Tag Archives: Wizards of the Coast
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Returning to the Fold: MtG Arena & Hopes Before the Apr 26th Update

25 Apr

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Magic the Gathering: Arena is Wizards of the Coast‘s next digital iteration of Stainless Games’ Magic Duels. They have taken over development and have created a glitzier version which I appreciate. This update sports a new engine to allow for easier integration of new cards (and perhaps old too) when this product comes out of Beta testing. This change may happen very soon. On March 26th, new features will open up and Dominaria is being added. I am more excited to play this new set more so than owning the cards.

I played this set during the prerelease weekend and did better than expected. The practice I got in with the video game helped me win a few games than be smeared. WotC’s goal to bridge the two formats worked. Soon, I can ditch Duels in favour of Arena once the testing tag is removed. I may still continue to show up at some local game store events, but I feel like I’m done “paying” to play. As long as Arena has a mode for casuals, I will be sold on this new product. I have far too many hobbies where I sink just as much money into, and those I’m not too deep into will have to go. Daily quests for coin rewards are far more appealing to take on. Packs of cards now have wild cards that can be exchanged for specifics pieces. This feature is terrific, such that nailing any card is possible. To do this for the physical game means spending a lot of money for multiples of a killer card.

In the Beta product, this product focuses on player vs player battles. Coming changes include “best of one” events (no clearer definition is offered in the press release), an improvement in how to earn currency and added features. I am hoping narrative elements (much like in Duels for starting players) will be included, and perhaps also a test mode for experimental decks. Playing against opponents around the world is enjoyable, but I want a space where wins and losses are not recorded under DCI league. Supposedly, this feature is available in Magic Online; however, this iteration is as old as the Commodore PET displayed at the Royal BC Museum — it’s not a user-friendly system.

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Returning to the Fold: Playing Rivals of Ixalan Pre-Release & Ancient Civilizations

15 Jan

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

I do not always need to play every set release of Magic the Gathering, and I patiently waited for Rivals of Ixalan. I hoped it might offer a few gods inspired from Mesoamerican culture and make the game more of an archaeological adventure. That is, to include “traps” to trip up the opponent. While neither happened, it did not stop me from checking out the prerelease over the weekend instead of glossing over the cards online.

Sorry, Jace Beleren, but I forgot about you. I am more interested in finding the fabled El Dorado (Orazca). Six of the seven cards belong to Rivals, and these mana generators work well in both casual and competitive games. Path of Mettle flips to become Metzali, Tower of Triumph. This card deals direct damage to creatures while Azor’s Gateway transition to become Sanctum of the Sun can help bring out those high-cost Elder Dinosaurs into play faster.

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Returning to the Fold: Thoughts on the Ixalan Release

20 Sep

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

As the release of Wizards of the Coast’s Magic the Gathering Ixalan nears and the spoiler card information is fully released, everything I’m discovering about it is hardly exciting. Set one offers a bit of cool narrative, but I’m still not entirely sold in this mixed genre realm. Plus, the news on the incentive promotion cards for Friday Night Magic changing to token cards next month is more of a deterring factor. Because these participation bonuses are not shiny, I’m not as inclined to participate.

The Davy Jones in me thinks the plunder is slim. The last set drained my funds so I can pick up duplicates of certain cards. Ixalan offers very little I truly want to play with. While Sorcerous Spyglass and Revel in Riches are two nice cards, the appeal of fighting dinosaurs is not all that hot. I still feel going Land of the Lost should be its own entity. I do not mind the vampire pirates as much (I was hoping for a few lich types inspired from Pirates of the Caribbean), but I have a burning question: just how much sunblock are they wearing to in order to cross the sea to arrive at a new world? The folklorist in me is appalled by the fact these members of the undead can cross water. This fact goes against tradition.

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Returning to the Fold: Thoughts on Magic the Gathering’s Hour of Devastation Game Day

7 Aug

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

I wonder if I’m in the minority of Magic the Gathering (MtG) players who want to enjoy the game in a less competitive sense? I am a casual player where I prefer to imagine myself as Gandalf battling Saruman ala The Lord of the Rings. Although the white wizard was imprisoned on top of a tower in Fellowship and had very little power to access to escape, that’s how I feel at times with this game. I’m lacking the mana to get anywhere.

For the inexperienced, playing in the variety of in-store events depends on what you are after. I never expected to win many games because I have not touched the game for more than ten years, and the “new” deck archetypes and terminology I’m hearing are different than those that defined my era.

The competitive scene is a meat-grinder. It is not kind to a newcomer or returning player like me who has spent money on a box of booster packs and select cards to maybe make a challenge-worthy deck. The only time the playing field is level is with Draft or League games where the cards are locked to the packs you buy, and the random chance of maybe getting a game-changing card like Glorybringer.

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