Magic the Gathering (MTG) Dueling Decks: Phyrexia VS The Coalition. (Strategy Card Game). (2010). Wizards of the Coast, Inc. ASIN: B003BUAO2U. $19.99.

Summary

A war is waged in Dominaria when Phyrexian invaders attack. Luckily, a coalition has formed which includes the ultra-powerful dragons! Can the united forces stop the black spawn before death is brought down upon them? Take the reigns as a powerful black or multi-colored wizard, and command your armies to victory in this duel to the death!

Critical Evaluation

Magic the Gathering card decks can take a long time to build up and perfect, (not to mention the cost of such endeavors!) What we have here is a pre-made duel set that claims to be perfectly matched!

It includes a strong 60-card black deck versus an (almost) equally strong 60-card multi-color deck, which includes dragons. Can be a good set of starter decks, though more seasoned Magic the Gathering players may do better with this set than beginners. Traditionally, multi-color decks are particularly difficult to wield, but this deck eliminates some of the problem because the deck is pre-built with all the necessary cards included in order to play.

After playing the decks against one another multiple times, it becomes clear that they are not quite evenly matched! Black tends to kill off the multi-color creatures immediately, and repeatedly. If dragons can stick around long enough, they may be able to even out the score, however, this generally is not the case! The Phyrexia deck brings destruction much too quickly. Still, the decks include some serious cards great for building up other decks, and their level of complexity would take a player a long time to build up if a player were to start with a normal, introductory deck of 40 cards.

Rare cards included in the Phyrexia deck include: Living Death, Phyrexian Arena, Phyrexian Colossus, Phyrexian Negator, Phyrexian Plaguelord, and Phyrexian Processor. The cards featuring alternate artwork are Phyrexian Negator, Voltaic Key and Phyrexian Processor. Rare cards included in the Coalition deck are: Coalition Relic, Darigaaz, the Igniter, Gerrard Capashen, Rith, the Awakener, Treva, the Renewer, and Urza’s Rage. The cards featuring alternate artwork are Yavimaya Elder, Armadillo Cloak, and Urza’s Rage.

Reader’s Annotation

Phyrexia vs. The Coalition is a pre-made dual Magic the Gathering deck, perfect for two players! Don’t waste another minute trying to build up that deck, or learn the rules- just get started with either the powerful black invaders or the strong, united forces of the Coalition, including dragons!

About the Game:

Visit http://www.wizards.com/magic/multiverse to learn more about the game and worlds of Magic the Gathering, as well as purchasing information.

Genre

Fantasy trading card games/strategy games.

Programming Ideas

  • Tournaments
  • Strategy and Instruction Sessions
  • Card Trading Sessions
  • FanArt and FanFiction Writing Sessions/Contests

Reading Level/Interest Age

Ages 13-18+

Challenge Issues

The idea is that players are wizards and they “cast” spells. While this may offend some individuals, the game does not focus on this element during play. Players control creatures and “spells,” but the game is a game of strategy dictated by cards that are drawn. There is no real element of witchcraft or sorcery involved.

Religious groups have also objected to the fantasy imagery of the cards as well(Slavin, 2004). Yet, the game does have positive benefits.

“Most parents here say the game has sharpened their kids’ mental skills, kept them away from drugs and gangs, helped shy children make friends and, like other sports, taught them how to win and lose gracefully. ‘He’s learning money-management, vocabulary and social skills,’ Betsy Arnold of West Lafayette, Ind., says of her 14-year-old son, Tommy(Slavin, 2004).

Why did you include this game?

Magic the Gathering is very popular with teens, as it has been for many years. “Eleven years after its introduction by a Seattle-area company, Wizards of the Coast, Magic is the most successful game most Americans have never heard of — unless their children have come under its spell. Played by more than 3 million Americans and another 3 million people overseas, Magic has become a subculture in more than 70 countries…The game has become so successful that Hasbro, the toy company that bought Wizards of the Coast for $325 million in 1999, awarded $100,000 in college scholarships this past weekend to 64 top players among 313 entrants who were 15 or under when they qualified for the junior national championships. Older “professional” players competed for $70,000 in prize money(Slavin, 2004).”

No word can describe it other than the word, “phenomenon.” Tournaments still draw plenty of players, and a visit to a nearby game shop will affirm this. If you are looking to supplement your library’s activities and events for teenagers, or are looking to find ways to boost attendance, look no further! Because of the fantasy element of this game, and the expanse of worlds, creatures, and characters, teenagers who play Magic the Gathering may be willing to try other fantasy and science fiction entertainment, such as fantasy books. Players can also play Magic the Gathering online, or take part in online discussions and professional tournaments.

References

Slavin, B. (2004). Magic the Gathering casts its spell. USA Today, Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database at Persistent URL: http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=J0E310047044504&site=ehost-live.

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About thesuperlibrarian

High School Librarian and obsessive reader! On a mission to read as many SUPER YA books as possible!
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