Review: Magic Duels Available On Steam

I’ve been a fan of Magic: the Gathering since it was competing in game shops with my other favorite game, Spellfire. When it came to the computer, I was quite excited. Over the years, it has changed quite a bit. My latest exploration of the M:tG universe is the Magic Duels title available on Steam. So far, it’s been a good digital adaptation of the epic card game.

What is Magic Duels?

Essentially, Magic Duels is Wizards of the Coast’s version of a M:tG game for Steam users. Although it’s not as elaborate as some of the previous versions of Magic that I’ve played, it still has that feel of the card game that I spent so many hours playing…not too mention the amount of money I’ve thrown into booster packs.

For those who are new to Magic, it’s a game where each turn you build a mana pool that is used to cast spells to defeat the other player. Using a barrage of creatures, artifacts, instants and sorceries, it’s your goal to drive the other player’s life to 0. Magic Duels is just the PC version of the card game.

In a nutshell, Magic Duels is almost exactly like sitting down and playing the card game in person.

Why Would You Want to Play It?

Magic Attacking Creature

First, Magic Duels is a free-to-pay game. If you use Steam, you can download and install it today if you wanted. Although it is a free game, you can throw money into it if you want to buy booster packs sooner. However, it’s not necessary if you’re patient enough to earn them.

One of the things that draws me to Magic Duels is the different ways to play. It’s not purely based on PvP. There is a Story Mode that takes you through a small timeline of the popular Magic: the Gathering Planeswalker characters, Solo Mode, PvP and team PvP.

If you like collecting digital assets, Magic Duels has you covered there as well. In the game, you can collect all of the cards from the different sets as you play. These cards will always be yours for as long as you play the game.

Collecting Magic Duels Cards

Magic Duels isn’t built around a pay-to-win dynamic. This is when players would spend a ton of real cash to buy super weapons to curb stomp all over the opposition. I’m looking at you, Wolf Team. Instead, you can buy gold coins in the game to unlock card skins, player avatars and buy booster packs to improve your deck. However, all of this can be done simply by playing the game and saving up your gold coins anyway.

If you’re patient, you can get everything that paying players get.

For Steam Players
If you have a Steam account, MD comes with 49 achievements to unlock. Coincidentally, you can earn in-game gold coin by unlocking these. At the time of this post, I have unlocked 39% of them.

Where Can You Get Magic Duels?

Personally, I downloaded Magic Duels directly from Steam. However, you can get it for iOS devices and Xbox One as well. For more information regarding how to download your own copy, visit the Wizards of the Coast website for details.

Pros and Cons

Although I enjoy playing this game, there are few drawbacks that I’ve experienced so far. However, most are just because I can be anal when it comes to digital adaptations of card games. It’s a bit of an OCD, but I hate it when programmers take liberties with certain mechanics of game play.
Pros of the Game

  • It’s Free!
  • Excellent tutorial to learn how to play, or freshen up if you haven’t played in a while…a-hem…
  • Deck builder aspect is very well designed.
  • You can earn coins by either buying them or playing.
  • Sound and video accentuate the traditional card game look and feel.
  • Easy to play with friends or just by yourself in Solo mode.

Cons of the Game

  • Only has the newer sets.
  • Booster packs and box sets are very limited when purchasing.
  • It’s almost impossible for me to build a rat deck.
  • What…no Unglued set?

Magic Duels Solo Mode

The Bottom Line…

My only real gripe about Magic Duels is that it doesn’t have any of the old sets available for play. Which is sad really, because I really loved my green and black deck which was filled with elves, rats and ants. Aside from that, the game plays just like it would in real life and for me is just as addicting.

If you don’t mind the turn-based element of the popular card game and a table-top atmosphere, then you might want to give this game a try. It brings all of the elements of the competition over the last two decade without the rage of people tossing your cards to the floor before storming out of the game shop after losing.

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Michael Brockbank

I have been playing games for more than 30 years. I wouldn’t consider myself a hard-core gamer, but I have brought the pain in my day. Now that I am rounding the horn at 40, I still enjoy everything from booting up the old Commodore 64 to exploring new titles in Steam. You’re never too old to enjoy a good plot and mind-numbing graphics.

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