Magic: Legends fuses the foundational gameplay features of two distinctive genres to create something entirely unique. It is an Action RPG (ARPG) at its core; however, it borrows many elements from the collectible card game that inspires it, Magic: The Gathering. It is equally important to us that we remain faithful to the source material of the card game as it is that we build a highly enjoyable yet familiar action-combat game. Finding this balance has been an ongoing challenge that we will continue to embrace through launch and onward as we expand the game.
Join us today and tomorrow to learn what it takes to assemble your formidable collection of spells and wield them against the enemies of the Multiverse.
Much like the card game that inspired it, deckbuilding and powerful spells are central pillars on which we have built the combat mechanics in Magic: Legends. If a planeswalker can be defined by a single attribute, it is the deck of spells from which they cast. The deck not only serves as their arsenal of spells, it defines their overarching strategy. It is their army, defense, and firepower all in one.
Spells come in many forms: devastating elemental attacks, powerful creature summons, psychic manipulations, benevolent healing effects, empowering buffs, and more. Every spell draws power from at least one of the five colors of mana: white, blue, black, red, and green. Each mana color has its own core themes and powers.
Spells are cast from a random hand (more detail on this below), and are therefore not always available, powerful as they may be. An effective planeswalker must therefore construct decks of spells that work together to account for many possible outcomes of spell combinations.
A deck in Magic: Legends is a collection of twelve spells that a planeswalker can cast during combat. The player can combine spells of different colors to create many decks with various themes and strategies. Each planeswalker class starts out with a preconstructed single-color deck of spells, but branching out to include other colors and swap out spells will be key to fine-tuning the ultimate deck.
Any class can build and use any deck, regardless of the color theme associated with them. For instance, a blue class can build a red/green deck, choose not to include any blue spells, and still be highly effective in game. The possible number of combinations is staggering, allowing for plenty of experimentation and discovery.
In addition to building decks, upgrading spells will be key to maximizing the effectiveness of a player’s decks. As one defeats foes, completes missions, conquers challenges, and progresses, they will unlock more and more capacity to upgrade their spells in various ways. Some spells may deal more damage as they rank up, others may last longer, and still others may offer more protection. As the player refines their deck concept, they will eventually want to commit to ranking up that set of spells to unlock its full potential.
Each color in Magic: Legends has a distinct identity which includes strengths and limitations that influence both deck building and gameplay, just as they do in the card game. Whereas blue excels at control effects, it lacks the capability of green to buff powerful creatures. Similarly, red has access to massive sorcery damage potential, but it lacks the healing and protection of white. A planeswalker can combine these colors of mana to cover their weaknesses and synergize their strengths in many different ways.
Here are some examples of mechanics in Magic: Legends that each color specializes in:
In order to keep the five colors distinct from one another, adherence to the source material’s “color pie” is highly important for spell design; what each color can’t do is just as important as what it can! That said, there are some mechanics all colors will be capable of that differ from the card game. For instance, all colors can deal direct damage, whereas only red, black, and white can do so in Magic: The Gathering. Such cases are areas where we identify a need to deviate from the rules of the card game, in order to preserve the qualities that make an ARPG fun.
Now that you know how to build a deck in Magic: Legends, come back tomorrow when we’ll show you how to turn your deck into a unstoppable force on the battlefield.
-By Tradd Thompson, System Designer, & Winter Mullenix, Senior Community Manager