Battlebond is just about to release or may have released already depending on where you live (Hello, Future People!). This year’s special draft format is built around Two-Headed Giant play and I was able to attend a prerelease event last weekend and I have a few thoughts on how this breaks down and what those of you that have yet to play can expect.
The first big thing to keep in mind with this release is that you will need a second head to make the best of these boosters. So when you play, don’t forget to bring a partner along for the ride. The Two-Headed Giant format has two pairs of players going against each other. Each pair shares turns and steps while both still controlling their own decks and creatures. With a life total starting at thirty, and each round only lasting one game, these are the big changes from a normal tournament. Of course, Battlebond is still far from a normal game of Two-Headed Giant.
Battlebond has a few new mechanics designed to enhance the multiplayer experience. Spells that let others assist you, literally allowing another player to pay for the generic cost. Multiple spells that refer to your team or permanents your team controls instead of just your own. A few that give benefits to anyone that targets your opponents and some other interesting individuals.
Oh, and of course the partners. Twenty creatures and both planeswalkers in the set have a specific partner. Each partner allows a player to search for the other one. That is, any player you choose gets to go find the other half, which is an important part of the actual construction here.
Constructing your deck is just as important here as ever. That said, there are a number of things to keep in mind that are not typical of a drafting format. First, not all ten color pairs are made equal. The five allies, those colors next to each other on the back of a Magic card, are given much more to work with than the five other pairs. So why is everything with partner not an allied pair? As I said above, any person can go get the other half, so more often than not it is better for your other head to have the other half. All the partners play well together and do much better when played on the same turn. That is far easier when two people cast them instead of just one person. I was able to play three different events last weekend and everything worked best when my partner and I did not share colors, were both only two allied colors, and split any partner cards between us.
After the Fact
Battlebond games are a blast, but we cannot forget that all of these new cards can be great for multiplayer formats later. In fact, one of the biggest draws is the slew of fun and interesting reprints that are coming out. And the most important thing to remember here is that all of this looks fun.