In the long history of the Duel Decks series (now reaching nearly half of Magic’s lifespan to date), there have been three major shifts in strategy that have shaped the course of the product to where we are today.
With only one Event Deck to choose from, Sam and I took a page out of our reviews for the Premium Deck Series and decided she’d get to have her pick of an Event Deck from the previous set, Gatecrash. Naturally, she went for the ferocious Rally and Rout, the Boros deck, and it was with no small trepidation that I shuffled up and prepared to take my Selesnya to battle. Here are the notes from our engagement.
In late February of 2011, a new product appeared on the shelves of many friendly, local gaming stores. A new preconstructed product, the Event Decks were aimed at players wishing to get involved in competitive gameplay. They contained seven rare cards, and were available in two flavours- “Kuldotha Red” and Infect. Foor the first time since the product’s debut, we’ve now witnessed a change in the product line.
We’re back for the final match with the latest Duel Decks, before we bid a fond adieu to the plane of Innistrad. Jimi’s lined up behind Tibalt and is ready to hammer me into submission. Can a Vampire- as unlikely a hero as you might find- claim the night and seize the day?
At long last, having reviewed both decks it’s time to see how they fare in battle! Joining me at the table is Jimi, ready to pilot Sorin’s deck to victory. Can Tibalt turn the tables while he turns the screws?
It may seem hard to believe now, but when Zendikar was handed off from design to development the set did not contain Vampires. Sure there might have been one kicking around in a rare slot somewhere, a ‘token representative’ creature fleshing out a splashy one-off, but the Vampires as a cohesive and cultural element in the Zendikar world had not yet come to be. No Vampire Nighthawks, no Gatekeepers of Malakir, and certainly no Vampire Lacerators. Although we’ve touched on this briefly in the past, the story of how the set’s iconic tribe came to be is worth a revisit- though as we’ll see iconic is probably the wrong word to use.
Given the relatively short time they they have been a feature of the game, the history of the planeswalker is still a relatively modest one when looked at against the backdrop of the span of Magic’s two-decade history. Certainly while this feeling is reinforced by the fact that planeswalkers are themselves the most infrequent card type to see print, their high profile gives them an outsize impression. And that certainly doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been some innovation along the way.
It’s our last look at Gatecrash today, for the next time we break out these decks it will be for the Preconstructed Championship later this year. Joining me at the table this time is Sam, who’s volunteered to give Thrive and Thrash another shot. Will she prove that the previous match was just a fluke, or will the Boros live up to the billing and rout the Simic?
For the most part, the overlap between the competitive world of the Event Deck and the more casual one of the Intro Pack has remained fairly segregated. After all, aside from the set whose banner they are released under, they really don’t have much in common. Intro Packs, aside from being an accessible point of entry for new and returning players, tend to give a fair amount of design space over to showcasing the set’s themes and mechanics. Event Decks, on the other hand, care far less for these things, instead focusing on presenting a valid option in a given competitive environment.