Autumn is a great time to be a Magic player, as a new set based on a new Plane (location) is released, full of new cards and mechanics to be used for the next 18-24 months in tournament play. The Autumn 2014 set is called Khans of Tarkir, and as with every set release, there are numerous products sold alongside.
Intro Packs are a great way for new players to get into Magic, as they provide players with a pre-built 60 card deck. Each deck comes with a “How to Play” guide as well as suggestions on cards to trade to improve the deck’s strength. Wizards have released 5 Intro Packs, one for each of the 5 three-colour clans of Tarkir.
We were able to get hold of the Temur Avalanche deck (red, blue and green) and the Sultai Schemers deck (black, green and blue). 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 be used throughout the next two or so years in Standard Tournaments, such as Elvish Mystic and Muderous Cut as well as cards that may be used in the non-rotating Modern format, such as the new three-colour charm cycle.
The Temur Avalanche deck contains a powerful mixture of big creatures and ways to bounce or incapacitate your opponent’s creatures, allowing your army of yetis, bears and assorted giants to punch through damage. The deck’s promo foil, Avalanche Tusker is a prime example of how the deck works – it has a massive 6/4 body and forces an opponent’s creature to block it. By forcing at least 1 creature to block it means that your other creatures can get through more damage, and often additional creatures need to block the Tusker just to get rid of it due to its massive size.
In contrast to the slow and inevitable stream of Temur giants, the Sultai Schemers deck seeks to fill up its graveyard and cast powerful delve spells to outpower the opponent. Using cheap creatures which fill the graveyard, such as Necromancer’s Assistant and Satyr Wayfinder, the Sultai Schemers are able to survive until the long game, when their array of delve spells will allow them to take over and defeat the enemy with large creatures. The deck’s promo rare (Rakshasa Vizier) is one of the strongest cards in the deck, as whenever you cast a delve spell, it grows larger and more difficult to deal with.
The two decks are relatively well balanced, going 3-2 in favour of the Temur Avalanch in the office best of five series, though the appearance of Avalanch Tusker was the deciding factor in 2 of the games. 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 mythic Planeswalker cards will find their win rate increase greatly, as Planeswalker cards are able to generate significant advantage which increases exponentially the longer they survive in play.
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