Late last year, Shawn brought Blizzard’s new baby, Hearthstone, to my attention. After hearing him talk about it on several occasions, I was intrigued and figured I’d give it a shot. I’ll be honest. I wasn’t a huge fan. I’m still not. Sure it was fun every once in a while but it didn’t really do it for me. Don’t worry this article isn’t another review for the game, it’s about our creation of a new MTG format based on the only redeeming quality (in my humble opinion) of Hearthstone, the mana system.
Those of you who have played Hearthstone know exactly what I’m talking about. At the beginning of every turn you get 1 additional mana crystal which is used to cast minions and spells. You see, In Hearthstone, there is no such thing as mana screw, and anybody who plays MTG has surely felt the pain and frustration of drawing spell after spell while your opponent pounds the snot out of you without mercy with no relief in sight. To us, mana screw casts a shadow over the game..instead of seeing who has the better strategy/deck, it provides players with an inaccurate assessment of their decks. So after a few conversations and some play-testing we came up with a way to adapt the Hearthstone mana system to MTG. So without further ado we present Magic-stone..
- Players have two decks; a 20 card deck that consists of nothing but land, and a 60 card deck that consists of everything else (the main deck).
- At the start of a player’s turn, that person firsts draws a card from their land deck, puts it directly into play and then draws a card from their main deck.
- Mill cards don’t affect the Land deck.
- Cards that damage a player for drawing do not do damage when drawing from the Land deck.
- “Discard” creatures (i.e Balustrade Spy) that force you to mill your deck until you draw a land, are banned.
- Any card that prevents a player from playing land is still legal. Hey buddy, that’s called control not mana screw!
Simple enough, right? During our play-testing we found that this style of Magic made for more interesting and competitive games. Instead of one or both decks being slowed down by lack of mana, both decks are able to fully function. It really shows players the strengths and weaknesses of their decks while also speeding the game up. However with this format, some cards are essentially rendered useless (Into the Wilds and Borborygmos Enraged come to mind), but in my opinion the pros definitely outweigh the cons. So grab a buddy or buddies, try it out and let us know what you think.