Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers – Sealed Bait and Switch

One of the most exciting new features in Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers is the sealed mode. For the first time in the series, players can build a deck from cards randomly drawn from booster packs and try their luck against other players or the single player sealed campaign. Eager to try it out, I went straight into it after starting up the game for the first time.

My initial packs were not impressive. I didn’t get a single mythic rare card in any of them, and the rares I did get were underwhelming (kind of like my luck when buying real cards). Still, playing with cards you might not normally use is part of the appeal of this kind of deck building, so I made the best of it and put together a white and black deck. There were not enough cards to form a single color deck from my starting grabs, but that didn’t seem to be a problem for my first opponent in the sealed campaign who played with a single colored blue deck.

By the end of the battle I was sure of one thing: my opponent’s deck was not formed from a random set of boosters. This was clearly a pre-designed 40 card deck. How disappointing. I had initially hoped to enjoy playing through Sealed Mode over and over again, facing unpredictable opponents and using different cards every time. Instead, it turns out the campaign consists of a series of battles against six mono-colored pre-designed decks.

Now there are several pieces of bad news and one piece of good news. The good news is that you unlock 3 additional booster packs while playing through the campaign. The first item of bad news is that once you’ve unlocked the last of those boosters, that’s it; you won’t be getting any more cards. If you want to try again with a new random set of cards, you will have to use the second of your two save slots. After that, you have to spend $2 to buy an additional save slot. Now here’s the really bad news: You cannot delete a save file in the sealed mode of Magic 2014.

I’m going to say that again: You cannot delete a save file in the sealed mode of Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers, and you are only provided with two save slots. Once you’ve played through them, you CANNOT play through the mode again from the beginning unless you spend more money. It’s as though a game mode you paid for is no longer available to you.

As far as I’m concerned, this is nothing short of a bait and switch, and I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty upset about it.

It’s like the developers completely misunderstood what makes playing a sealed format fun in the first place. The fun of sealed formats in real life Magic: The Gathering is building a deck from a random set of cards and playing it against decks built in the same way. Once the tournament is over, the resulting deck is not important at all, and is almost always dismantled. Yet in this game, players are forced to keep those decks even after completing the campaign and are prevented from enjoying the fun of drawing new cards again without spending more money. The only thing a player can do with their sealed mode deck once they are done with the campaign is try it against another player’s sealed deck. Of course, if you happen to get bad cards locked into both of your save files, that’s not going to be much fun either.

What can I say? This is a total disaster. I reached out to Wizards of the Coast on the subject, but did not receive any reply. What should be the most exciting new feature in Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers is instead a shameful blemish on an otherwise enjoyable title. For what it’s worth, the game plays well, and I will go into that in more detail in the full review. At $10, this is still a great value to fans of the series and the card game. But you might want to pretend that the sealed mode isn’t included if you decide to spend the money. For more on Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers, check out our review.

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0 thoughts on “Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers – Sealed Bait and Switch

  1. I completely agree with the bait and switch comment. I didn’t even buy mtg 2013 the only reason I bought this one was because of sealed play. I thought you would be able to play and unlock booster packs with some kind of currency and keep buying packs till you got a really good deck, but nope this is sad and the fact you can’t delete the decks is even worse.

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  2. Agreed, I haven’t played magic in years and was really excited when I first purchased this game. 2 days later I have completed everything and do not even get to build a good deck. how disappointing.. . I don’t recommend anyone buying this game if they are expecting more than 20 hours of enticing game play.

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  3. You guys all miss the point, if you buy a real life magic booster pack
    and you are not satisfied with the cards you cant delete them and get a
    new booster pack. A real life sealed costs usually $25 or $30. In this
    game you get 2 of them for free and after that they are only $2. If you
    don’t have $2 then Magic is not the game for you, please stop playing.

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    1. Hey, thanks for your comment. I see where you’re coming from, but there are a couple key differences worth mentioning. The cards you get in Magic 2014 Duels of the Planeswalker’s sealed mode do not get added to a permanent collection that you can form decks from, trade from, or sell from. They are locked to that individual save slot, and it becomes impossible to get additional cards for it once you finish the Sealed campaign. The cards become quite useless if you had bad luck. In real life, even if you have bad luck, you can sell or trade your cards away. In this case, bad cards just waste your save slot.

      Playing Magic: The Gathering with real cards is an expensive hobby. One of the great things about the Duels of the Planeswalkers series is that it is a cheap alternative for only $9.99. I don’t feel like one more game of Sealed is worth spending $2 on. I’d rather spend that on a DLC deck pack or put it towards an expansion. I wouldn’t mind spending $2 on a sealed mode save slot if the cards were then added to a permanent collection that could be used for deck building, but this isn’t Magic Online, so it’s unlikely that will ever happen.

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    2. We’re not missing any points. In real life you purchase cards, use them for sealed, and then keep the cards you purchased for later use in constructed / trading / collecting — or just resell them. However, in this electronic game, the cards you are purchasing have no further function, they can not be traded, and they can not be resold.

      The point of sealed in this game should therefore be to get cards, make a deck with them, play that deck in a match or tournament, and then start over (having given the cards back.) Since a computer is doing all the work of generating random cards and since you are not keeping them nor reselling them, there is no valid reason to have each iteration cost money. I don’t see any reason why a game that advertises sealed game play as a buying point should have any more justification of charging you per sealed game than it does to charge you per constructed game.

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