MtG: Unboxing Duel Decks Jace vs Vraska & Rekindling my Sisters interest in the game!

Fellow friends of Magic: the Gathering!

These days I am trying to provide you with a pleasant mix of posts on various games/topics so here’s some Magic: the Gathering stuff for all those who are into that once again!

Having made 50 Euros from selling my Austrian folk tale book plus game I treated myself to the latest of the Duel Decks Wizards (of the Coast) are releasing every now and then: Jace vs Vraska.  These Duel Decks are a pretty good deal if you ask me – you get a lot of value for your 20 Euros: Two ready-to-play 60 card decks with a ton of rares, foil Planeswalkers, lots of nice alternative art reprints (Memory Lapse and Control Magic for instance – how cool is that!) and much more.

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So today my younger sister Nora, who loves opening packs of cards more than actually playing with them (or so I thought), and I unboxed the Jace vs Vraska Duel Decks and here’s what’s inside:

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So after we had opened the packs and looked through the cards, I was like “Hey Nora, wanna play a game?” And she was like “Why not?”. The only problem was this: I had bought an English copy of the Duel Decks, which is no problem whatsoever to me as a matter of course, whereas my sister only knows a few words of English. Still she wanted to play and I was amazed as she had been VERY reluctant to play ANY games with me over the past half a year or so. So yeah, we played a game, Nora with Vraska and I with Jace and we kinda played with open hands and I explained to Nora what the cards in her hand did. Amazingly, even with the language barrier, Nora did really well and she/Vraska obliterated me/Jace! Here’s a proud winner with the amazing array of cards she was able to field against poor me:

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I think you can see how happy she was after the game and that she DID have fun in the end, though she had rejected gaming with me for such a long time.

But now, to my great delight and equally surprisingly, her aversion of playing Magic with me – or any other card game – seemed to be blown away completely. So then I asked “How about you had your own deck? Shall we built one?” Nora was totally in for the idea, which again took me by surprise. So after some general questioning on my part we settled for attempting a White Weenie, but not just a plain, ordinary all-white one, but one with a splash of blue for countermagic, card draw and other mischief.

Nora’s interest in Magic: the Gathering seemed, to my great pleasure, rekindled! Hurray!! 

So we spent the next half hour or so assembling an easy-to-play White/Blue Weenie deck as Nora agreed with me that White Weenie (with secondary color splash or without) is one of the best beginner decks there could be, also being cheap besides that. We went through my extensive collection of spare cards and I gave her some quite good cards like 3 Chrome Moxen and 4 Adakar Wastes for which I had no use at this point, thus forming a good mana base. The good thing about most of the cards we used is that, while most of them being in English, their rules text was rather basic and Nora would be able to understand most of them easily and memorize the few harder ones eventually as well. I also offered to order German replacements for about 8 cards with somewhat more complicated ruling. I have to encourage such sudden enthusiasm for Magic in my sis, don’t I?

The deck we ended up with is not half-bad I would say, featuring cheap but efficient Creatures – it is a Weenie deck after all – that are all hard to block, either being flyers or having Shadow, as well as countermagic, card draw (Nora already realized the vital importance of that just by watching me and friends play) and, oddly enough for a White/Blue deck, even direct damage / burn (an ingenious idea of mine – you will see!). Here is the card list of Nora’s new deck:

Nora’s White/Blue Weenies:

Creatures…20

4 x Jugde’s Familiar U/W

2 x Suntail Hawk W

2 x Isamaru, Hound of Konda W

4 x Leonin Skyhunter WW

4 x Soltari Priest WW

3 x Knight of Meadowgrain WW

1 x Exalted Angel 4WW

Instants…7

4 x Mana Leak 1U

3 x Psionic Blast 2U

Enchantments…9

4 x Curiostiy U

4 x Honor of the Pure 1W

1 x Worship 3W

Artifacts…2

2 x Loxodon Warhammer 3

Planeswalkers…1

Elspeth, Knight Errant 2WW

Mana-Sources/Lands…21

3 x Chrome Mox 0

4 x Adarkar Wastes

10 x Plains

4 x Island

About the deck:

We are running just 18 lands plus 3 Chrome Moxen which should be more than enough for a deck with 19 out of 20 Creatures costing either 1 or 2 mana. The deck features a lot of Creatures with evasion such as flying and shadow (15 out of 20 to be exact) and has ways to boost those Creatures either all at once a little bit via Honor of the Pure or one of them big time through Loxodon Warhammer. Also Elspeth gives an awesome +3/+3 boost as well as Flying to any Creature by means of adding a counter to her. There are quite some ways to gain extra life like throught the aforementioned Warhammer as well as through Knight of Meadowgrain and the sole Exalted Angel, which is, at 6 mana converted mana cost, the oddball big Creature we are running just for the fun of it. But this deck does not stop at cost-efficient Creatures, lifelink and evasion. Thanks to blue we have access to excellent early game (and against such a deck there should not be a late or even mid game at all) countermagic in the form of the highly splashable Mana Leak and the totally awesome, 100%-better-than-Suntail Hawk, Judge’s Familar. Blue also gives us access to card draw and we chose to run 4 copies of Curiosity, which is an Aura that draws you a card whenever the enchanted Creature deals damage to a player – an excellent card to go along with 15 hard or even almost impossible to block Creatures. And oddly enough, in a White Blue deck we have access to direct damage which can be either used as Creature removal or to push through those last few points of damage in the oppoenent’s face: The old-school, timeshifted Psionic Blast! Bask in its glory for a moment:

We also included one copy of Worship just for the fun of it. Check the card if you don’t know it yet. In a Creature heavy, attack-focussed deck it may be a life-saver – in a deck with lots of ways to gain life however it may be obsolete. Testing will show if that one is going to stay in!

Well you see this deck has a lot to offer, from cheap, cost effective and mostly evasive Creatures, to life gain, over potent card draw and countermagic up to heavy direct damage – and all that in one Blue White deck!

My sister won her first test game which, again much to my surprise, she agreed to play after we were done deckbuilding, with 30 life remaining (against one of my less competitive decks as I have to mention) and was mighty pleased with her first real M:tG deck.

I may build her an Elf Deck now and I can be looking forward to playing my all time favorite CCG with my sister more often now in the near future! Everyone’s happy and that is good! 😀

With that I conclude my article and wish you all

Happy painting… errr gaming!

Yours,

Andi

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