Magic the Gathering 2015 Core Set (review)

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If you’re a fan Magic the Gathering in the past, now is a great time to get back into the game. I’m not saying this for some kind of marketing ploy, but the idea is that whenever a new core set comes out, it’s the best time to start cranking out new decks and entering competitions. Why? Every Core Set that comes out annually has a myriad of cards that are not firmly bound to a theme. Unlike the previous year’s Theros cycle, which is influenced heavily by Greek and Roman mythology, these Core cards have a handful of new ideas and favorites from past editions.

What is the point of bringing older cards into newer editions? Whether it’s to refine the artwork, the mechanics, or just because they’re awesome, bringing older cards forward allows them to be a part of sanctioned tournament games which only allow for cards to be used from Return to Ravnica, Gatecrash, Dragon’s Maze, Magic 2014 Core Set, Theros, Born of the Gods, Journey into Nyx, and this Magic 2015 Core Set.

So what’s new in the 2015 Core set? If there’s ever a question of how many unique cards are available in the core set, the total is listed at the bottom left of each card at 269 total. And with all that, some of the most popular Planeswalkers (aside from Urza, Mishra, and Karn) are back: Ajani, Chandra, Garruk, Jace, Liliana, and Nissa. Reaching to the distant land of 2005, the 2015 Core is pulling the ability Convoke into the current era and applying it to all five colors of the Magic palette of power!

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For those who have only started playing Magic in the last few years, Convoke is an awesome ability for things you might consider for late-game strategy. When a card has Convoke, it allows you to use your creatures that are in-play to be tapped and used to pay the colorless cost of your pending card. Prior to my recognition of Convoke, I spoke to a colleague in the studio and remarked how some of these cards cost too much to put into play, but it all made sense to me when I was reminded of how effective Convoke is especially now that it’s spread across the spectrum.

One of my favorite things about any release is the introduction of new Slivers. These creatures are legendary in various circles. Like a raid boss in an MMO, Sliver decks are not often legal in tournaments once a deck is assembled purely with Slivers as a theme. Since the days of the Urza block, iterations of Sliver decks have been used as a light-hearted benchmark to test the themed decks constructed by others. The way slivers work is that when each sliver comes into play it shares its own ability with other slivers. Over time Slivers become unstoppable unless you have a way to slow them down, destroy them, or ultimately reset the battlefield.

MTG201504Opening one of the packages, the team managed to land the Sliver Mythic Rare – Sliver Hivelord, whose purpose is to make all slivers indestructible and thus immune to Deathtouch and lethal damage. (As if we didn’t need to make fighting slivers any harder!) Other slivers that have made the cut in the Core set are: Belligerent Sliver, Constricting Sliver, Diffusion Sliver, Leeching Sliver, Sliver Hive, and the Venom Sliver. A swarm of slivers with Deathtouch thanks to the Venom Sliver? Good luck, buddy!

As a reminder, each of the 15-card boosters comes with 10 Commons, 3 Uncommons, 1 Rare, 1 Land, a chance for 1 Token card.

MTG201503One of the coolest things about the Magic 2015 Core set isn’t just the cards, but the packaging and advertising itself. If you have seen any of my other articles, you may be familiar with my emphasis on design. The use of a strong black and white contrast with a single vibrant color is a brilliant design for this core set. The forefront of Wizard’s theme is the Planeswalker – Garruk, who figures that using other Planeswalkers as assets is a great idea and thus his Hunt begins. Yes, “hunt” is the keyword as the soft-theme for this.

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If you didn’t have the opportunity to get the pre-release box which came with an oversized Garruk for a special gameplay type, you can still pick up starter boxes which feature a 60-card preconstructed deck and two 15-card booster packs. For those who play Magic Online, 2015 is now also available.

Further information on Magic the Gathering can be found at http://magic.wizards.com/en and for Wizards of the Coast at http://company.wizards.com/.
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