I have been waiting for today to arrive for some months now, ever since the latest Magic: The Gathering (MTG) set, Throne of Eldraine, was announced.
This new set is unique in that it encompasses two major themes: Fairy Tales and Camelot. This is especially exciting because it's one of the first themes that my wife was truly excited about. She casually plays MTG with me, but wished there was a more appealing theme or set that interested her. This is it!
Another unique first for this set is the new "showcase" border art they are using on certain cards as an alternate version that you have a small chance of getting in a booster pack. These new card frames feature scrolling vine-work around the card's art, and many feature alternate art. These are collector pieces. They are absolutely stunning.
I would love to buy lots of booster packs and boxes for this set, but it is not in our budget. Instead, I have been buying the full common play-sets every three months when new sets release as an affordable option to building my collection.
Another affordable option for buying into new sets is to purchase the Planeswalker decks. Each of these decks includes the basic strategy of the set, some of the game's latest settings and characters and the newer mechanics.
These decks are considered starter decks, and not something that are used at a competitive level. These are for the casual and new players that are wanting to pickup a fully working deck and play right out of the box.
Throne of Eldraine offers only two Planeswalker decks this set, Oko, the Trickster and Rowan, Fearless Sparkmage.
"Oko is a shapeshifting iconoclast, uncommonly clever even for a faerie, who prefers trickery and manipulation to all-out battle. Deploy evasive creatures and augment them at crucial moments to build and unstoppable force" states the back of the Oko, the Trickster box.
Rowan, Fearless Sparkmage's boxes states, "As the daughter of a king, Rowan has trained extensively in both swordsmanship and etiquette- but she greatly prefers to solve her problems with a blade. Marshal an army of noble knights and assault your opponent with military precision."
Each package contains one full, ready-to-play 60 card deck, as well as 2 booster packs for Throne of Eldraine and a code to unlock the full deck on Magic: The Gathering Arena, which is the digital version of the game on PC. Each deck retails for about $13.
These decks contain a special foil Planeswalker and several supporting cards that are unique only to this deck, and not found in the rest of the full set.
Game play was quite good for these two decks. I chose Oko and my wife chose Rowan. While it's clear that many of these cards are unplayable outside of this deck, you will have to look beyond that and think of this as a standalone product. That said, I thought the deck synergy worked very well and they both played nicely against each other.
I was constantly countering my wife's creatures, while she was building up a strong army and leading the charge early on when she got Rowan out. Once Rowan came out, there was not much I could do to stop her. She pounded away at me while I continued to draw land after useless land and had no answers left to counter her attacks with.
Aside from my brutal beating, I found that the game play was quite fun and we really enjoyed these decks. They will be played often.
Since my wife is a casual player, I will be adding both of the Arena codes to her account so that she has more decks to play against me. The added value of the Arena codes are a really good value add to this product if you also play Arena, which we do.
After playing, we got to cracking those booster packs!
I was hoping to see at least one of the showcase cards, as I had not seen many get opened in some of the booster box openings I have been watching from some of my favorite Youtubers. I was not expecting much.
Instead, I was greeted with four showcase cards! I couldn't believe our luck! One of them is even a foil!
As far as card value goes, we pulled a few $1 cards a few $2.50 cards. The foil Planeswalkers are worth about $8 each. I was most excited to pull the showcase cards though.
Total value for each deck is:
~$19 Rowan, Fearless Sparkmage (~$9 deck + $6 booster packs + ~$4 Arena code)
~$22 Oko, the Trickster (~$12 deck + $6 booster packs + ~$4 Arena code)
We picked each one up for $12.99 at our local game store.
I would highly recommend these decks for any beginner, returning player or those that just play the occasional casual game of Magic.