Wizards Announces New Preconstructed Product
Wizards today announced the forthcoming “Event Decks,” which will be “strong, capable Standard-legal decks” designed for the more competitive player who wants to make the transition from the kitchen table to their local Friday Night Magic. Here’s the official announcement, and a link to some of the forum discussions here. Although nothing but speculation at this point, there’s some interesting concern and debate over the possible contents of the decks.
Here’s a reprint of my comments on the forum regarding the use and positioning of these forthcoming Event Decks:
As a passionate collector and reviewer of preconstructed decks, I’d be very surprised if these supplanted the “intro decks,” because both have a different place in the market. A common assumption about precons is that they’re in some way meant to be “good,” assuming that the definition of “good” means “competitive against non-precons.” Some are, some aren’t, but obviously you’re not going to have consistent success against a T1 deck with one.
Personally, I see precons as drawing upon the best elements of both Constructed and Limited, and work best when seen as a “fly in amber” representation of what the designers and developers were trying to do with a particular set. Taken in that vein, they’re quite a bit of fun to play when you can “revisit” sets from years ago and try out new cards and mechanics you might not have been around for.
Much like Wizards makes cards that are deliberately poor as “skill testers,” precons have existed in the same design space with some of their choices. This may make them unpalatable to some, who are looking for a competitive experience right out of the box, but it certainly helps those newer to the game. There’s a certain, necessary realisation that has to occur to progress in skill, such as when you look at, say, a Runeclaw Bear and realise- aha!- a Garruk’s Companion might be a better choice in the slot. It’s easy to forget after long years of play how incremental learning the game often was for many of us. The alternative is to simply netdeck a list and run with it rather than develop your own fundamentals.
Most precons will step up their power quite noticeably if given some careful pruning- weeding out the suboptimal, and adopting a four-of mentality to increase consistency. Again, this is a teaching tool- my first decks forever ago were sprawling, 120-card singleton affairs, and it took awhile to learn such lessons.
From the sound of it, these Event Decks won’t be world-beaters, but probably second-shelf consistent performers that are sort of “Precons 2.0”- the learning-curve cards and goofy elements that showcase a set’s mechanics will be gone, repalced by consistency with an eye towards perfoemance: 4-of Lightning Bolts, Spreading Seas, or what have you, wrapped around a theme that’s a little tighter than most.
So long as they don’t replace the existing precon structure I’ll be excited as heck for em! They may not cause me to leave my beloved Grixis Control or RDW decks at home each week, but they’ll be a fun alternative.
More preconstructed decks to dig through and review? Ertai’s Lament says, “yes please!”