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[Review] Magic Arena: The better way to play Magic: the Gathering.

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questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011

1. Date Played: Wednesday, 8 February 2023
2. Game Name: Magic the Gathering Arena
3. Designer Name: Richard Garfield
4. Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (WotC)

5. Time of Play: 15 to 20 minutes per match (Duel)
6. Number of Players: 1 Player (Solo versus AI and online opponents)
7. Player Ages: 40+ for myself.

8. The Review

I decided to post this REVIEW after tonight's series of matches that I played in "Magic: Arena" (MagicA).

So let my start by saying this: MagicA takes a bit of time before you actually have nothing to do but play the game as the game "Tells you how to play"!

That would seem to be boring, right? How can you enjoy playing a game that tells you what you SHOULD do?! Well TBH it makes it less frustrating losing a match knowing you will unlock the next Quest which will grant you an extra "Booster Pack" or some "Gold" you can use to spend monies on Sleeves, Cards, Booster Packs, etc.

So it means that while you ARE sorta "Grinding" ... the Quests make the game engaging EVEN IF YOU LOSE a match. Huh??? What do I mean?! Haha!

Well I had a Quest "Unlock a NEW DECK by summoning 45 Creatures".

REMEMBER The REWARD is NOT a BOOSTER PACK: it's a 60 Deck complete Duo Colored Deck (in my case Black/Red ... Which I have not had the chance to try out or read more about it...)

So from experience the GOTO Deck is Mono Red because they summon a TON of 1/1 Creatures at little cost and then you can boost them with a +2/0 giving ALL of them a 3/1 and if you've got a DOZEN of them, well you've 36/12 in terms of POWER! Hahahaha! Yes the Red "Alkhemy" Deck is POWERFUL.

And this is a Deck you GET FREE... After completing the initial Tutorial which faces you against "Nick Bolas" (A Dragon)... So when you START there are ONLY 5 Tutorials and a match against the Dragon. It's a TOUGH duel to start the game ... And many people would/will QUIT before completing the Tutorial!

Once you do complete it, you are rewarded with FIVE (5) Alkhemy Decks (NOT Standard Legal). Beat 6 opponents and EARN "Five (5)" Decks... Pretty COOL!

Next you are IN-THE-GAME. There seems like a LOT to do... But in reality you haven't unlock Player-Versus-Player (PVP) and you don't really know much about MagicA ... Yet! And so you have to play Color "Match-Ups" like White vs. Blue or White vs. Green, etc. Each time to play a match-up, if you LOSE they will explain how to better WIN the next time around. And once you do WIN, you get 3 upgraded cards to your "White" Deck (for example).

You WIN four (4) colors, then the fifth (5th) is a random match-up. Either way if you WIN or LOSE, you still earn XP and unlock a REWARD.

It's a bit of a GRIND at this point since you need to complete all FIVE (5) colors, 5 matches each... So you need to WIN 20 Match-ups and play 5 extra bonuses to see how you stack-up versus your opponents.

Once you beat a COLOR (like "White" or "Green", etc.) you also earn XP and different REWARDS (like Gold for example). The key thing is that you unlock PVP, Ranked PVP and Events.

Like I said it's a bit a GRIND... But for those who push through and continue playing the game gets INTERESTING! That's right, you've been playing MATCHES already... But MOST are against AI opponent (except for Match #5 for each color that is a random opponent).

At this point I should say: What are your "Quests" asking of you?

Cast 25 White/Blue Spells, no problem... Play White or Blue... Unlock a NEW Deck by playing 45 Creatures, no problem... Play Red and summon a Goblin Army!

Anyhow by following instructions of the game... It keeps the game FRESH all the while earning more Gold, XP, Booster Packs, etc.

This is by no means a "Pay to Win" Game. It is "FREE to play" and while there is a GRIND ... It's pretty FUN even though you need to replay a couple of matches... Makes it more FUN if you WIN sometimes too!

9. Rating: 9 out of 10

10. Final thoughts

MagicA will never replace MtG Paper in-person play. Why? Because WotC know that Paper MtG is where they make the MOST money. Sure MagicA introduces players to MtG (sorta) ... And yes there are in-game purchases too... The reality is that MagicA does all the HOUSEKEEPING automatically.

You've got to TRACK a +2/0 on all deployed Creatures and have 12 1/1 Goblins! So that's 36/12 in total... Imagine TRACKING that in-person... Horrible. Bad user experience ... Could lose that kind of MtG player FOREVER!

Not with MagicA...! MagicA explains your choices, handles Enchantment and all the EXTRA abilities, effects, etc.

You don't need to worry that: "Hmm... Am I playing the game correctly???" "Is my interpretation of this Card's ability CORRECT??", etc.

We'll have to WAIT and SEE what WotC do with MagicA. Yes it does make some monies (I've already spent $20 USD) ... But that's (IMO) not the reason that MagicA exists. I think it exists because MagicA is a BETTER game than Paper Magic! Don't shoot me for that... But with all the "Housekeeping" being done pretty easily by the CPU... You can sit back and ENJOY the "laughter"!

Cheers All!

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