Duels Decks: Speed vs Cunning Review by Kayure Patel

Duels Decks: Speed vs Cunning Review by Kayure Patel

Duel Decks: Speed vs. Cunning is the latest in the Duel Decks series and focusses on two of the warring clans from the upcoming Khans of Tarkir expansion, The Mardu Horde and the Jeskai Way. The Duel Deck, which is the first to feature the new M15 card frames, will be released on Friday 5th September, with an RRP of $19.99.

The Speed deck represents the Mardu Horde, whose warriors strike hard, fast and in huge numbers. The deck plays to these attributes by featuring plenty of aggressive, cheap goblins and small creatures backed up by burn spells, ways to remove enemy blockers and the Mardu Horde’s powerful leader, Zurgo Helmsmasher (who is printed in foil).

The Cunning deck characterises the Jeskai Way, who value tactics, strategy and guile. As a result, the deck contains evasive, tempo oriented creatures with spells to buy time and draw cards. While the Jeskai Khan isn’t present in the deck, it is ‘led’ by the powerful Arcanis the Omnipotent who receives an alternate art foil depiction.

Four other cards are also granted new artwork; Repeal, Fleshbag Marauder, Infantry Veteran and most notably for Commander Format fans, Goblin Bombardment. Each of the new arts is exceptional, with Repeal being a personal favourite. The Duel Deck also allows the printing of Reckless Abandon, Echo Tracer and the much loved Lightning Angel with a modern border for the first time.

Each of the decks features 3 new cards from the upcoming Khans of Tarkir expansion. The Speed deck contains the aforementioned Clan leader Zurgo Helmsmasher, the aggressive Mardu Heart-Piercer and the Mardu’s three-colour land, Nomad Outpost. Meanwhile the Cunning deck contains A Thousand Winds, Jeskai Elder and the Jeskai land, Mystic Monastery. The new cards show off various new mechanics in Khans and each is fun to play with, building anticipation for the new set without overpowering either Duel Deck.


In the past, Duel Decks have contained a card which has necessitated a reprint due to its price on the secondary market being high (such as Remand from Jace vs. Vraska). Speed vs. Cunning contains no such ‘expensive’ card; instead the deck is filled with good role players that casual and eternal players will enjoy being reprinted. Krenko, Mob Boss is an example of such a card – a powerful goblin leader that sees some play in Eternal formats, while still being a beloved card on kitchen tables.

At a mere $19.99, Speed vs. Cunning provides exciting battles between the decks as well as a glimpse at two of the clans in the upcoming set. The multi-format role-player cards in each deck ensure that it will provide players with future use in Modern (Mana Leak, Lightning Helix) and Commander (Goblin Bombardment, Willbender, Krenko and many more). For those who had concerns Speed vs. Cunning would fail to deliver fun or hype for the new set, like its predecessor (Heroes vs. Monsters), worry not – this is a Duel Deck you Khan’t afford to miss!

Thanks for reading,

Kayure Patel

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