Duels of the Planeswalkers is an Xbox Live Arcade version of the popular trading card game, Magic: the Gathering. The game includes single-player, co-op (using the two-headed giant rules), multiplayer over Xbox Live, as well as local multiplayer. The game includes mostly cards from the tenth edition, but also has a few cards from the upcoming Shards of Alara expansion. Rather than allowing players to completely build a deck from scratch, the game utilizes pre-built decks that players can customize. The game has a fast-action, arcade feel and is designed to attract new players, unaccustomed to the more traditional paper game.
Deck Lists and Unlockable Cards
Wizards of the Coast has published deck lists for the pre-constructed decks available in the game, along with the unlockable cards for each on its website. The last deck you will face in the single player campaign is not currently available.
Core Game Decks
- Teeth of the Predator – Garruk Wildspeaker (Mono Green)
- Hands of Flame – Chandra Nalaar (Mono Red)
- Wings of Light – Elspeth Tirel (Mono White)
- Eyes of Shadow – Liliana Vess (Mono Black)
- Thoughts of the Wind – Jace Beleren (Mono Blue)
- Claws of Vengeance – Ajani Goldmane (White, Red and Green)
- Ears of the Elves – Nissa Revane (Black and Green)
- Scales of Fury – Sarkhan Vol (Red, Black and Green)
Expansion Pack 1 Decks
- Cries of Rage - Sarkhan Vol (Red and Green)
- Mind of Void - Jace Beleren (Blue and White)
- Relics of Doom - Tezzeret the Seeker (Blue, Black and Artifact)
Expansion Pack 2 Decks
- Eons of Evil - Nicol Bolas (Black, Blue and Red)
- Heart of Worlds - Rhys the Redeemed (Green and White)
- Heat of Battle - Chandra Ablaze (Mono Red)
Expansion Pack 3 Decks
- Root of the Firemind - Niv-Mizzet (Blue and Red)
- Master of Shadows - Sorin Markov (Mono Black)
- Weapons of the Warrior - Gideon Jura (White and Artifact)
Each deck is initially composed of 60 cards. Spells make up 36 of the cards, with the remaining 24 cards being given over to mana. As you win matches in the single player campaign extra cards will be unlocked. There are 17 new cards that can be unlocked for each deck. Some of these are additional cards of a type you already have, while some of them are more powerful than anything in your existing deck. In the deck management section of the game you can add those cards to your deck, or chose to leave them out (the default is to add them to your deck). You cannot remove existing cards from the starting deck, including mana, so as you add more cards the overall deck size will increase.
- Campaign Mode allows you to face several different opponents who use different combination of deck types - you unlock new cards upon defeating certain opponents in the campaign mode
- Co-op campaign allows you and a friend to play through the campaign with 2vs2 style combat, but co-op mode is only available offline on a single Xbox 360
- The DLC for MTG added several new opponents in the campaign mode that offer new cards for unlocking
- Multiplayer mode allows you to face anywhere from 1 to 3 opponents on Xbox Live in standard or ranked matches
- Each player begins with 20 life and 7 cards drawn randomly from their deck. The player that goes first does not draw an 8th card during their first turn. Prior to the game players have the option to redraw their hand once at no penalty, called a "mulligan". After the first mulligan, players can still redraw their hand but drawing one less card each time (so on your second mulligan you only get 6 cards, then 5, and so on).
- Cards are played using mana which are generated by five basic land types: Swamps (Black) , Islands (Blue), Forests (Green), Mountains (Red), and Plains (White). Additionally, some creatures and artifacts generate mana as abilities.
- Use creatures and spells to get your opponent down to zero life.
- Each creature has a power value and a toughness value. The power is shown on the left side of the "/" symbol on the lower right of the card. When two creatures are in combat the power of each is dealt to the others toughness. If the toughness of a creature reaches zero they are destroyed.
- Creatures: Cards that remain on the battlefield that can attack and defend, as well as play any given abilities
- Sorcery and Instants: Cards that can do any number of things such as deal damage to another player or their creatures or allow you to gain life. Sorcery cards can only be played during your main phase so they cannot be played during attack or block stages or during your opponents turn. Instants can be played at any time as long as the player has sufficient mana and so can be played on your opponents turn or during the attack or block stages. This makes instants able to interrupt your opponents spells, or surprise your enemy and effect combat after they've already committed to their decisions.
- Enchantments: Cards that remain on the battlefield that are activated when a certain action is taken.
- Artifacts: Cards that act somewhat like Enchantments, but can be 'equipped' to creature cards giving them certain abilities
- Lands: Cards that remain on the battlefield, and they can be used to produce mana for summoning spells.
Parts of a Turn
Play any available cards during this phase
- Beginning of Combat
- Declare Attackers
- Declare Blockers
- Combat Damage
- End of Combat
Second Main (Post-Combat)
Play any available cards during this phase also
The XBLA version has 2 avatar awards.