Magi-Nation Duel , or simply Magi-Nation, was a collectible card game published by Interactive Imagination Corp between 2000 and 2002. It was meant to be a bridge in complexity between Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering, targeting kids that were getting too old for the former but still too young for the latter. It never hit the big time in the same way that either of those games did, but had a respectable cult following. They also made a shitload of puns and references to everything from Frank Zappa to Weird Al Yankovic to a certain troupe of British comedians. It's pretty unique with a memorable anime-esque aesthetic, check it out if you're into that sort of thing. Some of the sets are hard to find nowadays, but the base set and Voice of the Storms are easy enough to find on eBay.
Decks consist of 40 cards with up to 3 copies of any individual card, plus three different Magi cards which act as player avatars. Unlike other card games like M:tG, there are no resource cards; instead, the game operates off of Energy, which acts as life points and casting points all in one. The overall goal is to summon Dream Creatures (DC's) and cast Spells with your Magi to defeat all three of your opponent's Magi one at a time by removing all energy from their side of the field. This includes their summoned Dream Creatures; you are still considered "alive" if you have any creatures in play, even if your Magi has no energy.
Play consists of five phases:
- Energize - Place an amount of energy equal to the card's energize rate on that card. All Magi do this, as do a handful of Dream Creatures.
- Powers, Spells and Relics - Play Spell or Relic cards, using energy from your Magi to pay for them, or use the Powers printed on your cards by removing energy from that card equal to the power's cost.
- Attack - Choose any of your Dream Creatures in play to attack the opponent's side. You choose which of your opponent's cards gets attacked, but DC's can only attack Magi directly if that Magi has no creatures in play. The attacking DC's removes energy from the defending creature or Magi. DC's left with 0 or less energy are discarded from play immediately, as are Magi if they do not have any DC's in play. If the defending creature survives, it does the same to your attacker, possibly destroying it. Magi never remove energy from attacking DC's. Each DC can attack once each turn.
- Bring In New Creatures - Play Dream Creatures from your hand, moving energy from your Magi to the DC to be their new energy total.
- Powers, Spells and Relics - Same as the first one. Powers that have already been used during the last phase cannot be used again in the same turn.
- Draw - Draw two cards from the top of your deck. If none are left, shuffle your discard pile and use it as your new deck.
Player avatar cards with circular art frames and a red cost at the top. Unlike other cards, this cost represents your starting energy total. All Magi have an Energize rate, which represents how much energy they gain back at the start of the turn. They also have Starting cards, of which you may search your deck and/or discard pile for a single copy to add to your hand when they come into play. They will also have one or more Powers (usable once per turn) or Effects (which are always active). Magi are in play one at a time on each side, and defeat of all three of your opponent's Magi ends the game.
Creature cards with rectangular art frames and a yellow rectangle cost at the top. This cost represents the DC's starting energy, which is moved from your Magi to the DC when it comes into play. DC's attack opponents cards to defeat opposing cards. They can also have their own Powers and Effects, and some even have Energize rates. Unlike Magi, they are discarded from play as soon as their energy is gone, whether from damage or paying the cost of a Power.
Item cards with hexagonal art frames and a green hexagon cost at the top. Most are free, but those with energy costs are paid from your Magi (this energy is discarded). Most have helpful powers and effects that can help your board or harm your opponent's. They are discarded when your Magi is defeated. Only one of a given Relic can be in play on your side at a time.
Single-use cards with swirl art frames and a blue swirl cost at the top. Like Relics, their cost is discarded directly from your Magi's energy. They have a single effect, and then are discarded.
- Limited - Released October 2000, introduced the regions Arderial, Cald, Orothe, Naroom, and Underneath. Reprinted as Unlimited in February 2001.
- Awakening - Released August 2001, introduced the Core. Damn near impossible to find now, save for the occasional starter deck.
- Dream's End - Released November 2001, introduced the Weave and Kybar's Teeth, as well as multi-region cards. Also hard to find, but less so than Awakening.
- Nightmare's Dawn - Released April 2002, introduced Bograth and Paradwyn, with a handful of cards from D'Resh and Nar.
- Voice of the Storms - Released November 2002, fully introduced the last two regions, D'Resh and Nar.
- Traitor's Reach - Developed but never printed.
- Daybreak - Announced but never made.
- Second Order - Second base set, also announced but never made.
Magi-Nation's cards are divided into regions. They function like colors in M:tG, and each has their own overall play style and aesthetic. Magi have a harder time playing cards of different regions, and must discard an extra energy to do so. Thus, most Magi-Nation decks tend to stick to one or maybe two regions. Fluff-wise, each region represented a different area and culture of the Moonlands, with different roles in the metaplot. The game sometimes had official "storyline tournaments", the winners of which would determine what regions came out on top in the ongoing conflict, which allowed the players to help shape the game over time.
The sky region above the entire Moonlands, represented by a sky-blue color. A fairly balanced faction, they have a fair split between buffs, debuffs, manipulation, and straight destruction. Story-wise they were fairly aloof, being all but invulnerable to a lot of the Core's influence, but more proactive than Nar.
The volcano region, represented by a red color. As you might have guessed, these guys deal with blowing up all the shit with direct damage. This helped them to lead a large part of the resistance against the Core in the story.
The forest region, represented by a pine-green color. They specialize in effective DC's, of both the beat-stick and regenerating varieties, as well as buffing said DC's with extra energy. They bounced back and forth in the story between getting their shit kicked in and shacking up with The Cald to run the Core forces over.
The Orothe Deeps
The ocean region, represented by a sea-green color. They specialize in manipulation and denial, often by playing with Relics and discarding opponents' cards directly. They were betrayed by an angsty emo octopus-man named Qwade who got to rule over them with an iron fist as punishment for making fun of him as a kid.
The underground region, represented by a light-gray color. The most defensive of the first five regions, their strategy was based on turtling up with creatures that couldn't be harmed until they could out-poke you. That is, until Awakening, when their burrowed creatures learned how to attack with impunity and run over opponents that were helpless to fight back. Despite this they had to struggle to stay independent story-wise.
The darkness region, represented with a violet color. The evil, corrupted Magi locked away in the core of the Moonlands, they were the primary antagonists of the story. More like twisted reflections of other regions than a unique faction, their gig in-story and in-game was the corruption and destruction of other regions, gaining power by stealing resources from others and blowing up what was left. Unlike other regions, straight-Core Magi cannot play other regions' cards at all, nor can other regions play Core cards unless there are specifically printed exceptions. Some of their Magi, however, were Shadow Magi, corrupted residents of other regions which could play some cards of those regions with the regional penalty.
The mountain region, represented with a slate-gray color. Their shtick is having bigger creatures than everyone else, often with built-in durability. Unfortunately, their Magi rarely have energize rates that enable them to play more than one or two of these things, so they got their shit wrecked a lot in-game and thus in-story. But they can be really hard to drop if allowed to have a board presence.
The grassland region, represented with a yellow-green color. They are filthy communist hippies with a hivemind, represented with their eponymous keyword ability that allows them to freely shift energy between their DC's in the middle of attacks. This ability makes them extremely efficient attackers and defenders, which helped them to curbstomp the Core in the fluff.
The swamp region, represented with an indigo color. The weenie faction, they specialize in shitting out lots and lots and LOTS of small DC's and smothering opponents with them. In fluff they were subjugated by the canonically-stupidest Core Magi, having brains of pond scum themselves, and very nearly overran Paradwyn before they remembered tiny things die easily.
The jungle region, represented by a yellow-orange color. Similar to Naroom, they deal with buffing up their DC's, but mix it up by being able to play them with one energy more OR less than normal, allowing them to either play a bunch of smallish things and buff them later, or run you over with big things right off the bat. This energy manipulation allowed them to turn the tables on Bograth in the story.
The Sands of D'Resh
The desert region, represented by a sandy-brown color. They have a lot of deck manipulation and DOTs, allowing them to set themselves up with just the right cards and then chip you to death. Didn't get a lot of story time due to the set being released at the end of the game's run, but were starting to be invaded by the douchebags who overran Kybar's Teeth.
The arctic region, represented by a white color. Cheaty-faced bastards who lock down opponents cards, destroy things outright, and always have more energy than you. Story-wise, lived in isolation for basically forever and were JUST starting to get off their asses and fight the Core around the time that half the Moonlands were conquered in some form or another.
- Game Boy Color game - Simply called Magi-Nation, a mon-collecting RPG that tells the story of Tony Jones, a teenager from the real world who finds himself lost in the Moonlands, being heralded by some as the
Chosen OneGreat Magus Kyros and caught up in the beginnings of the invasion by the Core. Kind of buggy and obviously rushed, with difficulty curve jumps like it found a spider in its shoes, but still a lot of fun for fans of the genre and filled to the brim with puns and likeable characters. Also notable because it gives you the option of straight up skipping the final boss fight and going home, leaving the Moonlands to their fate. Has a Japan only GBA remake, but the graphics are somehow worse despite being on the superior system.
- Magi-Nation: Keeper's Quest - A puzzle game developed for the GBC but not released in time, eventually finding its way onto some cell phones. A complete (submitted for Nintendo's approval) GBC version leaked in 2020 because Nintendo couldn't be assed to secure their network.
- Animated Series - Produced by Cookie Jar Toons, an absolute ass-raping of the GBC game's story that would make even 4Kids wonder what the hell happened. Avoid at all costs.
- Battle for the Moonlands - MMO produced for the animated series, dead since 2008.
- Warbands - Nifty tabletop wargame designed by M. Jared Swenson on /tg/, don't think it was ever finished.
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