GAME REVIEW: MAGIC: THE GATHERING – DUEL DECKS ELSPETH VS KIORA / DESIGNER: CHRIS MILLER, SAM STODDARD / PUBLISHER: WIZARDS OF THE COAST / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOWDuel Decks are one of the many ways that the fine people at Wizards of the Coast try and get you addicted to their world-spanning card game Magic: The Gathering. Duel Decks Elspeth vs Kiora is two sets of cards, each focused on a Planeswalker, the reality crossing wizards that make up the backstory for the game.
Elspeth is a white deck that centres on the card Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, a mythic rare. The card gains power every time a basic soldier creature is put into play, so the deck is crammed with cards that can churn out piles of weak warriors. Other creatures either support existing soldiers, and spell cards serve the same person. Like most white decks, the main strategy is about creating a horde of warriors who support each other. Power up Elspeth enough and all the creatures you control get more combat bonuses and the flying trait, which makes it bad news for most opponents. The set itself is filled with enough rare cards (such as Precinct Captain) and utility cards (Veteran Swordsmith) to make this a useful purchase for anyone who likes playing white.
The companion deck features the card Kiora, the Crashing Wave, also a mythic rare. This Green/Blue deck allows you to imagine a world in which the Little Mermaid got really angry and decided to destroy the world. She comes with a pair of Kraken, and an absolute host of huge and horrible beasties. Most of these creatures feature some sort of trait that makes them even more monstrous. Elspeth may have a horde of lesser warriors who work well together, but Kiora rides into combat astride an enormous snake with a host of tentacled aquatic horrors. Unlike most water decks, this is not for the subtle. Kiora exists to smash things, and does so horribly well. Rares include Whelming Wave, which removes anything that isn’t a sea beast from immediate play and has just enough normal blue cards (such as the fun spoiler Ætherize) to still play to the strengths of the blue game.
Overall, a great set which will appeal to veteran Magic fans and a handy entrance point for newbies.
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