Magic: The Gathering continually introduces new mechanics and interesting concepts to the game, and this is one of the reasons it’s still going so strong today. MTG’s Planechase cards are a great example, as they’re a fun and flavorful addition that puts a chaotic spin on MTG‘s normal ruleset. Wizards of the Coast first introduced Planechase in 2009, and now MTG‘s upcoming set, March of the Machine, is bringing Planechase back to MTG‘s Commander format.
Commander is MTG‘s most-played format, but after existing in its current state for over a decade with very little to shake up the formula, some players are starting to feel Commander is getting a bit stale. To shake things up, March of the Machine‘s five preconstructed Commander decks each include 10 Planechase cards, for a total of 50 unique cards across all five decks. Planechase is one of the most exciting and immersive ways to play MTG, and Commander players are excited to hear it’s coming back. Here’s how Planechase will breathe life into MTG‘s Commander format.
Planechase Adds a Strategic Twist to MTG
Rather than being a standalone game mode, Planechase works as an addon to most of MTG‘s other formats. Players use an additional deck of at least 10 oversized Planechase cards, each of which features an iconic plane from MTG‘s multiverse. Planechase cards act like enchantments, with passive abilities that affect everyone. Players can share one deck or each bring their own.
Any player can roll the Planechase die once per turn for free whenever they can cast a sorcery. If the die lands on the “planeswalk” face, that player draws a new Planechase card and takes the old one out of play. If the die lands on the “chaos” face, it activates the chaos ability of that plane, which is usually a beneficial effect for the player who rolled the die. All four of the die’s other faces are blank. If players aren’t happy with their roll, they can pay 1 colorless mana to roll again as many times as they want, but the cost increases by 1 each time.
Planechase adds a new dimension to MTG‘s gameplay and can be especially chaotic in Commander games with more than two players, or even in MTG‘s new Oathbreaker format. It’s also a great way to shake things up with a well-established playgroup. Planechase cards have so many different effects, and they add a new level of strategy to Commander unlike anything players have seen before. The right Planechase card strengthens the player’s own game plan while stalling their opponents’, and the fact that all players can planeswalk ensures no single deck or board state remains dominant for too long.
MTG’s Planechase Is the Most Immersive Way to Play
Planechase is absolutely the most immersive way to play MTG, and this will be especially true for the Commander format in March of the Machine. From its inception, MTG was designed as a unique and engaging way to experience a fantasy setting similar to D&D, with expansive lore and a heavy focus on immersion through its strategic gameplay. In-game, players are encouraged to embrace their role as Planeswalkers travelling across MTG‘s expansive multiverse, casting powerful spells and conjuring fearsome creatures from worlds afar.
In MTG lore, most spellcasters are limited to using only their native plane’s magic, but Planeswalkers can harness spells from across the entire multiverse — represented by all the different cards in every player’s MTG deck. With each expansion set visiting (or revisiting) a vibrant and distinct plane from somewhere in MTG‘s multiverse, players really feel like interdimensional travelers stepping into new worlds. Commander is even more immersive than MTG‘s other formats, with a legendary creature at the helm, and Planechase cards take the immersion to a whole new level.
Each Planechase card features stunning artwork and unique, highly thematic effects that change how the game feels to play, which will be especially impactful in Commander games. Flinging spells on Jund feels different to battling creatures on Ravnica’s streets, and Planeswalkers duelling on the metal world of Mirrodin evokes a far different sentiment than clashing on the war-torn plane of Tarkir. Each plane introduces exciting but temporary effects that can change the course of a game, and all players have the power to shake up the scene by rolling the planar die. Planechase is by far the most immersive way to play MTG, and it’s no surprise Commander players are excited for it to return in March of the Machine.
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