Event Decks Make Getting Into Magic Easier Than Ever

Are you interested in getting into Magic: the Gathering, getting back into it after some time away, or want to get more of your friends into it so you have a good play group? Here are some great ways for newbies to become Magic players.

Magic is enjoying excellent sales numbers of late, and a huge part of the reason is that the avenue for new players to discover and stay with the game are clearer and far easier to access.

Your first Magic purchase should be a preconstructed theme deck, which they now call an Intro Pack. It comes with a 60 card deck ready to play, with a nice explanation of the rules (though you’ll might want to head online for a little more rules guidance once you’ve got the basics down). Intro packs also come with a booster pack, so you can get a little taste of deck customization. I love that the preconstructed decks went back to 60 cards, but I wish they still came with little deck boxes.

If you just want to hang out with your friends, build fun decks and maybe do some drafts, then you’re pretty much all set. Buy boosters as your budget allows and have fun!

If you’re interested in building slightly more serious decks, there’s a great and often overlooked product available: the Deckbuilder’s Toolkit. You get a nice box and a bunch of solid, useful cards that are likely to find their way into Standard-legal decks.

Now there’s an even easier way to start building a competitive Standard deck — Event Decks. For $25 you score a 60-card deck plus 15-card sideboard that’s legal for Standard tournaments (for the next year or so, anyway). There’s a decent deck box with a divider to keep your deck and sideboard separate and a 20-sided spin-down die to track your life. It even has a set symbol in place of the 20.

This is a great, great product for new players. At $25, they’re more expensive than a regular preconstructed deck, but it includes higher quality cards. The review sample Wizards sent me is the Infect & Defile deck, and it has seven rares plus a lot of solid uncommons. The insert has a guide for how to play the deck successfully, plus some helpful tips on finding, attending and being prepared for tournaments. There are even some tips on upgrading the deck.

While I don’t 100% agree with the deck construction (4 x [card]Corrupted Conscience[/card] seems really bad, and there are other ways to make this better without adding rares), it’s a good low-budget deck. It’s not going to win a ton of matches, even at Friday Night Magic, but it gives the player a good idea of what a tuned deck looks like. The fact that it is easily upgradable (let’s trade some copies of [card]Foresee[/card] for [card]Sign in Blood[/card]) also gives new players a simple to understand look at how to build and tweak a deck.

Frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken Wizards this long to put out a product like this. They’re planning two decks like this per expansion. I hope they do well, because it’s such a great idea, and they executed the idea so well. It’s a very nice package with the die and box/divider.

Finally, if you play Magic and would like some advice on how to introduce your friends to the game, Tom LaPille wrote a great DailyMTG column on that very subject last week.

6 Responses to Event Decks Make Getting Into Magic Easier Than Ever

  1. I think my enjoyment of competitive MTG was ultimately quenched by the realization that half the cards in the deck I’d put together would no longer be legal in like 2 months.

    That said, this seems like a cool thing for new players.

    As for me, I’d more likely just want to do a draft or something. I do like to open packs to look at the pictures though. And the concept of deck building is still somewhat appealing. But putting in the money and time to build a deck that has maybe a year’s usefulness has kind of turned a bit sour to me.

  2. That’s true, but I was under the impression that the only places that really have Extended events are conventions and whatnot.

  3. That’s true, it is a significantly less common format.

    To be clear, if you acquire cards as they come out, they’ll be good in Standard for at least a year and a half, at most two years, with the exception of cards that come out in a core set (ie M11) that aren’t reprinted the following year, which will only be legal for one year.

    The cost of being competitive in Standard (and this is excluding the insanely expensive money cards) is roughly on par with buying a few console video games each year. I’m not saying that’s cheap, I was it was cheaper. But it’s in the ballpark of what people are spending on random entertainment anyway.

    Another good way to keep costs down is to have a group. Not only can you split boxes of cards, you can easily trade amongst yourselves to assemble playsets of things you need, assuming each person in the group chooses a different type of deck to build. Playtesting is great too.

  4. I think I’ll just stick to the Cube and Duels of the Planeswalkers for my playing fix, and the occasional impulse purchase of a couple packs for now.

  5. My local LGS has pretty much said no to standard and runs all of their events as really casual legacy or draft. That means that I get the fun of using my ridiculous huge card pool, and every game isn’t JACE! LOL! Plus, none of us are spending $60 on mythics, so it’s become a bit of a safe haven from the red symboled hyper-competitveness down the road. It’s a nice dynamic, I like it.

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