Magic The Gathering Arena | First Impressions
I’ve had that itch for a while now to get back into Magic the Gathering and playing some other kinds of collective card games that are out there. Though I would try out the digital version and see how that went.
A number of years back I check in on how my physical cards from 1996 to 1998 or around then were doing. With them being played and those years not being the best no shocker they are not worth much. I know there a big difference between in price point when a card is graded at 8 out of 10 opposed to 4 or lower out of 10. Meanwhile, the difference between those two rating is some minor wear on the card itself. Which all mine have been played with when I was a kid so they suffer some abuse over the years! Not to mention I never spent the money to try and store them properly. Was going take some photos of them but I’ve misplaced them in some random box it seems.
I have played in the past a few different digital collective card games (dccg) such as Hearthstone, Steem Monsters, Gwent, Elder Scrolls Legends. Many of them are a free or low barrier to enter but if you really want to get anywhere in the game it will cost an arm and a leg. At least you don’t have to worry about counterfeit cards or pre-searched /resealed boxes and packages. Outside of something like Steem Monster there also no sell-ability but since I’m just looking to play a game that’s not on my priory list.
Right now Magic The Gathering is having an esports event the Mythic Invitational and they are showing it on twitch that is running from March 28 to the 31st which has stirred up my curiosity enough to try out Arena.
One of the nice things I already like getting back into this world is there just so much rich history and the cards themselves are just freaking amazing to look at. I swear I’m going have to go out and buy some physical cards at some point just to have some of the newer ones I can hold. There just something about having the physical thing that makes it so much better and gives them a huge leg up compared to other games that only have a digital game to play.
First Few games
While I have forgotten the basics of the game itself they start you off in a simple tutorial. They also reward you along the way with more cards as they add on more layers of the game. They have better than most animations and things going on to keep you interested. While you learn about lands, auras, tap cards, attacking, defending, and some other stuff.
Then they open up the world more to you in practice mode where you get to battle Sparky the entity that has been guiding you along. Up to this point, the fights have been super simple. She is rather easy to beat and I’ve yet to lose a single match. I think they are setting the player expectations a little too high because after your three matches with her and they open up other options you’re going to pound land!
Like in most of these games they have a basic play mode where you could be facing any range and player skill level. I got crushed so bad most of my matches ended without me killing off a single monster on the battlefield. I was just someone’s play toy and not a fun one at that. After a few of those, it was time to move on.
Many people in these kinds of games for whatever reason fear Ranked mode. Once you get over that fact that it’s “ranked” it’s a great place to enjoy collective card games in. You have a better chance at finding people you can beat then you would elsewhere. Since after all the better players should gain enough rank after a while.
There just one catch in about 48 hours the current season is going to end. As expected you have a bunch of people who have not been around for the season with their very amazing decks just crushing plebes like myself. I can also assume Mythic Invitational has gotten many players to be active. At least I’ve won a few and got to open some packs, earn gold to buy packs, and get more free cards from leveling up.
One Interesting Match
There are going to be so many different ways and playstyles to this game that should keep it rather interesting. I had one match that was so frustrating I bet that player whole strategy is to get people to rage quit the match!
I started off getting a hand with only two lands in it. I should have mulligan it (gotten a new hand). I, however, had two cards I could play right away. The deck they started me off with has 24 Plains in it out of the 60 cards that make up a deck. So I was confident by the time I had placed my hand down I would have gotten a third plains.
My opponent never placed a single monster onto the battleground. He did place some artifacts and outside of that, his entire gameplay was just spell cards! Yep just spells. Where they damage spells to nuke me in the face? Nope.
Every turn I place something down onto the battlefield he sends it back to my deck or kills it. As he did it triggered his placed Artifacts. Those artifacts, in turn, took undrawn cards in my deck and placed them into the graveyard! Said artifact I forget the name to did not attack so I would need a special card to remove it or destroy it.
I also was not getting any lands drawing each turn to place down more cards at once. Every time I’d see them getting flipped over and sent into my graveyard along with other cards.
This went on for what seemed like ages. Even more so since he sat out the timer, again and again. While waiting to play his single card or pass. I thought he had finally given up when his timer hit zero and then it restarted with the game saying something like “player requested more time.” Thankfully that can only be used so many times.
In the end, almost my entire deck was sitting in my graveyard never being placed once. I also started to get lands and was able to overwhelm him. Smacking him in the face a number of times till I won.
I need to find some Artifact counters or destroys because that was not the last time I got my butt kicked by these things. I can see why so many people use them in the lower ranking noob was not prepared and could not stop them.
One nice thing about playing a digital card game over the physical version is being able to earn free rewards just from playing.
They started me off with three daily’s that reward me with gold. I bought two packs so far with gold. They also have a daily win bonus that gives me more and more gold as I rack up the wins. I’m not quite sure where that caps at it just states it resets daily.
There is also a weekly win count for rewards. Each tier they give you a pack to open. I really like the fact that they focus on more than just daily rewards. That was always something I felt a few dccg games out there. A heavy focus on daily that never gave much and season rewards. Always felt like something was missing and that seems to do.
This to me is a big factor in any game like this. Getting some packs and then opening them to see what you get. I’ll admit it’s not as fun as other games like Hearthstone at first. They have done some stuff to make it interesting to say at least.
If you ever watch someone open a bunch of packs on YouTube you notice they are quite quick. The cards you really want are rare and even more so mythic. As such they already have flipped over the common cards. Instead, you are left with whatever could be something or nothing. At least from my understanding, it was at least the rarer cards you got to flip over with at least one in every pack.
One of the cooler features is the guaranteed wild cards as they call them after opening up so many packs. I already got my first uncommon wild and in another 5 pack openings, the game will reward me with another. I’m also just 2 away from getting a rare and 14 from a mythic rare—oh my!
While some are always lucky in what they get with a pack opening it can suck when lady luck is not on your side. As such this wild systems is quite nice to see. It’s almost like an insurance policy for bad luck and no matter what you will be betting a mythic every so often.
I don’t see myself for now buying 20k gems to open around 100 packs at $100 total for that many. They do have smaller options like 750 gems at $4.99 which would get you around 3 packs. Along with some special one time deals for me being new. I can start to see the cost of playing this game to really add up with how many cards there are.
Had some decent fun so far but there just so much about this game I need to learn. Right now I’m just playing the deck they gave me that is named Tactical Assault. Getting my butt kicked left and right with it as well but that is expected. At least I can get wins with every couple of games which keeps it more enjoyable than many of these genres I’ve played before.
I can see this game costing a lot of money if you just want that instant gratification and go on a pack buying spree. I myself am going keep going forward for now seeing how being free to play a player is. I’ve never been that great of a player in this kind of games but it is nice to see they do have esports and I’m going enjoy watching a fair amount of that as well.