Saturday, March 05, 2016

Planechase - Making Terrible Players Good

90% of the time I just hope the next plane is a boardwipe because my decks suck.
Hey chodes, this is Dan. I managed to pull myself away from The Witcher 3 long enough to tell you about a super fun game variant called Planechase. Planechase is to Magic what SlamBall is to Basketball. That is, awesome, hilarious, and not very well-known.

Seriously, how is this not more popular?
Planechase was originally released as a supplemental product back in 2009. You'd buy a pre-constructed deck that would come with a set of "plane" cards. These cards were basically global enchantments that had a positive effect for your deck, or a detrimental effect on the opponent. You'd have a deck of these to run in conjunction with your actual MTG deck, and you'd roll a fancy die to jump to different planes. Just like real wizards. You could either have each player playing with his own planar deck (stupid), or have one giant shared planar deck for shenanigans (not stupid).

Since this is a bit hard to explain if you've never seen these giant cards before, let's take a look at one of them. 

Later, they decided Jace was bullied here as a child.
This is the format of a plane card. There's a global effect that affects both players for as long as you're on the plane - in this case, instants and sorcery spells have rebound. Neato. As you can imagine, this benefits a spell-based deck, and is not super good for a deck that uses mostly creatures. If you did not figure that out, then maybe you should play Yu-gi-oh instead.

There's a second half called the "Planar Chaos effect," that can happen when you roll the Planar die. 

What the fuck is a planar die? It looks like this:

Ooo, pretty.
It's a six-sided die with four blank sides, one Planeschase/Planeswalker symbol, and one Planar Chaos Symbol. Each turn, any time you could cast a sorcery, you can roll the die once for free. The next roll costs 1 generic mana, the next costs two, then three, then four, and so on. If you roll the Planeswalk symbol, you flip over the next plane card from your Planar deck. If you roll Chaos (we call it Dickbutt. I don't know why, but someone did it once, and it stuck), then you do whatever the chaos effect is. In this case, the player who rolled Dickbutt searches his library for an instant or sorcery and puts it in hand. Be sure to always choose The Great Aurora.

Guaranteed to make someones board state much, much worse.
So how is this fun™? Well, we use it as a multi-player format to extract maximum lunacy from our shitty piles of cards we call decks. We have one giant planar deck featuring every Planechase plane that exists. There are boardwipes, free creatures, mass mill, insane card draw, and most importantly, goats.

Drown your opponent in 0/1 goats.
Planechase is simple to play, and similar to regular magic. Here's a quick guide to get you started:
  1. Agree on a format for your decks. EDH, 60 card casual, standard, or Eldrazi (modern), it doesn't really matter, as long as everyone is ok with the decks being played. Don't let your friend play his un-restricted vintage deck against your mono-white horsemanship deck.
  2. Each player shuffles his deck, grabs a beer, and rolls for first, just like a normal multiplayer game.
  3. Shuffle up your group's giant Planar deck. Don't have a Planar deck because the physical cards are way too expensive? Google around for Planechase apps - there are some good ones that function great!
  4. Each player draws their starting hand and decides if they're using a mulligan. We usually have one free mulligan to seven.
  5. Once everyone decides to keep their hand, flip over the first plane. This is immediately in effect for the first turn.
  6. The starting player draws a card on their first turn (just like normal multiplayer games), and then you play through. Each turn, as a sorcery, the active player can roll the planar die if they so choose. Roll if the plane is harshing your mallow, or hang out if it helps your deck!
Play enough of their lands for free, and you can just start playing their creatures too!
See, just like normal games, but with more silly things. And goats.

Also, there are wild cards called Phenomena:

"I play Karthus, Tyrant of Jund?" "Uh... I play Charging Badger?".
Phenomena are one-shot effect cards. When you flip this up during Planeswalking, each player does whatever the card says, in turn order. In this case, you drop the most gigantic bro in your hand, and then start beating face. As soon as each player does the effect, you flip over the next plane card.

That's really all there is to it! If your friends only have a couple decks, and you're starting to get tired of the same matchups over and over, Planechase is a nifty way to cause random bullshit. Plus, who knows, your tribal Cephalid deck can totally stomp your friends modern Elves deck if you land on the right planes!

- Dan

Gaige: It's also similar to slam ball in that after a game I'm out of breath, I get dunked on, and I somehow pulled something in my leg.

Have questions about how to start playing Planechase? Have other ideas to share? Please share - I'm bad at ideas. Leave a comment, or send us an email through the form on the sidebar!

No comments:

Post a Comment