It seems like everyone has heard the jokes about the addictive nature of cardboard in this industry, and for some, this is a sense of camaraderie the same that you’d have at the slot machines at your local casino. Others, in particular parents, may view it as a red flag for how much this hobby may end up costing to participate. In our last article, we went over the many formats for how to play the game. Today we are going to tackle a question as old as Magic itself, “What’s the best way of becoming a smart Magic consumer?”
Entry Products for the Smart Magic Consumer
Magic: the Gathering can be a daunting game to get involved in after all the game has been around for over 26 years. There are over 150 unique sets of cards, card rarities that shift up and down over time, and how do you know if you even want to build a Cat Tribal deck? Currently, there are three products that are always recommended for new players: Planeswalker Decks, Theme Boosters, and the Deckbuilder’s Toolkit.
A new set of Planeswalker Decks is usually released at the same time as the newest Standard set for Magic. The Planeswalker Deck contains 60 cards, one of which is a Planeswalker, a mythic rare that acts as an ally on the battlefield, as well as two booster packs to help get started with deck building and modifying your existing card pool. The Planeswalker Deck has a theme built around the Planeswalker itself, so if you are a fan of a particular Planeswalker they are definitely worth checking out!
A relatively new product, Theme Boosters solves a very popular request, especially from newer Magic players. “I just want to build a Green deck. Do you have anything for just Green!?” Now there is the highly affordable Theme Booster which contains 35 cards of specifically one color. All you need is to plug in 25 basic lands and you essentially have a deck right out of the box. Theme Boosters are a great way to jump in and start your collection once you have determined exactly what your playstyle is going to be.
Deck Builder’s Toolkit
Where the Theme Boosters and Planeswalker Decks are aimed at starting focused and small with only one or two colors in the new player’s repertoire, the Deck Builder’s Toolkit is aimed at getting the new player the maximum number of cards for a relatively economical price. It contains 100 basic lands, over 120 other cards, as well as multiple booster packs to do exactly what it sounds like: start building decks! The Deck Builder’s toolkit also comes with a unique bonus of being in a reusable box, something that every Magic player is going to need in order to keep cards organized!
Once you understand the basics of Magic, both in gameplay and understanding what kind of Magic player you want to be, there are some great products for staying up to date with new releases. Becoming a smart Magic consumer is mostly about recognizing what products help you towards your goals as a Magic player or collector. The main recommended products are as follows: Bundles, Challenger Decks, and Commander Decks.
Formerly known as the grotesque “Fat Packs,” Bundles contain 10 booster packs of a particular set, as well as 20 basic lands, 20 foil basic lands, a premium alternate art version of a card and a spindown dice for keeping track of your health. It’s an incredible value to be sure and is a fan favorite for friend groups since they were first released. Also, much like the Deck Builder’s Toolkit, it comes with a cardboard box for storage. And I cannot overstate the importance of card storage when it comes to magic. The Bundle is the most popular sealed product for Magic players of all experience levels, and can be picked up here!
Every year, Wizards of the Coast recognizes some powerful cards or themes that have shown dominance in the competitive Standard scene. To help assist players who are wanting to play that style or those cards, they print Challenger Decks. They are not exact tournament lists, but they are close and usually feature some rather expensive cards in a relatively inexpensive package. The new Challenger Decks are due for release on April 3rd and I cannot recommend them enough. Last year’s Challenger Decks are still an incredible value and a great starting point for players who are wanting a constructed starting point into Magic!
In January it was announced that 2020 was the year of Commander for Magic: the Gathering. Commander is the highly popular multiplayer variant of Magic that allows for more personalized deck building and a wider card pool than most of Magic’s popular formats. The Commander preconstructed decks are the most anticipated Magic release every year and with good reason. Commander Decks have everything you need in order to get playing right out of the box.
Starting with Throne of Eldraine, Wizards have started a new product called a Collector’s Booster. It is a more expensive product that features premium versions of most of the cards in a pack, as well as more rares than typical packs (normal packs come with 1 rare). The Collector’s Booster is a product that is specifically for the players who enjoy foils or alternate art versions of cards and is currently available for the Theros Beyond Death and Throne of Eldraine sets.
After Becoming a Smart Magic Consumer
It’s important to recognize your goals while getting into Magic. Spending less to experience more is a key element of becoming a smart Magic consumer, and understanding what playstyles you’re wanting to experience is the next big step for a Magic player.
In our next article, we will be going over what tools are recommended for new Magic players to build their first deck, as well as some common pitfalls for learning how to play the game.