So I jumped in last night and grabbed DotP 2012. I was a huge fan of the first Duels of the Planeswalkers game, so I was really curious to see how they would improve it. I do play a fair amount of real magic, and as such I have fairly high expectations as to what a magic game should be. This game comes as close to meeting those expectations as any magic game I've ever played.
I'll be linking any card names to the WotC gatherer site, so you can reference them as needed.
I had a few reservations but they were unfounded. This game is a good deal better than the old version, and if you have played magic before - don't worry, you've got some pretty interesting cards to play with. There's still some downright terrible wall of wood
like cards out there, but they don't have to remain in the deck anymore!
Right off the bat, you're given the choice of two decks. A white weenie deck with equipment, and a mono-green stompy deck. Mono green typically gets outclassed by pretty much everything - stompy is one of the most basic strategies - so I stuck with the white weenie deck.
Right off the bat, I'm seeing cards like Serra Angel
and Stoneforge Mystic
- halfway decent cards? In the first deck??? That's a nice way to start! The mystic didn't really have too much goodness to search up so I grabbed a Strider Harness
but then started falling behind as my opponent started peeling earth elemental after earth elemental, and played some red spell that looked like pyroclasm... and I fell behind and never caught back up. Restarted the duel and he kept a one lander and my weenies overran him. Sweet!
Progressing through the single player game, I was impressed by the quality of the decks. The fourth deck in the game is a green/blue concoction featuring a lot of fast mana, coiling oracles
, ramping into big things like Lorthos the Freshmaker
and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
. Keep in mind, this is less than an hour in. I'm really impressed with these decks. I'd be curious to see how much newer players may struggle, but this is way better than playing generic 2/1 with no abilities into a generic 3/3 for 4, with a lightning bolt and a lava axe thrown in for good measure. This should keep more dedicated magic players in for longer.
I ran with the blue/green deck after unlocking it, and didn't see anything I liked better come available.
I was only able to play for about two hours last night, and had to tear myself away.
Of the decks I've seen:
Mono White - Weenie / Equipment
Mono Green - Stompy
Blue/Black/white - esper artifacts
Blue/Green - eldrazi ramp
Red Black - Goblin tribal / Dragons
There is allegedly ten decks available total. I suspect as with the last game, there will be one deck that you don't get to play.
The unlockables are pretty good too. After winning my first game with the esper deck, I unlocked three Golem's Heart
- you'll remember these from the old game if you played it. However, unlike in the old game, where you'd unlock one at a time, this time if you get multiples of the same card, they unlock at the same time. Very cool! No more wading through the crap to get the good cards in the deck active.
And as previously mentioned, the deck builder is much improved. You are forced to have a minimum of 60 cards in the deck, and you can't take cards intended for other decks to build whatever you want (which is kind of unfortunate, but it should stop the online play from becoming degenerate). Cards you unlock are automatically put into your deck. Decks are sorted by converted mana cost, and you can get some basic statistics (cost, color quantity) while determining what to add / cut from your deck. So when you unlock those Assault Zeppelids
, those Giant Octopuses
get stuffed into the never going back into the deck again pile --> Where they belong.
I did try to play a game of Archenemy - but with two computer players, it wasn't very much fun. If anyone is interested in trying out some archenemy this weekend, I would be down for joining in.
I also hope the puzzles get more challenging. The first few were extremely basic puzzles such as 'understand how to regenerate your creature' and 'block this trampler with two creatures, and then swing with your flier for the win'.