Magic: The Gathering has issued a rare emergency card ban effective today. One card in a popular but dramatically overpowered two-card combo is now illegal in Standard play. Publisher Wizards of the Coast announced the emergency ban two days after they put out their April “Banned and Restricted” cards list, prompting players to raise an eyebrow at the delay. Advertisement Over the last few months, Wizards of the Coast noticed that, when Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai are in play together, Felidar Guardian can be infinitely replicated until its owner has an army of lethal cats. It is known as the Copy Cat Combo. About 40% of Magic Online Standard League decks contained the combo—a percentage that does not reflect how often it was built into IRL decks. Wizards of the Coast Players are happy the killer combo is dead in Standard, but unhappy with how long it took to kill. Several have said that Wizards should strive to announce bans between set releases and pro tours when possible. Usually, Wizards of the Coast designates banned cards in their “Banned and Restricted” cards list, so the two-day delay cost them some trust. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Since the release of the 2010 original, Adult Swim’s unicorn runner has been delighting players with fanciful flights over fantastic dreamscapes to the turn of Erasure’s “Always.” Robot Unicorn Attack Forever takes that base and builds a collectible robot gacha game on top. Advertisement When you first start playing Robot Unicorn Attack Forever, available as a free download on iTunes and Google Play, it seems like just more of the same running, jumping, singing and swaying that fans of the series have been eating up over and over again over the past seven years. But at the end of that initial ride a massive unicorn-headed fortresses rises out of the clouds. Now we have a base of operations. We have a robot fairy guide named Lumina, who is all sorts of fun. We can assemble a stable of different robot unicorns, ready to be upgraded and fused into more powerful robot unicorns. We can forge new robot unicorns using currency earned in-game or purchased with real money. We can even assign our robot unicorns their own READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Phoenix Point is a new strategy game from Julian Gollop, creator of the original X-Com. Unlike his last game, Chaos Reborn, this one’s a spiritual successor to X-Com, on which the modern XCOM series is based. It’s still very much in development and is seeking funding on Fig. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Overwatch I have a confession: I have become an Overwatch meta slave. I rarely pick heroes other players think are “bad.” I won’t take risks with our tank-healer balance. And, most important, I will seethe when my team doesn’t reflect the holy comp du jour. Advertisement Did you pick Hanzo on an attack map? I probably scoffed at you. Did you, Genji, really think we could defend Eichenwalde without Reinhardt? Apparently, I type in team chat, you could care less about winning. I see you switched from our only healer to Widowmaker on a control point. Are you serious, I grunt into my headset. In the grand scheme of toxic Overwatch players, I rank low. For heaven’s sake, I’m not telling any Genji players to “kill yourself.” I’m not reporting all Widowmakers for “griefing.” But I do admit that, over the last few months, I crossed into “taking Overwatch comp too seriously” territory. It’s a sad place over here, verging on mean-spirited, but at least it’s not lonely. In Competitive Mode, inevitably, there are others who loudly police hero picks before I even have the chance. I tend to let them do the READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF You know those moments in games where you can’t even believe what you just accomplished? This PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds kill is the epitome of that. Advertisement Streamer Jbellizzi found a motorcycle, and he decided to do what any self-respecting vehicle-owner (specifically named Evel Knievel) would do: ramp it over a house. Then he pulled off one of the more improbable kill combos I’ve seen in my life: Motorcycle backflip to knee slide double kill? It’s some fucking Tony Hawk shit. And he somehow survived all of it. Advertisement “WHAT THE FUCK,” Jbellizzi yelled incredulously. “What? How? I’m a god. I’m a god!” His joy is so good and pure that I don’t even mind the fact that I’m now deaf in one ear. You’re reading Steamed, Kotaku’s page dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s wildly popular PC gaming service. Games, culture, community creations, criticism, guides, videos—everything. If you’ve found anything cool/awful on Steam, send us a message to let us know. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Illustration by Sam Woolley You’re at a social gathering and the people you’re with start talking about games. Games you’ve never played. You listen along and laugh and nod, but you start to wonder if maybe you should say something. Advertisement I’ve written the following guide for faking your way through conversations about some of the hottest games around. In addition to a summary and talking points, I’ve included an eject button for each game. That should let you gracefully withdraw yourself from the current topic without revealing your complete lack of knowledge. Overwatch What it is: A team-based competitive game where players control cartoony heroes, all of whom shoot each other with outlandish weapons. Advertisement What they’ll talk about: The way Blizzard has tweaked the balance, which usually draws complaints. Whatever new hero has been unveiled, usually in a splashy animated short. Uncontroversial Statements: “They keep buffing and nerfing Dva and I can’t keep up!” “I stay away from competitive play these days. Too much salt.” “I just wish people would stay on the payload!” Advertisement READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Netrunner: Terminal Directive Today, cyberpunk card game Netrunner released a murder mystery expansion, Terminal Directive. It’s a novel twist on an already-fantastic game, and its first story-based campaign. The obvious question: How does a narrative of cyberwarfare unravel through a card game that requires shuffling decks? The answer is, slowly, in fits and starts, and in spite of a frustrating balancing act of ever-changing gameplay modifiers. Advertisement I regularly describe Netrunner as “the shit” and “infinitely superior to Magic: The Gathering.” As a fan of science-fiction, I will describe it to select few as “Neuromancer’s spiritual successor.” It’s an asymmetric, collectible card game that has one player, the hacker, attempting to breach an evil corporation’s security system, puppeteered by a second player. The hacker’s objective is to break through the corporation’s “ICE” programs (which stands for the ironically bureaucratic Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics) and gain access to its data. The corp, on the other hand, plays defensively. They must stave off the hacker’s “runs” by draining them of resources or installing bothersome ICE barriers. Some corp decks are all about misdirection, so instead of mining sweet data at the end of a run, READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
GIF The second wave of Pokémon Gallery figures have hit The Pokemon Company’s online store, giving Psyduck, Cubone, Jigglypuff and Vulpix a chance to show off their signature moves in style. Advertisement The Pokémon Gallery figure line launched back in February as part of the celebration of the game’s 25th anniversary. The idea is to portray Pokémon as they appear in the middle of the moves most often associated with the character. Pikachu gets Thundershock, Magikarp does Splash, that sort of thing. Each figure in the series runs $16.99 and is sold exclusively through the Pokémon Center online store. They come in lovely boxes, but to truly appreciate them you’ve got to shed that cardboard and plastic shell. Be sure to right click on the images and expand them for a better look. First up is Vulpix, captured here in mid Fire Spin. The designers opted to give this figure a clear base, which, along with the translucent orange plastic, grants the illusion of a whirling flame tornado, destroying any grass-type it touches. Next we have one of the most depressing READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Next Friday, Arkane Austin will release their newest game, Prey, closing the loop on a minor four-year meta-story involving that studio and me. It’s only fitting that one of Prey’s achievements is a shoutout to Press Sneak Fucks. Advertisement Some context: in May 2013, I reported that publisherBethesda had tasked Arkane Austin (Dishonored) with developing a reboot of the ill-fated Prey 2. Shortly afterwards, Arkane creative director Raphael Colantonio sent out a rowdy e-mail: When Arkane announced their rebooted version of Prey last year (after at first denying that they were making it), Colantonio wore a t-shirt that I sadly was not able to get my hands on: And now Prey has this achievement: Bethesda still doesn’t acknowledge our existence, but here’s the blunt truth I’d offer Colantonio if they let me sit down with him for an interview: I think Arkane is full of talented people, I can’t wait to play their game, and I appreciate that they have a sense of humor about all this. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Skyrim: Enhanced Edition Veteran programmer Brett Douville joins today’s Kotaku Splitscreen to talk about LucasArts, Bethesda, and much more. Advertisement Kirk and I start off the show by talking about the new indie games What Remains Of Edith Finch and The Sexy Brutale before jumping into this week’s news: the announcement of Call of Duty: WWII (13:01), an Overwatch player’s racist tirade (21:48), and Persona 5 localization complaints including Matthew Burns’ excellent take (28:02). Then we bring on Douville (38:12) to talk about the stresses of LucasArts, his work at Bethesda on Fallout 3 and Skyrim, and his lovely podcast, Dev Game Club. You can download the MP3 version right here. Advertisement As always, you can find us on Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Reach us at email@example.com with any and all questions, requests, suggestions, and fan-fiction. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
There’s a new Star Wars game out on mobile today, and it doesn’t involve collecting characters, buying things in order to unlock characters or forming a party of collectible characters. At this point a match-three game like Star Wars: Puzzle Droids is kind of refreshing. Advertisement As much as I like to ride on the lazier examples of the genre, I’m always down for a well-crafted match-three game, and Puzzle Droids certainly looks like one of those. Free to download today on iOS and Android (hah) devices, the game sees players matching themed gems in order to unlock BB-8’s memories of classic Star Wars scenes. At this point I am down for any mobile Star Wars game that doesn’t involve me trying to level up Chewbacca. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Smash 4 A big fighting games tournament organizer says his company lost $20,000 throwing its first Super Smash Bros.-centric tournament earlier this month. As a result, Florida-based CEO Gaming does not have plans for a future CEO Dreamland event. Advertisement “Dreamland came about as a way to show the Smash community that our team cares and appreciates their huge support of our flagship CEO event over the years,” CEO Gaming director Alex Jebailey wrote in an e-mail. Jebailey, along with his team, organized a ballroom space, security, staffing, hotel rooms, commentary and, most importantly, a handmade “whispy tree” from Kirby’s Dreamland stage for CEO Dreamland. They needed 2,000 attendees for it to be considered a “success.” There was plenty of support and excitement for the event. But unfortunately, it took place over Easter weekend, which Jebailey says explains its lower-than-expected turnout of 1,100 attendees. Hotel rates were cheapest that weekend, but of course, several potential attendees were tied up with family obligations. Advertisement “There’s so much that goes into an event,” Jebailey told me. “A lot of dedicated tournament organizers pour their heart and souls into READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Former BioWare UI designer Eric Bellefeuille posted a large gallery of his work this week, and it offers a fascinating look at some early versions of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Advertisement Above, for example, is a snapshot of some strikingly different characters, including an odd Peebee and a resoundingly Donald Glover-looking Liam Kosta. Another shot shows what appears to be a different default version of Ryder: And a closer look: Some other shots I found interesting: You can check out the whole gallery here. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Described as “gritty” and “visceral” and “boots on the ground” and all of the other buzzwords you’ve come to expect from a military shooter, here’s Call of Duty: WWII, coming November 3 for PC, Xbox One, and PS4. Advertisement This one is developed by Sledgehammer Games, the studio last responsible for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in 2014. They’re hyping the game as an authentic look at World War II, and it’s certainly a departure for the series after the last few years of modern and futuristic warfare. Call of Duty: WWII will take place between 1944 and 1945, Sledgehammer says. You’ll play as a young private who’s “seeing his first real action” in the Battle of Normandy, and fight across the European Theater. There’ll be a Nazi zombie co-op campaign, a multiplayer Axis vs. Allies mode, and even some sort of lobby: In a livestream promoting the new game, representatives used the word “visceral” roughly 7,000 times. There’ll be a private beta later this year. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!