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Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds is a real-time strategy battle game for the PC and Xbox based on the well-known Collectible Card Game of the same name. Developed by Secret Level and published by by Atari in 2003, it bears little resemblance to its parent in terms of gameplay - rather than a turn-based card game, players take part in a dynamic and fast-paced Wizard Duel using a small selection of spells and creatures.


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Battlegrounds features these tropes:

  • Adaptational Personality Change: At the end of the day, all of the characters might as well be props, since this has no conncetion to MTG's actual plot.
    • Adaptational Heroism: Akroma seems to be treated as a slave and happily departs when defeated. In constrast to the fanatic whose only purpose in life was to kill an admitely evil person, no matter the cost.
    • Adaptational Villainy: Ihsan is not an outright good guy, but his evil actions were done against his will due to Baron Sengir's control over him. Sengir doesn't exist here, and he spouts generic Card-Carrying Villain crap.
  • A.I. Roulette: Since he doesn't use Mana to activate his spells, this is one of the few saving graces players have against Mishra. At any given time he could summon one Elvish Warrior or five Havoc Demons.
  • Anti-Air: Green's Giant Spider is the only ground creature in the game that can attack fliers.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • The Red creature Retromancer deals damage to any player that targets it with sorceries, including its owner.
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    • Blue has the sorcery Counterspell, which cancels out any spell your opponent is attempting to cast, provided you're quick on the draw.
    • The sorceries Tranquility and Demystify (Green and White, respectively) are the only spells that can destroy enchantments.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: 'Trample', an ability exclusive to Green, allows creatures to immediately move on to a new target after destroying an enemy, only respawning after directly damaging the opposing player.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Dual-colored decks. The obvious advantage is that you have greater flexibility when designing your deck, and certain colors complement each-other nicely. The disadvantage is that each color uses its own, separate mana bar for casting - effectively halving your mana accumulation and therefore making expensive, high-tier spells nearly useless in all but the most lengthy matches.
  • Big Bad: Mishra.
  • Boss Rush: The final chapter of Quest mode is a series of rematches with the boss characters, followed by Tsabo Tavoc and Mishra.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Carnophage and Juzam Djinn, both low-to-mid-tier Black creatures, drain a single life point from their controller whenever they respawn. While Black has plenty of sorceries dedicated to rejuvenating health, these creatures can quickly become an outright liability if a Blue duelist starts spamming Unsummon to force constant respawns.
  • Comeback Mechanic: Avatar of Might - the most powerful Green creature in the base game - normally costs eight mana to summon. However, if your opponent has five or more creatures on the field and you have none, the Avatar will instead only cost two mana.
  • Counterspell: A Blue sorcery that only costs one mana to cast, and thus is among the fastest and cheapest spells in the game. Casting it instantly cancels any spell the enemy duelist is in the midst of channeling, leaving the mana wasted. Perfect for pre-empting high-cost creatures or devastating sorceries like Overrun, grinding down the opponent's mana bar, or just annoying him.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Zayel.
  • The Dragon: Tsabo Tavoc.
  • Fiery Redhead: Kuldan and Volita. Fittingly, they're both Red duelists. The Warrior Angel, one of White's higher-tier fighting creatures, is also a redhead.
  • Giant Spider: Green's Giant Spider.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Wrath of God - a White sorcery that instantly destroys all creatures on the field.
  • In the Hood: Arcanis the Omnipotent.
  • Killer Gorilla: Green gives us Gorilla Chieftain and Ancient Silverback.
  • Lizard Folk: Red's Retromancer.
  • Life Drain: The Black spells Vicious Hunger and Soul Feast can drain life points from creatures and the opposing duelist, restoring the caster by an equal amount.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: Maraxus of Keld.
  • Mana Drain: Mana Short, an upper-tier Blue spell that depletes your opponent's entire mana bar.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Warrior Angel and Angel of Retribution, as White creatures. Among the duelists, we have Arkoma, the Angel of Wrath.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Defiant Elf, Warrior Elf and Llanowar Elf, as Green creatures. Tenera and Entorin are elvish duelists.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Red has Volcanic Dragon, and Blue has Wind Drake and Fighting Drake.
  • Our Genies Are Different: Juzam Djinn for Black and Mahamoti Djinn for Blue.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Red magic gives us Raging Goblin, Goblin Hero, Goblin Sky-Raider and Goblin King.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: For Black, we have Krovikan Vampire (ground, resurrects defeated enemies under its owner's control) and Sengir Vampire (flying, gains extra strength and toughness for every enemy it kills).
  • Plant Person: Multani the Maro-Sorcerer.
  • Playing with Fire: Red, naturally, gives us the sorceries Engulfing Flames, Scorching Missile and Inferno, which all deal immediate damage.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Red duelists - Kuldan, Volita and Maraxus - are all explicitly warriors. They even carry swords rather than the magical staffs favored by most other characters.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: 'First Strike', exclusive to White, is a creature ability that allows your creatures to instantly kill any enemy that has toughness equal to or lower than your creature's strength.
  • The AI Is A Cheating Bastard: In Quest mode, the enemy duelist will regenerate Mana much faster than you can, even if you mash that 'Y' button until it breaks.
  • Under Boobs: Zayel.
  • When Trees Attack: Green's Rushwood Elemental.
  • Wizard Duel: Even moreso than its parent franchise, due to the players actively running around a small arena and casting spells in real-time.
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