After enjoying the XBox Live game Magic The Gathering: Duels of the Plainswalkers 2012, you might find yourself asking “why in the heck should I drop a single red cent upon Magic The Gathering: Duels of the Plainswalkers 2013?” and you’d have a very good point. If all you’re looking for is to sit down and play magic every once in a while¬†without feeling like you have to spend 10 bucks a week on booster packs in order to keep up with your friends, then, by all means!, 2012 will be good enough to give you the fix that you’ve craved without throwing you back into the dark corners of the gaming store filled with the bad influences that caused you to flush sooooo much money down the commode back in the 90’s.

Hey, on top of that, 2012 has a new gaming mode called “Overlord” where it’s a 3-on-1 game where the 1 gets an advantage every turn (one that ranges from “meh” to “SERIOUSLY?”) and it’s a challenge to play as one of the 3 and when you win you really feel like you’ve done something and when you’re 1, it’s just nice to lay the smack down on three people at once, you know? “Why?”, I hear you ask, “do I possibly need *ANYTHING* but this???”

Well, I’ll tell you, you don’t. But, I’ll also tell you, you’ve beaten 2012 a number of times, you’ve gotten all of the achievements, you’ve collected all of the cards for all of the decks and you know which decks are best against which and which decks have the best synergies with which and you’ve already explored every nook and cranny of the game and there’s a vague itch in the back of your head that says “I’d like to play a little bit of something new.”

If you look down feeling vaguely ashamed, I’ll know that I’m right.

So I’ll tell you a bit more about 2013. They don’t have Overlord but they do have two new playing styles to make up for the void that Overlord will leave (and, I will say, I *DO* miss it): Encounter Mode and Planechase Mode.

Encounter mode is simple to explain. The computer has a deck and the deck is stacked. Worse than that, the deck is illegal. Like, seriously. Like, 20 mountains, 20 lightning bolts, 20 prodigal sorcerers. Or 20 islands, 20 howling mines, and 20 “reduce damage to 0” walls, and a handful of those “burn through your deck” cards. You know, decks that you laugh when you think about them but would be seriously a pain to play against. Well, you can test your deck when you play against them… see if you can beat the clock, beat the gimmick, beat the cheese. This is a seriously fun addition. (Though, sadly, they don’t let you try playing one of these decks. That would be ILLEGAL.)

Planechase mode is somewhat harder to explain… there’s another deck of cards (plane cards) that change the rules for this four-player¬†game. Every turn you have the option of rolling a die. You have a 1 out of 6 chance of rolling “change the plane card” and a 1 out of 6 chance of rolling “do the special wacky thing on the plane card” (and a 4 out of 6 chance of doing nothing at all). So one plane card may say that no creatures untap during the untap phase and all tapped creatures get a +1/+1 counter at the beginning of the turn… and the special wacky thing on the plane card is “untap a creature you control”. You get a free roll every turn and additional rolls are one mana for each additional turn (so if you have 10 lands, you can roll 5 times if you don’t want to cast anything). These plane cards go from the amusing (change the direction of gameplay) to frustrating (only werewolves may attack, all werewolves have lifelink and are indestructible, roll the special on the die to make any of your monsters a werewolf) and there are, like a DOZEN of these. They change the game every turn. I’ve played games where I was winning and a card ruined my turn and my chances (and vice-versa). It feels like a lot more luck than strategy, however, and if this bugs you (like it bugs me), you’ll quickly go back to playing the other game modes available… which you’ll enjoy doing because you have a *LOT* of new fun decks.

There’s a goblin deck (that beat me often… it didn’t win every time but when it won, it won in fewer than five turns), there’s an Exalted deck (specializes in only one creature attacking per turn), there’s a white lifelink deck… seriously, good stuff all around. (The only thing that could make the game better is if they brought back Overlord mode.)

If you’re jonesing for a magic fix without wanting to talk to, like, anybody? You should definitely check this game out.

So that’s my recommendation for you this week.


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. I have been enjoying the heck out of Magic 2013 on the iPad. Great platform for this game.

    So far Planechase has just made me go “buh?” when I try and play it. For now I’m just playing all the different decks in the basic campaign mode, unlocking and unlocking and unlocking.

  2. I still just play the real thing. It bugs me to not get to make my own decks…

  3. I haven’t even 100%ed the first one (Currently at 80%) much less started 2012.

    Oddly, my “system” has me playing more online with the first one now although I do it without a headset so I’m still not talking to anyone.

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