Grab-and-Go Event Decks

Yesterday, WOTC announced a new product- Grab-and-Go Event Decks. They said:

Event Decks are designed to be strong, capable Standard-legal decks…
Each Event Deck is 60 cards, plus a 15-card sideboard—ready for all of your dueling needs! Also included: a Spindown life counter and strategy guide to help pilot your deck to victory.

So- what is this going to mean? I’ve seen speculation that these will be a bare step above the usual intro packs, with playsets rather than 1 copy each of slightly more playable commons and uncommons, and a few reasonable rares. That might be true, but I have to think that Wizards has something more in mind. When you look at the Wizard’s FNM page, you see this:

Looking for ideas of what to play at Standard Friday Night Magic? Check out these links for card and deck lists:

* Nationals Qualifiers Top 8 Decks
* Pro Tour–Amsterdam Qualifying Season Top 8 Decks
* Magic Online Events

I don’t think it makes sense for Wizards to encourage players to play decks from high-level events at FNM, but sell decks that are nowhere near to that quality.

On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine what the price point would be on Super Friends or Mythic out of a box. Based on the recent Duel Decks and From the Vault: Relics, it seems to me that Wizards is willing to undercut secondary market prices by 50-75%. If the Event Decks are priced at $20-35 (similar to other special products), then, the contents could be worth between $40 and $140. A pretty big range, sure, but if that’s the case we could see not just RDW, but something like a Sun Titan/Baby Jace UW deck like the ones that did well at French Nationals. That’s not bad.

My big question is about the source and turn around time for these decks. Are they coming from FFL? That’s probably the most reasonable in terms of making these decks current, but… they might not be good, and the sideboard could be aimed at a completely fictional metagame. If they are based on winning lists from big events, the value of the cards might not be what Wizards wants to print in a sealed product, and turn-around time probably becomes an issue. But I think that’s by far the more appealing option, if there’s a way to make it work.

I wish we’d been given more details- maybe an example decklist of a current deck that they could have sold as an Event Deck, or some information about the source of these decklists. Nonetheless, I’m pretty excited about this. I think it’s a chance for Wizards to effect a change in the price of standard, if they choose to, and I’d certainly be interested to see FFL decks if that turns out to be the source.


7 responses to “Grab-and-Go Event Decks

  1. Having thought about it, I think these decks are a good idea and should work out relatively well.

    These are clearly aimed at newer/casual players as both Arcana implies and the fact any real competitive player already has a tier 1 deck. Because of their target demographic, there is a very clear price point that cannot be violated. You mention $20-35, but that’s unrealistic for whom this is marketed. The realistic range is $15-20, so for the sake of argument we’ll say they’ll be $20 as that’s in both our ranges. So what other $20 products are marketing at this same demographic? Duel Decks, which is our best indicator of the expected value in one of the Grab-and-Go event decks. While there’s been a huge range, the Duel Decks are capable of packing quite a value in the $20 as Elspeth vs. Tezzeret and Jace vs. Chandra have shown us. That is also the maximum value you can try to cram into a $20 deck before retailers just so “fuck it” and start cracking them open to sell as singles.

    So what should we expect from the Grab-and-Go decks? I’d imagine something like this:
    – $20 price point
    – 2 mythic rares, 6-8 rares
    – 3-4 ofs on all or most of the commons and uncommons
    – A competitive deck that is unlikely to take first place

    That’s right, these will NOT be tier 1 decks. Despite your inclination based on where they want you to get deck ideas, WotC doesn’t want to just hand you a tier 1 playable deck. First of all, it makes no business sense to sell a product that invalidates all their other products. Second of all, deck building is part of the fun of Magic. Also, they tell you to look to those lists for ideas, not to copy those decks card for card.

    You may be wondering what the point of this product is if they’re not tier 1 decks, and what competitive means. Well it means just that, competitive. Many people show up to their first FNM or Game Day with an unplayable pile of shit that may be fun at the kitchen table with their friends, but gets anally raped before they’ve played their second spell. These decks can provide a solid, competitive shell of popular archetypes with standard sideboard cards for other various archetypes. It would be a excellent starting point for players, and allow them to really experience the game at a competitive level, even if it isn’t handing them the keys to victory.

    So will some lazy competitive player be buying one of these Grab-and-Go Event Decks, getting a current tier 1 deck worth $400, and winning a Grand Prix? Not a fucking chance. Will a player who wants to make the jump from casual to tournament player buy one of these decks on February 25th and then excitedly making the top 8 at Mirrodin Besieged Game Day on February 26th encouraging them to investigate upgrading their deck to something that is not only competitive, but dominating as well as scoring them a cool full art foil? I would wager that not only is that extraordinarily likely, that’s the entire point of this product.

  2. I agree with most of your post, and totally agree that this isn’t going to be full-on playsets of Jaces or whatever. I also think that part of the reason they direct you to PTQ-winning lists is to make sure newer players get that they might want to play exactly 60 cards, play a reasonable number of lands, generally play 4-ofs, ect.

    Aside: I think we should all try to not use the term rape in the context of a game. It’s unsettling (not just to me, and not just to women) and while I understand that this is common usage in gaming and not just in Magic, it’s something we can try to change.

  3. Just curious, but what part(s) do you disagree with?

    And in response to your aside, two things: The first is I would like to direct you to one of my blog entries: . It’s obviously not entirely the same, but the colloquial usage of the word is far less damaging than the people throwing around fake accusations for one reason or another; were it not for the latter, the former may not have become so borderline acceptable. And my second point is that until I’m actually writing for, trying to censor me is a losing battle. (That said I understand your disapproval and will respect your wishes on your blog)

  4. And the link didn’t work. Awesome. The entry I was trying to link:

  5. I don’t disagree about anything major- I just think that they could be slightly more expensive, since $35 is in line with Fat Packs and the Premium Deck Series, which is aimed at a similar or even more casual audience.

    I also think that there is a possibility that the deck could be Tier 1- if it happens that there is a Tier 1 deck that isn’t hell of expensive. I also think it’s more likely that they would sell a budgetish version of a Tier 1 deck (ie, without fetchlands) than an optimal version of bad deck. Maybe I’m optimistic/crazy. But I don’t really see a problem there- I don’t think this is lazier than building a deck from your own cards without testing it, thinking about it, or tweaking it at all.

  6. You actually proved my point about the price. Fat packs are frequently purchased by competitive players; for many it’s the only sealed Magic they buy each set. The Premium Deck Series was aimed at the exact same demographic, however. Maybe you didn’t notice if you’re not a retailer, but these are STILL rotting on shelves worldwide. The Slivers decks proved that $35 is too much for a precon.

    As for the decks being tier 1, yes you could potentially do a tier 1 red deck. Probably, in fact. However, a budget version of a tier 1 deck is indeed NOT a tier 1 deck. I was not recommending they sell bad decks, though, and I’m sorry I gave that impression. I had proposed competitive decks in popular archetypes, perhaps I should have specified archetypes in the current meta. For example, barring a bunch of new cards in the next block, there will not be a G&G Reanimator deck, as reanimator is unplayable in standard.

    So basically the only disagreement is on the target price, but that is a big factor as the price controls what they can put in the deck. Consider this, however: SCG has over 100 Sliver decks in stock at $20. Channel Fireball has dozens them in stock as well, and they’re selling them at break even. Here we are almost a full year later, and stores still can’t get rid of these things at heavily discounted prices, even if they’re forfeiting any chance of profit.

  7. It is very exciting to see that wizards actually shows intention to upgrade precons, I don’t mind that they should put even a single Jace TMS on those but certainly it’s horribly dificult for a new player to build his/her first deck. You all have notice of how horrible and useless are all of the intro packs of Zendikar block existing under the sun, they simply suck and even that foil student of warfare is not worth enough to buy that crap pile of leveler’s “glory” intro pack (seriously “glorious” is a superb compliment to this big pile of crap); I mean that every player needs to have a better option to build and pimpin’ a deck, at least Wizards could put a usable card on the precons they sell, if you can notice there are less than ten cards from precons that actually can see a good play on standart and even the majority of those few cards ARE COMMON ones that is simply ridicoulous. I mean gatekeeper of malakir (uncommon), nighthawk, sphinx of jwar isle, terastodon, awakening zone (and I only name it here because everyone still looks at this cards like wow, I have horribly crushed the existance of every fool that used this against my weenie myr deck, slow poor bad card) THOSE ARE THE ONLY CARDS BEYOND THE BOLTS THAT REALLY SEE IMPORTANT OMPETITIVE PLAY IN FEW DECKS not to say that the other contents of the precons beyond the bolts and counters are so crappy that they even not deserve me to mention those, for the sake of god how can we accept two copies of siege mastodon or zombie goliath to be evenly payable.

    I´m looking forward for wizards promise, at least I hope that the new precons will make easier for us to get the sets of good uncommons and commons faster when we decide to build a new deck. Aldo I think that the rares it will content must at least have competitive proven. The premium rares had a long tendency to be useless, see conquering manticore, gigantomancer, ancient hellkite. Also see the new besieged premium precon card Psychosis Crawler seriously I thought that it was a joke, how in the hell do you expect it to do somenting good for you. At least new mirrodin block’s precons are slightly better than its predecesors from zendikar.

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