mtg

Wizards of the Coast has, for a few years now, been making efforts to ease any barriers to enter Magic: The Gathering. Players really are spoiled for choice in that area – there already are many video games that feature guided play and starter decks galore. As of October 5th, the trading card game giant is innovating a slight degree by combining guided play with physical decks via Spellslinger Starter Kits. As described via their news post:

“The Spellslinger Starter Kit will contain two 60-card decks, two quick-start learn to play guides, a booklet featuring the world and rules of Magic, two cards to help players get started with each deck, and two spindown dice. […] The decks will be ready to play out of the box—meaning they’re meant not to be shuffled. The card included on the top of each deck will walk players through starting the game with predetermined steps for the order the decks come in.”

These are an excellent way to jump start an interest in Magic as well as teach in a more natural, hands-on way. Not everyone learns a new game easily by a rulebook or YouTube video, and the setup for the kits allows for two players to learn at once! The cards featured in the decks are nothing to scoff at either, and they even feature some as-of-yet unrevealed cards from the upcoming Guilds of Ravnica set. The Spellslinger Starter Kits will be available at all retailers where MtG cards are sold, so if you or anyone you know are interested in learning via this streamlined experience be on the lookout for one of these at your favorite store.

An update to our story that Eurazeo had placed it’s stake in Asmodee up for sale – the unknown potential buyer has been announced. Released in a statement on Friday, Eurazeo is in discussions with PAI Partners, one of the largest private equity houses in Europe based in Paris, France. The sale, if it were to go forward, would have to go through an approval process as per French law and could be finalized by the end of 2018. The deal could mean a return of up to four times Eurazeo’s initial investment! We’ll post more information as the story develops.

shadows over innistrad

Hasbro is releasing Magic the Gathering: Arena of the Planeswalkers 2nd Expansion. Unlike the first expansion, MTG: Arena of the Planeswalkers: Battle for Zendikar, this new addition to the series does not require the base game to play.

Magic the Gathering: Arena of the Planeswalkers: Shadows over Innistrad sees the return of popular Planeswalker Jace, and adds Planeswalkers not yet seen in Arena of the Planeswalkers such as Sorin.

This welcomed release from Hasbro should offer players some new challenges, and of course new ways to overcome them too.

zendikar banner

Wizards of the Coast owns two of the most iconic brands in tabletop gaming, and now after many years fans of either game can now enjoy the rich lore of Magic: the Gathering along with the flexible toolkit of the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing system. Plane Shift: Zendikar is a free PDF download that provides official rules, settings, and information needed to bring the world of the Planewalkers to anyone’s RPG excursion. Most notably, there are now Wizards-ordained racial modifiers and abilities for the Kor, Merfolk, Goblins, and more!

You can think of Plane Shift: Zendikar  as a sort of supplement to The Art of Magic: The Gathering—Zendikar, designed to help you take the world details and story seeds contained in that book and turn them into an exciting D&D campaign. The easiest way to approach a D&D campaign set on Zendikar is to use the rules that D&D provides mostly as written: a druid on Zendikar might call on green mana and cast spells like giant growth, but she’s still just a druid in the D&D rules (perhaps casting giant insect).

The two come together like ice cream and pie, and I feel like the timing is perfect given the steady progression of MtG’s story and settings as of recent years. Fans of one franchise are rarely stranger to the other, and I’m particularly glad to see the marriage of the two come in such a convenient PDF format. Check out the official Magic webpage for more updates and information.

innistrad

Darkness is rising on the plane of Innistrad and its inhabitants need protecting from evil!  The new MAGIC: THE GATHERING ARENA OF THE PLANESWALKERS SHADOWS OVER INNISTRADtactical board game introduces new twisted terrain, powerful Planeswalkers and deadly battlefield scenarios.

Wizards of the Coast has just given the initial announcement for a new tactical board game set for a fall release, Magic: the Gathering Arena of the Planeswalkers: Shadows Over Innistrad.  This is a continuation on the Arena of the Planeswalkers board game system, and follows the recent release of the first expansion for this system, Battle for Zendikar.  

This new major expansion for the game will be released in the fall of 2016.  More information will be released in the coming months as it is available.  Visit the Wizards of the Coast website for further information.

Image from ATGN.com.au

Image from ATGN.com.au

Zach Jesse, a professional Magic the Gathering player was banned on July 1st by Wizards of the Coast through the year 2049. This ban comes in the wake of controversy surrounding Jesse’s criminal record.  Back in early March, after Jesse qualified for the top 8 in a tournament in Atlantic City, fellow pro Drew Levin tweeted: “Quick reminder: Zach Jesse is a literal rapist who got away with serving three months of an eight year plea deal.”

Zach Jesse responded with a reddit post in which he detailed the plea deal he struck as a college student in 2004. From facing charges of rape, he took a plea bargain to move the charges down to aggravated sexual battery which required him to serve three months of an eight-year sentence in a work release program.

The  news of Jesse’s conviction led to controversy in the Magic the Gathering community and he was officially banned at the start of this month. The ban has thus far been divisive in the MTG community, as some applaud the decision and others question whether the ruling is fair.

Those in support of the ban say that it will help promote a healthier community where individuals–especially females–can feel safer. They further point to the abhorrent act of rape and sexual abuse and say that Jesse got what he deserved.

Others question the decision and the lack of transparency in Wizards of the Coast’s banning policies and claim that the ban is more of a PR move than an action to increase public safety. Some would say that the decision shows a lack of trust in the justice system and in individual’s abilities to rehabilitate.

You can read a more in-depth coverage of the ban here.

 

Last year Wizards of the Coast announced major changes to their distribution model for Magic: The Gathering. Now players of the mega-popular collectible card game finally have the title and some details regarding the first release in this new two block set format.

Battle for Zendikar will be packaged in Booster Packs, Intro Packs, Fat Packs, and Event Decks. Conspicuous by its absence is a Core Set which will no longer exist in the new distribution model.

Long time M:TG veteran and Making Magic columnist Mark Rosewater headed the initial concept and design team for the upcoming release. The project was then taken over by another well known M:TG veteran Eric Lauer who lead the final game design and development team. With these two minds molding Battle for Zendikar, along with multiple other talented individuals following their lead, there is no reason to believe this new era in M:TG distribution will do anything other than continue the success of the franchise.

Fans can first expect to see Modern Masters in stores May, 2015 before Battle for Zendikar arrives on October 2, 2015. Pre release events will be held September 26-27 and the official Game Day for the release is October 24-25.

magic strategy board

An advertisement during the Pro Tour: Khans of Tarkir broadcast teased viewers with a graphic that read, “Magic: The Gathering, Strategy Board Game” and showed a release date of 10.16.14 at Essen. No other information is available at this time but we’ll keep you updated. Being as the release is scheduled on the first day of Essen Spiel it shouldn’t be too much longer before we get more news! Stay Tuned…