In a video interview at the New York Comic-Con posted a few days ago by the Frag Dolls, the Wizards of the Coast Digital Studio Business Manager, Mike Gills, confirmed the existence of a third expansion pack for the popular Xbox Live Arcade game Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers. While it is good to see Wizards continuing to support DoTP over a year after its release, this new expansion threatens to destroy any semblance of online competitive balance by allowing players to use Sorin Markov’s “Master of Shadows” deck that debuted as the boss fight in the campaign of the previous expansion. The boss fight in this expansion will be against Sarkhan the Mad.
Sorin’s tribal vampire deck seems like it is just far too powerful to be included as a playable deck in this game. Heavy hitters like Vampire Nocturnus, Butcher of Malakir, Malakir Bloodwitch, and multiples of Vampire Nighthawk, are all bombs in the limited format of Duels of the Planeswalkers. Nighthawk alone will be the best three-drop in the game hands down. Master of Shadows is also chock full of removal such as Hideous End, Disfigure, Feast of Blood, and even Anowon the Ruin Sage. Using all your removal to deal with the various Nighthawks and Nocturnus’s early on will only leave you open to a Ruin Sage being dropped on your head which, if you do not deal with quickly, will be a game ender. Add to that the fact the deck is mono black so it is immune to terror which several of the other decks in the game rely on as their only method of creature removal.
Duels was fun because the decks are so janky. Players got to experience cards and combos that would never work in any other format. Sorin’s deck is something that you really might see at Friday Night Magic, however, and simply outclasses everything else. It was incredibly difficult just to beat the computer playing with this deck so imagine how hard it will be to overcome an actual human using it. Although no new unlockable cards for the existing decks were mentioned in the interview, hopefully there will be something added to each one to prevent Sorin’s vampire deck from becoming ubiquitous online.
Mr. Gills did not announce a release date or price for the expansion but the previous two were each 400 Microsoft Points so the third will probably be priced similarly. You will also most likely be able to download any new decks for multiplayer use only at no cost, as has been the case with the previous expansions.
It was also confirmed that Duels of the Planeswalkers would be making its way to the PlayStation Network “before the end of the year.” Whether or not all of the expansions will be hitting PSN at the same time is unclear.