Magic: the Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013, the latest addition to the electronic version of the acclaimed card game, has made stunning growth from the first two versions of its video game format. If you haven’t already, check out my review of the entire game and see for yourself. Next up for Magic 2013, its first expansion pack, Return to Ravnica. This set, costing only 400 Microsoft Points (a measly five dollars), contains a good bang for the buck.

The Return to Ravnica expansion pack comes with five brand new decks representing five of the ten two-color guilds of Ravnica. I am holding out hope that the next expansion will contain the rest of the guilds, but I digress. In this expansion, the focus is upon on the White/Blue Azorius “Aura Servants” deck, the Blue/Red Izzet “Mindstorms” deck, the Black/Red Rakdos “Grinning Malice” deck, the Black/Green Golgari “Sepulchral Strength” deck, and the Green/White Selesnya “Collective Might” deck. Dual-colored decks are a sight for the sore eyes of veteran players. Within the whole of Magic 2013, there are only single color decks.

I am very impressed with the skill level of this new collection. Each deck offers a different playstyle, thus, giving the feeling that where Magic 2013 seemed to be aimed at getting new players into the game, the expansion is meant for those who are seasoned. Of the five, I’d say that my favorite new deck is “Mindstorms”. I love decks that just seem to flow perfectly no matter what cards are drawn from the library. My usual decks to play are Blue/Artifact, Blue/Red, Blue/Black, a combination of those three, or sometimes a Blue/White. I’ve been an Azorius fan since the Ravnica block first debuted back in 2005, but the complete dependence on auras gives “Aura Servants” a certain inflexibility that doesn’t hold my attention.

The downside of the skill level is that these new decks overpower the decks that came with the game originally. With that said, when you get to the realm of playing on Xbox Live, I feel there is a definite balance issue. If you are running a single color deck, that person on the other side of the table with the dual-colored deck may just run you over. That is until you rematch and mill your opponent to death with Jace’s deck. You, basically, have to nullify anything your opponent can do via making them discard their entire library.

There are five new normal campaign levels, which also gives five new Revenge campaign levels. For those keeping count, that’s 10 new campaign levels in total. Players will fight each battle in the following order for both normal and Revenge – Selesnya, Azorius, Rakdos, Izzet and Golgari. I highly recommend that if you have not completed the campaign within the game itself that you do so before attempting the expansion’s campaign. I’d like to consider myself a veteran Magic player, but I definitely know that I am not as skilled as most. The Revenge campaign WILL put your skills to the test.

Another point that will put your skills to the test are the new challenges. Following the same pattern, there are five of them and they are tough. As of this moment, I am still working to get through the challenges. In addition, there are five new achievements, none of which are attached to the challenges. So if you are an achievement hunter, you can bypass the challenges and save them for later.

SUMMARY: If you are like myself and love Magic 2013 (as well as all the previous games), at a price of only $5, you can’t not get this expansion. The added decks give a new style of playing and while they do overpower the decks that came with the game, they definitely are a plus for seasoned and for newer players who want to be challenged. If the added icons and achievements are taken into consideration, along with the replayability to unlock the cards for each deck, this DLC is a gold mine.

THE GOOD: Who doesn’t love a visit to old friends like the Azorius?
THE BAD: Campaign could stand to be a bit longer.
THE UGLY: New dual-color decks overpower the mono-color decks by a lot.

Score: 8.0
Originally published October 18, 2012 on DigitalNoob via