After getting a chance to see the upcoming expansion for Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 at PAX I must say, it’s looking pretty good. There are five new decks coming down the line, with new challenges and campaign battles, which will lead directly into Theros with Elpeth’s story as she abandons Alara and tries to find a new home.
I’ll start with the most important part: the new decks. Unfortunately, only 4 have been announced, and I only got to take a detailed look at one of them: Sword of the Samurai. Sword of the Samurai is a Red/White Samurai deck, with a fun twist: a deep Equipment subtheme. Some of the most powerful Equipment from Magic’s past, such as [card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card] and [card]Umezawa’s Jitte[/card], enabled by [card]Godo, Bandit Warlord[/card] in an Aggro shell. Other decks seen so far are Hall of Champions (Green/White/Blue Exalted), Lords of Darkness (Mono-Black Demons), and Dodge and Burn (Blue/Red Izzet fun).
Lords of Darkness looks the most interesting to me, just working from the name and the fact that it’s mono-Black. The most notable trait of many Demons (like [card]Lord of the Pit[/card] and [card]Archdemon of Greed[/card]) is that they offer incredible power at a low mana cost, but they have large drawbacks such as sacrificing creatures or paying extra mana. However, a lot of these drawbacks have workarounds, such as [card]Spawning Pit[/card], and it’s very easy to take advantage of such effects with cards like [card]Grave Pact[/card] and [card]Blood Artist[/card]. It’s also reasonable to assume that [card]Lord of the Void[/card] will be making an appearance, since it’s the featured image for the deck. I have a documented love for this card, and I can’t wait to take it online. Considering the stellar work R&D did on the other mono-Black deck, I can’t wait to see what Lords of Darkness has in store for us.
Elspeth’s Hall of Champions deck also looks like a pretty interesting concept. Duels 2013 had Nefarox’s White/Black Exalted deck, which was pretty fun to play, but was really linear and easily interfered with. Hopefully we can see some real improvements out of this deck concept this time around, with a new set of colors thrown in for good measure. Finally, there’s Dodge and Burn, featuring most Johnnys’ favorite guild, the Izzet. If it follows in the footsteps of previous Izzet decks in Duels titles (and a lot of Izzet decks in paper magic), it will be an absolute blast if it goes off smoothly, but it will take deep skill and knowledge of the game to get it to do so. It will definitely be cool to see how well they balance those two factors.
Overall, the Duels 2014 expansion is looking pretty cool. Check out our interview with Magic Brand Director Mark Purvis for more information, and keep your eye on Geekenstein for the review after it launches on the 18th!