Magic: The Gathering Fate Reforged Intro Pack Review by Christopher Cooper
The Intro Pack, they’re one of the best ways of getting into Magic and learning the game quickly. But what kind of play experience do they give? Have they got much replay value? Can my wife continue her epic streak of opening ridiculously expensive cards in the boosters (currently standing at Tarmogoyf and foil Brainstorm with a couple of Planeswalkers and dual lands thrown in for good measure)?
Read on to find out!
The first thing we did when we got our new decks was rip off all the shiny packaging to get at that sweet, sweet cardboard inside. We had a copy of the Temur based “Surprise Attack” and the Abzanical “Unflinching Assault“.
Each deck contains sixty cards (listed below) and two booster packs. We decided to leave the boosters as they were to start with and just focus on the decks to begin with.
Surprise Attack by Wizards of the Coast
Unflinching Assault by Wizards of the Coast
The two things that did surprise us about the contents of the packs were firstly that the packs contained no way of storing the cards, none of the cardboard boxes that are so prevalent in Clash Packs, Fat Packs and pretty much every other Magic-deck based product. Secondly, the distribution of the cards in the decks seemed a little off, with rares from sets other than Fate Reforged in the decks which felt to us like a bit of a missed opportunity to showcase some other Fate Reforged rares, especially when one of them is Cruel Sadist from Magic 2015.
Eventually we decided that the best way of testing the decks was to actually play with them. Controversial, I know, but there’s no point in just sitting around speculating.
In the first game we played we both mulliganned due to mana issues: evidently the fixing heavy draft format has spoiled us a little as we’ve both been used to playing with far more fixing recently which made us a little mulligan happy. Danni won the die roll and led off with her Unflinching Assault.
Danni led off with an Aven Skirmisher into Scoured Barrens then Oreskos Swiftclaw. Not a bad start for an aggressive deck. My Surprise Attack’s counter to this was to hit land drops and then Morphs. An early Icefeather Aven was a fast way of obsoleting the Aven Skirmisher opposite and my plethora of two powered creatures made Danni’s X/1s look a little anaemic.
A few more quick creatures into a Rush of Battle helped turn the tide back in her favour, but the relentlessness of the morphs proved to be a little too strong, as they kept popping out turn after turn and then flipping up when the mana was available. Even the manifest cards were incredibly strong in the deck as they allowed for filtering (Write into Being) and made our big creatures bigger (Formless Nurturing) and therefore more difficult for the Unflinching Assault deck.
As the game went on I continued to just make big monsters through morph and took over the game completely, ending up winning quite comfortably.
The second game we played was very similar to the first. It ended up with a turn three morph, turn four morph, turn five morph from the Surprise Attack deck and then the morphs getting flipped as they were needed. There was a little bit more synergy from Unflinching Assault but it still struggled to deal with the sheer size of the creatures and the consistency of being able to hit them turn after turn.
After the second game we ended up swapping decks and having another go. I managed to get off to another quick start with Unflinching Assault but yet again found the relentless assault of Surprise Attack too much. Danni did get stuck on three then four lands for a good few turns but was still able to keep up the pressure by dropping creatures constantly despite me curving out nicely.
It was a little frustrating for both of us that the games all got decided by the consistency of Surprise Attack. Having so much of the deck being able to be deployed for three mana and then upgraded later made for such linear, repetitive gameplay that it put us off playing more. Unfortunately, this is the nature of morph and a weakness of the mechanic overall, and I am a little surprised that the deck was allowed through in this configuration when it gives a gameplay experience like this.
And so we came to the boosters. Danni continued her run of brutal pulls with a Brutal Warchief. She also got a few top-end removal spells, top end creatures and a good piece of equipment in Hero’s Blade. I got a Jeskai Infiltrator, Destructor Dragon and a few pump spells to help improve my Surprise Attack deck. We also got a Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury and Flamerush Rider which we hope to put into another deck soon.
Overall, we were a little disappointed with the decks due to the dominance of the Surprise Attack deck over the Unflinching Assault deck. However, we were aware of how the deck encouraged good gameplay and awareness of the mana curve and also allowed the deck to use as much of its mana as possible every turn.
We ended up deciding that maybe these deck’s weren’t for us. After all, we’ve both been playing for a good long while now, maybe new players would fare better with them. So we found a couple who’ve only started playing in the last few months and have passed the decks on to them test out further. Stay tuned to find out the results.
Community Question: What sealed products do you buy when a new set is released?
Thanks for reading,
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