In October 2009 and to much critical and commercial acclaim, Wizards released the Zendikar expansion, and many credit the set with revitalising interest in the game. With the component mechanics of “Maps, Traps, and Chaps” Zendikar’s setting was designed to be an “Adventure World” theme that stylistically approximates a role-playing game (indeed, head designer Mark Rosewater even likened the Allies to ‘Fighters, Wizards, and Clerics’). Of the five 41-card Intro Pack decks for the set, none quite capture this flavour so much as The Adventurers.
Focusing on one of the three main themes (Allies, or “Chaps”), in this regard The Adventurers is the most successful of the five in capturing Zendikar’s look and feel. One of the things I most enjoy about preconstructed decks for each set is seeing how they showcase the themes and mechanics for that set. It’s a lot of fun knowing I can pick up a Kamagawa-era deck and play with Splice, or a Bant deck from Alara with Exalted. While not necessarily bad products themselves, there was a real opportunity missed by the designers of the Zendikar decks: in total, only two Quests (“Maps”) and not a single Trap were included.
But on the upside as we’ll see, the Allies got the royal treatment with The Adventurers.