With the release of each new set, Wizards of the Coast release a set of five Intro Packs, designed to get new players into the game with the help of simple and fun pre-constructed decks.
We were able to get hold of the Black deck “Grave Advantage” and the Red deck “Stampeding Hordes”. The two decks each contain plenty of useful cards for the new player. While there are spells generally restricted to Casual or Limited format tournaments, there are plenty of cards that will no doubt see play over the next year or so in Standard Tournaments, such as Hornet Queen, Mardu Scout and Satyr Wayfinder as well as cards that will see lots of play in casual formats due to their uniqueness, such as Archfiend of Depravity and Dark Deal.
Grave Advantage revolves around sacrificing creatures and making the opponent sacrifice theirs. However, the deck is able to recur creatures it sacrifices with spells such as Sudden Reclamation and Gravedigger. For the spells not deemed worthy enough to get back, they can fuel delve spells such as the Zombie Fish, Gurmag Angler. The deck’s promo foil, Archfield of Depravity is a very powerful flying creature that ensures your opponent can never have more than two creatures on your turn. Eventually, the deck will run its opponent out of creatures and resources allowing for a lethal swing with its army of zombies and demons.
Stampeding Hordes, meanwhile uses the set’s red and white cards to play cheap, aggressive creatures and kill the opponent as quickly as possible. The deck contains numerous 3 power creatures that cost 3 or less mana, as well as flying creatures to increase damage output via evasion. When the opponent has too many blockers out, cards such as Ride Down and War Flare make your attacking creatures win the fight.
The deck’s promo rare, Flamerush Rider, is bonkers. Every time it attacks it makes a copy of another creature on the battlefield, providing an additional threat each turn. While the deck doesn’t contain any really expensive rare or uncommon, it is one of the strongest and most consistent Intro Decks in recent sets. Even though there is no more than 2 of any creature, all of them are similarly aggressive and any reasonable starting hand will kill the opponent before they can stabilise if unchecked.
While both decks are strong, the Stampeding Hordes deck’s consistency pushes it over Grave Advantage and won 4-1 in a best of five series we had in the office. Intro Packs come with two booster packs included, so opening any relevant coloured cards will allow players to immediately strengthen their deck. Players lucky enough to open the rare Dragon cards will find their win rate increase greatly, as the Fate Reforged Dragons have very powerful abilities that will win a game if not dealt with swiftly.
The Clash Pack comes with instructions that show players how to combine cards from each of its decks to create a new deck designed to be equal in power to what you would expect from an Event Deck. But this is only one combination. There are countless ways to make a deck your own.
In addition to the foils, there is excellent value in the Clash Pack, with plenty of tournament staples, such as Courser of Kruphix (which dominated the last Standard Pro Tour), Doomwake Giant, Eidolon of Blossoms and Treasure Cruise.
Both decks compete with one another on an equal power level, but in very different ways. The black/blue/green deck looks to use the graveyard as a resource by casting spells that fill the graveyard to fuel powerful delve spells. Meanwhile the black/green deck seeks to use enchantment spells in combination with the constrellation mechanic to gain incremental advantage and win a long game. It is testament to the design team that two very different decks can combine with each other to make a deck on a similar power level to an Event Deck.
I was mildly critical of the quality of the Khans of Tarkir Event deck, but Wizards have redeemed themselves with this Fate Reforged Clash Pack. The combination of quality foils, powerful cards and a product that can be enjoyed by one or two players is a great piece of design by the Wizards team and results in a product that can be enjoyed by all players, no matter how competitive.
Thanks for reading,