Not to be outdone by Blizzard’s Hearthstone, Wizards of the Coast is also getting into the free-to-play mix with Magic Duels: Origins, a free-to-play version of the CCG that will be available in July Xbox One, PC (via Steam), iPad, and later in the year on PlayStation 4.

Magic Duels: Origins will offer solo and multiplayer modes, including the popular Two-Headed Giant mode, a quest system with weekly challenges, playable planeswalker cards, and a payment system that many are comparing to Hearthstone — “everything is earnable,” said Lead Designer Drew Nolasco, who also said Origins is “unlike anything we’ve ever done.”

WotC’s “other” online Magic game, Magic Online, has always done quite well, with one executive claiming that it accounted for “30% to 40%” of the company’s revenues back in 2007. But its payment model is similar to physical Magic, where everything costs money; it’s definitely not free-to-play. Perhaps Hearthstone, and free-to-play gaming in general, has taken a bigger chunk out of Magic Online’s market share than any of us realize, and the company’s just trying to change with the times.

I’ve only dabbled in Magic Online, many years ago, so I can’t say I remember much about exactly how it works. But, love it or hate it, there’s no question that Hearthstone is easy to pick up and very well-designed for the online, F2P world. It’ll be interesting to see how the 22-year-old king of CCGs can compete with the new dog on its turf.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

8 Readers Commented

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  1. ninjosh82 on March 9, 2015

    I think you guys should just stop playing TCG’s/CCG’s completely. None of you know what the hell you are talking about. I have almost all Legendary HS cards and have yet to spend a dime. Sounds to me like you guys just dont know how to play card games.

  2. RavorsMalody on March 8, 2015

    its all RNG. You cant control the card you will draw. It is not a real strategy game like chess. If anything its more like UNO…. then again maybe not cause at least the cars are fair in uno whereas in HS .. your opponent could draw legendary after legendary… or mech after god damn mech mage cancer.

  3. LordHikaru on March 7, 2015

    If you want to play these kinds of games and don’t want(or have) to sink a lot of money into it, its probably best if you don’t. People are gonna sink alot of money into these games to get some of the best cards.. that’s just how it is. Its no different from playing the physical card games. There’s no point crying pay to win about it. Nature of the beast.

  4. aaasssss on March 7, 2015

    Card games is fine but i hate to build decks so i not play them and other reason is , there is almost no animation, u should learn from hand of fate game, even jew blishet cant make animation wor their boredom

  5. Shanex on March 6, 2015

    Im all for it as long as getting new cards isn’t as pay to win as hearthstone.
    You try saving up gold against people who just buy the packs

  6. Thuya on March 6, 2015

    Digital card games are a great concept. However I believe these games should use the LCG (cards pack’s content are not randomized) formula IN ADDITION of the typical TCG (card packs bring random cards) one. For instance I play card games for the competitiveness and not for collecting rare foils, meaning if I need a card which is only available in a very rare format the price of that card could be 100$+ USD for a single card or buy an insane amounts of packs for a CHANCE to get it. I enjoy collecting cards but I don’t like it when it become basically gambling. One card game which I wish would go digital would be Android: Netrunner, it uses the LCG format which is my favorite paying model when it comes to card games plus it got great mechanics, its also from Wizards of the Coast originally. A Magic the Gathering DCG will definitely be as popular and probably even more than Hearthstone if done right but I personally will avoid these types of games because as I said when it comes down to it, these games are just gambling. I want a real digital card game not a digital casino.

    • legofkain on March 7, 2015

      You might be correct of course. However, if that model is applied, it risks falling into the pay to win trap (Some people are more than willing to dish out 2000$ + for a game lol). Thus, you might find that at some point it’s impossible to win matches unless you join the hefty payers’ club. Imo the lesser evil is gambling