Tifa is the founder & organizer of the Lady Planeswalkers Society (LPS). With almost 60 chapters worldwide, LPS creates welcoming, friendly environments to learn and play Magic: The Gathering regardless of gender, skill level, or anything else. Tifa also works for Xbox at Microsoft as the Global Editorial Producer for the Games Dashboard. She is a hardcore lifestyle gamer and a feminist, who enjoys combining the two. She also runs a YouTube channel with her husband about gaming as a couple.
Magic Duels: Origins, free on Xbox One, is a perfect game for diving into Magic: The Gathering. If you’ve never played Magic before this game is great for learning the basics. This game is also ideal for advancing your skills in Magic as a beginner player and for getting more into the lore as an experienced player. This digital installment in the Magic universe introduces you to the origin stories of five Planeswalkers – the heroes of the multiverse.
Gideon is the first character you meet in the campaign as you play through his origin story. He’s a rough and tumble kid from the streets that gets noticed by a god before his Planeswalker spark ignites. You get to play through the basics of the game in Episode 1 as he defeats Akroan Guards before he honorably turns himself in to save his friends.
As someone who teaches Magic on a very regular basis, I feel like this game is ideal for new players. Game mechanics are introduced in a simple way and abilities are introduced slowly enough to understand them, yet fast enough to be exciting. They start you in the campaign with an effective deck full of cards that are easy to understand. I was able to get the Akroan Guards life down to 10 before turn 5, which is very quick. The first abilities you learn are crucial, yet simple mechanics – Flying and Vigilance.
After the first match, new cards are unlocked for Gideon’s deck. This maintains a good pace to learn that keeps things exciting, but not overwhelming. This also creates an interesting motivation to continue playing the game. Going into Episode 2 of the campaign, Gideon is being trained by a warden in the magic of justice and honor.
After years of training, Gideon protects the city from harpies and an army of cyclops in Episodes 3 and 4. By this point, the decks are a little more exciting, featuring cards like Honor of the Pure, Armored Ascension, and Supply-Line Cranes. These cards introduce more mechanics that show how different cards can work together in interesting ways that feel powerful to play. The games start to get a little more challenging and the difficulty increases at a well-balanced pace.
Before the final fight in Gideon’s story in Episode 5, the sun god, Heliod notices Gideon and asks for his help in defeating a titan who serves the god of the dead, Erebos. In this game, some stronger cards get introduced, like Banisher Priest, Doomwake Giant, and Grim Guardian. This is just the beginning of how exciting and interactive Magic can be.
After the titan is defeated, Erebos is not happy and strikes Gideon’s troop. The tragedy of the event sets off Gideon’s spark and he planeswalks to Bant.
Join me next time for deck-building and Jace’s origin story!
Images from magic.wizards.com and gatherer.wizards.com