Fans of Wizards of the Coast’s trading card game Magic: The Gathering will now have another game to get excited about. Netmarble, known most for its mobile title Lineage II: Revolution, has partnered with the creators of the card game to develop its latest title, Magic: ManaStrike.
What is Magic: ManaStrike?
Magic: ManaStrike is a mobile real-time, PvP focused, collectible card game, with a twist. Based on the lore of the world of MTG, players have access to the wide variety of spells, creatures, and even Planeswalkers that are available in the TCG. Matches are no more than three minutes and are all reliant on things like your troop count and placement.
What to Expect from The Game
In the game, you are given the choice of Planeswalker to play as. You are also able to craft your own deck using all the cards available to you with the same type (Black, Red, Blue, etc.) Mana is generated automatically, with a max value of 10. You are allowed to place units on your side of the battlefield, with certain spells able to cross into the opponent’s side. On the field, you are given a guardian and two sub guardians that you must protect to take down your opponent’s guardian. You can cast cards gradually over time based on your mana, with generation rate being doubled near the end of the match to push a lead or decide a game.
One interesting thing I found was the ability to summon your Planeswalker onto the battlefield. This can be done three times throughout the match, and their skills can do a wide range of things, from buffing ally damage to reviving dead creatures, among other things. These make each match unique and makes for some interesting strategies.
The game comes with several different gameplay modes, each with their own set of rules. At launch, they will start with Standard Battles and Sealed Deck battles.
Standard Battles are accessed via the Battle option in the main menu. These matchups last 3 minutes, and you will have access to the decks and Planeswalkers that you’ve unlocked (more on that coming up).
Sealed Deck Battles are a little more interesting. Upon joining the event, you are given a choice between 5 Planeswalkers and 25 cards to make a deck out of, regardless of color. You are then tossed into a string of matches. You will be able to participate in ten matches total and will keep playing until you win, or you lose three matches.
On to the Future
Now, the big question: what will the game become after launch? Well, I discussed with the developers a bit about that, and they made sure to mention a couple of crucial points. First, they said that the game would try to be as free of “Pay 2 Play” systems (basically paying real-world currency to obtain power) as possible. They added that the only thing you will be able to purchase with gems would be cosmetics such as emotes and Planeswalker skins.
I asked if there are plans, post-launch, to add new cards to the pool. While they said that their current focus was on a smooth launch for players, they told me that there would be content updates post-launch for cards and cosmetics for players.
My Final Thoughts
Honestly, this game has captured my interest. While its indeed not the most innovative or mind-blowing experience on mobile (there are enough games that use a similar gameplay loop out there), this one certainly caught my eye thanks to its source material. Wizards of the Coast has helped create a vibrant game filled with some a substantial amount of content and a fantastic setting. I can only hope that this game is set for longevity, as it will be one that I will happily invest time into.
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