The lights are on
Wizards of the Coast has worked tirelessly to make its Duels of the Planeswalkers series a fun digital representation of the collectible Magic: the Gathering card game and a great way for new players to get involved. This year, Duels adds a story mode and one of the most requested features since the series premiered in 2009: the sealed format.
This year's iteration introduces a full story mode that sees planeswalker Chandra Nalaar on a quest for revenge. Interwoven through the battles, mini-bosses, and planeswalker matches are attractive cutscenes that progress the narrative. The user interface has been smartly revamped to make information easier to see at a glance. The timer has also been tweaked to improve the flow of play.During combat, players can deliver death blows more easily with an "attack with all" function. This will speed late-game play in unbalanced matches.There are 10 new decks included and 16 new puzzles, which always challenge even the most creative Magic players.The new decks and cards are pulled from some of Magic's richest planes, including Alara and Innistrad. Most importantly, players will be able to build their own decks for the first time in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014's sealed format.Here, players get six sealed boosters of 15 cards each for players to make decks of 40 cards each (as opposed to the campaign, which uses 60-card decks).Building can be as in-depth or simple as players choose, with options to simply auto-construct the best deck, build around a specific card, or add and subtract at will.The display offers converted mana curves, a mechanism that shows how quickly you'll likely be able to get into the fight, land builds (also fully customizable), and a "deck strength" meter that considers land, creatures, removal, and overall synergy. It's extremely robust, especially for the first time out.There are separate sealed campaigns, and players can earn three more boosters along the way. Each sealed pool takes up a slot permanently. Two of these are provided with the core purchase. Additional slots are available (up to a maximum of 20) for $1.99 each. Given that the total pool in sealed is only 151 cards, it's not likely that players will need too many of these. Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 arrives on June 26, 2013, for PC, iOS, Android, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Oh, and for people who love messing with their opponents, look for the Slivers that are in this set in force.