Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Magic: The Gathering overhaul

So the new core set of Magic, Magic 2010 will also introduce some major changes in the game, according to Wizards of the Coast.

The official line is that these changes are meant to simplify the game and get rid of a lot of counter intuitive aspects of the current game so that more casual players can be playing correctly.

As a casual player, my first impression of the changes is positive. One of the things that makes Magic hard to stay with is a sense that you can't really keep up with all the arcane rules if you don't play all the time. I don't think these changes come anywhere near limiting the advantage serious players will have over casual players. The serious player will still, after all, have many more cards in his/her collection. The serious player will have a much better understanding of the possible card interactions and the deeper implications of certain plays. But some of the truly odd-seeming manipulative stuff that used obscure timing effects and the like that would really befuddle and turn off a casual player are gone.

Among the significant changes is an end to mana burn. In my experience this was one of the more abused rules. I remember falling victim to a degenerate deck that used a combo to force the target, me, into a mana burn death. Now unused mana simply disappears, which returns the battle to the battlefield where it belongs.

Oh yeah, the "battlefield.' This is the new term for "in play" It's much clearer and more in keeping with the theme as well. Other term changes that better reflect the theme while also being more clean include "exile" for cards removed from play and "cast" (which used to be the word) for putting into play.

It will interesting to see the reaction among the serious players to these changes. I would expect a certain hue and cry, simply because many people hate change, period.

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