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Magic The Gathering: Battlegrounds

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posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 10:19 AM
Probably one of the most overlooked games of 2005, Magic The Gathering: Battlegrounds is an interesting PC and X-box game with the potential to be more.

At the start of the game you only have one deck open to use - Red. By going through and playing Campaign Mode, you unlock the other spell books and, in doing so, enhance multiplayer play.

The game is, for most intents, only loosely based on the massively popular card game of the same name. For one, whereas in the game you are some sort of "god" or similar deity, in Battlegrounds you are a powerful summoner that also takes part on the battlefield.

The battlefield itself is like a tennis court, with your half, and your opponent's half, seperated by a magic barrier. If you cross this barrier (at times useful to do) you start to take damage, your mana (energy) does not regenerate, and any spells you were in the process of casting is canceled.

Your mana is the next most important thing. You accumulate Mana Orbs under your health meter (which starts at 20). These Mana Orbs slowly fill with mana. The more Orbs you possess, the faster they will fill. You require a certain number of Orbs in order to cast a spell (the spell Engulfing Flames costs only 1 Orb of Mana, but Magma Giant costs 5). You start with no Orbs, but quickly gain a few as Mana Crystals appear in the dueling arena (on your side). Every Mana Crystal you collect increases the number of Orbs you possess. When you recieve a new Orb, it comes filled with Mana.

You can also collect Mana Shards, normally given off by a creature that was killed, which will help fill a Mana Orb. It should be noted that a creature will give off half it's mana that it was worth. So Magma Giant, costing 5, will give off 5 Shards when it dies, which will amount to 2 and a half Orbs of Mana should you collect them all.

Next you have the creatures. Each creature has Health and Power. When a creature attacks, it deals it's power in damage to a creature or player's health. If it's equal to or greater than the amount of health the opposing creature/player has, they are defeated. When you summon a creature, it will begin to advance on the enemy, and can enter the other side of the arena without taking damage. If it encounters an enemy creature along the way, it will fight it. Should it win, however, it will respawn back at it's original summoning point (making location of summoning an important tactic). When two creatures fight, they will both deal their power in damage to the opposing creature simultaneously. Note that this can make two creatures annihilate each other.

Unlike in Magic, when a creature respawns, it does not regain the health it lost. That health is lost permanently (unless specifically stated in the spell - such as Infest which causes a creature to lose 2 health until it respawns - though this loss can kill the creature, or make it lose against an opposing one).

That's the basics of the game. There are also 5 different "decks" or "spellbooks" to choose from:


Red is the colour of rage and chaos. It focuses on spells and summons that do damage. Red has the fastest creatures (cross the arena fastest), and creatures that do the most damage. It also has spells that do "direct damage". Instead of targetting the closest creature, the spell targets the enemy caster.

White is the colour of harmony and healing. It focuses on spells and summons that make its creatures fight better. A super-effective White ability is called "First Strike", which makes one creature deal its damage before another creature can. In effect, a creature with only 1 health, but 2 strength and First Strike, can take out a 2/2 creature that does not have First Strike without taking any damage! White also has healing spells that can rejuvinate the caster, and a special White-Enchantment that can allow the caster to win simply by achieving 50 health.

Green is the colour of power and growth. It focuses on summons for massively powerful creatures, and spells that make those creatures even stronger. It also has magic-producing spells and creatures, so that it can gain a massive magic lead early on. This makes Green a very intimidating deck. Green also has a special spell ability called "Trample", which means that a creature with Trample, after defeating a creature, will continue to advance on the enemy instead of respawning. However, it loses attack power as it goes, and so one way to defeat the creature is to continuously feed it small creatures that will whittle it away. However, with the Green Spell "Giant Growth" (that gives a creature +3/+3), a Trampling creature can, theoretically, fight on forever.

Blue is a crafty spellbook and is the colour of deciet and trickery. Considered the master's spellbook because Blue has no direct way of attacking the enemy. Blue's spells focus on depriving the enemy of a successful attack, and foiling their plans, and their summons focus on aerial attacks. In fact, Blue only has one creature spell that stays on the ground, and that creature does not advance into the enemy's half of the arena (it is a "blocking" creature). Blue has many tricky spells at its disposal, such as Unsummon (which causes a creature to respawn - losing any bonuses it acquired that remain only until it respawns), Counter-spell (stops an enemy from casting any spell), or even Spelljack (functions like Counter-spell, takes longer to do and so is more difficult to use, but STEALS the enemy's spell so the blue caster can use it).

Finally, there's black magic - the colour of death and decay. Black, more than any other colour, is good at killing enemy creatures. Black spells focus on killing creatures - such as Infest (which gives -2/-2 to all creatures), Vicious Hunger (steals 2 health from enemy creature and gives it to caster), and Dark Banishing (destroys nearest non-black enemy creature). However, Black is incredibly straining on health, since many Black creatures hurt their caster (Carnophage - the basic Black creature - consumes 1 health from the caster every time it respawns... a nightmare against a Blue caster). Fortunately, Soul Feast is there to save the day. It steals 4 health from the enemy caster and gives it to yourself.

So there you go, a basic run-down of the game. Here's a few combinations you want to avoid:

Blue VS Black: Black is often at a very large disability here, since it's spells cost a lot, and take a long time to cast - leaving it vulnerable to Blue's Unsummoning, Counter-spelling, Pendrell Mists, and Spelljacks. Do NOT cast Soul Feast - it takes a long time to cast and is horrible when Blue spell-jacks it. Concentrate on Vampires for this one.

White VS Red: Red's creatures have big attacks, but low health. First-strikes from White devastate Red's creatures. If you do play as Red, concentrate on Engulfing Flames and Scorching Missile in order to direct-damage him and his creatures to death.

Blue w/Black: I never mentiond this, but in Multiplayer you can also COMBINE two decks to hopefully creature one more powerful than a single deck on it's own. Unfortunately, you won't get to use every spell under each book's command - so choose wisely. Also, you gain Mana Orbs for each colour seperately, and so reaching enough mana for the big spells often takes much too much time. Avoid using Black with Blue. The match may seem powerful, but both of their useful spells only come out at 3 mana Orbs or higher - and you'll be long dead before you get the chance to use those.

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