It’s our opening game for the Duels of the Planeswalkers (2009): Expansion Pack 2 review, and I’m joined at the table by Jimi. Long a fan of Red, she’s excited to get ahold of Chandra’s latest deck Heat of Battle, while I buckle in for a return to the tumultuous terrain of Zendikar and its landfall mechanic. Can I take Rhys to glory, or will be Chandra’s day when the ash settles?
Welcome back as we return to this year’s theme, Duels of the Planeswalkers! When we last looked at the franchise, we reviewed the three decks that comprised the first Expansion Pack, “Duel the Dragon,” which was released in October of 2009. In addition to the new playable decks, the expansion also introduced one of Magic’s great villains to the franchise, as we’ll see later. For now, though, we have the rather odd pairing of a hero from Lorwyn- and a mechanic from Zendikar.
These are hectic days for us here at Ertai’s Lament! We’ve just concluded our review of the Intro Packs of Gatecrash, after pausing the coverage of Duels of the Planeswalkers’ Expansion Pack 1. While we’re about to kick off coverage of Gatecrash’s Event Decks, we’ve just had the perfect amount of time to squeeze in the final deck for Duels, Relics of Doom. To put the deck to the test, Sam’s joined me behind Mind of Void, Jace’s mill deck.
“At the end,” the widow said of her husband, “there was a smile on his face.” And why wouldn’t there have been? His mother was a prostitute, and he lived in the brothel where she plied her ancient trade. His grandmother was the madam, while his father was a onetime soldier, occasional boxer, and frequent street hustler whom he barely knew, if at all. He was beaten and abused, expelled from school, and with little behind him but reasons not to look back he struck out on his own to find his fortune.
Two planeswalkers tied up in the strands of Nicol Bolas will be having it out today, and only one will emerge triumphant. Will it be Sarkhan Vol, whose Cries of Rage is undergoing the scrutiny of the battlefield? Or will it be Tezzeret, whose Relics of Doom will be putting it to the test? With Sam across from me at the table, we’re about to find out.
When you’ve been particular places, that you know you’ve never been before, sang Iron Maiden in 1986, can you be sure? The subject of the song- indeed, its very title- is deja vu, a feeling that we’ll perhaps be getting acquainted with today as we look at the next deck in Expansion Pack 1 for Duels of the Planeswalkers.
With Gatecrash right around the corner, we’re looking at the three decks from the first Expansion Pack of Duels of the Planeswalkers. First up is our old friend Jace, who’s got a few new tricks in his arsenal. Opposing me is Sam, who is piloting Sarkhan Vol’s Cries of Rage deck. Steely contemplation versus primal ferocity? Let’s go!
June of 2009 saw the release of the original Duels of the Planeswalkers on the XBox 360. It wouldn’t be for another 12-18 months until it was rolled out to the computer and PS3 platforms, but it had already proven itself to be a successful launch in an area Wizards had long struggled with- the entry-level bridge from the gaming world to the world of Magic. Although it would take some time for Wizards to realise that they’d finally found an avenue that broke through the “barrier to entry,” Duels’ early success gave it the encouragement it needed to release an expansion pack in October of that year.
As December draws to a close and we prepare to enter the new year, we’ve got one more match with the original Duels of the Planeswalkers decks to see us off. Looking to put Sarkhan Vol’s Scales of Fury to the test is Sam, who at last has her hands around the mono-Green Teeth of the Predator.
We’ve now come to the end of the month of December, and our voyage through Duels of the Planeswalkers is coming to a close. And while I would under most any other circumstance hesitate to quote the song ‘Closing Time’ by Semisonic, it seems quite appropriate as we prepare to turn the page on a new year at Ertai’s Lament to do precisely that. Indeed this new beginning of 2013, and the declaration of a new theme year, comes from some other beginning’s end.