It’s a simple truth: some decks are more fun to play than others. Having contributed to Ertai’s Lament for over a year now, I’d hazard to say that I’d put our “unique decks played per day” ratio up against almost anyone. Ours is a constantly adapting task- play four games with a deck, move on to the next. New cards, new mechanics, all of it tackled in the course of an evening’s work for a writeup, then left behind.
To be sure, there are times when it’s felt more duty than privilege, such as when we forced ourselves to sit down and suffer through something like Anthologies. More recently, the novelty of the freshly-reviewed simpleton decks of 7th Edition wasn’t exactly seeing us race to break out the playmats. But on the flip side of the coin, there are times when Jimi and Sam are fighting it out to see who gets to play which deck, and those are the most fun of all.
Since their inception during Mirrodin Besieged, the Event Decks have fallen squarely in the latter camp. Their tightly-focused theme and solid card selection have made them a blast to play. Today we look at the match notes from the first of our two matchups, this one from the perspective of Illusionary Might. As in times previous with the Event Decks, we’re looking at the stock 60 cards, the decks as they would be in the first match pre-sideboarding.
There can be little doubt by now that Event Decks are here to stay. With this being the third product release with more scheduled to come, the ‘gateway to competitive play’ design space has been found to be fertile, although Wizards has had to do some adjusting along the way. As expected, we’ve been treated to two different flavours of aggro deck this time around, but each deck has a little twist. The surprise here with Illusionary Might is the deck’s colour, which isn’t one ordinarily associated with its strategy.
In his excellent piece on designing the Event Decks, Zac Hill revealed an interesting rule of thumb Wizards has when crafting them.
As a general rule… we tend to prefer at least one linear, mostly aggressive strategy whose manabase can be made to work with minimal effort. The other strategy will likely be more set-specific and try to play up some interesting block themes. As formats get close to rotating, we’re more likely to try and get one last hurrah out of the previous block’s Constructed All-Star list, whereas earlier in a set’s lifespan we’re more likely to explore themes that have the opportunity to grow more robust with each release.
Welcome to a linear, mostly aggressive strategy. A virtually mono-Blue linear, mostly aggressive strategy. And much like the M12 Intro Pack decks, it is one that inhabits something of a crossroads which allows for tinkering in multiple directions once the times comes to improve the build.