I’ve been taking a break from conventional computer games recently and hammering the hell out of Magic the Gathering. In particular the latest core set.
At one stage the core set consisted of 100% reprinted cards and was released every other year. As a result it was a great introduction to the excellent card game that is Magic the Gathering, but it wasn’t off as much use to seasoned players, many of whom would already own the cards.
Wizards changed this with the release of Magic 2010, as it was the first core set to feature 50% of new cards that players had never seen before. While this was initially met with howls of scepticism – after all Magic is already a relatively expensive hobby and a near own brand new set wasn’t going to make the wallet stretch any further – key cards like Vampire Nocturnus and Baneslayer Angel soon ensured that many collectors bought into it.
So now we come to the latest release and we’re delighted to say that it’s the best core set for some time. This is due to several important factors. Firstly it’s excellent fun to draft. There are some great bombs in the form of big creatures and plenty of removal, ensuring that games rarely drag on and can be full of momentum shift between the two players. Another nice touch is how the 5 core colours continue to be perfectly tweaked and represented. Blue now has some excellent counterspells, red has been bolstered by some strong new burn (direct damage) while green has plenty of nice new meaty creatures to attack with. Black gets a great new discard spell, and while it loses Vampire Nocturnus, it does receive Captivating Vampire, which can begin stealing creatures if the conditions are right. White keeps Baneslayer Angel, arguably one of the best cards ever in print, and also gets the wonderful Serra Ascendant, which has finally made life gain decks actually viable.
By far the best addition to the set however is the gigantic new titans; huge powerful giants that completely swing the game when they come into play. Each titan costs six mana to cost and is a 6/6 creature. If this wasn’t enough they all have specific abilities related to their colours and a further ability that activates whenever they enter play or attack. Primeval Titan for example has trample and can fetch two lands a turn from your library, while Grave Titan has death touch and let’s you put two 2/2 zombies into play.
As a result these powerful mythic rares are becoming extremely desirable on the second hand market, with sales of the green Primeval Titan already reaching £40 for a single card.
With Scars of Mirrirdon due out very, very soon there’s never been a better time to investigate the world’s very best collectible card game. For more information head to www.magicthegathering.com