The Gem board is a 7x7 grid of Gems forming a central part of Magic: the Gathering Puzzle Quest. In each MtGPQ game, the player and the AI player take turns matching Gems on the Gem board to fill Cards in their hand with Mana.
- Main article: Gems
Support cards and tokens appear on the gem board when played. Supports have a shield value which is reduced by 1 each time the support is matched. When a support's shield reaches zero, the support gem is destroyed.
The game prompts you with a possible Swap if you take some time to make your move. The prompted Swap is not necessarily the best one.
Gems can also be converted to activated gems or other special gems, which have various effects while in play and when matched by swap matching. Special gems are triggered when matched in a match 3, and in some cases are also triggered by being destroyed in a match 4.
When three or more gems of the same colour become adjacent in a straight line, they make a Match. Matching gems generates mana, and causes gems above fall vertically in the gem board to fill the empty space created by the matched gems. New gems fall into the top of the board so that the board is always full of gems.
Matching more than 3 gems at once can trigger special results.
Falling gems can land in a position which creates a new match, causing a cascade of gem matches. Finding cascades and maximizing the chance of cascades is a core gameplay skill which can greatly impact a player's success at the game.
Gem matching is a core part of the Magic: the Gathering Puzzle Quest gameplay. When Gems on the Gem board form a sequence of three or more of the same color, Mana and Loyalty to power your Cards and your Planeswalker abilities. Matching special gems can trigger special effects or abilities.
On your turn, when you make a match by swapping a gem with its neighbor to form 3 or more gems of the same color in a vertical or horizontal row, it's a Swap match.
When gems fall into the empty space left by previous matches, or by destroying a gem or block of gems, if they land in a sequence of 3 or more of the same color, they make a Cascade match.
When a card converts the color of gems on the board to make a sequence of 3 or more of the same color, it causes a Gem Conversion match.
Effects of matching
Making a match causes the following effects.
- You get Mana and Loyalty, or just Loyalty
- The matched gems are removed from the board (except for some special gem types)
- All gems vertically above the removed gems fall down to fill the empty space
- New gems appear from beyond the top of the board, so the board remains full of gems
- Falling gems which make 3 in a row when they land cause Cascade matches
- Any number of Cascade matches can occur in a turn
Matching gives you mana and/or loyalty.
- Mana powers your Cards
- Loyalty powers your Planeswalkers' abilities
Matching coloured gems
Each match of 3 or more colored gems gives you:
- +1 mana for each gem matched
- Additional mana equal to your mana bonus
- +1 loyalty
If your green mana bonus is +3 and you match 4 green gems:
- You get: 7 mana and 1 loyalty
- +4 mana (from 4 gems)
- +3 mana (from your mana bonus)
- +1 loyalty
Matching loyalty gems
Each match of 3 or more loyalty gems gives you +1 loyalty for each gem matched.
If you match 3 loyalty gems, you get +3 loyalty.
Matching 4 or more gems in a line destroys the whole row or column.
- You only get mana for the 4 gems you match, even though 7 gems are hit by the match.
After matching 5 (or more) adjacent gems, text will appear on the screen to announce a Bonus swap.
A match 5 (5 or more adjacent gems triggering an extra turn) includes the following arrangements:
- Line: 5 same-colored gems in a line
- This also triggers the match 4 effect of destroying the remaining (in this case 2) gems in the row or column
- L: 5 same-colored gems in an L shape
- Plus: 5 same-colored gems in a plus shape. Only possible as a Cascade
- Adjacent: 6 same-colored gems in two orthogonally adjacent match 3s
- Five plus One: An L shape with a fourth gem next to the vertex (bend in the L). This destroys gems in the line of the four gems as a Match 4 does.
The following arrangements are not considered match 5s:
- Diagonal: Diagonally adjacent match 3s of the same color
- This arrangement counted as a match 5 in the past
An extra chance to match gems, use Planeswalkers' abilities, rearrange cards in hand, etc, given by certain Abilities or a Match 5. You don't get to draw another card or a second attack.
- If your second swap causes another match 5, you get third and successive swaps
- An extra swap is triggered whether the match 5 is a Swap or a Cascade
- An extra swap is not triggered by a match 5 which occurs from a gem conversion effect.
- Making two or more match 5s in a single move (match plus cascades) provides only up to 1 extra swap
- However, if one of the two match 5s involves a permanent support gem, two extra turns can occur (it is not known whether this is a bug)
Cards with the Landfall ability trigger an effect written on the card when you perform a Landfall match.
A landfall match is a move or cascade in which a match 4 or match 5 occurs on coloured gems.
- Matching loyalty gems does not count as landfall
- Landfall only triggers up to once per move or cascade step, even if two or more match 4s occur simultaneously
The gem board always contains at least one valid swap. At the end of each turn, if the board reaches a position with no valid swaps, the board is Shuffled. This randomizes the gems on the board to a new state which doesn't trigger any matches.
Some cards can also shuffle the gem board.