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Magic: The Gathering's Tactical Miniatures Game Releases Today

| 1 Jul 2015 16:35

Magic: The Gathering's themed successor to Heroscape gets an early release today with more to come in August.

Magic: The Gathering Arena of the Planeswalkers hits select stores today, according to a surprise press release from Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast. First revealed late last year, the game is a Magic-themed spiritual successor to cult classic Heroscape, with many of the same designers taking the modular terrain and prepainted miniatures of that game and putting a Magic flavor on them. It's a classic tactical miniatures setup, having players as Planeswalkers summoning creatures, casting spells, and maneuvering those creatures on a hex-based battlefield to defeat their opponents. According to Hasbro, the game will be available in select gaming stores as well as Amazon, with a mainstream retail release in August after Gen Con. It will retail for $29.99 MSRP.

From the appearances of the game, players will draw from a deck of cards to get new spells and summon creatures form a pre-created army to fight opponents. Classic Magic effects like Trample and First Strike are present, alongside new powers familiar to Heroscape players like Counter Strike and Double Attack. Battle is handled by rollilng a set number of combat dice, trying to roll hits for the attacker and shields for the defender - though unlike the previous game it appears that Attack and Defense dice are now combined into simply "Combat Dice." Given the description and game name, it's a fight to see who can defeat the other player's planeswalker first. The base game has five planeswalkers, each with a deck of (if you do the math) about 12 spell cards and two squads of creatures.

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So what are the contents of Magic: The Gathering Arena of the Planeswalkers? According to Hasbro, it's:

  • 6 Modular Terrain Pieces
  • 4 Plastic Terrain Pieces
  • 3 Plastic Glyphs
  • 2 Temple Ruins
  • 5 Painted Planeswalker Figures
  • 30 Squad Figures
  • 1 20-sided Die
  • 8 Combat Dice
  • 30 Damage Counters
  • 60 Spell Cards
  • 10 Squad Stat Cards
  • 5 Planeswalker Cards

It's clear from that list that while Arena of the Planeswalkers uses a modular board-based terrain system, much like Heroscape did, it doesn't emphasize three-dimensional movement nearly as much as that system did. That said, Heroscape's "common sense" line of sight system is in clear effect, with Planeswalker cards having the characteristic dots and silhouettes that show you how to see what the character can see.

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Oh, and, based on the game contents picture above, here's some things we think you'll see in that base set:

Chandra Nalaar, Pyromancer

  • Chandra's Phoenixes
  • Blazing Firecats

Gideon Jura, Combat Mage
  • Kor Hookmasters
  • Rhox Veterans
  • Marked by Honor

Jace Beleren, Mindmage
  • Illusory Projections
  • Leyline Phantoms
  • Mind Control

Liliana Vess, Necromancer
  • Undead Legion

Nissa Revane, Animist
  • Elf Rangers
  • Overrun

We've got a request out to Hasbro for an official list, and we'll let you know if we get a response.

If you're unfamiliar with Magic: The Gathering, it's the world's most popular collectible card game. First released in 1993, it revolves around a multiverse of different worlds traversed by powerful wizards called planeswalkers. It now involves a card game, video games, novels, and maybe even a movie some time soon.

Between this and Magic: Duels Origins coming out this month, it's a pretty good time to be a Magic: The Gathering fan who wants a little something more than paper cards.

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