Soon, Magic: The Gathering fans will get a treat delivered to their App Store of choice: a MTG companion app that serves as a life counter, card database, deck builder, mobile portal for DailyMTG.com, and more. In an announcement posted to that website earlier this morning, Wizard of the Coast writer Monty Ashley detailed the company's plans to roll out a universal iOS app later this month, with an Android port to follow. Best of all, the initial app purchase is free, and the only in-app purchases described were upgrades to the deck building system for future sets.
Companion apps for board and card games are nothing new. They aim to bridge the gap between analog and digital by simplifying the more tedious aspects of hobby gaming, and several such apps already exist for the Magic: The Gathering community. This new app, formally named Magic: The Gathering Toolbox, is the first to be supported by Wizards of the Coast. The publisher's influence shows through as well. Judging from some early screenshots, this app will be much more polished than its competitors.
Now that Wizards of the Coast has dipped their toes into the app store scene, the next logical step is obviously to have full working versions of their games available. There is already a thriving online scene of Magic players using PCs and gaming consoles, but the app stores represent a huge untapped market. As strong as the current player community is, think of all the players who participated in the CCG boom 10+ years ago but haven't opened a pack since. I'm sure they'd drop $4.99 in a heartbeat to get their nostalgia on. Competing card game Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (designed by a MTG Pro Tour alum Justin Gary), already has a fantastic iOS implementation at that price, so the ball is now in Wizard of the Coast's court.
Until then, take a look at some of the screenshots below to see how the new MTG Toolbox will look upon launch later this month.
The iPhone app being used to track player life during a match.
The life counter in iPad mode, supporting up to 8 players.
10,000+ cards can be searched for and referenced from this in-app database
Build your deck and test it out to see what mix of cards you are likely to draw in actual play.