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War of the Spark – A Magic: The Gathering Set Overview

Wizards of the Coast released the newest expansion set for Magic: The Gathering into the wild on May 3rd.

War of the Spark Set Info

Release Date: May 2, 2019

Card Count: 264

Available For Purchase:

Planeswalkers Matter

War of The Spark will feature thirty six planeswalkers, with one planeswalker as the buy-a-box promo. With the previous promise of a planeswalker in ever pack, we now know they are going to fulfill that promise with planeswalkers at various rarities (The infinite cohost called it). There are going to be twenty uncommon, twelve Rare, and three mythic planeswalkers in the set. These characters are drawn from throughout the multiverse of Magic and throughout its history.

In addition to uncommon and rare planeswalkers, War of The Spark features new abilities and mana costs never seen before on cards before. Hybrid mana symbols are being printed on planeswalkers for the first time ever, allowing for flexible casting costs and fitting them in as many decks as possible. Wizards also confirmed in their War of The Spark Panel at Pax that all thirty seven planeswalkers will feature a static or triggered ability as part of their rules text.

Having abilities on planeswalkers where their vary presence influence the battlefield leads to many more opportunities for cool cards and cool play.

Japanese Alternate Art Planeswalkers

Wizards is making things VERY interesting for collectors this time around. They commissioned several Japanese artists to create alternate art for each of the planeswalkers in the set. These alternate art cards will be available in Japanese packs of War of the Spark and will replace the planeswalker in the pack 50% of the time.

Positive Proliferation

Proliferate shows up as a returning mechanic for War of The Spark. Last featured in the Scars of Mirrodin block, this mechanic lets you add any kind of counter to any number of permanents that you own. Which not only supports planeswalkers but creatures with +1 counters.

Amass an Army!

Amass is a key word focusing around the Dreadhorde, Nicol Bolas’s personal army of zombie warriors. Each card with Amass lets you create a zombie army token with +1/+1 counters or add more counters to your existing creature. The intent behind the ability is to create a single giant creature to destroy your opponent in only a few crushing attacks. Where it lacks in its ability to create multiple army tokens, the ability to go big leads to a massive creature dominating the battle field. Hope you don’t find a way to give it trample!

Some of Our Favorite Cards!

Dreadhhorde Invasion – Mike Guarino

My favorite War of the Spark card right now has to be Dreadhorde Invasion: 1) The card is crazy good in Limited and was an absolute powerhouse at Prerelease. The life loss is negligible and even recoverable if this goes unanswered long enough, and you can even speed that up with proliferate! 2) We knew that this would be good, because it’s a callback to the all-star enchantment Bitterblossom (from Morningtide). I really like how this set is cognizant of Magic’s history not only in the lore but also in card mechanics! 3) Speaking of lore, the relentless, sinister nature of the Dreadhore Invasion is realized here. Destroy the zombie invaders, and it’s only a matter of time before more take their place!

Sarkhan The Masterless – Susie Guarino

As an aggro-loving limited junkie, I was tempted to pick a more common, reliable, dangerous-but-not-total-bomb card like Trusted Pegasus as my favorite. (Plus the Vorthos in me cries every time I see that art!) But then I remembered that above all else I’m a huge smashy Timmy, so I have to say Sarkhan the Masterless is the most exciting card in this set for me. A 5-drop is plenty fast enough for a top-end bomb of a limited aggro deck, and honestly with the dragon shenanigans he can pull off I’m surprised he doesn’t cost more. The ping effect gets out of hand quickly and really deters the opponent from attacking. In the meantime, nothing is stopping you from your aggressive dragon army onslaught!! It’s true, when I played him this weekend he was instantly the target of removal, but not before he popped out that one dragon! If he and his immediate dragon pal force my opponent to focus fire two removal spells at me, that’s still plenty of value for a 5-drop! And if they can’t respond?! Oh. Boy. Gonna fill the skies with good good dragons. Who doesn’t love that?!

Crushing Dissent – Michael Duetzmann

Last set I fell in love with Frilled Mystic. It was a card that was both a creature and a counterspell. The casting cost was prohibitive though as it required a total of four mana, two of which being green and two being blue. Crushing Dissent is similar because it also counters a spell and creates a creature (because of the Amass keyword). It isn’t as effective of a counterspell because opponents can just spend two extra mana, but it is MUCH easier to cast as it only costs 2 colorless mana and one blue. This card has already worked wonders for me in limited formats and on MTG Arena.

Mowu, Loyal Companion – Evan Duetzmann

I love Mowu for two reasons. First, he’s a cute dog. Second, I think he would make a fun Commander because there are lots of green cards that give +1/+1 counters to creatures you control and he would make those cards better.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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There are Five Different Types of Magic Players – What Kind is Your Child?

Everyone plays games for different reasons. These varied motivations help explain why people like different games and play them in different ways.

Mountains of research have been done regarding the different types of gamers. In fact, (friend of the site) Dr. Regina McMenomy has done some of that research. Wizards of the Coast, however, has gone so far as to take these so-called psycho-graphic profiles, given them names, and taken the time to explain them within the context of Magic: The Gathering.

We thought that we would take the time to highlight and explain those different profiles, because knowing why you and your children play the game is helpful for figuring out what cards to buy, what decks to build, and what kinds of formats you’ll want to play in.

Take a look at the list below ands then leave a comment telling us what kind of Magic: The Gathering Player you are!

Timmy/Tammy

Timmy/Tammy is the name of the gamer profile that is characterized by their love of big splashy effects and giant creatures. They are motivated by the thrill of playing these massive spells and seeing how they impact the board.

Timmy/Tammy can be competitive (who doesn’t like to win?), but the real fun comes from playing these really big spells.

Timmy wants to experience something. Timmy plays Magic because he enjoys the feeling he gets when he plays. What that feeling is will vary from Timmy to Timmy, but what all Timmies have in common is that they enjoy the visceral experience of playing.

Mark Rosewater

There is some variance within this profile, too! Everyone isn’t a carbon copy of one another. Below are some sub groups:

Power Gamers – They focus on big spells and big critters. Power = fun.

Social Gamers – They just want to play with others. They also know that sometimes playing decks around big effects will win just often enough for everyone to have a turn.

Adrenaline Junkies – They thrive on playing spells with unpredictable effects. Some cards in Magic use coin flips and adrenaline junkies love them!

Johnny/Jenny

Johnny/Jenny is the name of the gamer profile that is all about discovery! They love to find interesting interactions between cards and executing those combos within Magic. They love the thrill of “breaking cards” and making cool decks that do super interesting things (even if they lose more often than not).

Johnny is the creative gamer to whom Magic is a form of self-expression. Johnny likes to win, but he wants to win with style. It’s very important to Johnny that he win on his own terms. As such, it’s important to Johnny that he’s using his own deck. Playing Magic is an opportunity for Johnny to show off his creativity.

Mark Rosewater

Johnny’s and Jenny’s aren’t all the same either. Below are some sub groups:

Combo Players – They pore over spoiler lists looking for unique interactions and cool combos. It’s all about the thrill of the hunt.

Designers – Some people just want to build decks that work. They are driven by ideas and challenges

Artists – Deck building, for some people, is all about expressing themselves. Creating interesting themes in decks is an art form for them!

Challenge Seekers – Some people go out of their way to make bad cards into good ones. They accept challenges that are present in the design of a given set and push those limits!

Spike

Simply put: Spike wants to win. They aren’t concerned with making their own decks. Instead, they may comb the internet looking for decks that are successful in recent tournaments.


Spike is the competitive player. Spike plays to win. Spike enjoys winning. To accomplish this, Spike will play whatever the best deck is. Spike will copy decks off the Internet. Spike will borrow other players’ decks. To Spike, the thrill of Magic is the adrenaline rush of competition. Spike enjoys the stimulation of outplaying the opponent and the glory of victory.

Mark Rosewater

Innovators – Some players take pride in their ability to look at new cards (or cards they have discovered from the history of Magic) and evaluate them. Are they good? Can they be played in successful decks? These are the questions a Spike will ask themselves the first time they see any Magic card that they discover.

Analysts – Tournaments can have hundreds (if not thousands) of players. They all bring different decks and play styles. Some players love to find decks that will give them the best chance to compete in that environment.

Deck Tuners – Not everyone likes to build their decks from scratch. Tuners love to find popular decks made by other players and tweek them to be better.

Mental Athletes – Some players are less concerned with the deck they are playing and the cards they are using. They spend their efforts being the best player they can. It’s all about being able to do the math, and play each individual situation as best they can.

Melvin/Melanie

Mel is an interesting psychographic profile. These are players who are focused on appreciating the design of Magic. They examine cards as they are released and focus on the “why” in every part of the card. They may focus on why a card was in a given color, or why it has a certain creature type.

Vorthos

Vorthos is the name used for the psychographic profile of a player who is all about the story and “flavor” of the game. They appreciate cards that are designed with consistency from their name and color. This profile was coined by Matt Cavotta in his article “Snacktime with Vorthos.” It was further expanded on by Ant Tessitore when he divided Vorthos into five different categories based on how the game makes them feel

The Gamer appreciates top down resonance and in-game flavor.
The Artist appreciates all visual aspects of Magic.
The Writer appreciates all written copy for Magic.
The Oracle appreciates real world to fantasy world blending via things like cosplay.
The Dreamer appreciates anything contributing to the lore of Magic

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know what kind of Magic player you are?

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Ravnica Allegiance – an MtG Set Overview

Ravnica Allegiance is the most recent expansion released for Magic: The Gathering. It features the continuation of the long running narrative featuring the planeswalkers in the “Gatewatch” and the would-be dragon god Nicol Bolas. Bolas is up to something, and is trying to pit the various planeswalkers against each other. What is he up to? We shall soon find out!

Ravnica Allegiance Set Info

  • Release Date: January 25, 2019
  • Card Count: 259
  • Available for purchase as:
    • Ravnica Allegiance Bundle
    • Ravnica Allegiance Booster Box
    • Ravnica Allegiance Guild themed booster packs – 30 cards including 1-2 rares or mythic rares
    • Ravnica Allegiance Collector’s Booster Packs – 15 cards included 3 rare or mythic rare
    • Ravnica Allegiance Planeswalker Decks – 60 cards, 2 booster packs, code for the deck in MtG Arena
    • Ravnica Allegiance Deckbuilder’s Toolkit – 125 cards, 100 basic lands

Ravnica Allegiance Guilds

One of the key features of Ravnica is its assortment of Guilds. These organizations represent different color pairings. Wizards designers used those color pairings to help create personalities for the guilds and use those personalities to determine their abilities.

The Grull Çlan – Red/Green

The Grull clan is a band of violent warriors the break, bash, and crash through the expanding edges of civilized space. Order and subtlety have no place in their tactics or their home on the Rubblebelt. The Grull represent the aggressive force and overwhelming strength of red and green.

Riot Cards ask you questions related to the board state. Do you need to crash in quickly or build big?

The Orzhov Syndicate – Black/White

The Orzhov Syndicate is institution both religious and financial. Money and power are brokered by clerics both living and dead, and those who default to their debts end up paying in blood and spirit. The Orzhov represent black and white’s mastery of the forces of life and death.

Afterlife cards reinforce the value of card advantage, specifically that afterlife creatures will often take more than one card to deal with.

The Simic Combine – Blue/Green

The Simic Combine is devoted to growth through physical evolution. What is strong can always be made stronger. Their wizards barrow from all manner of natural and magical creature to augment themselves. The Simic represent blue and green control over the forces of nature.

Adapt reinforces the idea of a consistent mana curve by giving early game cards that also have powerful late game effects.

The Rakdos Carnival – Black/Red

The Rakdos Carnival is a never ending show of grim comedy and violence . The performers fuel their works through blood, pain and flames and when they eventually themselves die in the act… an audience member will do just as well. The Rakdos represent the relentless violence of Black and Red.

Spectacle cares a lot about order of operations and sequencing events. Spectacle cards work best when you cast them in the right situation (most often after combat) or in the right sequence.

The Azorious Senate – Blue/White

The Azorious Senate sits in a position of absolute control. Their goal in the sprawling Ravnica is to enforce an endless number of rules and regulations, and to bind and imprison those who defy the law… or their authority as lawgivers. The Azorious represent the absolute order of blue and white.

Addendum cards teach about timing in magic. They are instants (or cards that can be played at instant speed) so they could be cast any times, but they are more powerful when they are played during your turn (during the main phase). Beginner players often have trouble with instances/responses/the stack. These cards might not be what players want to play with, but they are cool to play against.

Hybrid Mana and Split Cards

Hybrid mana is a type of mana that first appeared in the original Ravnica block. It represents a cost that can be paid with either type of mana represented in the cost. Visually this is represented by using a design that incorporates both colors and small versions of the mana symbols within the a circle.

It allows for increased flexibility in deck-building because cards with hybrid mana in their cost can be used by either color even if the deck was being designed to be only one color. For example, you can use a black/white hybrid creature in a mono-colored white deck. The added flexibility is valuable in decks that are both colors, but it isn’t required.

Split Cards first appears during a block called “Invasion.” These are cards that are printed sideways on the standard magic card. They are, essentially, two separate spells printed on one card. If you have that split-card in your hand, then you may choose to pay the mana cost for either spell on that card and cast that spell.

Resources from Around the Web

Magic: The Gathering is a very popular game so there are many, many great resources across the web. Below are just a few of the resources that are specifically related to Ravnica: Allegiance that we thought you might want to look at.

Rules Explanation Video

Loading Ready Run has created a wonderful rules overview to help explain the different mechanics and rules at play when using Ravnica Allegiance cards.

Visual Spoiler

Wizards of the Coast has a Visual Spoiler that includes images of all of the cards in the set.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Wizards of the Coast Unveils the next Magic: The Gathering Expansion”War of the Spark”

This past weekend was not only PAX East, but it also featured the first Mythic Championship AND a panel featuring the full unveiling of the next expansion for Magic: The Gathering.

War of the Spark is the next set. It will be released on May 3rd, 2019 and will feature the dramatic conclusion to a story that has been building up for years. (Yes. You read that right. Magic has had a continuous story that has been building up to this moment.) Nicol Bolas (a crazy elder dragon who is seeking ultimate power) has been visiting various planes to gather armies (Ahmonket) and artifacts of great power (Ixalan) to help him attack the city of Ravnica. His goal has been to dominate the city and draw planeswalkers from across the multiverse to attack him and stop him. Why, you might ask? Because he is laying a trap for them. It’s all very intense and will play out through the themes represented in the cards and their art.

War of The Spark preview season is going to include card previews for every card in the set, instead of single card reveals. These previews happen ing in the next couple of weeks will now feature sets of five cards, and are going to be from every level of rarity, and for all types of players. These cards will be used to tell a complete scene in the ongoing story in War of The Spark

Planeswalkers Matter

War of The Spark will feature thirty six planeswalkers, with one planeswalker as the buy-a-box promo. With the previous promise of a planeswalker in ever pack, we now know they are going to fulfill that promise with planeswalkers at various rarities (The infinite cohost called it). There are going to be twenty uncommon, twelve Rare, and three mythic planeswalkers in the set. These characters are drawn from throughout the multiverse of Magic and throughout its history.

In addition to uncommon and rare planeswalkers, War of The Spark features new abilities and mana costs never seen before on cards before. Hybrid mana symbols are being printed on planeswalkers for the first time ever, allowing for flexible casting costs and fitting them in as many decks as possible. Wizards also confirmed in their War of The Spark Panel at Pax that all thirty seven planeswalkers will feature a static or triggered ability as part of their rules text.

Having abilities on planeswalkers where their vary presence influence the battlefield leads to many more opportunities for cool cards and cool play

Positive Proliferation

Proliferate shows up as a returning mechanic for War of The Spark. Last featured in the Scars of Mirrodin block, this mechanic lets you add any kind of counter to any number of permanents that you own. Which not only supports planeswalkers but creatures with +1 counters.

Amass an Army

Amass is a key word focusing around the Dreadhorde, Nicol Bolas’s personal army of zombie warriors. Each card with Amass lets you create a zombie army token with +1/+1 counters or add more counters to your existing creature. The intent behind the ability is to create a single giant creature to destroy your opponent in only a few crushing attacks. Where it lacks in its ability to create multiple army tokens, the ability to go big leads to a massive creature dominating the battle field. Hope you don’t find a way to give it trample!

That Trailer Though

The War of the Spark trailer is the most viewed trailer in the history of Magic for a reason. Give it a look!

I didn’t know I wanted a CGI Magic Movie until right now.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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