The original Duels of the Planeswalkers was perhaps the best bad game one could play on XBLA. It launched with numerous bugs, many of which remain unfixed today. A small number of cards didn’t work as described in their text, it was inordinately difficult to arrange blocking if there were too many attackers, and certain design decisions crippled the strategic calculus normally found in a Magic game. And in many ways the first Duels game played like a giant teaser advertisement for the rest of the Magic universe, rather than as a game whole and complete unto itself. It was still hugely fun to play, because Magic is a fun game with great art and clever mechanics, but the game lacked a certain richness, that attention to detail and the player experience that marks a great game.
Thank Wizards and Stainless, then, for making the bold decision to leave behind the old game, warts and all, and concentrate on creating the game that the first Duels could have been. The new Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 addresses many of the complaints about the first Duels, providing a smoother, faster game experience, a cleaner UI, vastly improved deck editing, a variety of online cooperative play formats, and a generally richer, better game experience.