We’re back with our continuing Magic 2013 coverage as we unwrap the Event Deck boxes and prepare to do battle. cross the table from me sits Sam, shuffling up the flashback-heavy Sweet Revenge. For my part, I’m ready to go with a deck that’s nearly all creatures, Repeat Performance. Two decks, virtually the mirror opposite of one another. Which strategy will get the upper hand?
Since the advent of the Event Deck for last year’s Mirrodin Besieged, the decks have come under a steady drone of criticism for their content. This is to be expected, for whenever Wizards sticks a fixed group of cards in a box and slaps a pricetag on it, the playing community immediately begin assessing it. Indeed, it’s the very principle that this site was founded upon, and it makes for an engaging and healthy debate. From the outset we’ve held a critical eye on the Event Decks as Wizards fine-tuned the product after launch, watching it go into its mono-coloured aggro phase as a hedge against its rarity caps, and have been delighted to see the growth of the product beyond that. What we haven’t touched on yet aside from a rather general manner is the other charge leveled at the Event Decks: that they are unrepresentative.
Nearly four years ago, we reviewed a deck called Slaughterhouse from Avacyn Restored. It was a deck that played in a space we’d seen before with preconstructed Magic, although not commonly. Following in the footsteps of Mirrodin’s Sacrificial Bam and Coldsnap’s Beyond the Grave, we summarized this style of deck as follows.
The objective of these decks is simple- take advantage of permanents that don’t mind dying to feed ones that reward you for when they do. Towards that end, many of its cards involve sacrifice and sacrifice outlets, along with the fodder that drives the deck forward.
If we were to summarize the objective of today’s Oath of the Gatewatch deck, Vicious Cycle, we could do no better.
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.
The table is set and the tea is brewed, an altogether overly civilised setting for the brutal savagery that’s about to take place. I’m piloting the Golgari and their Creep and Conquer Event Deck, while Jimi’s looking to dance on our graves with the Radkos and Wrack and Rage. Can she burn her way to victory, or will she just end up another body in the fungus pile?
Moreso than any other preconstructed product in recent memory, the Event Decks have become a lightning rod for attention and criticism amongst the Magic community. To be sure, there isn’t a thing that Wizards could issue that wouldn’t have a Greek chorus of detractors, bemoaning some or other aspect of the release- some of it fairly, some of it not. But perhaps because of the unique intersection that the Event Decks product line inhabits it finds itself much more squarely in the community’s sights.
This is it, our final game for Magic 2013- the next time we touch these decks will likely be in the Preconstruced Championships next Autumn. We found the two Event Decks to be great fits and foils for one another… would the same hold true with the decks having changed hands?
As we mentioned in our review of Sweet Revenge’s sibling, Repeat Performance, one of last year’s models attracted a level of criticism that was surprisingly sharp given the value of the cards within the box. Magic 2012’s Vampire Onslaught made quite an impression with a playset of Dismembers, a couple of Go for the Throats, a pair of Bloodghasts, and a Kalastria Highborn, but the discontent was more broadly applied. With a full twenty-five cards in the main deck coming from sets soon to rotate out of the Standard environment- either Zendikar block or Magic 2011- the ticking from the clock of obsolescence was particularly loud. But if we were to think that this would spell the end of the “encore” decks- one lust hurrah for a battle-tested strategy while it’s still capable of being run- we’d need to think again.