GAME REVIEW: MAGIC: THE GATHERING INTRO PACKS – GRAVE ADVANTAGE & CUNNING PLAN / DESIGNERS: JENNIFER CLARKE WILKES, ETHAN FLEISCHER, DAVID HUMPHREYS, MARK ROSEWATER, GAVIN VERHEY / PUBLISHER: WIZARDS OF THE COAST / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
We’ve been pretty excited by Magic: The Gathering’s latest release so far; The Fate Reforged storyline contains both time travel and dragons, what’s not to love? As per usual, Wizards of the Coast have launched some starter packs to give new players a way into their world-spanning hobby, and we took a look at two of these.
Cunning Plan is a Blue and Red deck which is cleverly themed and strong on usability. Despite a lack of terribly exciting cards, it’s a swift and subtle deck, allowing the player to control their game pretty quickly and smack out a reasonable amount of damage time and time again. It’s full of kung-fu monk-style cards and plays a little like a Wushu movie; you get in quickly, get out the way of the opponent and do a great deal of damage. The Jesakai Elder cards (you get two) are extremely handy in a tight spot and Dragon Style Twins makes for a nice rare that hits your opponent were it hurts. Bloodfire Expert provides a similar support role, allowing you to distract your foe with something scary looking.
Grave Advantage is a bit more nuanced, but only just; these are starter decks after all. It’s a Black and Green combo. It says a lot that the only rare card is a Hornet Queen, a 2/2 flying creature with death touch that spans lots of tiny monsters. As cards go, it’s hardly a game changer but it’s a heck of a lot of fun to play and will happily cause the other play to panic. Theme wise, it’s a bit weaker; it’s all creepy creatures coming out of a long forgotten ruin, which works okay as a base for a deck but doesn’t quite tell a story. As a basic deck to get players hooked, however, it does the trick.
Neither of these sets are going to win you a pro-tournament, and hands may wish to pass. However, as a way of getting friends and family into the hobby, they certainly do their job very well.
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