The latest entry in the Magic franchise provides new cards, new designs, and a compelling storyline for established players.
|Magic 2015||Wizards of the Coast||Card Game|
In The Box
For as long as Magic the Gathering has been in existence, it’s amazing that opening a fresh box can still bring about anticipation. The inherent unknowns, especially in boosters, always make it exciting to tear into a new pack and discover new cards or art. We tested one of the intro packs for the Magic 2015 Core Set so we at least knew what cards we’d be getting, and rounded things out with some boosters to get a better feel for other cards in this release. Also available are the so-called Clash Pack and Fat Pack, both stocked with two full decks and ancillary cards that are designed more for seasoned players.
Our “Flames of the Dragon” intro pack came with 60 cards, built around Island (blue) and Mountain (red) resources. We were fortunate to find premium versions of both the Hoarding Dragon and Siege Dragon card, but this will vary from pack to pack. Premium versions of all 269 cards released in the Magic 2015 Core Set are spread randomly through shipments, so odds are good you’ll find at least one. A mix of uncommon and rare cards were also included in the two 15-card boosters that came with our intro pack, offering more than enough cards to construct a deck or start playing with the suggested deck immediately.
The artist selection for Magic 2015 Core Set is excellent and includes one entry from a crowdsourced design effort called “You Make the Card,” the card Waste Not. Other standouts are the cards designed by game industry veterans like Izzy Medrano (God of War), Brian Despain, George Fan (Plants vs Zombies), Stone Librande (SimCity) and 10 others.
How It Plays
If it’s your first time playing Magic the Gathering, the Magic 2015 Core Set includes instructions, plus the Wizards.com site has a wealth of resources. The best way to gain experience quickly though is to drop in on your local game store, which likely hosts Friday games and larger competitions. The Magic 2015 Core Set is a fine place to start, especially with one of the intro packs that can offer a good mix of creatures and spells. Like any mature game, there are some aspects of Magic 2015 Core Set that feel a bit esoteric, but the gist of the game is simple enough to understand. Your goal is to construct a deck of 60 cards that will be drawn and played over a series of rounds. Creatures and spells are used to whittle down your opponent’s life points, and you can bet he or she will be trying to do the same to you. Many variations on offense and defense are possible depending on cards you choose to include, and the flavor of cards in your deck strongly influences your style of play.
Returning players will want to know that the Magic 2015 Core Set brings back some mechanics like tapping creatures to pay for spells with the Convoke ability. Creature attributes like Sliver also return in this set along with Planeswalker cards and six Soul creatures that hail from one of the lands that provide resources for summoning and casting spells. A set of staff artifacts, each one drawing on one of the game’s resource colors, round out the card updates for the Magic 2015 Core Set. Tokens can play a large role here and the token cards themselves have been nicely redesigned. Our pack was heavy on artifacts and artifact creatures like Bronze Sable or Onithopter, plus the enchantment Ensoul Artifact that modifies its target to a creature with 5/5 base power and toughness in addition to its other types. Flames of the Dragon included 24 creatures, so it leaned more heavily toward these cards than in other into packs. What we did take away from testing out this pack and its boosters is that the Magic 2015 Core Set offers a rich mix of creatures and spells that are just as valid for first-time players as for veterans looking to enrich their gameplay.
Wizards of the Coast have gone boldly into the digital realm but their printed product continues to be a marvel. An into pack like the one mentioned here is ideal for new players looking to experience Magic the Gathering without the need to figure out deck construction. Lots of incremental design improvements and some exciting new cards that refresh established styles of play make the Magic 2015 Core Set relevant for any player.
There are so many more collectible card games today than when I first played Magic the Gathering, but Magic is still the game I go back to again and again. The play style is simple and the card text almost always makes it clear how to resolve battles or spells. This intro pack didn’t draw on my favorite colors, but it was well balanced and tough to beat. Whatever your color or card preference, there are packs available you can find that match your playing style.