Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers was developed by Stainless Games and Wizards of the Coast and published by Microsoft Studios. It retails for 800 MSP and was released on June 26, 2013. XBLA Fans awarded Magic 2014 a coveted Buy It! award in our recent review
Sealed play (which is perhaps the most exciting addition to this year’s Duels of the Planeswalkers title) is a real life Magic: The Gathering (MTG) staple that attracts casual, serious and professional players time and time again. The format is challenging because it relies upon each player’s ability to produce the best possible deck from a fixed pool of cards, but at the same time it is extremely rewarding to watch that handmade deck pull off a big victory or combo.
Fans of popular trading card game Magic: The Gathering will already be salivating at the recent news that Sliver creatures will return in the upcoming Magic 2014 core set; but the news for Xbox owners is even more exciting, as this years edition of Magic 2014 – Duels of the Planeswalkers will feature a Sealed Play format for the first time!
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.
The next iteration of Duels of the Planeswalkers, dubbed Duels 2012, will see significant improvements over its 2009 predecessor. The most significant change was officially announced yesterday on the game’s community boards, thanks to a post from Community Manager WotC_Microbless, who confirmed that the new game would have the ability to remove cards from the core 60 card deck and replace them with cards unlocked as rewards for playing the game. As a result, players will be able to customize their decks in new and exciting ways.