Inside Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013

Inside Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013

Discussing my favorite decks from Duels 2013.

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I know some people complained about being mana-screwed in the earlier games, but I think they over-corrected the problem. Yevra's deck is really fun but even by the standards of Duels Liliana's deck lacks focus (though Chandra seems to have gained it, which is nice).

I'm starting to wonder, is this Duels of the Planeswalkers thing going to be the new EA Sports franchise only, you know, not made by EA?

canadamus_prime:
I'm starting to wonder, is this Duels of the Planeswalkers thing going to be the new EA Sports franchise only, you know, not made by EA?

It's pretty much the best way to keep magic fresh in people's minds, which stirs actual card sales.

And when you consider it's 10 bucks a game and not 60... the idea of a new one every year isn't as damning in my eyes.

I think it could be. I think that is the purpose behind making DoTP to make a fast and friendly arcade feel to magic in order to grant the highest possible level of accessibility. You could hypothetically use it as a competitive end due to the preset deck only nature of it. It allows people to stop focusing on creativity and trickery and pushes them toward timing, technique and luck. Honestly I think it has more potential for a competitive "sport" in duels than standard magic because with its nature being more accessible, you could potentially see more people playing it. If that occurs "sport" becomes a natural extension

edit: sorry, guess I missed the gist of that

Draconalis:

canadamus_prime:
I'm starting to wonder, is this Duels of the Planeswalkers thing going to be the new EA Sports franchise only, you know, not made by EA?

It's pretty much the best way to keep magic fresh in people's minds, which stirs actual card sales.

And when you consider it's 10 bucks a game and not 60... the idea of a new one every year isn't as damning in my eyes.

Quite true.
And each iteration of Planeswalkers actually does add a lot more to the game than any Madden game ever seemed to. (I must confess my own ignorance of Madden as I've never played a single game in the series and probably never will, but does adding one or two new players each year really change that much?)

Case in point...
compare Jace Beleron's deck from 2012 with the one he has in 2013. 2012's seemed like a typical blue deck built around keeping your defenses up long enough to get something really nasty out... while 2013's is built around constantly attacking your opponent's deck... which basically means you need to start said attacks from turn one and never letting up if possible.

I can already see Celestial Light winning this iteration's claim of being OP, which I can actually get behind since it has so many "Double your Life total" cards in it. Not to mention that 'win with 40 life' card. Though, as mentioned in the article, it's somewhat balanced out by the speed of many of the other decks.

Draconalis:

canadamus_prime:
I'm starting to wonder, is this Duels of the Planeswalkers thing going to be the new EA Sports franchise only, you know, not made by EA?

It's pretty much the best way to keep magic fresh in people's minds, which stirs actual card sales.

And when you consider it's 10 bucks a game and not 60... the idea of a new one every year isn't as damning in my eyes.

This is true, this is true; but I just have to wonder what has been added to DotP 2013 that couldn't have just been added to DotP 2012 in yet another DLC pack?

canadamus_prime:

This is true, this is true; but I just have to wonder what has been added to DotP 2013 that couldn't have just been added to DotP 2012 in yet another DLC pack?

The subtraction of a 2 and the addition of a 3 in the title.

In all seriousness though, this game offers completely new decks all around, and new game styles. I'm not an expert on the matter or anything, but I've never heard of a DLC that pretty much completely changed every aspect of the a game before.

This game offers everything the old game did, in terms of mechanics and side games while at the same time changing everything as well, new decks, new puzzles, new game type (planeschase).

Seems closer to a new game than an expansion to me.

canadamus_prime:
I'm starting to wonder, is this Duels of the Planeswalkers thing going to be the new EA Sports franchise only, you know, not made by EA?

A new Core Set has come out every year for the last 13, so the games matching it wouldn't surprise me. Which is a good thing, let you try out the new core set cards before getting them IRL.

OT: I enjoy the Chandra deck. Enough removal to deal with threats, while slowing whittling down their life with firebreathing.

TheDoctor455:

Draconalis:

canadamus_prime:
I'm starting to wonder, is this Duels of the Planeswalkers thing going to be the new EA Sports franchise only, you know, not made by EA?

It's pretty much the best way to keep magic fresh in people's minds, which stirs actual card sales.

And when you consider it's 10 bucks a game and not 60... the idea of a new one every year isn't as damning in my eyes.

Quite true.
And each iteration of Planeswalkers actually does add a lot more to the game than any Madden game ever seemed to. (I must confess my own ignorance of Madden as I've never played a single game in the series and probably never will, but does adding one or two new players each year really change that much?)

It's a lot more than just roster updates. Large changes to character animations allows for smoother running plays (In just from 2011 to 2012, we've gone from running in place behind a player to be able to detect the best hole and squeeze through the line) and overalls of the AI to make them more responsive. Every year, at least 2 game mechanics come out that improve gameplay.

NameIsRobertPaulson:

TheDoctor455:

Draconalis:

It's pretty much the best way to keep magic fresh in people's minds, which stirs actual card sales.

And when you consider it's 10 bucks a game and not 60... the idea of a new one every year isn't as damning in my eyes.

Quite true.
And each iteration of Planeswalkers actually does add a lot more to the game than any Madden game ever seemed to. (I must confess my own ignorance of Madden as I've never played a single game in the series and probably never will, but does adding one or two new players each year really change that much?)

It's a lot more than just roster updates. Large changes to character animations allows for smoother running plays (In just from 2011 to 2012, we've gone from running in place behind a player to be able to detect the best hole and squeeze through the line) and overalls of the AI to make them more responsive. Every year, at least 2 game mechanics come out that improve gameplay.

Which I'm sure sounds impressive to someone who understands and plays the Madden series. But... Magic the Gathering... well... it has a rule that states that anytime where a card contradicts the rules of the game, do what the card says. So, with a game where it is possible to drastically change the rules of the game three times over in one match... new decks can REALLY change how the game plays.

The Exalted deck is easily my favorite of the bunch, though the Goblin one is definitely a close second. I am glad the mechanic is returning come Core 2013 - a deck built around it sounds like fun.

canadamus_prime:

This is true, this is true; but I just have to wonder what has been added to DotP 2013 that couldn't have just been added to DotP 2012 in yet another DLC pack?

Balance, for the most part. A new block as come in since Duels 2012 and a block has been cycled out, which means that the decks in Duels 2012 aren't designed around the new cards. This means that, at it's very core, having it as an expansion could seriously imbalance the game. Tack on that it's really hard to create deck balance between 20+ different decks in what is essentially an extended block, and that's the core of the issue.

Berenzen:

canadamus_prime:

This is true, this is true; but I just have to wonder what has been added to DotP 2013 that couldn't have just been added to DotP 2012 in yet another DLC pack?

Balance, for the most part. A new block as come in since Duels 2012 and a block has been cycled out, which means that the decks in Duels 2012 aren't designed around the new cards. This means that, at it's very core, having it as an expansion could seriously imbalance the game. Tack on that it's really hard to create deck balance between 20+ different decks in what is essentially an extended block, and that's the core of the issue.

So you can't build your own decks in this game? That kinda sucks.

I love that you can finally tap mana manually in this game. In the one deck with more than one colour.

And I also love that the power level and consistency of all decks is so low that you can't rely on anything.

And that I can't put more lands in my deck when it desperately needs it. I didn't need to hit that seventh land drop in the deck that doesn't do anything before it hits seven and doesn't win before it hits 9 anyway. Silly me.

And I like playing 20 or 27 lands in the exalted deck. Because non-basic lands totally count as spells.

Actually, this image pretty much sums up my opinion of the game. I was interested to see what would happen if you didn't concede to Ajani getting too far ahead. Apparently, he can't kill you, and gets bored and kills himself.

http://cloud.steampowered.com/ugc/560945254357354521/B88F34D52EE64A00242FF339F91F8A5A9A9B6871/

He can't gain more than 9999 life by the way. It stops.

As a Legacy player, it was weird for a second when you said "winning as early as turn 6". I had to stop myself and remember that this is a completely different format.

4173:
I know some people complained about being mana-screwed in the earlier games, but I think they over-corrected the problem. Yevra's deck is really fun but even by the standards of Duels Liliana's deck lacks focus (though Chandra seems to have gained it, which is nice).

That doesn't seem like a valid complaint though. Last time I checked, certain decks were built heavily around gathering land cards.

Silver:
I love that you can finally tap mana manually in this game. In the one deck with more than one colour.

And I also love that the power level and consistency of all decks is so low that you can't rely on anything.

And that I can't put more lands in my deck when it desperately needs it. I didn't need to hit that seventh land drop in the deck that doesn't do anything before it hits seven and doesn't win before it hits 9 anyway. Silly me.

And I like playing 20 or 27 lands in the exalted deck. Because non-basic lands totally count as spells.

Actually, this image pretty much sums up my opinion of the game. I was interested to see what would happen if you didn't concede to Ajani getting too far ahead. Apparently, he can't kill you, and gets bored and kills himself.

http://cloud.steampowered.com/ugc/560945254357354521/B88F34D52EE64A00242FF339F91F8A5A9A9B6871/

He can't gain more than 9999 life by the way. It stops.

I managed to beat the first planechase match with a fully unlocked Obedient Dead deck. It's great in those types of matches. ^^

Oh, I won too. Like I said, he couldn't kill me. He chumped away attackers against my cats, he didn't attack when he could, he neglected to play white sun's zenith and died on his draw step, etc. Not a single card unlocked.

I'd say that's a pretty good overview of the game, though I respectfully disagree with a couple of the suggestions.

First off, you're spot-on with the Goblin deck being wickedly fast. When playing through Vengence campaign, that was easily the hardest deck I came across. I bumped the difficulty down from Planeswalker to Super Retard Easy and STILL got my ass beat time and time again...it's just too damn fast to be able to counter effectively with almost any deck in the game. I've never been a big goblin fan, but I have to give it to this deck...it is absolutely BRUTAL! I tried milling it (big mistake), I tried burning it (effective but just couldn't keep up), I tried overpowering it (those goblin grenades and that dude you can cycle and have him deal damage = to the number of goblins you have makes having big creatures absolutely meaningless), I tried outlasting it with Ajani's life-link deck and while that worked for a bit, in the end it just wasn't enough. Finally I turned to the goblin deck itselff and had a Goblin vs Goblin slug-fest and came out on top on my first game. :P

As for the green decks, I prefer Garruk over Yeva. I've gotta say I was very, very pleased to see that Garruk's deck is back to being - pardon the pun - "beastly" like it was in the first Duels game. In the first game if you just wanted a straight-forward beatdown deck, look no further than Garruk. Same goes with this game, those larvas that get +1/+1 for each forest whenever they attack are awesome. I also like how they gave Garruk some "kill cards" in the form of "this creature fights that creature" cards. The thing about Yeva is, indeed, she does have a lot of great combos, but all it takes is a kill card and the combo is broken. That 4/4 bouncer beast gets on the board? Just kill it. No more bouncy bouncy. Garruk's deck isn't dependant upon such strategies. As I said, Garruk is just a straight-up beat-down deck with each creature being absolutely deadly in its own right.

As for the white decks, I've gotta say I like Ajani more than Odric. I will say that Odric is the cheesiest cheese deck that every cheesed someone out of a victory, however, I've already won at least 20 matches just by having that creature in Adjani's deck that lets you automatically win if you have 40 or more health during your upkeep. But where I think Ajani really shines through is Planechase. Thanks to it and Celestial Armor (think that's what it is, it's the enchantment that gives +3/+3 and doubles your life total if your creature hits the player) and that guy that doubles any health that you gain, I've already managed to reach the maximum life total of 9999. During one game of Planeschase, a Phenomenon card came up that destroyed all creatures on the board. The next card that came up said return all creatures from the graveyards back onto the board. 3 soul wardens + 3 Adjani's Pridemates = 30 minutes of watching effects count down, leaving my pridemates with 176 (I think, somewhere around there) power and toughness.

As for my personal favorite...I know it's not the best deck in the game, but I really like the Exalted deck...especially if you can get out one of those guys that makes it so that only one creature can attack and only one creature can block. I didn't know about the Exalted mechanic until this game came out, and it's already one of my favorite mechanics ever. With the right opening hand, the Exalted deck can be pretty fast and mean in its own right.

Anyhow, not that anyone asked, but that's my take on the new game. :P

RJ 17:
I'd say that's a pretty good overview of the game, though I respectfully disagree with a couple of the suggestions.

First off, you're spot-on with the Goblin deck being wickedly fast. When playing through Vengence campaign, that was easily the hardest deck I came across. I bumped the difficulty down from Planeswalker to Super Retard Easy and STILL got my ass beat time and time again...it's just too damn fast to be able to counter effectively with almost any deck in the game. I've never been a big goblin fan, but I have to give it to this deck...it is absolutely BRUTAL! I tried milling it (big mistake), I tried burning it (effective but just couldn't keep up), I tried overpowering it (those goblin grenades and that dude you can cycle and have him deal damage = to the number of goblins you have makes having big creatures absolutely meaningless), I tried outlasting it with Ajani's life-link deck and while that worked for a bit, in the end it just wasn't enough. Finally I turned to the goblin deck itselff and had a Goblin vs Goblin slug-fest and came out on top on my first game. :P

As for the green decks, I prefer Garruk over Yeva. I've gotta say I was very, very pleased to see that Garruk's deck is back to being - pardon the pun - "beastly" like it was in the first Duels game. In the first game if you just wanted a straight-forward beatdown deck, look no further than Garruk. Same goes with this game, those larvas that get +1/+1 for each forest whenever they attack are awesome. I also like how they gave Garruk some "kill cards" in the form of "this creature fights that creature" cards. The thing about Yeva is, indeed, she does have a lot of great combos, but all it takes is a kill card and the combo is broken. That 4/4 bouncer beast gets on the board? Just kill it. No more bouncy bouncy. Garruk's deck isn't dependant upon such strategies. As I said, Garruk is just a straight-up beat-down deck with each creature being absolutely deadly in its own right.

As for the white decks, I've gotta say I like Ajani more than Odric. I will say that Odric is the cheesiest cheese deck that every cheesed someone out of a victory, however, I've already won at least 20 matches just by having that creature in Adjani's deck that lets you automatically win if you have 40 or more health during your upkeep. But where I think Ajani really shines through is Planechase. Thanks to it and Celestial Armor (think that's what it is, it's the enchantment that gives +3/+3 and doubles your life total if your creature hits the player) and that guy that doubles any health that you gain, I've already managed to reach the maximum life total of 9999. During one game of Planeschase, a Phenomenon card came up that destroyed all creatures on the board. The next card that came up said return all creatures from the graveyards back onto the board. 3 soul wardens + 3 Adjani's Pridemates = 30 minutes of watching effects count down, leaving my pridemates with 176 (I think, somewhere around there) power and toughness.

As for my personal favorite...I know it's not the best deck in the game, but I really like the Exalted deck...especially if you can get out one of those guys that makes it so that only one creature can attack and only one creature can block. I didn't know about the Exalted mechanic until this game came out, and it's already one of my favorite mechanics ever. With the right opening hand, the Exalted deck can be pretty fast and mean in its own right.

Anyhow, not that anyone asked, but that's my take on the new game. :P

Ahh, interesting! I never had that much luck with the life gain deck, though I haven't had a chance to play it in Planechase as yet, so I guess I'll have to try that out when I get home tonight. Exalted has been one of my favorite mechanics since I played Bant exalted in Alara. It's just so much fun when it works! I don't know what's changed, but for some reason I just like the speedier decks in Duels 2013, though, hence my preference for Odric and Goblins. Though I guess I'm going to have to play more matches to see for myself just how fast the Exalted deck can be. :D

For me, the Ajani deck was most fun. Seeing the 1/1's supersized to 6/6 by turn 4 is satisfying. Not only that, but with the Pridemates constantly growing thanks to Soul Warden. The peacekeepers deck gets you wins, but not very fun to use.

The goblin deck is easily the most feared. Once Krenko comes out and you have no burn/remove/counter spell, game over. I avoid using it online.

Black is my favorite color, but I was disappointed with the decks. The exalted deck was entertaining, but winning with this is very rare. The Liliana deck was flat-out horrible. Too slow, not enough creatures.

The challenges were hard, but one particular challenge is flat-out impossible without looking up a walkthrough online. The encounters were too easy(but I guess they should be easy?) minus the Primordial Hydra encounter.

Of course, you have to wait for the first DLC to arrive for the watered-down Nicol Bolas deck.

Encaen:
Ahh, interesting! I never had that much luck with the life gain deck, though I haven't had a chance to play it in Planechase as yet, so I guess I'll have to try that out when I get home tonight. Exalted has been one of my favorite mechanics since I played Bant exalted in Alara. It's just so much fun when it works! I don't know what's changed, but for some reason I just like the speedier decks in Duels 2013, though, hence my preference for Odric and Goblins. Though I guess I'm going to have to play more matches to see for myself just how fast the Exalted deck can be. :D

Yeah, the life link deck can definitely be a bit slower in 1v1 matches, in which case I'd rate it as decent. But I've got a buddy and we normally play 2 headed giant, so my life link normally functions as support while he uses a more offensive deck (Garruk or Goblins, normally).

What turned me on to the Goblin deck was, as I mentioned, playing against it and getting destroyed over and over again no matter which deck I tried even on the easiest difficulty, only playing against it with the goblin deck was I able to keep up and win the match. Hell, I was able to one-shot Nicol Bolas on Planeswalker first time with Garruk, 2nd time with Jace. But I spent well over an hour trying to best those pesky goblins.

But definitely give Ajani a try in Planechase, I'd go so far as to say it actually breaks the game. Soul Wardens and Pridemates can just go absolutely out of control with so many creatures entering and leaving and re-entering the board. I normally take a few hits to begin with, but like you said: everyone's got other people to worry about too, so unless EVERYONE agrees that you absolutely must die first, chances are you'll be able to get your ball rolling and be gaining life like crazy soon enough. It's what I used on the Planechase campaign all the way through and I never had to replay a game. Granted, some of my games lasted over an hour, but in the end I'd come out on top by just beating them or getting out that guy that lets you win at 40 health.

As for Exalted, the reason I didn't know about it until this game came out was because I had taken a lllooonnnggg leave of absence from the game. I left off with Kamigawa and picked up again at the very tail end of the Magic 2011 set. But the exalted deck in this game turned me into a believer. You've got those special lands that even have exalted, those enchantments that have exalted. And those wonderful, sneaky little Tormented Souls to slip through with unblockable exalted damage. When I tried it against the goblins it was basically a slug-fest to see who could kill who the fastest and they ended up winning out, but you can still be attacking with some pretty big stuff by turn 3 if you get the right opening hand.

:P Then again, a lot of this game depends on "if you get the right opening hand".

And just on a side note, I hope they bring back Arch Enemy in an expansion. :3

The Exalted deck is by far my most hated deck. However since the majority of the monsters in the deck are X/1 creatures then a well timed Chandra's Fury or a nice Flame Wall can ruin plans.

My favourite deck by far is Jace's Dream Puppets. Drawing two Chancellor of the Spires in my starting hand. Then coupled with a nice Traumatize, Sword of Body and Mind to attach to Jace's Phantasm or Scalpelexis (a fantastic card when you realise that land cards in a deck have the same name. Ruining 20/30/40 cards from a deck in one attack is rediculous) and keep the pressure on with a couple of Hedron Crabs and before you know it your opponent can't draw squat.

Yeah Ajani could have 6000 life but if he has no cards to draw, it all rendered moot.

Me and a friend like to play 2 headed giant games where I go Dream Puppets to mill one of our opponents into dust while he goes Pack Instinct or Born of Flame to defend against everyone since Dream Puppets does lack anything remotely powerful in the creature department. Unless I use Mind Control :D

FilipJPhry:
The challenges were hard, but one particular challenge is flat-out impossible without looking up a walkthrough online. The encounters were too easy(but I guess they should be easy?) minus the Primordial Hydra encounter.

Say Your Praetors was a great challenge!
This is my opinion on the Hyrda encounter;

Of course, you have to wait for the first DLC to arrive for the watered-down Nicol Bolas deck.

I'm not sure what you mean by this but Nicol Bolas is a hell of a lot easier in 2013 than he was in 2012. On the normal campaign he didn't even draw a single creature before Dream Puppets reduced his deck to mush and I had very little trouble in the Revenge campaign using Dream Puppets again. Unless that was your point.

Meh. I'm not buying another one of these until I get full deck customization.

TimeLord:

My favourite deck by far is Jace's Dream Puppets. Drawing two Chancellor of the Spires in my starting hand. Then coupled with a nice Traumatize, Sword of Body and Mind to attach to Jace's Phantasm or Scalpelexis (a fantastic card when you realise that land cards in a deck have the same name. Ruining 20/30/40 cards from a deck in one attack is rediculous) and keep the pressure on with a couple of Hedron Crabs and before you know it your opponent can't draw squat.

I really like to play with Dream puppets too...but I have a hard time surviving. The bouncers doesn't really buy you enough time.

FHG:

TimeLord:

My favourite deck by far is Jace's Dream Puppets. Drawing two Chancellor of the Spires in my starting hand. Then coupled with a nice Traumatize, Sword of Body and Mind to attach to Jace's Phantasm or Scalpelexis (a fantastic card when you realise that land cards in a deck have the same name. Ruining 20/30/40 cards from a deck in one attack is rediculous) and keep the pressure on with a couple of Hedron Crabs and before you know it your opponent can't draw squat.

I really like to play with Dream puppets too...but I have a hard time surviving. The bouncers doesn't really buy you enough time.

Yeah, Jace's Phantasm is really your main defence. Against Green decks I've had some trouble since they just swamp me before I can do anything.

Ancient Wilds is just so much fun. Definetely one of those decks that, once it gets going, there is little you can do to deal with.

Because it's such a long term deck, I actually run Primal Surge just for that rainy day... Or Wood Elves mana ramping.

Btw, Erratic Portal is AMAZING... Even better in two headed giant when your ally has a Captain of the Watch or Aether Adept out or something...

 

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