasion skill and buffs. Although this deck is not unbeatable, it can get difficult really quickly if the opponent is not on the ball for 100% of the match.

All of the decks are strong but still require a good knowledge of the game to best to utilise your cards. But how do the new decks balance against the original ones released a few months ago?

Unfortunately it’s not great news for the old decks. While the original single colour decks are pretty strong in their own right, they – unsurprisingly – just can’t match the combination of both strength and synergy of the new two coloured decks – at least not with the old strategies you were taught in the original release.

Luckily for the multiplayer, you actually have to unlock the new decks that you have just purchased. Now I can see this being a huge bone of contention for a lot of people and we are bound to see the “I paid for it but can’t use it” complaints rear their head on more than one occasion, but as far as I’m concerned this is a good thing. Yes, you have purchased the expansion but you have to learn the skills and earn the right to be able to use them rather than becoming instantly overpowered compared to new players.

Although this expansion is really about the new decks, you also get five more challenges - which is possibly my favourite part of the game - two new campaign levels, which both contain five levels and a few more avatars thrown in to sweeten the deal. Although it doesn’t quite push the original releases score up to a nine, it does very little wrong allowing the game to firmly cement as an eight.

MLG Rating: 8/10 Platform: PS3/ Xbox 360 Release Date: 26/09/2012

Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Magic: The Gathering Duel of the Planeswalkers 2013 expansion by the promoter for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of four days on a PS3. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.

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