A New Player's Guide to Magic the Gathering Puzzle Quest
So You’ve Started Playing MTG Puzzle Quest
Congrats! This is one of the most interesting mobile games out there. Unfortunatly, it’s not very friendly to new players. This guide will try to make your first few weeks playing MTGPQ as painless as possible. Maybe even fun!
Nalthazar has put together a list of videos for new players, the first of which I think is a great resource, though I disagree with him on Jace, Unraveller of Secrets as a good introductory planeswalker. I can see it being powerful in silver league, but being monocolored and the fact that it needs to be level 60 to shine puts it below the other walkers for me.
One of the first things you’ll notice starting out is that you don’t have much control over the cards you play. You don’t have many in the first place, and your low level planeswalkers deck limits put even more of a restriction on what you can do. To help alleviate this, the first thing I recommend you do after starting the game is:
Complete the Training Missions
You will have to play through the first part of chapter one of the Origins story to unlock this. Nissa’s starting deck is full of cards that aren’t worth mastering, so I recommend working towards buying Liliana, Defiant Necromancer for 50 crystals as soon as possible and using her to clear the rest of the part. Once you’ve finished that, you can move onto the training missions proper. Training missions provide a planeswalker and deck for you, so you don’t need to worry about having the cards for it. Each training will also reward you with one or more cards, and the final mission up to XLN will reward you with a free pack. Many trainings don’t let you reorder or disable the cards in your hand, which can make them much harder than they should be. You can do them in any order, so feel free to switch to a different mission if you’re stuck on something. Note that the BFZ training is under the Battle for Zendikar tab, and not the Training tab.
Notable cards receiced as a reward from training:
Murder, from the M19 trainings. This is some of the best removal in the game.
Vraska, Swarm’s Eminance and Angrath, Captain of Chaos from the WAR trainings. Once these cards are no longer in standard this rating will drop, but for now they are solid two-for-ones if you can combine them with Berserker’s Plate. [Edit: These are no longer standard legal, but are still strong cards in early legacy.]
The fact that many of the best cards you receive from training are black is another reason I recommend purchasing Liliana as your first planeswalker, as you can swap out many of the bad cards from her starter deck and not bother with mastering them.
Acquire Multicolored Planeswalkers
Multicolored planeswalkers are a force multiplier on your available card pool. They allow you to play powerful decks without straining your color mastery. However, your mana crystal income is limited at this stage, so you should focus on only buying the best of the best as they appear in rotation, covered below.
Because your crystal income is so limited, I would recommend not spending it on anything else (packs or cards) until you have a strong planeswalker suite that covers all your colors. Even if there isn’t a strong planeswalker in the upcoming rotations, it’s worth it to hold onto your crystals because the overall rate you will want to spend on powerful planeswalkers is higher than your income.
Keep Your Mastery (And Planeswalker Levels) Low
In bronze league, you can expect to face mostly opponents that will match your planeswalker level, although most are at least level 20. Because many planeswalkers don’t become truly strong until level 60, you can level the playing field by keeping your walkers in the mid levels. You shouldn’t need to level any of the recommended walkers above 45 for them to be effective.
The next thing to keep in mind is your color mastery. Each card has a certain number of times you can use it before you master it, and it adds to your mastery total. If your mastery in any color reaches 100, you will be promoted to the next tier. Because Bronze has such a low mastery ceiling, you can expect not to see too many players playing mythic cards. In higher tiers this is no longer the case, and you will face many strong opponents with diverse and powerful decks.
See https://wiki.mtgpq.info/wiki/Mastery for how much mastery each rarity of card gives, and the experience required to master it.
I will be ranking events on a scale of S-F.
S’s are the best of the best. Easy to clear with fantastic rewards, these are events you should try to play whenever they happen. A’s are solid events you actively want to play, but that take slightly more time or effort than an S. B’s are events that are still probably worth your time, but don’t have anything special about them. Many of the new coalition events fall into this category. C’s are events you would play if you’re bored, but nothing you would prioritize. D’s are more like C-’s, but I was running out of space on the graph. E’s are events with really low payouts and high effort, timesinks that give little in return. F’s are events that do not have crystals or packs in their rewards.
This is a brief overview of the events, for more in-depth analysis on how to beat them, see Nalthazar’s Acheiving Perfection series of videos.
Dual Decks: X vs Y: Free entry, great rewards. If you wait a bit before joining the second part you can see who’s in the lead. Farming the mythic duplicates from this is a great way to get booster crafting orbs for turning into Origins mythics.
A Journey Through History (All versions): These can be fully completed by clearing the first node four times, so are easily doable for new players. The rewards are quite good, including multiple packs, a rare card, and crystals.
Routes of Ravnica: Same as Tour de Ravnica, awesome event.
Planechasing Fblthp: The first game is a pack and each objective is 1K runes. Additionally, completing all the objectives unlocks an additional card you can purchase. This isn’t usually worth it, but sometimes you can find some insane deals from this. The Prismatic Bridge and Koma were recently available from this even for 400 crystals as of writing, for example.
Seize the Day: Only Origins and Oddessy block cards are legal, but this is a fun event with strong rewards. The rewards also make beating it in the future much easier, as they’re generally strong cards with a high rate of rares.
Awakened Inferno: Winning with a beginner deck is basically impossible, but this event is still great. Interesting modifiers and generous rewards make for an event you won’t want to miss.
Colors of Magic: Cards that cost 11 are nice here, as these count for the objectives on both nodes. The peasant objective is a freebie. The Chandra Anthology packs you get for the ranking rewards have some very good cards.
The Colossal Tussle: A cool event with very good rewards if you can place well, which you will want to aim for due to the steep entry fee.
Challenge of the Courts: Good value for your time, though it can be hard to complete the objectives with a small collection.
Across Ixalan: An easy free pack, and can net nice mana runes as you rank up.
Zendikar Expeditions: The entry fee means you’ll want to get all the rewards if you enter to make sure you’re net crystal positive, but you do get a rare card for your troubles. Note that the Adventurer supports have their associated creature type, and count for the objective.
Fables of Eldraine: Not too hard, good rewards. Note that you need to unlock a node to start accumulating charges on it. The placement rewards are mostly decoration.
Trick or Treat?: Very easy, ok rewards. If you go for the rank rewards it’s more work.
Hero's Path - Face the Hydra*: This is either a C or an A, depending on if you can clear the second node. It has large creatures with double strike, so you will need hard removal to take them out.
Rising Tensions: This used to be S tier, but got nerfed hard when it rotated out of standard. It’s still a decent rate with no commitment.
Emergency Ordinances: It can be hard to complete the objectives as a new player, but once you have cards that energize, the rewards aren’t bad.
Duets of Mana: Difficult event, hard to make much progress as a new player. The rewards are good if you can clear them, but you’ll have to gague that yourself.
Fate is Rarely Fair: The rewards on the one are high, but so are the costs. As with Emergency Ordinances, this will require engergize cards to complete all obejctives.
Oath of the Gatewatch: Grindy, not the worst in difficulty, not great rewards.
Trial of Ambition: Pretty low rewards for a lot of a grind, but not the worst.
Revolt against the Consulate: Similar to Trial of Zeal, this is bad.
Fateful Showdown: The difficulty level is too high for new players to get any good rewards. Same setup as Trial of Zeal.
Trial of Zeal: Difficult event for new players. It’s hard to get past Hooded Hydra without hard removal, and Neheb is even harder, making it quite tough to get to the first pack reward.
Angels' Embrace: The remaining events here are holiday-specific, so they don’t come up often. This one is for valentine’s day. Not hard, but long and not great rewards.
Hallow's Eve: This one is for Halloween. Not hard, but long and not great rewards.
Holiday Showdown: The Christmas event. Not hard, but long and not great rewards.
Nodes of Power: Fairly easy to do well in for new players, but it’s a large time comittment. I’ve stopped playing them after two months. You might as well join them for the participation award though, even if you don’t plan to play.
Emrakul's Corruption: This event sucks. Play 20 games for a booster pack.
Terrors in the Shadows: Same as above, awful event.
Training Grounds*: This is less of an event and more a place to test decks, but if you’re using it as an event, it’s meh.
Trial of the Planes: Sixty crystals isn’t worth it. If it’s free, the pack is nice. The other rewards are meh.
Role Reversal: More of a novelty than anything. Play it if you think it’s fun, because there’s not much incentive otherwise.
Titanomachy: Low investment, high reward. The objectives are easy and the opponents are human. At 14 max charges, this is one of the easiest events to clear.
Battle of Four Tribes: Part 1: Medium difficulty with lots of charges and some difficult objectives. Middling rewards.
Battle of Four Tribes: Part 2: Hard battles, difficult objectives, lots of charges, and middling rewards. The third node is near impossible without certain cards. Your team does get a mythic for placing in the top 250, making the rewards better than part one, but this is still not a lot for the effort required.
MTGPQ Planeswalker Scales
This is primarily written with new players in mind. What planeswalkers can you pick up and start using right off the bat, and which aren’t worth your time? This guide will focus on the best walkers, and how they stack up for new players. We will be focusing primarily on the lowest level that a walker is viable at, hereafter refered to as the level at which they “come online.” This is a combination of having good loyalty abilities, mana bonuses, deck limits, and health, roughly in that order. Coming online early is important, both because it reduces the mana runes required to effectively use them and because having a lower level planeswalker means you will face lower level planeswalkers in PvP events.
Multicolor planeswalkers are a force multiplier on your card collection, and allow you to conserve your mastery by reusing cards between colors. More than anything for new players, I would build up a collection of multicolor planeswalkers. You’ll get boosters from events, but nothing will give you planeswalkers unless you get them yourself.
Blue/*****: The best of the best. These are strong planeswalkers that require minimal investment.
Green/****: Strong, but with drawbacks.
Purple/***: Strong, but requires significant investment to make good.
Orange/**: Weak, or medium with significant drawbacks.
Red/*: A waste of space. Bad at all stages of the game.
Liliana, Defiant Necromancer *****: Buy. She’s 50 gems and comes online at level 38, when her first ability makes your oppoent discard their first and last cards. This allows you to snipe cards with stored mana, gaining tempo over your opponent. In terms of power level this is four stars, but the cheap cost bumps this to five for new players.
Jace, Telepath Unbound **: Buy if you need a blue walker in a pinch and don’t have anything else. Otherwise outclassed by almost everything. The only reason this isn’t one star is it’s so cheap.
The other three are fine, and probably worth getting unless something really good is on rotation when you join. You will need a planeswalker of a certain color for many of the events, and you don’t want to be locked out of those while you wait to get a better planeswalker.
I’m mostly mentioning this because the game will try to sell you this walker on a regular basis. Good mana bonuses, bad abilities. I’ve Always Hated Crowds is decent, but doesn’t hit tokens. Overall, not enough better than Origins Jace to be worth buying.
Very weird, very powerful. The best monored plainswalker. Hard to deal with his mana bonuses until mid level, but not hard to get there. Comes online at level 17 when he loses his last -2. Gets a lot better when you have red gem conversion. I think this is a walker new players will have trouble using due to it needing red gem conversion to be strong, and the fact that it’s monocolored.
Very powerful, but monocolor and the fact that you already start with a green planeswalker makes this much less appealing for new players.
Jace’s mana bonuses and deck limits scale well, but the best thing about him is his ultimate, which is innefective at low levels. You want to have +2, +3, or +4 from this effect before he’s a really good walker. And while getting Jace to level 36 for +2 isn’t hard, the next levels come at 52 and 60, making Jace noticably better at 60, and a walker you should try to get to 60 if you want to use. Having multicolored walkers early is so important that it’s difficult to recommend a monocolored walker, but this is one of the best.
Mana bonuses are tough to work with until level 24, but a good set of abilities that steadily get better. That said, he’s outclassed by most dual and tri color walkers. Save your crystals probably.
Ashiok, Nightmare Muse *****
Strong UB walker, mana bonuses are good from level one, and are quite strong by level 24. Living Torment ends games quickly and is difficult to interact with for a very cheap cost. Consuming Fear is a nice panic button in a pinch, and Nightmare Harvest is “card draw” if you really need it. Starting deck contains Eat to Extinction, which is a good but replacable removal spell. This is a huge upgrade over Origins Jace, and probably worth getting if you don’t have another blue walker and nothing better is coming up in rotation soon. *If you don’t yet have a creature removal spell, this goes up, as hard removal is your best way to win against big threats early.
Same mana bonus progression as Daxos, acceptable at level 24, but doesn’t lose the last -2 until level 52. Very enchantment-centric, would not recommend for newer players.
Daxos the Returned ****
Pretty bad mana bonuses at low levels, acceptable the mana bonuses at level 24. Underworld Bargin probably kills a creature at low tiers and gets more reliable as the game goes on. Daxos in general gets better as the game goes on, and is very hard to deal with once his first ability is making a 6/6 or larger. Overall, a good control walker for white. Not a must have, but certianly good enough.
Garruk, Cursed Huntsman *****
Three strong abilities from their first level. Garruk gets the best parts of his abilities early, and doesn’t get that much better as he levels up. However you will want to level him, as his mana bonuses vastly improve at high levels. I would recommend at least level 24 to remove the -3 from blue. A strong walker for new players with powerful board control abilities right from the get go. Far superior to Vraska, Relic Seeker, who doesn’t kill creatures or make berserkers with her first two abilities.
Comes online at level 16 with Giant’s Triumph. Reliant on expensive creatures, but can also fetch them with her first ability, so you don’t need to flood your deck with them to be able to reliably get value from her abilities. Mana bonuses are fine from level 1, and strong by level 24, the same as Ashiok. High enough mana bonuses from level 24 onward that you’ll probably want to run gem conversion. In testing, she dominates if she can get her ult off, similar to Daxos, Teferi, and Bolas the Ravager. However, it’s difficult to avoid killing your opponent quickly after doing so, making her not the best at completing objectives. If not for this drawback she would be green.
Mana bonuses and deck limits are pretty easy to work with right off the bat, though her low creature count can be limiting at low levels.. Her abilities are diverse and powerful from their first level. Comes online at level 36, though the sweet spot is level 42 when she gets to play five creatures. Fully leveled, she is one of the best planswalkers in the game. Well worth your crystals.
Good from early levels. Requires spells though, so not a great first walker.
Comes online never. Do not buy. If you really want a dragon-centric Sarkhan, get Fireblood.
Cool abilities, but his low health hampers him from being a really good walker. Save yourself the grief, skip this one.
Like Bolas the Ravager, but without the massive leveling cost. In other words, amazing. Comes online at level 16. One of the best walkers in the game. Buy if you can.
Nicol Bolas, the Ravager *****
Bolas’s mana bonuses and deck limits are limiting at low levels, and as a three color walker, Bolas levels slowly. However, Bolas’ Rising, which comes online at level 16, makes him a powerhouse. If you can manage to survive until you can activate it, you should win. At level 20, Rend the Feeble kills almost any creature in Bronze tier, and he has access to black removal for anything else. Levels 26 and 32 are important from a mana standpoint, as he loses his last -2 and gets a two mana bump to black. Bolas is a highly functional walker from the mid levels forward, meaning that even for new players, this is a powerful option, as you don’t need to spend the mana runes to get him to max level. This comes in stark contrast to God-Pharaoh, which only really gets good at level 52 where Scoripon’s Sting kills instead of giving a minor debuff.
Powerful, but only good if you can get him to level 52, where Scoripon’s Sting kills instead of giving a minor debuff. He also maintains -2 to both green and white until level 52, which makes orb matching difficult. Recommended to avoid unless you can level him.
This Bolas comes online at level 26 with medium benefits in Dragon-God’s Scorn. He maintains -2 to green and white until level 60, but has better mana bonuses in the other colors than B1 and B2. Weaker than B1 or B2 when fully leveled, this is still a very strong planeswalker. This won’t win games by itself like B2 can, but it’s strong enough and comes online early enough that I would recommend getting this if you see it over most mono and dual colored walkers, though I would try to get B2 first. The starting deck also includes Bolas’s Citadel, which is a powerful card draw support from WAR.
Sarkhan Unbroken *****
Similar to Jace2 in that his ult is the reason he’s good, and that it’s 4x better at level 60 than level 16. Tricolor means he levels slower, but the added size in card pool makes up for it. Comes online at level 30, when his ult will fetch you two creatures with full mana and haste, though you will likely want to reach 32 for the blue match bonus. Fully leveled, this is one of the most powerful planeswalkers in the game, and comes online early enough that I would recommend getting this if you see it over all mono and dual colored walkers. His starting deck also contains Avaricious Dragon, which is a powerful mythic from Origins you will want for all your red decks.
Karn, Scion of Urza *****
Comes online at level 36 when Thran Legacy is guarenteed to increase your mana bonuses. As a colorless walker, he can use cards of all colors of the node he’s on. Poor mana bonuses, but his first ability more than makes up for this. This does mean that you will want to match for loyalty or multiple matches early in games to ramp yourself. One of the most powerful planeswalkers. Seven or so turns into the game, Karn feels straight up unfair to play, with mana bonuses that would make the AI jealous. He requires a decent amount of colorless cards to get him working at low levels, which can impact your mastery progression. If you can afford the colorless mastery and mana shards to level him, Karn is a worthwhile pickup for new players. Even if you just use three equipment, you have a 66% chance of hiting a colorless card with his first ability, and 78% if you use four colorless cards. His starter deck also includes Gilded Lotus, which is a powerful rare artifact support that boosts all your mana bonuses by one.