Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Innistrad Intro decks

Magic: The Gathering (MTG) has different ways of introducing new players to the game. While some may see it as a (simple) card game, there enough rules to fill out over 200+ pages in their rulebook. One way to learn the game is to turn up at a shop that sells MTG and chat to the person behind the counter. If they cannot show you how to play the game, they would usually be able to suggest local groups or other stores to try. Occasionally you will also have "learn how to play" sessions, much like the one I attended at the Games Laboratory (who hold them every 2 months or so).

This article is centered around another introductory product - that of the Innistrad Intro decks. These decks are designed to be simple and the cards within them are meant to work with each other. A pair (or more) of players would be able to grab a deck each, open them up, and start playing with them. They will be introduced to a mixture of Innistrad cards as well some core M12 cards. The Innistrad Intro decklists are available readily on the Wizards web site.

You also get a booster of Innistrad per Intro deck. This is a good idea which allows the new player to start modifying their deck, but will introduce some cards that they may not have a clear understanding - like the transformable cards. I would have appreciated if they created an intro deck that included the Transform mechanic. Along with the booster pack, you also receive a "How to Play" brochure, as well as guide on how to play all the Innistrad Intro decks.

Eldritch Onslaught
This deck is designed to put cards into the graveyard (discard pile). You can play this one of two ways. You can put your own cards into your own graveyard, and then play them out of there - or you could mill your opponent and try to empty their libraries (card pile) for a win. Cards that would assist this deck would include the Jace cards, and if you want to reverse the scenario to mill yourself, then include the Laboratory Maniac. I find this deck the most enjoyable to play out of all the Intro decks in this set.

Spectral Legions
This deck is full of flying spirit creatures, or creatures that turn into flying spirit creatures. It is very straight forward to play, and there are tribal cards that give benefits to each other the more you have on the battlefield (the main play area). My suggestion to change this deck is to use more blue or white removal spells. This will give the player more time to be able to establish their flying spirits for a big attack.

Deathly Dominion
I considered this deck the hardest of this set to play well. I do not like killing my own creatures (moving it from the battlefield to the graveyard) or timing a death of a creature to obtain a bonus - which is exactly what this deck does. My suggestion to make this deck more playable is to get token generating cards - like Spider Spawning. This will be able to generate a good amount of chump blockers, allowing you to fuel the morbid mechanic.

Carnival of Blood
This deck features the tribal theme of Vampires in MTG. Similar in a way to how the Spectral Legions deck has a flying spirits tribal theme. I find this deck very slow. My suggestions to fix it up would be to include 4 Stromkirk Noble cards, and at least 2 Olivia Voldaren cards. Olivia could be equipped with a Wooden Stake for a very effective creature removal combo. Additionally, to increase the speed, add in some Typhoid Rats and Reckless Waif cards for additional speed.

Repel the Dark
In a similar way to the other tribal theme decks in this set, this one centers around human creature types (careful about that link - it will display the images of 1300+ cards). I found this deck quick, but I also found it flawed in some areas. My suggestion would be to remove Jade Mage, Thraben Purebloods, and Unruly Mob - and replace them with more useful human creature cards. Possibly try a Mayor of Avabruck - although his bonus does not apply when he transforms into a werewolf. On a side note, I think the Mayor should have been slightly more powerful, and been given a legendary supertype. In a strange way, I find it wrong that more than one person claiming to be the Mayor turning up in the same place at the same time.

In conclusion, I intend to keep these decks as they are until the next set of intro decks are released. I will then breakdown all these decks and add them to my general card pool. I am also willing to hear suggestions from anyone else on what to do with them.

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