I added it in our new games roundup already, but Magic 2015 [Free (HD)] is rad enough that it deserves its own post. Following in the long line of yearly iteration in the Magic world on iPad, Magic 2015 takes everything about Magic 2014 and makes it incrementally better. It's basically the collectible card game equivalent of Madden at this point. New players (err, cards, in the case of Magic) and a few new features which generally make re-buying every year worthwhile.

This year, the best feature in my opinion is the addition of the ability to totally edit your deck. Previously, you were locked in to playing with one of the few deck archetypes that were available and adding cards to them. This irked basically everyone who played Magic on any kind of competitive level as the first thing you do when building a deck is keep it at 60 cards and trim the fat... Not just add better cards to your otherwise jank deck.

In our forum thread, Brrobotix brought up an interesting point- Previously, the Magic games for the iPad were king of the hill when it came to playing CCG's on the device. With Hearthstone [Free (HD)] scratching the CCG itch for so many people... Will Magic 2015 make the same splash it did in previous years?

  • falco

    Hi guys

    • benadvanced

      Yolo

    • YugiEmo

      lol?

  • theo

    I'll try it. But I don't think it's better than Hearthstone

    • Firedog5698

      True

  • Mandi

    Hmmm, the trailer makes this look like "Magic the Gathering: Heavy Metal Edition." Not that it's a bad thing. I'll give it a try, I'm not feeling its minimalist look I guess I'm used to Hearthstone's eye candy.

  • shdwstar2417

    Haven't played Magic in years I'll give this a whirl .

  • Gabriel.Voyager

    Heartstone is simple and streamline, good for the casual, Magic is vast and complex, so for the casual the king id HS, for the hardcore CCG gamer the king is still Magic

    • jason

      yeah but can a newbie get good at this just from playing this version of the game with no real guidance?

      • Will Buckingham

        That's an interesting question actually. I would say that a beginner could definitely learn all the basic rules of Magic, get some experience building decks, and get a reasonable amount of experience with entry-moderate level card interactions.

        That said, there is a complexity to Magic the Gathering that continues to evolve the longer you play it. The way a more experienced player looks at a card compared to a beginner often differs (and in fact their current design philosophy is based around this). For example, if you have a creature with a power and toughness of 1/1 with an ability that says "When this creature dies, you may give target creature -1/-1 until the end of the turn" the head developer says that many beginning players see that ability as being only a bonus that could kill another 1/1 creature. A more advanced player realizes that if you block a 2/2 creature with the 1/1, and then put the death trigger on that 2/2 creature, it is now small enough for the damage sustained in combat to kill it. There are a lot more subtle interactions like that that are not immediately apparent.

        So while yes, the Duals of the Planeswalker games are good for a beginner, absolutely, be aware that you will run into surprising things should you play the game with more advanced players, or participate in Magic Online/the paper game with more expansions of cards. I have probably 10 years of experience with the game, and there are still moments I've been surprised and learned something new about the game. And honestly, that's a huge part of the appeal to it.

      • jason

        Problem is it's a bit overwhelming to even think about. You're right, Hearthstone is not as complex. I can watch a few videos and look up a few decks and advance. With Magic, I feel I'm too far behind the learning curve to commit any time to it.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        That's totally not true though, although I guess it depends on what your expectations are. If you want to learn the game well enough to have a good time with it, these games will more than do that. By the time you've capped out on what you can do in Magic 2015 you'll have more than enough Magic know-how to be able to build a deck and compete in Friday Night Magic events.

        From there, the learning curve starts over again until you cap out of what you can learn at FNM's, and once again the curve resets when you start going to events that have a competitive rule enforcement level.

        The whole process is really fun, and one of the best things about Magic is you can have a great time playing it at its absolute most basic level all the way up to its highest levels.

      • Will Buckingham

        Agreed, Magic the Gathering is designed for a lot of different experience levels of player, and from there even different play styles. While I may not like some of the things they have changed in recent years, there is no denying that Duals of the Planeswalkers is a great entry level product for beginners, and could easily be a gateway to casual or FNM ("Friday Night Magic" at a game store) play. In the grand scheme of all things Magic, $10 is a very small entry fee for a lot of fun, entry level content without the immediate pressure of playing against live opponents.

      • BlinkFandango

        Yeah, I taught my wife how to play Magic using the video game version, which helped her understand the basics, but she still hasn't learned the intricacies of the game yet.

  • Will Buckingham

    It's worth noting that this year's version now has a selection of cards locked behind microtransaction "Premium" booster pack purchases. You CANNOT unlock all the cards without paying for those boosters. There was a list of them posted on the Wizard of the Coast forums and while most are negligible, some are very powerful or potential combo cards. So know going in that this version is potentially pay to win if playing online.

    • Gabriel.Voyager

      Just like... Heartstone? ;)
      Or maybe just like the real Magic? ;)

      • Will Buckingham

        The difference is that Hearthstone is free to play and comes with the ability to unlock 10 starting decks. This year's DotP starts you with a single deck, makes you pay to unlock the "full game", and yet has some of the cards still locked behind a micro-transaction paywall. That is double dipping, and personally I will not be supporting them this year as a result.

        Another difference is, in regular Magic, I can pay a third-party to get the specific cards I want for a deck. Even Hearthstone you can eventually craft what you want from dusting enough cards (which you can get completely free from questing long enough). This is a completely random paywall on a chunk of the cards that will be showing up in online play.

  • UnSurreal

    If I wasn't addicted to Hearthstone, I would be all over this.

  • kozz84

    Still waiting for Netrunner app...

  • dancj

    Hearthstone doesn't come close to MTG.

    That said I've paid for Magic 2013 and 2014 an not unlocked all of the cards yet - or even played through the revenge campaigns - so I really can't see a reason to buy this one any time soon.

    • jamesgecko

      MTG in general? No. Planeswalkers 2015? Oh, yes. It's a much better than Magic as a digital trading card game, in part due to each player only acting on their respective turn.

      Playing Hearthstone feels the way that playing Magic with physical cards feels. Planeswalker's turn phases and timers makes it feel more slow and clunky than either of them.

      • dancj

        I found Hearthstone way too shallow to put anywhere near in the same league as Duels of the Planeswalkers.

  • Tim Jordan

    Some unforeseen (at least by me) consequences of the switching to this more open deck construction in Magic '15 is that you are LOCKED INTO that starter deck you chose at the beginning of the campaign (no switching starters mid campaign) and, thus, defeating AI opponents will not allow you to play with their decks.

  • BGrifter

    Hopefully Hearthstone will light a fire under Wizards to release a less limited version of MTG in 2016.

    • dancj

      I have no particular interest in a fully fledged MTG Online game (quite happy with the more economical Duels of the Planeswalkers games) but I really thing Wizards of the Coast are missing a trick by not having an iPad app for the game. That would be practically printing money.

  • gmattergames

    Blizzard nailed the mobile tcg formula perfectly, simplified, streamlined and polished. While mtg is a masterpiece, I wonder if it is too complex to appeal to the wider audience Hearthstone reached.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      I don't think it has anything to do with complexity and instead has everything to do with the fact that Hearthstone is free.

      • Dubdubdubdub

        It's a powerful combination.

  • esc_sequencer

    Magic has higher learning curve and more complex mechanics than Hearthstone. It similar to Dota 2 when compare with LoL

  • werdup

    Gotta love that everything after the tutorial and Innistrad is locked behind IAP - even multiplayer. I thought that everything would be accessible either through good old griinding and playing (eventually) or paying for it if you don't want to put in the time. This really makes me want an actual IOS version of Magic Online - where going in, I know I'm gonna be spending money

  • CooleTeeps

    I have a question about the IAPs. If you get the $10 IAP, do you get Theros and multiplayer too? Or do you have to but Theros and multiplayer separately in the $3 IAP?