ANOTHER Magic the Gathering themed post, because the great thing about writing this is I can talk about whatever I want. That’s where the perks end though.
Magic: The Gathering Arena has been in beta for some time now. I’ve had beta access for around a month. The NDA was lifted before I even got to start playing, so I’m free to get out there with my thoughts. I don’t know that anybody was asking for them, but since when did that stop me from being a loudmouth?
I’m loving it. Seriously. It’s a deliberate dig to cut into the casual market of which Hearthstone has taken a chunk. I don’t know how to play Hearthstone, so coupling that with an IP that I’m very into makes this tailor fit for me. To be honest, while I’ve been playing Magic for 18 years now, I’ve never been a part of any structured tournament scene. I’m a casual scrub for life and that fits me like a glove. I mean, it must’ve been at least ten years since I last put together a 60 card deck. It’s been EDH all day even before it earned the moniker “Commander”. Putting more than one of a card (outside basic lands) into a deck seems like a total novelty. You mean I can run more of the effect I want instead of trying to find analogues? Get right out of town.
What this all means, is that I’m actually getting to experience a metagame for maybe the first time. Seeing which decks are dominating, adapting to counter these strategies. It’s a hoot! Well, I’ve had more than enough of The Scarab God to last an eternity of lifetimes, but outside that it’s neat. The cool thing too is that barely any of these decks are super tuned, especially ’cause the ranking system keeps me in league with other mediocre players. So my win rate is up and down all the time. It keeps things exciting. Well, I’m saying that after a night of more wins than losses, a rarity if I’m being honest. The economy has been given a boost since I started playing, with higher rewards for wins and a set of revamped quests. It’s quite possible to earn a number of boosters each week. I’m also very much pumped for Dominaria draft this weekend, which I think is gonna cost around 5000 gold, or the price of five boosters. At this stage it’s looking like you should be able to get 2-3 drafts per week with a moderate record. Not too shabby for a free game.
Now, what kind of decks am I building? First I started with some silly GW go wide lifegain token deck. I pulled a Crested Sunmare and two Regal Caracals, so I saw a theme coming together. I coupled them with a bunch of small critters that made tokens (Martyr of Dusk, Jungleborn Pioneer, Pride Sovereign) and embalm creatures (Sacred Cat, Angel of Sanctions). I only had one Anointed Procession, but it did work. I’ve been slowly adding to the deck over time (Mouth//Feed is surprisingly great. Like a variant on Call of the Herd) and it’s fun to play. Plus white has such great removal that I can handle a Scarab God or two.
In my heart of hearts, however, I wanted to sleeve up some RG Monsters deck. When I figured out how Wildcards worked (you can get any card, not just another copy of a card you already have) I cashed in all of mine to put it together. 4x Llanowar Elves, 4x Drover of the Mighty, 4x Steel-Leaf Champion, 3x Jadelight Ranger, 4x Rekindling Phoenix and a couple of bits of removal. Sometimes it curves out something ridiculous like Llanowar into Jadelight into Phoenix and my opponent is just dead. It’s fun, but Magma Spray isn’t protecting me from Scarab God quite as much as I want it to be. Struggle//Survive has been an excellent metagame addition. It’s putting in work.
Last night on a whim I put together some absurd pile. Ramp for ramp’s sake. 4x Llanowar (the way all my decks start), 4x Drover of the Mighty, 4x Grow from the Ashes and everything one of I have that costs 5 or more. Lyra Dawnbringer, Tishana, Overflowing Insight, Zepala, Vraska, then some more card draw/countermagic. It’s downright silly, leading me to this Magical Christmasland scenario. Yes, that’s a 30/30 Tishana under the protection of Shalai. Yes, I have Anointed Procession, giving me a bunch of 3/3 lifelinking cat tokens. Unsurprisingly I won that one after River’s Rebuke-ing his board and playing Shalai with counter magic backup.
I’ve had this much fun without paying a cent. I’d practically be losing money by not playing.