Thursday, July 10, 2014

Magic 2015 iPad Impressions, Starter Decks, Tips and about the IAP *Updated w Manual Saving Guide*

iOS App Store link

I was pleasantly surprised to find it out in the App Store today. I manage to play through the free content and the user interface seems improved over previous version and also simpler. The cards do look a little fuzzy like in the 2014 version (cards were probably too small) and I am guessing they are optimised for Retina iPads but wasn't able to test it out. I am running it on the iPad 2 and did not face with the free content. However, the game starting crashing when I tried playing the first unlock level and I had to clear out all the other Apps before the situation improved. The loading times were sometimes long but the after battle loading were so quick that you don't get to rid the text on the loading screen.

It looks like a few features have been removed while the biggest addition is the ability to completely customise your deck. Drafting seems missing No drafting this time around and a lot of people over at The Wizards Community forum are complaining about the removal of 2v2 play. (It is available in the unlocked Practice mode but only against A.I.) I personally think the feature to completely customise deck alone is enough to make me interested to try it out again; I skipped unlocking Magic 2013 and 2014 if I'm remember correctly.

A lot of people will definitely be comparing the game to Hearthstone and with Hearthstone being free-to-play (even the new expansion can be bought with in-game earned coins if I'm not mistaken) while Magic 2015 being free to try, I think Magic 2015 will be on the losing end. However, Magic 2015 definitely has more depth compared to Hearthstone. Ultimately, it is still not Magic Online (basically the full digital version of the game) but maybe with each iteration, we might get there soon.

- able to build your own deck.

- quite a lot of crashes on my iPad 2 although I have closed every other app.
- to get the full card pool, you need to pay almost thrice as much for the premium packs.
- many IAP options and lack of description for some, which may be confusing to customers.

Update: After playing through most of the game, I notice the A.I. has very interesting decks and uses cards which are not available to the player. In particular, the one named "Cruel Reflection" really caught my eye... I've also gotten quite a number of crashes and I encounter the same crashes in Zendikar as mobiuschickenstrips over at the No Goblins Allowed forum. The Explore nodes encounters have underlying themes as well. I also find the game's battery usage high.

Starter Decks

The full deck list has been compiled except for the White Red deck. You are stuck with the deck you choose at the start and there are basically 10 decks from you choosing 2 colours. It seem that the order does not matter as I tried Red Green Smash and Burn deck, reinstalled the app to try the Green Red one and both awarded the same card Phytotitan. I was able to beat the free content easily with this deck although the last stage, I keep getting 1 land hands and had to restart the duel around once or twice as the mulligans were bad too.

I'm now currently at the penultimate stage, Ocean's Might, of the first unlocked Theros and I seem to have trouble winning. It doesn't help that that A.I. has "dual lands" which provided mana for 2 colours while we, as the player, do not get those lands, not even from Premium packs. We only get Guildgate dual lands which come into play tapped. Update: I've managed to progress beyond that and am now left with Garruk who is the final boss in Zendikar Plane. I realise I've set the difficulty to the highest so I changed it to the easiest because you still get the boosters after winning and there is no point in going against tough A.I. with a "handicapped" deck.

Out of the other Starter Decks, I saw some interesting theme from the deck lists:
- The White Green Heed the Call is a deck based around getting a lot of tokens and using them, for example with the convoke mechanic to help in summoning.

- The Blue Green Echoing Roar deck is based around bouncing creatures with enter-the-battlefield effects back to the hand to re-cast.

Edit: Another list source from the No Goblins Allowed forum, they are also saying the Black Red option is strong. Coincidentally, after I auto completed from a single Shock red spell, I got a Black Red deck suggested.

Update#1: I managed to unlock the Blue Green Bounce deck and White Red deck (I believe through getting enough cards of those deck) and the interesting thing is that their deck recipe contains more rare cards than the one you start with while the Smash and Burn remains the same when I recreate a new one from the recipe. I need to check back again once I unlock all cards. Update#2: Smash and Burn recipe gets updated with new cards as it is now different from my previous deck generation out of it. The deck recipes should be unlocked once you get the cards as I notice the "Archetype" unlock achievements after opening packs. Update#3: The Archetypes (deck recipes) will build on the initial Starter deck list and theme to keep adding on suitable cards from your available card pool.


- To unlock additional cards in story mode, other than playing through the story, return to play the first node, worded with "Explore", of each Plane to unlock more boosters of that set.
- Boosters will only give you cards which you do not have so it will not hopefully, be not that much of a grind.
- I think it's best to focus on improving the deck that you begin with as it already has a "core" for you to build on. Ravinca Plane has dual land cards so it will be a good first stop to try getting the dual land of your deck. I'll be listing my Green Red deck tweaks here. Edit: By the time you get tired of the deck, you'll probably have unlock enough cards for at least another deck.
- Nice run through of the Premium cards by mjack33 over at the No Goblins Allowed forum. (ETB is enter the battlefield while RDW stands for Red Deck Wins, a mono red deck) A lot of cards there are example of what good cards in Magic are: efficient/low cost cards that normally comes with more than 1 useful effect.
- You can also try building decks to fulfil the requirements to unlock the achievement/title/avatar while getting booster packs at the same time. (The frequent crashes can be annoying though especially when you are stalling to get the unlock condition up) Edit: Some of the achievements like dealing 20 damage with flying creatures and having 20 creatures in graveyard can be done using the Blue White and Green Black Starter decks. For the achievements related to red or blue spells, I mostly modify from the Red Blue Starter deck. I got the milling achievement using the Red Blue Starter deck as base and adding Hedron Crab.
- The A.I. deck lists are getting populated over at The Wizards Community forum. It nice to be able to know what you are up against and definitely makes the battle easier as you can plan for their spells.
- Magic 2015 Meta thread over at the No Goblins Allowed forum. A lot of useful information on the whole set that will help in deck building and playing.
- I personally like to save Instant spells for casting during the opponent's turn so I can conserve mana during my own turn. Edit#1: Creature abilities too. Edit#2: just in general, card abilities on the field...
- You can spectate people playing Magic 2015 over at, just make sure the screenshot preview is that of Magic 2015 as there are other games in there too. These are Xbox 360 versions but it is still the same game.
- I was sharing some links to tips on the MTG card game in general, which applies to this digital version as well, I found on the web on the Touch Arcade forum so I thought I will put them here as well:

How to manually save your progress
*Disclaimer: Do make an iTunes backup before attempting just to be safe!

I figured out how to manually backup your progress and it can be done using a program like iTools or iExplorer on the computer to browse your device directory, just like for Metal Slug Defense and re-rolling in Puzzle and Dragons.

Your save data is found in the "Documents" folder, named "p1.profile". I managed to transfer to another iPad with my game stats, unlocked deck recipes as well as card collection intact.

The exact steps I took to get my progress onto another iPad:
1) Make a copy of "p1.profile" from the "Documents" folder using iTools/iExplorer.
2) Download Magic 2015 with the same account that you bought the first one with.
3) Go into the game settings and restore purchases.
4) Close the app and use iTools/iExplorer to copy in the "p1.profile" file from step 1. I recall the folder being empty but otherwise, it should be fine to replace it.
5) Go back into the game and your game progress should be there.


There are some confusion with the wording and explanation for the IAP and I do agree that it is very confusing. I'm compiling some information and links from around the web that help to explain better:

- There is an option to unlock all chapters or each chapter (Plane) individually, however, unlocking All Chapters still leaves Zendikar Plane (it is probably an expansion?). Edit: Seems like Zendikar is in the all chapter unlock? No idea why it still shows as purchasable in the shop when you already have unlocked. Update#1: I've unlocked Zendikar Plane and it still show as purchasable in the shop. It is definitely included in the unlock all chapters IAP. Update#2: Zendikar is still showing but you won't be able to purchase it if you already unlock all chapters.

14 Premium Boosters can get you 100% of the Premium cards according to DJ0045, however, the Premium Booster purchase is not tied to your account and you will not be able to restore purchase for that according to Mythbuster. Unlocked Chapters can be restored though. I thought a single Premium card bundle would have been clearer from the start.

- I think there are quite a few options which are confusing, mainly due to the wording or use of the word "complete": The Chapter Unlock Bundle just plainly states that all chapter are unlocks when it also unlocks multiplayer and practice mode, etc. Theros Plane Chapter states that those features are also unlocked which make it seem like only that single chapter purchase provide those features.

- If you want to spend the least to get all content, I believe it will be just to get the Chapter Unlock as well as the 14 packs of Premium Booster.

Maybe the developers were trying to simplify the information but I think important ones are left out and users are left asking among forums and also resorting to finding out from buying.