Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Jace vs Chandra (english) duel decks

As mentioned previously on this blog, in the Knights vs Dragons duel decks article, I enjoy playing Magic: The Gathering (MTG), and one of the easiest ways I play it is by grabbing preconstructed decks and playing those as they are. This article is about the first of the duel deck series to contain a planeswalker - the Jace vs Chandra duel decks product. This deck was release originally in 2007 or 2008. I was not playing much MTG back then, so I did not get one until recently via the internet. It originally was sold for $20, but I ended up paying slightly more than that. I have heard it was even priced as high as $150 at one stage (and I am lucky enough not to have paid that). The decklist for the Jace vs Chandra decks is available on the internet (as well as visually on the gatherer website), and people wanting to play this set have a few options. They can either:
  1. Buy the set as it is - for around $50 to $150 depending on where they buy it from
  2. Make up the set from single cards - which can be obtained from the internet or from shops that sell MTG single cards and products
  3. Buy the Japanese-only Jace vs Chandra duel deck set in for around $20 to $30 - which is readily available as it was re-released in 2011. I would have selected this option if I could read Japanese, or if I knew the images of all the cards - but unfortunately I do not know either.
The box looks like this:
Jace v Chandra duel deck and Garruk v Liliana duel deckJace v Chandra duel deck and Garruk v Liliana duel deck

The images above show the back and the front of the Jace vs Chandra duel decks, as well as the front of the Garruk vs Liliana duel decks. I will not mention much about the Garruk vs Liliana decks, but I will mention them shortly in the future. People with sharp eyes will notice that the planeswalkers that should be facing the front of the box have been replaced with the deck boxes themselves. In a rush to play this set I did not take the photo of the box as it was when I first received it. I hope you get the idea of what to look for if you are thinking of purchasing the set yourself. The Garruk vs Liliana are as they came.

I have played the Jace vs Chandra set mainly against SpecialK, and moderately against Chewie. Chandra's deck is played how a good mono-red deck should be played. Play a lot of damage early, and keep it up. I did notice the lack of a Lightning Bolt card (or several) in the Chandra deck - something I would have included in almost all mono-red decks I would create. Chandra Nalaar is great, but is more expensive than casting Jace Beleren. If you can get Chandra out, especially before your opponent casts their Jace, you should be able to breeze through and win the game.

Jace's deck is played like a typical mono-blue deck. It is based on controlling the other player and limiting what they are able to do. It also allows for card drawing, but ultimately gets some flying creatures that can strike for the win. I appreciated the inclusion of the Counterspell card, and I look forward to its return to MTG's modern format. Getting Jace out does not guarantee a win, as it does not cause damage to your opponent. It does facilitate card draw, and milling your opponent - which I would consider a plan B strategy - used when you cannot draw enough creature cards to attack an opponent. It would backfire when used against a deck similar to Graveborn, that allows your opponent to retrieve creatures out of their graveyard, or Deathfed, that allows your opponent to fill their graveyard and then play cards from it.

I did have a minor problem with this set, as some of the cards were missing. I contacted Hasbro Australia, who sourced a replacement for me and sent it out to me. Well done to Hasbro, and much of my thanks and appreciations goes to their Australian staff for facilitating a replacement - even though the product has been out of print for some time. I believe I may have received one of the last replacements they have on hand - as there may be a policy in place to not stock products after a certain time.

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