PreviewsVideo Games

Magic: Legends Is Transforming MTG into a Frenetic Action RPG Experience – Hands-On

Magic: Legends hands-on preview Wizards of the Coast Cryptic Studios Perfect World Entertainment PC PlayStation 4 Xbox One

I recently went hands-on with a beta of Cryptic Studios’ online action RPG Magic: Legends, set in the world of Magic: The Gathering. What I saw when I entered Wizards of the Coast’s Multiverse was something familiar, but at the same time refreshingly fun.

I was given the powers of the Necromancer, one of five classes with varying abilities, wielding a Boros deck. Fascinatingly, the Boros deck is a combination of White and Red cards. I actually had no Black cards.

This is interesting because it means players are not tied down to the traditional decks they may expect. The combination of different Planeswalkers and decks means there are almost endless possibilities for the spells and creatures you can summon. To make sure you’re not too overpowered though, the game does limit your strength.

You can only have a certain amount of creatures in your deck as well as spells, so you have to juggle what you want. Do you have a few incredibly strong monsters that you can buff with your enhancement spells? Or do you go for legions of weak monsters that stand by you while you chuck spells at the enemies?

Magic: Legends hands-on preview Wizards of the Coast Cryptic Studios Perfect World Entertainment PC PlayStation 4 Xbox One

Here are the spells I got to sling with the Boros deck in Magic: Legends:


Goblin Offensive

  • Creature – Goblin
  • Summon X Goblins (For spells with X in their cost, press and hold to spend more mana)

Benalish Marshall

  • Creature – Human Soldier
  • Other creatures you control gain +1/+1.

Goblin Warchief:

  • Creature – Goblin
  • Other creatures you control gain +1/+0. Goblins you control also gain Greater Swiftness (Swiftness increases movement speed.)

Lightpiercer Angel: 

  • Creature Angel Archer
  • Special Ability: Deal damage to foes in a cone.


Goblin Rush 

  • For 30 seconds, whenever you cast a Sorcery, create a 1/1 Goblin creature Token


Lightning Strike 

  • Deal damage to foes in a line


  • Deal damage to foes at target location

Zealous Charge

  • For 8.0 seconds, creatures you control gain +2/+2

Goblin Bombardment

  • Deal damage to foes in a line
  • Critical: Deal 100% additional damage to foes at full health


  • Deal damage to nearby foes. Heal yourself and nearby allies

Earth Spike

  • Deal damage to foes in a line

Radiant Volley

  • Deal damage and Stun foes in a line

Magic: Legends hands-on preview Wizards of the Coast Cryptic Studios Perfect World Entertainment PC PlayStation 4 Xbox One

Saving the Multiverse One Mission at a Time in Magic: Legends

During my playthrough I got to try my hand at a mission in single-player mode, traveling through Tazeem. This is a jungle continent on the plane of Zendikar, featuring mystical Hedron stones, massive trees, and lush rivers inhabited by merfolk, elves, and a host of wild creatures.

On the normal difficulty I was challenged by the hordes of creatures coming at me. I actually died once or twice due to not managing my spells properly. This is where the challenge comes from in Magic: Legends. You have to manage your spells as you face off against numerous enemies.

You get to pick several spells to build your deck as you head into battle, but you only have four spells available to you at one time. As you use these spells, they get shuffled back into your deck, and then a whole new slew of spells become available. Due to the random shifting of these spells, similar to a shuffled deck in Magic: The Gathering, you have to be ready to change your strategy as you battle. The sense of danger in this makes Magic: Legends quite enjoyable.

Likewise, combat can become overwhelming if you’re not prepared for its fast pace and ready to use whatever cards you have available. You have to move out of the range of your opponents until you are ready to unleash hell. Combine this with your various spells that summon monsters, deal out varying levels of damage, and buff your monsters, and you’ll be trying to find that winning formula that will ensure victory in every battle. It’s a powerful feeling trying to master the battlefield.

Visually, the graphics of Magic: Legends are decent. Not spectacular, but nothing particularly abysmal. Spells look good. Summoning hordes of goblins and letting them overwhelm your enemies is fantastic. A particular favorite of mine was the Lightpiercer Angel.

Magic: Legends hands-on preview Wizards of the Coast Cryptic Studios Perfect World Entertainment PC PlayStation 4 Xbox One

This large being would sweep onto the battlefield and demolish scores of enemies. Then I would unleash Lightning Strike to help my angel friend, a particularly potent sorcery that I could aim in whichever direction I chose. Bolstering your attacks is surprisingly easy in this game, combining summons, sorcery, and enchantments to devastating effect. I felt like a true Planeswalker.

Thankfully, I was told that the game is still in stages of graphical design, so elements seen in-game may change when the game finally releases later in the year.

There is of course a multiplayer mode coming once Magic: Legends arrives. Players will be able to join up with two other friends on missions to save the day. This means that every single-player mission can be played with your friends in tow. And with each of you able to customize your characters according to your personal tastes, there is a lot of variety available.

With just a taste of what is on offer from Cryptic Studios, I have to say I’m interested in where Magic: Legends could go. And with the developers promising content for potentially years to come, Magic: Legends could be something quite epic.

The Magic: Legends open beta begins on March 23. The game will launch in 2021 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

About the author

Graham Day
Graham has been writing online for close to a decade. This includes writing about games, books, films and so much more. He loves stories of all kinds across every form of media. For the Escapist he tries to come up with his own unique angles on the stories we adore. He was born in Dublin, Ireland and has been an actor, an amateur animator, writer and artist. He also runs his own website based in Ireland.