MTG Tactics FAQ
Magic: The Gathering Tactics FAQ by Mepps
Q: WHAT IS “FREE TO PLAY”?
All new players receive a Planeswalker avatar, with three figures to choose from. Each is available in all five mana colors. You also receive a starter deck, again with five choices, one in each of the mana colors. You can return to the Avatars screen to change their selections at any time.
You also receive access to the first chapter of Campaign 1, Rise of the Planeswalker. That’s five missions to complete, each providing XP (experience points) to help level up your Planeswalker. When you’ve completed all five missions, you’ll receive one of three daily missions every day, providing gold and more XP.
You can challenge other players in the Pick-Up Games lobby, and trade spells with them. Just right-click a player name to see a list of actions. You can access the Auction House to create auctions to sell your spells or bid on spells from other players.
Q: HOW DO I GET GOLD?
Gold is used to pay for Tournament entry fees and to purchase spells in the Auction House. Click Rewards when viewing any mission on the Campaigns screen to see what its Gold reward will be. Ways to obtain gold are:
- Completing a Daily mission for the first time each day
- Selling one of your spells to another player in the Auction House.
- Purchasing Gold with Station Cash in the Station Cash store.
Each time you complete all five missions of a single campaign chapter, you gain access to the three random daily missions for that chapter. Every day, you’ll find one of these three missions available for you to gain gold and XP. When you complete all seven chapters, finishing your seven dailies provides 900 XP and 14 Gold every day.
Q: HOW DO I GET EXPERIENCE POINTS?
Experience points are used to gain levels for your Planeswalker. The main purpose for leveling your Planeswalker is to obtain talent points. Click Rewards when viewing any mission on the Campaigns screen to see what its XP reward will be. Ways to obtain experience points are:
- Completing the eight Tutorial missions.
- Completing the Proving Grounds training mission.
- Completing a Campaign mission for the first time.
- Completing a Daily mission for the first time each day.
Q: WHAT ARE THE REWARDS FROM THE CAMPAIGNS?
Here are all of the rewards from each campaign chapter. Each time you complete a mission, you’ll receive a spell. The fifth mission in each chapter awards an exclusive spell. You’ll then be able to purchase more copies of that spell in the Store.
- Rise of the Planeswalker Campaign 1
o Chapter 1, Looking for Trouble (free to all players): 3,000 XP, and five spells including Pouncing Cheetah.
o Chapter 2, Gilded Cage: 6,000 XP, and five spells including Malakir Bloodwitch.
o Chapter 3, Breaking Free: 6,000 XP, and five spells including Hulking Cyclops.
o Chapter 4, Return of the Walker: 6,000 XP, and five spells including Magus of the Bazaar.
o Chapter 5, Full Circle: 6,000 XP, and five spells including Targen.
- The Grim Crusade Campaign 2
o Chapter 1, A Call to Arms: 6,000 XP, and five spells including Soot Imp.
o Chapter 2, Battle Cry: 6,000 XP, and five spells including Flamewave Invoker.
Q: HOW DO I CHOOSE ANOTHER PLAYER FOR CHALLENGE OR TRADE?
Enter the Pick-Up Games lobby and right-click another player’s name to see a list of options:
- Add As Friend – Add this player to your Friends list. The other player will receive a request and must agree.
- Ignore – Remove this player from your Friends list.
- Challenge – Send a challenge to this player to play a Pick-Up game.
- Trade – Begin a one-on-one trading session with this player.
Q: WHAT IS RANK AND HOW DO I EARN IT?
Rank is earned from playing other players in tournaments and pick-up games. Your rank is based on a modified Elo system, like the rankings used in Chess tournaments. When you defeat another player of high rank, your rank will increase at a faster rate. There are eight ranks, listed in the Glossary. Here are the rank icons and their names:
Q: HOW DOES HEALTH WORK?
The figures in Magic: The Gathering – Tactics don’t have toughness like the creatures in the TCG; they have health instead. Health is persistent, and the figure retains any remaining health from turn to turn (unlike toughness in the card game, which replenishes at the end of every turn). When a figure’s health reaches zero, the figure dies.
Figures have five different pools of health. When damage is dealt to a figure, it is first subtracted from the top-most pool and then works its way down. When a figure is healed, it is applied to the bottom-most pool and works its way up.
When a pool wears off, either from its duration expiring or because the spell contributing to that pool goes away, it takes with it only health remaining in that pool. A pool never influences the contents of another pool.
The pools of health
The five pools (and what influences them) in order (from the top down) are:
- Defend (health gained from the “defend” action)
- End of Turn (“until the end of turn” effects such as Giant Growth or Aegis Stance activated ability)
- Creature Effects (static creature abilities with no stated expiration such as Captain of the Watch or Goblin Chieftain)
- Enchantment Effects (enchantments with no stated expiration such as Oakenform or Holy Strength)
- Base Health (the base health of the figure, its own rules text, and any “permanently gets” effects such as Nightmare, Spirit Collector or Soulfeeder)
Health pool examples
My creature has 30 base health and +30 health from an effect. Its pools look like:
- [+30 Health Pool] – 30/30
- [Base health pool] – 30/30
- (total creature health: 60)
Now if this creature takes 20 damage, it will subtract from the +30 health pool, leaving:
- [+30 Health Pool] – 10/30
- [Base health pool] – 30/30
- (total creature health: 40)
If later on the +30 health pool goes away (it’s from Oakenform and is disenchanted) we have:
- [Base health pool] – 30/30
- (total creature health: 30)
So it takes with it whatever leftover health it had.
Q: HOW DOES INITIATIVE WORK?
Each figure has an initiative value. This determines when that figure acts (where it appears on the Initiative Bar).
A figure with higher initiative acts more often than a figure with lower initiative. For example, an Initiative 5 figure will get 5 turns in the same period that an initiative 4 figure will get 4 turns.
When a creature is summoned, a random number is used to vary its initiative and its placement on the initiative bar.
Occasionally, the combination of differences in initiative values and random numbers means that a figure might even get to take two turns in a row.
Some game effects increase or decrease the initiative of a figure, and affect its placement on the initiative bar. Some game effects simply move a figure up or down in the turn order.
Remember that the initiative bar keeps a current list of the order in which figures will act. Players should refer to this bar often.
Q: HOW DOES MANA GENERATION WORK?
Magic: The Gathering – Tactics doesn’t generate mana with lands like the card game. We’ve created the Mana Surge event to provide all Planeswalkers with increases to their mana pools.
You’ll see the Mana Surge on the initiative bar, where you see the initiative for all the figures on the battlefield. When the Mana Surge event gets to the bottom of the bar, the maximum basic mana pool for every Planeswalker is increased by one. A colored mana graphic appears above your Planeswalker’s head to help you prepare for your next Planeswalker turn. Your mana pool doesn’t fill up until the beginning of your Planeswalker’s turn, so you can’t use that increase until then.
We’ve designed the Mana Surge event to occur on a schedule similar to the way mana is gained in the TCG. Players receive the first eight increases to their basic mana pools on their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 13th, and 17th Planeswalker turns. A five-cost spell normally can’t be cast until turn 7, and a six-cost spell waits until turn 10.
Q: WHAT COLOR OF MANA IS GENERATED?
When you click the Spellbook Stats button in the lower right of the Spellbook, the Mana tab shows you percentages based on the mana symbols on the spells you’ve included. The game engine creates a “mana spellbook” of ten “mana spells,” one for each 10%. (For example, if your spellbook has 80% red mana and 20% white mana, then your mana spellbook has eight red mana spells and two white mana spells.)
Whenever your Planeswalker generates a new basic mana (whenever a Mana Surge event occurs), a mana spell is taken from your mana spellbook to determine the color of that mana. When your mana spellbook is empty, all the mana spells are put back and it’s reshuffled. (For example, a spellbook which has 10% of one color of mana will generate one basic mana of that color during each cycle of ten turns.)
Mana and your Planeswalker’s Turn
- Whenever a Mana Surge event occurs, each Planeswalker generates 1 basic mana based on the spells in the player’s spellbook.
- At the start of a Planeswalker’s turn, all basic mana is emptied (note that any bonus mana is retained).
- At the end of the Planeswalker’s turn, all bonus mana is emptied (note that any basic mana remaining is retained).
- Add XXX bonus mana – Bonus mana that goes away at the end of the Planeswalker’s next turn.
- Basic mana – The five quantities of mana, one in each color, that will be added to a Planeswalker’s mana pool at the beginning of his or her turn (after that mana pool empties).
- Bonus mana – Mana added to a Planeswalker’s mana pool that goes away at the end of that Planeswalker’s next turn.
- Generate XXX basic mana – Add 1 to one of the colors of basic mana for a Planeswalker.
- Mana pool – The total amount of a Planeswalker’s mana, including the total of all five colors of bonus and basic mana, at any time.
Q: HOW DO TALENTS WORK?
When your Planeswalker reaches level 6, and every time your Planeswalker reaches a new level after that, you receive a talent point. You can spend these points to obtain special talents for your Planeswalker. To see the Talent screen, click on your Planeswalker profile in the upper left area of the Home screen.
Select the different colors of mana by clicking on the mana wheel. Each click shows you a set of talents, differing from one color to the next. You can spend your talent points all in one color or spread them out among as many colors as you like.
You can spend up to five points on each individual talent. When you spend more points on a talent, it produces enhanced effects or you receive additional uses of that talent in a single game. The points you spend on each talent are called ranks.
Each horizontal row of talents is called a tier. You must spend a certain amount of points in each tier to unlock the next tier (from top to bottom). The points must all be spent in the color you’re viewing (spend points on red talents to unlock red tiers, and so on).
- Tier 1 – No points required.
- Tier 2 – When five points are spent in tier 1, the tier 2 talents become available.
- Tier 3 – When ten points are spent in tiers 1 and 2, the tier 3 talents become available.
- Tier 4 – When fifteen points are spent in tiers 1, 2, and 3, the tier 4 talents become available.
- Tier 5 – When twenty points are spent in tiers 1, 2, 3, and 4, the tier 5 talents become available.
You can mouse over the talent boxes to see information about each one. Be careful not to click the talent, because once you’ve spent a talent point, you have to spend gold to reset all your talent points in order to change any of them. The information you see includes:
- Prerequisites for the talent.
- Description of what the talent does.
- Explanation of what the Next Rank does (if you spend another point on this talent).
Q. HOW DOES PROTECTION WORK?
A creature with protection from cannot be targeted by that nor can effects from that deal damage to it. The creature will be affected by effects of that provided those effects do not target the creature.
Example: Phantom Scoundrel has Protection from Red.
- I can’t cast Lightning Bolt on Phantom Scoundrel because Lightning Bolt requires me to target Phantom Scoundrel, and Protection from Red prohibits me from doing so.
- I can cast Fireball, including Phantom Scoundrel in the blast area. Fireball does not target Phantom Scoundrel; it simply targets a game area. However, since Protection from Red reduces all damage from a red source to 0, Phantom Scoundrel will be hit by the fireball, but take 0 damage.
- I can cast Panic Attack, including Phantom Scoundrel in its area. Since Panic Attack does not target Phantom Scoundrel, and Panic Attack deals no damage, Phantom Scoundrel will suffer all effects from Panic Attack (inability to counterattack and not exert a ZoC for a turn.)
- I can cast Obliterate. Since Obliterate does not target anything at all, and Obliterate does not deal damage, it will destroy Phantom Scoundrel.
A figure that gains an ability from an enchantment or effect is still considered that figure’s color and type when dealing with protection, targeting, and damage.
Example: Rain of Arrows is a green enchantment that gives a figure the ability to make missile attacks against all enemy figures within its range.
- If I put Rain of Arrows on a Goblin Pyromancer, the activated ability to fire at all in-range figures will be a *red* effect for the purposes of protection, and a creature with Protection from Red (such as Phantom Scoundrel) would be exempt from the attack (because all attacks target).
- Another creature with Protection from Green, however, will not be protected because the effect comes from the Goblin Pyromancer, not Rain of Arrows.
Finally, Planeswalkers are by default colorless, and any talent they use will be a colorless source even if the talent has a colored mana cost.
Q: WHAT DOES A LOCK ICON MEAN?
When you’re creating a listing in the Auction House or trading with another player, some of your spells may have a “lock” icon displayed. This is a spell that can’t be traded, such as one from your free starter deck. The number in the lock is how many of the total copies of that spell you own that are no-trade (you may own additional copies that can be traded). The example below shows that the player owns six copies of Dragon’s Claw, but two of them are locked and no-trade.