- Not to be confused with Challenger Deck series.
A Challenge Deck is preconstructed theme deck with special Magic: The Gathering cards (like elite creatures and sorceries). It is a self-running deck with its own set of rules, also known as "player vs. environment" (PvE). The challenge cards have special card backs, which means they aren't counted as regular Magic cards. When playing against the challenge deck players may use hero cards.
Playing against challenge decks is a casual multiplayer variant of Magic, much like Horde Magic. The players each have 20 life and take their turn simultaneously. Players may begin the game with up to two hero cards on the battlefield to assist in defeating the challenge deck. These act like a vanguard (or Magic Online avatar). The players win when they meet the challenge deck's win condition. The challenge deck is victorious if all of the players have been eliminated from the game.
So far, three challenge decks have been released:
- Face the Hydra (Theros; green card backs)
- Battle the Horde (Born of the Gods; red card backs)
- Defeat a God (Journey into Nyx; indigo card backs)
- Trick Jarrett (September 11, 2013). "Challenge Decks". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (February 04, 2019). "Any chance we could get some more “PVE” products like the Hero’s Trial decks from Theros?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mike McArtor (October 17, 2013). "Theros Game Day and Challenge Deck". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mike McArtor (February 25, 2014). "Born of the Gods Game Day and Challenge Deck". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mike McArtor (May 23, 2014). "Journey into Nyx Game Day and Challenge Deck (with Multiplayer)". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (January 25, 2020). "May I voice my disappointment we didn't get a new Challenge deck?". Blogatog. Tumblr.