Core Set 2015 (M15) Intro Packs Review – The Lodown by Stuart MrShy Waddicor
Wait, no Alters?
Today was an exciting change of scenery for this columnist. Whilst I would normally be writing about card altering, I was given an exciting opportunity to do something different and review the new M15 Intro Packs, hot off the press and before release day!
Obviously I jumped at the chance, so I put my name down, dried off my paint brush and eagerly awaited my package from Wizards.
Flash forward a few days and a package turned up on my doorstep with a big Hasbro franking label on it. I found myself aflutter with excitement as I opened the package to find two beautiful M15 Intro Pack boxes inside.
Seriously though, the packaging really appeals – I am a big fan of flat white, with that slightly satiny finish and little plastic window revealing my foil inside. It should also be noted that where in the old Theme Deck packaging you would have to demolish every scrap of cardboard to access your deck and boosters, these new Intro Packs can actually be opened, have the goods removed and then be closed again, without breaking a thing! 10/10 Wizards, 10 out of 10.
I don’t always test products, but when I do…
I decided to go about this properly, as an objective product review. I grabbed a friend (big thanks to Mr James Forster), set my phone up as a Dictaphone, got some paper and pens and went to the local coffee shop which hosts our FNM here in Bath.
James and I sat down and we each flipped for a deck and broke it open. We agreed to play a best of three with the decks straight out of the box and then another best of three, modifying the decks with the two boosters included.
Now to establish a little background, I am currently on hiatus from competitive Magic and James doesn’t play Standard so we were both in a position to objectively review these decks without the current meta having an effect on our judgement. We had both had a shuffle through (looking at our rares in particular) and felt the decks were on a similar power level and we quickly got an idea of what they were trying to do. Both of us scribbled some notes and then we stopped…
Starting on a Negative
Now this is going to be the only serious negative within this product review, so I figured I’d like to get it out there early so we can go back to discussing all the awesome.
The Green/White deck plays a lot of spells that put tokens into play. The Will of the Masses Intro Pack contains exactly zero tokens. Over the course of the game the Green/White player will be called on to put the following token creatures into play:
- Soldier (2 at a time)
- Spirit (3 at a time)
- Beast (3 at a time)
- Insect (4 at a time)
That is a lot of tokens… and yes, in one game we had all of them!
We both felt afterwards that it is an unfortunate oversight to have not included any tokens of any kind with the product. A new player (even having read the rules insert) may well feel a little puzzled at the lack of tokens. Even confused? James and I agreed it would be a massive shame if a new player were to come away with a negative experience on the grounds of the deck lacking a few tokens. Incidentally, you can check out all the M15 tokens here.
But everything else is awesome, right?
Well actually, YES!
The products are really good fun and I’d be working very hard to find any serious qualms (excluding the above) about them. As I mentioned we played two full rounds of games (5 games in total), here’s a breakdown of how it went:
He opened with [card]Selfless Cathar[/card] into [card]Midnight Guard[/card] and not knowing what his deck was doing, I let them stick around for a while.
Biggest mistake ever! With this two-piece in place hoards of convoking guys started to appear and soon my 4 or 5 removal spells I’d drawn (the deck runs 10… yes, 10!) seemed pretty pitiful.
The game ended after a slogfest that resulted in me getting whomped by an army of small guys. It didn’t help that I only saw three lands, but that isn’t the deck’s fault.
No really… it basically went the exact same way! The Infernal did not Intervene. Not even a little bit.
Now the really exciting bit came – I had stayed away from the spoilers for M15 (mostly) so I was VERY excited to crack packs and see what the set contained. We each opened the two boosters from our Intro Pack and began rifling.
James decided to remove 6 cards including one of the rares! Without his shiny [card]Phytotitan[/card] I felt a little better about the game.
I decided to remove 5 cards and opted for a strategy of adding more creatures and stripping back some of the irrelevant spells, hoping I could stem the tide of wee men hitting me about the face.
I found an [card]Endless Obedience[/card] in one of my packs, so I decided to throw this in too, thinking if I could kill one of James’ fatties early on, bringing it back could win me a game out of nowhere.
So how did it go?
Ride to Victory my Demons!
Well, no. Actually they didn’t.
While I feel my strategy was sound, I just couldn’t get there.
Three games happened this time round though and in two of them I lived the dream! What dream you ask? The [card]Burning Anger[/card] dream I say.
In the game I won, I cast the wonderful enchantment on a [card]Gargoyle Sentinel[/card] and started machine gunning down tokens, eventually clearing enough of them to start taking three point chunks out of James’ life total, whilst some [cardCarrion Crow[/card]s did the rest of the leg work.
In the other game (which I did eventually get crushed in) I had even more fun, casting it on [card]Typhoid Rats[/card] allowing me to have a recursive kill spell every single turn! It sounds like it would be hard to lose, right? Wrong! That Will of the Masses deck produces SO MANY TOKENS!
After the dust had settled, we decided to spend a few minutes talking shop. We felt that the card interactions we’d experienced were fun and interesting and we agreed that the combo of [card]Burning Anger[/card] and [card]Typhoid Rats[/card] should be enough to have any new player screaming with delight!
The Green deck containing so many tokens and big beaters was also sure to be a hit, after all most Magic players never grow out of smashing face with big creatures, so why shouldn’t we start off that way?
The decks represent a very solid way for a new player to get in to the game and whilst the bad matchup between these two (in favour of the Green/White deck) may be a little off putting to a new player, there was enough going on to make for 5 very interesting games of Magic.
It amazed me just how quickly I became invested in my cards, caring about the deck as if it was my own brew that I’d spent time working on. There’s certainly a deep charisma to the product and very quickly I found myself hungry for competitive Magic again (a little awkward considering I’ve sold the vast majority of my collection and we’re right near a rotation).
I haven’t spent money on an entry level Magic product for probably around two years now, so things have moved on a little since I was last interested in this kind of thing. I would have to say that things have gotten significantly better. I’m actually planning to keep the two Intro Packs assembled as is, sleeve them up and use them for jamming casual games with players wanting to get into Magic. If I were a member of Wizards R&D I would have to consider that a success.
In short, if you’re new to Magic, buy an Intro Pack, get a mate, get them to buy one, have a great time! We did.
As always, thanks for reading. I’m planning to be back soon, to continue talking at you all about painting pretty pictures on addictive cardboard.
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