STG’s Darren Price was invited to the launch of the new expansion for Magic: The Gathering, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. As a follow-up to the 2017 Ixalan expansion, players are invited to return to the mysterious jungles of Ixalan with a few surprises in store.
Magic: The Gathering is a fantasy collectable card game originally inspired by tabletop fantasy role-playing games. Two or more players take on the role of Planeswalkers using spell cards and mana (land) cards to battle each other and reduce their opponents’ life points and win the match. Earlier this year the game celebrated its 30th anniversary.
Players select their deck for each game, strategically choosing cards that align with each other, reflecting their play style, and the anticipated style of their opponents. Deck starter kits are sold to help new players easily get a deck together.
Each card has a unique piece of art on the top portion with a description of the card’s mechanic on the lower portion. There are special cards and chase cards that can be found in the various deck kits and card packs.
It can be overwhelming at first, but the gameplay scales quite well to players’ ability. It had been decades since I last played the game and I was totally lost when I first returned to the game, playing with my kids. The best way to learn Magic is by just joining in and giving it a go. If that doesn’t work for you, there’s a free mobile app, Magic: The Gathering Arena which has tutorials and allows you to use your actual purchased cards, via a redeemable code found in each pack.
Wizards of the Coast, the publishers of Magic: The Gathering chose Fortress Sydney as the venue for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan launch event. Fortress Sydney is a themed gaming event centre and tavern in the heart of Sydney. The location regularly hosts esports tournaments in a dedicated arena.
For the event, Magic fans in attendance received their own Commander deck at the door and were able to take their place at one of the many tables on the arena floor. Whilst the event was restricted to over 18s (likely due to the free-flowing alcohol), it was great to see fans old and young coming together for a preview of the new Magic expansion. Also in attendance was special guest Gavin Verhey, a Principal Game Designer for Magic: The Gathering at Wizards of the Coast.
The Lost Caverns of Ixalan expansion continues the game’s program of tie-ins with licenced properties started with the Universes Beyond decks, The Lord of The Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth, and Doctor Who. Lucky players may come across one of the 26 collaboration cards featuring characters and themes from the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movie franchises.
This, the ninety-eighth Magic expansion, adds three new game mechanics and new commanders. The Lost Caverns of Ixalan adds 291 regular cards to Magic: The Gathering. The Lost Caverns of Ixalan cards are sold in packs that include Draft Boosters, Set Boosters, Collector Boosters, Commander Decks, Prerelease Packs, Bundles, and Gift Bundles.
Collecting the cards is as much a part of Magic: The Gathering as playing the game, with some cards fetching a small fortune. The one-off One Ring Magic card is purported to be worth between $1 million to $2 million.
With The Lost Caverns of Ixalan launch at Fortress Sydney, Magic: The Gathering goes from strength to strength as part of the resurgence of tabletop fantasy gaming that can be enjoyed by the old and young. If you’ve not tried it already, I recommend you give it a go.