Hello Paper Champions! I hope you are having a great holiday season.
Several weeks ago I did a quick review of several products you could purchase for your gift giving this year. Well, I was lucky enough to receive what I consider the crown jewel of the list, the 2016 Planechase Anthology!
I’ll be honest, I was going to beg to open this gift before Christmas and thankfully my wife was willing to allow me to sneak this one for a review for the site. We purchased ours on Amazon which shipped quickly and well under the $149.99 MSRP. If you would like to purchase this great gift for Christmas or just for yourself for that matter, you should buy it now because the price will only go up from here. If you are interested, you can purchase Planeschase Anthology at this link and help support this site with your purchase!
Before I opened the box I was impressed with the box itself. It looks great with its foil background. The box is quite large and compares in size to many current board games. If you don’t care for the box’s size, the contents can easily be broke down into smaller containers.
Opening the box I was yet again taken aback by how it was set up. Inside were five molded slots for life counters and dice as well as five more individual slots for the four players decks and the oversize Planechase cards. The molded plastic inside is sturdy enough not to worry about the contents bumbling around inside, which I liked.
I really liked way the pearl finished Planechase die looked but I did not like it’s size. Many times while playing, the bulky die slammed over the playing surface and I felt it was capable of damaging cards. To avoid this we often would roll across the surface of the kitchen table which made a tremendous amount of noise. I understand the planeswalking die is a very important and integral part of the game and should be signified as such but it could of had rounded corners or slight size or weight reduction.
The spin down life counters had a very unique darker look that I enjoyed but several of the darker numbers were at times difficult to read at a glance which led to minor confusion during games.
Each deck also included a durable deck box emblazoned with the Planeswalker symbol which was a nice touch.
One feature I enjoyed were a large stack of token creatures included in the Anthology. These tokens are double sided and ample enough to support the various need for a creature during the matches. I felt these tokens could be a great addition for players dabbling into Commander.
We played each of the four decks and found things to enjoy for each one. Keep in mind, each of these decks are slow building, allowing a more enjoyable playing experience specifically for the multiplayer Planechase format.
Savage Auras is very good W/G deck deck for the format and includes many Auras to enchant your creatures with. I was surprised to see Kor Spiritdancer in the deck, a staple card for the competitive Modern format Bogles deck. The deck also has many totem armor auras which protect your best creatures.
Primordial Hunger is a R/G deck that plays many token creatures early then increases the late game creatures with massive Devour abilities. If this deck is allowed to build it’s difficult to beat in the late game and has the capability to steam roll opponents.
I didn’t care for the Night of the Ninja deck. Usually I’m all about playing some U/B decks but this one was clunky and I never really had the chance to get off the ground with all the random effects flying around the board. Perhaps if I was able to keep some creatures in my early game I’d be able able to use my Ninjitsu creatures more. Something tells me this deck would be better in a one on one match up.
The Chaos Reigns deck was pretty cool. It’s a five color deck which plays all the John Avon lands I have fallen in love with all these years. To work around it’s hampering five colors, it uses cascade to bring difficult to cast spells into play.
The Planechase Cards
These oversized cards were really a treat. The art is fantastic and the abilities on the cards really give you a sense of the location. Never once did I read the card and have any question about the theme of the plane. I also enjoyed the quantity of cards available. It really gave an exciting experience, always wondering what could happen next.
I was also impressed with how the cards really give players options. Several times in each game I was thrilled to be able to take advantage of a plane’s abilities. Even when behind in a match, I enjoyed the feeling of desperately rolling and trying to leave planes that didn’t benefit me. I easily envisioned opportunistic planeswalkers battling for the advantage while the ones on the losing end were frantically attempting to get away to more favorable environments.
For those of you that are afraid of random planes screwing over an individual player, worry not. This format won’t make games any more lopsided than regular mana hosed or mana flooded games. I can even attest on one particular 1 v 1 matchup I was having a hard time drawing the lands I needed early but thanks to some crafty planeswalking and the luck of a few die rolls, I was able to make a comeback and dominate.
Final Score 8/10
I really enjoy this format and I highly recommend this product to casual players that have had their kitchen table Magic games dry up and get a little stale. Another added benefit is that the Planechase Anthology s capable of turning highly competitive decks into mush, allowing newer or more casual players to be on more of even footing against even the most savage pro level decks.
I’ve even heard that this format is capable of making hour long EDH multiplayer games into 4 hour marathons of survival. If this is your idea of a great time please purchase this product!
Aiokii has been playing Magic: The Gathering since Fallen Empires was released in 1994 and has been a Planeswalker ever since. Tending to gravitate towards hand melting discard decks, he has a knack for creative Tribal decks, often catching adversaries unaware. Aiokii is also a moderator on Reddit Budgetdecks an you can contact him on Twitter or Facebook.