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September 21, 2011

5

Booster Battle Pack Review (Part 2 of 2)

by Dredd77

Time to put our labours to the test! In the first part of our review, I build a 25-card Red/Green deck augmented by a few choice gems from my booster pack. Jimi has done the same, and we’re eager to pit the two decks against one another. Here are the notes from our matchup.

Game One

I’m on the play, leading off with an opening Goblin Arsonist, following up with a turn-2 Llanowar Elves for some added ramp. Jimi’s first play of the game is the turn-2 Blood Seeker. The Arsonist began attacking the moment it could, and by the third turn Jimi’s at 18 life. I then play a Giant Spider, causing me to lose 1 life. Jimi ups the ante, however, with a Divine Favor on the Seeker, upping her life to 21 and making the Seeker also 2/4.

Now turn 4, I blast Jimi’s only plains with a Tectonic Rift, hoping to keep her off-colour. This also falters her defenses, so I send in the side for 4. She counterattacks with the Seeker, drawing us even at 17. Next turn I attack with my 1/1’s, holding the Spider back, then enchanting it with Firebreathing after adding a Goblin Tunneler. Back to Jimi, she plays a Drifting Shade (with three Swamps in play).

I use the Tunneler to make the Spider unblockable before sending it in to attack, then pump it with the Firebreathing to wallop Jimi for 5. She’s unable to solve the Spider-Tunneler trick, and it carries the game.

Game Two

Jimi drops an opening Plains while I manage a Forest into Llanowar Elves. Next turn she plays the Blood Seeker while I match with the Arsonist (losing 1 life). A turn-3 Divine Favor on the Seeker lets Jimi swing in with it, while I counterattack for 2 of my own then add the Goblin Tunneler.

Jimi’s Drifting Shade lands on turn 4, preceded by another attack which takes me to 14 (Jimi’s at 21). Unfortuntely for Jimi she’s tapped out, so I seize on the chance to pick off the Shade. I enchant the Arsonist with Lure and send it over to attack, alongside the Elves and Tunneler. Naturally, Jimi is compelled to take the trade of the Shade for the Arsonist, and while I two-for-one myself, I do manage to solve the threat. Next turn Jimi plays an Armored Warhorse and attacks for 2, while I drop a Volcanic Dragon and charge in for 4 in the sky. Meanwhile, thanks to the Seeker’s life drain I’m now down to 10.

Now turn 6, Jimi answers the Dragon with the Sengir Vampire. She attacks for 4 with her Warhorse and Seeker, leaving me at 6. Over to me, I attack with the Llanowar Elves (using the Tunneler to ensure unblockability) and drop the Greater Basilisk. Jimi then plays a Zombie Goliath, holding her troops back. I land Firebreathing on the Elves, but with only two Mountains in play it avails me little. Jimi then alpha strikes, and it clears out my creatures at the cost of some of hers, Still, she has enough left to do the business and I scoop next turn at 1 life.

Game Three

This time I’m on the play, and my first creature out the gates are a turn-3 Fiery Hellhound. In the meantime, Jimi’s managed the usual and customary Blood Seeker on turn 2, so playing the Hellhound takes me to 19. Jimi’s response is to drop down the Pride Guardian before passing. I add Goblin War Paint to the Hellhound on turn 4, then swing for 6 after pumping it. Jimi can’t solve the Hellhound, but hits at my hand instead with an unexpected Mind Rot. I pitch Firebreathing and a Forest.

Now turn 5, I attack again with the Hellhound, compelling Jimi to chump with her Pride Guardian (and gain 3 life). She’s now at 17. Lamentably, her turn 5 is a blank, so I keep the momentum rolling with a turn-6 Crumbling Colossus. I don’t have the mana left to pump the Hellhound, so it only gouges in for 4. Back to Jimi, she deploys her booster rare- Throne of Empires– and passes.

Now turn 7, I go in for 4 again with the Hellhound, claiming the Blood Seeker Jimi chumps with. I then follow up with a Goblin Arsonist. back to Jimi, she Disentombs the Seeker and replays it, then taps three mana to make a 1/1 Soldier off the Throne. It’s all for naught, though, as I use Tectonic Rift to peel back Jimi’s defenses and swing in for 13- exactly enough for the kill.

Thoughts & Analysis

We had a fair amount of fun with the Booster Battle Pack, though to be candid it’s unlikely we’d pick up another. In short, it’s a sound idea that lacks a touch on execution. After three battles, even we were a bit bored by the predictability. Oh look, early Blood Seeker. With Divine Favor. Oh, and Goblin Arsonist. The idea is a grand one- this is essentially a Deckbuilder’s Toolkit in miniature- but the tiny card pool means it will get stale fairly quickly.

I do have to give credit to the designers, who did seem to put some thought into it. It looks like there are some synergies to be found in the various packs, such as the power-pumping critters and effects with a Goblin Tunneler. For the interested, you can check out a full list of the ten different packs here. And while we stuck to the overall formula of the product, there’s nothing saying you can’t add in another booster or two for variety.

If the overall goal of the product is to give some Limited experience at a cheap cost to the player, the product does accomplish it. A criticism heard is that players get the same effect from “Pack Wars,” but in our experience Pack Wars is a much more random and goofy ‘format,’ while this offers some actual deckbuilding experience.

Pros: Good variety of packs; packs have some synergy or apparent planning that hints at interactions between cards; cost of the product itself ($9.99) is fair

Cons: No new ground for more experienced players; limited card pool means limited replayability

OVERALL SCORE: 3.70/5.00

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. errtu
    Sep 21 2011

    To be honest, i wouldn’t buy one. Usually when i buy a booster box i do a small booster battle, adding 2 lands of each type to a booster, shuffle and play without viewing the cards before. It’s quite fun to play, for two or three games. After that it becomes predictable, same as with the battle pack.

    Reply
    • Vic
      Sep 21 2011

      That’s pretty much pack wars but you’re supposed to add 3 of every land.

      Reply
  2. Icehawk
    Sep 21 2011

    Can’t see myself recommending this over buying an intro pack.

    Reply
  3. Oceanus
    Sep 22 2011

    I thought this was there Pack Wars Into True Magic. They have an agenda to take our casual formats (for there are many) and attempt to cover them in some sort of constructed way. We get to have fun and they get a little more money.

    That said, I really can’t condemn this product. It’s just pack wars with a little design and fluff added in to make it more fun. For what? An extra 2 bucks or something? (Compared to just buying 2 packs). If that’s the case, I can’t really see the harm in every now and then dropping a little money for some extra fun. I do it all the time with MtG.

    Another thing I would rebut is that it gets stale.

    1) Obviously. Pack Wars fervor lasts about as long as the nerve of opening a fresh pack full of randomized cards.

    2) M12 is pretty stale anyway. It’s not particularly flavorful, the Sealeds are simple and good grounds for beginners, and the formats are often bomb-oriented anyway.

    Wait until an ISD Battle Pack or something if you want a more enhanced experience. I’m doing the same in regards to Draft, so I don’t see how pack wars would be any different.

    Reply
  4. Aaron
    Sep 22 2011

    Just a nit: I followed the link to the list of cards in the battle packs, and didn’t see it; turns out you need to go back to page 4 in the thread.

    Reply

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