I am one of those types that goes by novel-is-fun! attitude. I am also completely addicted to Magic cards. So when the newest Dragons of Tarkir Intro Decks reached me, I got incredibly excited. Even though, these packs were mine to review, but they are not actually for me. Not for the folks that waited everyday for spoilers and then ordered their singles. They are for people who just want to bust open a deck and get playing straight away.
I called up Adam and told him we had some stuff to open and review. My kids came down to see who had knocked in the door. Both of them were eyeing the shiny orange packaging that I had laid out on the table.
My kids are quite familiar with Magic. We play a lot at home and my son is an FNM regular. So it’s not a product for them, as well.
However, my daughter saw the Relentless Rush box and called dibs on the one with the dragon. Then my son pointed out that the Cruel Plots box also had a dragon. She pulled the face she normally use when has to choose between an ice cream and a chocolate cake for pudding.
I’ll write about their choice a bit later. For now, it’s enough to say that from this point on it was decided that they would make the video review. Check it out.
The first thing I have to say about the intro decks is that Wizards know what they are doing with this set. They know that lots of people but especially new players like to play with dragons. It’s the reason why Shivan Dragon was one of the 15 extra cards from M15 last year.
Think for a moment back to when you started playing, as an outsider looking in. All the talk of casting spells and summoning creatures felt very exciting, but you had no idea what the colour pie was or that sometimes a card saying ‘Draw a card’ on it was better than a card with a creature that could attack for 2 every turn.
But a dragon… A dragon has always looked like the coolest of creatures to summon and attack with. In fact, you probably have a friend who plays a dragon-themed EDH deck, because they never want to give up that feeling of casting a dragon.
So if you’re going to make a product to introduce new players to the game, you are going to have to think long and hard to come up with a better way of doing that than sticking a shiny dragon on the front of every box.
A bit earlier I wrote that those shiny dragons got the attention of my kids. In the end they picked the decks they wanted by looking at the artwork. Which seems as good away as any to choose.
I have to say that the deck styles did somewhat mirror their personalities. My daughter picked the Red/Black Relentless Rush dash deck, with what she calls ‘fast guys’ – which is code for haste and dash. My son on the other hand went for the more intricate Cruel Plot Blue/Black deck which has lots of clever iterations based around the new exploit mechanic.
Neither of my children needs an introduction to the game, but that did not mean that the decks were too underpowered to them. Pitched against each other I would say they matched up pretty well. I did laugh when my son had spent a lot of time creating his board and then my daughter played Swift Warkite, then using its enter-the-battlefield ability she put Kolaghan Forerunners into play with haste and turned everything sideways. It was a lot more damage than he was expecting.
Unfortunately, the children had a lot of fun playing these decks and wondered why I only had two sets out of five. I feel like I’m going to get nagged into buying the other three to complete the set.
If you looked through the decklists and thought, “Urrgh, there are zero good cards, not even a money rare” – well, it’s safe to say that you are not a target for this product. If you’re an entrenched player who wants more put of Magic, these decks aren’t for you to buy and play.
Nope, these decks are for you to buy and give to your muggle friends who don’t play Magic. I have given a few of my friends these types of decks before. I might not have succeeded in converting them into full-on-GP-going maniacs, but they played a few games casually. Then they started to understand why this game had such a dedicated fan base.
So I watched two very excited kids play these decks and I can report that they had lots of fun. Would me and Adam have had as much fun if we had opened them and played them?
Yes, probably. We are just bigger kids.
The decks are available once Dragon of Tarkir is released at all good Magic stockists.
Relentless Rush Deck List
Cruel Plots Deck List
Thanks for reading,