One of Magic''s most common questions is whether or not to begin writing sets every few minutes, whether you choose from a tens of thousands of formats, and a lifetime worth of cards to sift through, is often the biggest obstacle.
Fortunately, Wizards of the Coast has released yearly Starter Kits that are tied in with the digital adaptation Magic: The Gathering Arena. These are often players first real forays into the game until this year. However, the decks you got actually included any decent cards. It was finally approved by Wizards to give new players a taste of the spice Magic to offer, while also making it a worthwhile purchase for more enfranchised fans.
The first Arena Starter Kit was launched in 2020, with one monoblack deck, and one monogreen. This was the first Magic product I got back into the game due to lockdown, and it features a lot of nostalgia: Kogla, the Titan Ape, Honey Mammoth, Treeshaker Chimera, and Peer into the Abyss are all cards I had associated with that time when everything was unknown and anxiety-inducing.
After a few months of learning the game, I realized they weren''t anything good. It doesn''t help that the Amazon version of the kit included the one interesting card; Vito, Thorn of Dusk Rose; and the altogether less impressive Demon of Loathing. They''re fantastic ways to learn the game, but there''s still a huge jump from it to crafting your own decks and wading into the online world of Arena.
The 2021s decks went too far in the opposite direction. Based on the years Standard format, it included cards from Zendikar Rising, Kaldheim, Strixhaven, and Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Instead of the monocolour decks of the year before, we now had two colour pairs to contend with: the Golgari Rough and Tumble (red/blue) Sneak Attack.
When these came out, I was already deeply re-enfranchised, and found they ruffled new players more often than they helped them learn. It was particularly difficult, especially the complex card Asmodeus the Archfiend in Rough and Tumble, as replacing your card draw with exile slammed many individuals who saw an expensive rare, but couldn''t figure out how to use it.
With a pair of two-colored decks, 2022s decks match the current Standard environment (Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, Crimson Vow, and Streets of New Capenna) and. The Azorius (white/blue) Up and Away and the Gruul (red/green) Earth Shakers finally arrive to a clear agree on the complexity of the 2021s and the welcoming introduction of the year previously, allowing us to get the finest starter decks we have ever had
Both decks have heaps of worthwhile cards, which are impressive at seven. Each deck includes five rares, but instead of being chaff like Demon of Loathing, it has given us major, Standard format-defining cards like Hullbreaker Horror and Dreamshackle Geist. This is especially useful for Commander players, thanks to Welcoming Vampire, Creepy Puppeteer, and Glorious Sunrise.
The most impressive feature of these decks is that Wizards has managed to keep the box-selling cards good without pushing too hard into mechanical complexity. This is still a starter product, so youll receive cards outside of draft, like Stormrider Spirit and High-Rise Sawjack, but they also get special rares that are helpful, yet straightforward to understand. There is no Asmodeus the Archfiend here to confuse players, but you do get simpler powerful cards like Consuming Tide and Extraction Specialist.
Regardless of your experience, you may rarely point at a product for beginners and correctly say it will be beneficial for any Magic player, and yet this years Starter Kit has it nicely. For beginners, it has safely low-powered games that give you clues about the speed and complexity of higher games without being too complicated to deal with, and for those professionals theres enough to separate and power up your other decks with.
It is even worthwhile for dedicated Arena players to recognize that these decks aren''t included in the standard format, but all cards will be legal for it until at least September 2023. For 7 you''re getting a whole load of cards to increase your digital collection, including tickets. There are two exceptions to get back into Standard than redeeming the codes in this box.
Magic is well known for its ability to generate money (especially when it pulls $55 Collectors boosters), but the Starter Kits provide a nice reminder that it doesn''t have to be that way. This is particularly true for the Welcoming Vampires and Hullbreaker Horrors they include.