For our last foray into the world of Invasion, Jimi’s put her hand up to try and take me down with Spectrum, the set’s five-colour affair. For my part I’m taking Blowout, which is a Red/Black disruption and burn deck with a solid complement of creatures. Will she be able to power up her domain cards, or will she fall to cinders before getting the chance?
An apparent trend over the course of the development of Magic’s set-based preconstructed decks is the diminishing availability of removal. With the advent of the Intro Pack, the decks tended to revolve around creature combat to a degree higher than their theme deck predecessors. This was something of a worrying development.
Taking nothing away from the other three decks of Invasion, this is the playtest we’ve most anticipated. Whenever you stake out a challenging proposition- in this case, a five-colour theme deck- there’s always a little extra interest in seeing if it lives up to its ambitions. To put the deck to the test, Sam is piloting Dismissal, the Dimir-coloured disruption deck.
As we enter the year 2012, there’s a sort of theme developing here at Ertai’s Lament: firsts. Tempest, for instance, was the first set to have Theme Decks released alongside it, which have been continued for every set since (changing over to Intro Packs beginning with Shards of Alara). According to Wizards’ then-Vice President of R&D, Bill Rose, Invasion was designed to be the first block with a thematic focus on multi-colour play, something we take for granted now with Commander play giving life to hordes of multi-colour “commanders” and an entire set (Alara Reborn) done up in spiffy gold borders. Read more
As we’ve seen, Heavy Duty is a focused Green/White combat deck with beats for days. Of course, no deck is without its weaknesses, as Jimi is eager to prove with the disruption-heavy Dismissal. While my deck pounds away at the body, Jimi’s stabs at the mind. In such a pairing, who prevails?
When you think of colours in Magic that seem to have a natural synergy together, White and Green tend to make the shortlist. In Ravnica, this colour pairing would be given the name ‘Selesnya,’ and a guild tailored to build upon both their strengths. Even as recently as Innistrad, we’d find Repel the Dark, a tribal deck representing the beleagured Humans circling the wagons against the creatures of the night.
In the Winter of 1993, I went on a storied skiing expedition with fellow members of my university’s student council. I was one of those most uncommon of creatures- a person who had grown up in the Northeast but had never gone downhill skiing, though on a few occasions I’d had a blast doing the cross-country variety. Saddled with the same lack of balance and coordination that had sidelined me from such adventures such as skateboarding, rollerblading, and ice skating, I was reluctant but curious at the same time.
Finally, we come to the last of the Planeshift preconstructed decks as we close on completing the series. As it happens, Barrage is the most seemingly straightforward of the lot, promising unrelenting aggression with a goal of early blowouts. It seems a fair inclusion, as Planeshift’s run has been marked by decks of remarkable intricacy- the kind you see a lot less of today. Not a single one of the deck’s 27 creatures is vanilla- to the last they all have some additional attribute or ability. That seems par for the course.
So what does Planeshift’s version of an aggro deck look like? Let’s find out, beginning as we should with the beaters.