Hey Magic Geeks,
This week, Stew educates me about this Planechase Anthology box-set that came out on Friday (Nov. 25). Is it worth the price tag? How is it different from the regular formats? We speculate, elucidate, and prevaricate. Read on, and learn with Szpirs (or suffer with Stew).
Szpirs: Hey! Is THIS that $200 (CAD) Magic thing you and Mark were talkin’ bout? (Editor’s note: Mark is a confirmed Magic Geek and has guested on Geeks with Kids! Hear him speak!)
Stew: It’s called Planechase. It’s a weird, fun format for MTG where each turn you roll a die and if it lands on a planechase square, you change planes. This gives you new restrictions and rewards that affect all of the players.
So think of it like poker where you have a dealer choose or change the format of the game per his or her deal; 5 card stud changes to deuces wild to One-Eyed Jacks are wild. The format keeps changing and so does the value of what you have in your hand which changes the outcome of the turn.
Szpirs: Ok…Trying to wrap my head around it….are the cards the same as regular MTG cards?
Stew: No, they are oversized cards that are landscapes of the plane you switch to.
Do you remember the vanguard cards? They were like the original planeswalkers of MTG. They would sit outside the game but give the player some advantages and some penalties. It’s like those.
Szpirs: Do you still have a hand of regular creatures and spells tho?
Stew: Yes, everyone has a regular 60 card or EDH deck.
Szpirs: Oh, you mean Commander (99 unique cards plus one commander card)?
Stew: The planechase cards sit outside of your board but affects everyone’s game state. Check out Akoum, which is from the plane of Zendikar. If you’re there, everyone casts enchantment spells as if they were instants – which is to say whenever they want to, on or off their turn, if they have enough mana to do it.
Szpirs: Sounds awesome! That could really swing the game depending on what’s in your hand.
Szpirs: Ever played?
Stew: I played it when the first Planechase set came out. It was fun. It only broke the vintage format further at the time…
Szpirs: LOL…that’s which is hard to do since vintage already has lots of old, broken cards in it…..how do you strategize for planechase?
Stew: It’s meant to be a multi-player tool so things that break that or throw it into disarray are what you want… something that everyone benefits from or is hindered by like time spiral, howling mine, show and tell… planechase compliments these type of effects very well.
Stew: …or something really dumb like sway the stars look it up.
Szpirs: How about etiquette? When/how do you pick which player to go after? Is there a way to do it without making yourself a target?
Stew: So, this requires a bit of threat assessment. Everyone’s board state will be in constant contact and changing constantly too.Keeping apprised of what’s happening is very important. Usually you look to the one who is causing the most damage or locking things down as your greatest threat…but sometimes you’re the greatest threat to everyone else and it’s at this point you have to react and basically not panic.
Szpirs: Now here’s the 40 life question….what do you do when you’re the target? How do you effectively defend against 2-4 other players?
Stew: At the heart of MTG, creatures are most often king. Large creatures that can easily mitigate damage can help prevent you from dying. But there are other defensive stances that you can take as well. Helping out a fellow player in their time of need might help you survive when you have lethal damage coming at you. A quick Swords to Plowshares or Condemn and the offending creature is rfg’d (removed from game…’d – Szpirs).
Szpirs Who is this game for? New players? Experienced players burnt out on regular formats? Experts only?
Stew: Friends wanting to change up their multiply player dynamic, mostly. When the sets came out, we had fun playing with them for the day… and then never again. But it’s a nice little change up.
Szpirs: Worth the price tag?
Stew: No, sadly. $200 for something you’re going to play with your friends once or twice isn’t worth it.
So, that’s the bottom line, Geeks. What do you think? Anyone buying Planechase Anthology? Let us know in the comments! – Szpirs