Magic 2015 Summoning Ritual Complete In Two Weeks

See! Building decks.

14 days. That’s all. Another two weeks and then Magic 2015 – Duels of the Planeswalkers will be out, Wizards of the Coast have announced, and I can get my fill of card games for the next year. It’s been difficult, as someone with a history of growing worryingly fond of card games, to avoid the rise of Netrunner and Hearthstone. Everyone’s having so much fun but muggins here.

But it’s fine. That’s all fine. Magic 2015 arrives on July 16 and it seems to have actual proper deckbuilding across all modes this time, and I’ll play it for a few days then be done. It’s fine. I’m fine.

Rather than limiting players to pre-built decks with unlockable extras, Magic 2015 supposedly let me gleefully rip the foil off virtual booster packs and build decks out of their cards to use in any mode, single-player or multiplayer. This brings it closer to Wizards of the Coast’s proper virtual MtG, Magic Online, but the game’s still limited to only a small selection of Magic’s squillion cards.

Speaking of which, this year’s core set (and I believe DotP 2015) includes fourteen cards created by video game designers including Brad Muir, Markus Persson, Brian Fargo, and Edmund McMillen. I am quite pleased by how Notch’s card recreates Minecraft–destroying land to get resources.

Pre-orders are open on Steam at £6.99, and we know we shouldn’t pre-order games but OH MY GOSH pre-ordering a virtual booster pack with another 10 cards how could I resist? Not that I even know how much a booster pack will cost in-game. Probably not too much, though given the series’ history I’m wincing imagining ways it’ll try to wring more money out of players.

DotP games have sold ‘extras’ like instant unlocks for a deck, or shiny ‘holographic’ versions of cards–nice but ignorable–for a while, but Magic 2014 took the piss a bit. Its sealed deck mode, the only one with proper deck-building that year, was limited to deck two slots. If you want to open more packs to build decks with a new set of cards, another slot would cost you £1.59. That’s Magic and that’s Wizards of the Coast, I suppose. I stood strong. I resisted.

(I did crumble and try to play Hearthstone recently, but ended up locked out of my entire account. I consider this a sign.)

Anyway, you’ll catch a glimpse of the deck-building in this trailer which comes with a decidedly unmagical, yet perhaps quite Magical, soundtrack: generic metal with roaring and wicked shredding.


  1. Merijeek says:

    The thing that is killing Hearthstone for me, and will keep it from ever dominating anything, is that rarity directly corresponds to card power.

    • ramirezfm says:

      This and also, what killed HS for me, the game is just too simplistic. It’s good for Blizz as barrier of entry is pretty low and it looks somewhat pretty, but for someone that started with MTG 4th edition it’s just… meh. On the other hand Infinity Wars is quite cool. And of course these yearly MTG installments even if it’s just dumbed down magic.

    • Phendron says:

      If you don’t like money.dek (pretty much the essence of all CCGs sadly), then arena is pretty satisfying as everyone gets a quasi-random deck to rumble with. I’m not big on constructed and I generally just play casual to scrounge the gold for more arena runs.

    • Arathain says:

      I can see where some of this comes from, but I don’t agree. There are some fantastic cards that are in the starter sets for each class. There are some Legendaries that are junk. Talented streamers have demonstrably reached Legend rank in the game without spending anything, and thus having limited card pools. There are cheap decks that work really well along with the expensive ones.

      The issue comes from Legendary cards having effects that are unique, meaning certain decks require them, and many benefit from them. Overall, though, I think the balance is better than you do.

    • The Unnamed Council says:

      I am a bit surprised that nobody is mentioning Hex:Shards of Fate here. Sure, it’s in Closed Beta and getting keys is a bit hard (but possible), but it beats out Magic so easily that Hasbro has started a full broadsides frivolous lawsuit against the smaller competitor, just to get it off the map. Reason enough for me to boycott everything Magic, WotC (that’d be Dungeons & Dragons for example) and Hasbro (that includes Transformers). These guys would rather use lawyers than make better games.

      What Hex does a lot better online is use card memory (e.g. when you get a modified card out of the discard pile, it’s still modified) plus a few other nifty features very, very well.

      Recently Hex has added an Auction House to get all the cards you need, the boosters are a lot cheaper the MtG:O and they are working to get large-scale tournaments going.

      What is missing yet, of course, is the MMO/PvE part, but that will come eventually.

      Note: I am in no way affiliated with CZE/Hex Entertainment, I just really like the game and very much look forward to “cardplay” through dungeons and go raiding with my guildmates.

  2. rawrty says:

    Magic beats hearthstone in depth of game

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      They really just need to get their thumbs out of their assess and make a GOOD online client rather than MtG Online which looks like vomit compared to Hearthstone and MtG: DotPw which looks lovely but is dumbed down and has limited multiplayer appeal. If they combined to two they could have a lovely card game and I just do not understand, given Hearthstones success, why they have yet to do this.

  3. dE says:

    Magic 2015 supposedly let me gleefully rip the foil off virtual booster packs and build decks out of their cards to use in any mode, single-player or multiplayer.

    Awwww, yeaaaah. Hell…

    but the game’s still limited to only a small selection of Magic’s squillion cards.

    My dumb inner self tells me they could be swimming in so much money if they’d use that slick interface of the 201x titles and included the usual Booster Pack card Nonsense, along with perhaps an auction house or a trade channel. But instead we get the annual return of Crushed Hopes.
    Or at least swim in some money by creating a remake of that one Magic game with the adventure mode. Was it the one from Microprose? Memory is foggy.

    • JFS says:

      Shandalar. Yes, Microprose. You know, it took me 20 years to to understand, just in this very moment, the developer studio’s name.

      • Alfy says:

        Just got it, thanks to your comment. I feel REALLY dumb for not having noticed it before…

        • aepervius says:

          I am not getting it, can you clarify ?

          • dE says:

            Puns, puns everywhere.

            They finally agreed on MicroProse with the intent of making a double pun. The company was to publish the work of micro-professionals and their art was to be comparable to excellent prose.

            From link to
            Page 20, to the right of the page.

  4. almostDead says:

    The following things irk me about this product, as someone who has played mtgo and this:

    1. Having no priority is just weird, spamming the pause key, it turns it into more of an RTS card game.
    2. The constant recycling of cards from the first time I bought it in 2012.
    3. The 2014 version not unlocking multiple copies of the same card at once.

    I am concerned about the relatively high price of the alternative bundles, which, for the first time, I think, actually contain more cards, not just instant deck unlocks and foils.

    I will be pre-ordering this, but the cheapo version, as it is a very nice way to play a bit of Magic cheaply and let it do all the complicated and/or boring stuff for you.

  5. rawrty says:

    Magic beats hearthstone in depth of gameplay IMO, but hearthstones quick matches and smooth interface has me hooked more than any online version of magic ever did. Still have yet to spend a penny on hearthstone which is another plus.

  6. Big Murray says:

    Hope the Celtic Guardian is in this edition.

  7. Martel says:

    Infinity Wars is what you should be playing if you like CCGs, especially since they have a very generous F2P model and it has far more depth than something like Hearthstone.

  8. Meneldil says:

    Given the ridiculous amount of cards available, and the rarity limitation (4 for commons, 3 for uncommons, 2 for rares and 1 for mythics), I’d rather still play with the preconstructed decks.

    At least they had a theme (bounce, counter and burn, graveyard) or a flavor (goblins, elves, knights, demons…). Sometimes they even made me discover new ways to play. As of now, I can only see DotP 2015 going on way: some people will find the best possible deck you can create with the 300 or so cards available (which will probably still be half-arsed, as you can’t build a deck around a mechanic with 300 cards divided in 5 colors) and everyone will play it. Not much of an improvement over the old versions Knight/Dodge and Burn/Goblin spams.

  9. warthog2k says:

    Hmm, I wonder if you’ve also just inadvertently announced the release date for Hearthstone’s Naxxramas expansion too. Latest official release date news was ‘in July’.

  10. Stargazer86 says:

    Yeah, no. The Magic 201x series lost my business back with the 2013 version which was laden with bugs that were never fixed. You had to unlock cards for each of your decks, but know what? They wouldn’t STAY unlocked. Yup, after a session of unlocking cards, you’d come back to the game and, indeed, they’d all be locked again.

    Fark that noise.

    • theslap says:

      My brother had that problem in 2012. I thought he was just being stupid and deleted something. When 2013 came along and I tried to play from my laptop rather than my PC, Steam asked if I wanted to play from the cloud file. I selected yes and everything was reset and of course Steam had overwritten the Cloud file. I lost all my progress which meant I had to play through those boring as hell “Encounters” again. I played 2014 because I bought it for $2.50. I’ll probably just wait for a sale on this one.

  11. dvorhagen says:

    Wagic. Wagic, I say…

  12. Saliken says:

    Wondering if else has checked out War of Omens. It lack’s a certain amount of content but has some very interesting mechanics for a CCG. So far I’ve stuck with WoO longer than Hearthstone and Magic combined.

    • RanDomino says:

      It’s amazing. I would have rather that they went with a more Magic-like resource system and let you use cards from any faction (i.e. a two-color deck might start with five coins that add green money and five that add blue money, so you trade the risk of not having the right color for the access to more versatility) but other than that it’s ridiculously good.

  13. daver4470 says:

    I’ve enjoyed Solforge and its card-leveling-up mechanics — it’s a happy medium for me between the deeper but way more complex M:TG and the more straightforward but ultimately simpler Hearthstone.

    Admittedly I’m only playing against the AI, and actual PvP usually is extremely different in these sorts of games, so Solforge could be terrible at PvP for all I know….

  14. malkav11 says:

    Well, there goes the franchise. Oh, I know it’s popular to complain about the past games not allowing deckbuilding, but you know what? The sole value these games have had for me is as a way to play CCGs with decent, themed prebuilt decks. If I want to actually build my own decks and fuck with booster packs and all that nonsense (which I don’t particularly), I have plenty of other options which have learned from Magic’s failings in terms of design, and have more robust digital implementation including card effects that aren’t possible in a tabletop game. So they’re basically moving from a niche they had almost entirely to themselves to a niche in which they can’t really compete particularly well.

  15. Jigoku says:

    How can one true card lover stay away from the new version of Netrunner?
    If baffles me, really!

    You’re missing something great there, for real.
    How I wish game devs put that much effort into making an official, playable Netrunner game!

    • Alfy says:

      You mean. OCTGN with the Netrunner plugin?

      • Dawngreeter says:

        Nah. Actual, official online Netrunner.

        I think, if that were to happen, I’d just give up on gaming for a couple years and play nothing but Netrunner.

  16. beikul says:

    Bought the 2014 version in a steam sale hoping that it would have improved over the earlier versions, only to be disappointed yet again. Apart from the lack of cards and limited deck building options the sheer slowness of the game (in single player, not really tried multiplayer) drives me to distraction – there’s no way to disable the timer or set breakpoints so every duel is guaranteed to take far longer than it should.

    I got so fed up with it I had a look around to see what the current state of 3rd party MTG projects is and rediscovered MTG Forge (link to It’s come a long way since I first heard about it a few years ago and now supports over 13000 cards playable against an AI. Granted, the AI isn’t the best and can be fairly predictable but nevertheless the whole single player experience is a million times better than WOTCs woeful effort. I spent several hours happily doing Ravnica booster drafts :) There’s even a public beta version for Android. If you’re interested in MTG vs the computer then it’s really worth a look.

  17. RanDomino says:

    What does “Card Collection” mean? If the super-platinum deluxe mega director’s cut edition comes with five of them, does that mean that’s the only way to ever have those cards, or are they merely unlocked from the start if you throw money at it? Because, having played way too much Shandalar, I would rather spend money to UNLOCK cards, which seems like the only purpose of a MtG computer game. The way that Shandalar fixed the stereotypical JRPG by keeping the overworld and encounters but replacing combat with Magic and experience points/leveling with cards was brilliant. No wonder, as it was designed by Sid Meier.