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Magic The Gathering 2014 Core Set Review

Magic The Gathering 2014 Booster Packs Magic The Gathering 2014 Fire Surge Intro Deck

M14 is an impressive core set release.

I have a confession to make. Up until this year (2013), I had never played a single game of “Magic The Gathering” (or MTG for short). It wasn’t because of a lack of interest but rather I never knew anyone that played the game. I also found myself daunted by the game as the sheer amount of cards and rules seemed complex and overwhelming. However, after becoming drawn back into the board and card game scene and learning that a friend of mine was interested in playing the game, I decided to finally give MTG a try. Much to my surprise, I found that the ever popular collectible card game was easier to learn than I imagined. Yes, I sometimes come across a term or scenario that raises questions, but thanks to MTG fan boards and Wizards of the Coast’s website, answers are easily obtainable.

Another aspect that I found to be surprising was the fact that Wizards of the Coast makes it incredibly simple to jump into the game at anytime. Not only can gamers pick up the usual booster packs and booster boxes, but there are also a variety of products designed for new players as well such as the the intro deck sets which contain a ready to play pre-constructed deck and a handy rulebook. More on the intro deck later.

Now, if you do happen to be a new gamer like I am, you might be wondering what the current release is or what type of MTG set you should try out first. As of 2 weeks ago, the latest release is M14 (AKA “Magic The Gathering 2014 Core Set”) and it is undoubtedly the set to start out with at this point in time. It may not have the fancy desired rares or receive as much attention as expansions like “Innistrad” or special sets like “Modern Masters,” but the set is chock-full of cards that will be useful for decks.

So, now that you know that intro decks and M14 are the best bets for a newbie, you should know that there are a total of 5 M14 intro decks available (“Lightforce,” “Psychic Labyrinth,” “Death Reaper,” “Fire Surge,” and “Bestial Strength”). For the purposes of this review, I am going to chat about the red/blue “Fire Surge” to give gamers an idea of what to expect from it.

While the number of land, creature, and spell cards differ from deck to deck (especially when you construct your own deck), the 60 card “Fire Surge” deck contains 26 land cards (mountain and island), 16 spells, and 18 creatures. For some reason, the deck is a little unbalanced and features more red cards, but if you want to make it more balanced, you can always switch out a few cards and replace them with cards from your own collection.

Now, having played and seen several intro decks over the past couple of months, I can say that “Fire Surge” is a very solid deck overall as it very effective in depleting your opponent’s life. There are a number of cards in particular that are a must have for any red/blue deck such as the special red foil card “Chandra’s Phoenix” (a 2/2 creature with flying and haste), the red lava axe (a 5 mana cost sorcery card that deals 5 damage to a target player), a very useful 3 mana cost artifact called “Staff Of The Flame Magus” (an artifact that lets you gain 1 life for each red spell or mountain that enters your battlefield), the blue Trained Condor (a 2/1 creature with flying that gives all of your battlefield creatures flying each turn whenever you attack) and the blue “Phantom Warrior” (a 3 mana cost creature that can’t be blocked). As if all that weren’t enough, you also get 2 sealed 15 card M14 booster packs in your intro deck set.

On the subject of M14 booster packs, I thought I would give my initial impressions on a few M14 cards that MTG gamers might want to take note of. No, I do not have every card from the M14 set nor am I a MTG expert by any means, but I personally found there to be a plethora of deck worthy cards in the 8 or so packs I have acquired thus far.

On the artifact front, the “Elixir Of Immortality” and “Darksteel Forge” piqued my curiosity the most. ‘Elixir’ is a one mana cost card that costs an additional 2 mana to play its ability. If you pay the 3 mana total, you gain 5 life AND have your graveyard cards and the Elixir card shuffled back into your library. ‘Forge,’ meanwhile, costs a whopping 9 mana but it allows ALL of your artifacts you control to be indestructible.

In terms of the 5 color cards, the following stood out to me the most: The black “Liliana’s Reaver” (a 4 mana cost 4/3 zombie with deathtouch and the ability to put a 2/2 black zombie token on the battlefield tapped whenever you deal damage to a player), any of the red Sliver cards (which can be very appealing to build a deck around), the white “Congregate” card (gain 2 life for each creature on the battlefield), the green “Gladescover Scout” (a 1 mana cost hexproof 1/1 elf scout creature), the green “Enlarge” (a 5 mana cost sorcery which can give a creature a whopping +7/+7 with trample), and the blue “Archaeomancer” (a 4 mana cost 1/2 creature that allows you to put 1 instant or sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand whenever he enters the battlefield).

Once you have grown accustomed to intro decks and have amassed a good amount of cards from booster packs or what not, the next step will be to build your own deck(s). What type of deck(s) you should build is entirely up to you. You could create an artifact deck, a single color deck, a two color deck, a zombie deck, an angel deck, etc. There are a ton of possibilities and you’re going to quickly discover what colors and types of cards appeal to you the most. Another helpful tip? Observe your opponents and devise ways to outthink and outplay them from a defensive and attack standpoint in order to be victorious. You might mistakes and you might get thrashed every now and then, but you will learn what strategies are most effective through trial-and-error (which is what makes the game such a blast to play).

Summary: Overall, I can safely say that I am now addicted to MTG and I am excited to learn more, play more, and improve more in the future. It’s simply a great strategic game filled with a seemingly endless number of ways to construct a deck for tournament play or for games against your friends.

With the game celebrating its 20th anniversary, it’s as good of a time as any for newcomers to jump in. If you are on the fence about giving MTG a shot, I would whole heartedly recommend going with an intro deck (such as Fire Surge) as a starting point. It’s a great and affordable way to test the game out to see if it’s up your alley. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some decks to build.


July 28, 2013 - Posted by | Game Review | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. This site was… how do you say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I have found something which helped me.
    Thank you!

    Comment by Velda | July 9, 2014 | Reply

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