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iPad Game Review: Magic: The Gathering 2015 for iPad Review
      #47293 - 11/10/14 06:17 PM

Magic: The Gathering is the great-granddaddy of card battle games. The 2015 version features new deck building options and, with the recent update, a straightforward and reasonable pay model.


First of all, while Magic: The Gathering 2015 (MTG) is free, it is not free-to-play as much as it is a demo with numerous IAP unlocks. This is not a bad thing as demos have been around since the App Store opened. Just bear this in mind before you download it, hit the paywall, and then leave an angry review. If you've never played MTG, it is a card battle game where two opponents draw cards from their own previously crafted decks, and then play them strategically. Cards can take the form of magical beasts, spells, or various lands; the latter of which must be played to provide the energy necessary to summon the former. Effective gameplay revolves around finding clever synergies between cards to maximize damage. For example, you might wonder why anyone would want to play a card that causes damage to every creature on the board (including your own). However, couple that card with another card that protects your creatures from any single damage source, and you now have a continuous source of hurt applied solely to your opponent. Some of these combos are extremely complex, and are pretty impressive to watch in action. If you only came for the multiplayer component, then you're in luck because it's robust and dead simple to use. Harnessing the power of Apple's Game Center, matchmaking works quite well, and there seem to be plenty of opponents, both through your Friends list and random battles.

When MTG 2015 first launched, it sported a deeply confusing pay model that felt more than a little misleading. I say felt misleading because I firmly believe this was not the developer's intent, mostly because a recent patch has fixed almost all of my earlier complaints. IAPs are now quite straightforward and reasonable, especially if you previously purchased the any of the bundles or a premium booster pack because you are automatically given the Garruk's Revenge expansion! Further, all premium booster packs are now called Battle Boosters, and can be unlocked through regular play. If you're new to MTG 2015, you can completely unlock the original game for $10, and the expansion for $5. That's it. Spending additional money on card packs is still possible, but completely unnecessary for those who want to earn them by playing. The pacing of the game still feels painfully and needlessly slow, but I suddenly find myself feeling much less impatient now that I'm happy with where my money went.


MTG 2015 has a highly polished look, with everything looking like it's been buffed to a high sheen. Magic: The Gathering is famous for it's imaginative, varied, and stylish artwork; and the full beauty of each and every card is here in full HD glory.


High production values in audio, both music and sound, serve to make your MTG experience rich and lush.

In-App Purchases (IAPs)

The new streamlined IAPs are much more reasonable and easy to understand. Further, if you previously purchased any of the bundles (or a premium booster) you will be gifted the new expansion at no additional charge. Now THAT'S what I call listening to your customers. Kudos to Wizards of the Coast.


Magic The Gathering 2015 is a worthwhile successor to the franchise's previous versions. The ability to craft your own deck for multiplayer will give it some serious legs with the hardcore gaming crowd, and the newly revamped IAPs make it a much better value and is no longer confusing. Highly recommended.

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 5 - First-rate graphics really capture the beauty of the cards, and complexity of the gameplay.
Sound: - 4 - High quality audio throughout.
Controls: - 4 - Everything looks like its running in slow-motion. Other than that, no complaints.
Gameplay: - 5 - The cardplay is 100% Magic (pun intended).

Playing Hints and Tips:

Expect to spend some time learning how to beat the final tutorial level because it's very challenging for anybody who is likely to need the tutorial. Regarding gameplay, look for creative ways to combine different cards' special abilities. Simply playing your cards for their face value will result in failure and frustration. There's a gazillion sites on the internet with hints/tips/tutorials/videos to help you get started so get to Googling.

App Facts:

Developer: Wizards of the Coast
Release Date: July 9, 2014
Price: Free with IAPs
Buy App: Magic: The Gathering 2015

Reviewed by Tom Slayton


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