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M21 Planeswalker decks.png

A planeswalker deck is a preconstructed theme deck designed by Wizards of the Coast as a starter product for beginning Magic players. Planeswalker decks replaced Intro packs starting with Kaladesh,[1] but were retired after Core Set 2021.

Description[]

Planeswalker Decks acquaint players who are interested in Magic with basic strategy, the game's settings, and characters, and include a premium foil Planeswalker card. According to Wizards of the Coast, Planeswalker Decks were the best first purchase for a new player, once they had learned the game through either Magic Duels or a Welcome Deck. But its features were meant to appeal to experienced players as well.

Each set featured two Planeswalker Decks, each built around a different Planeswalker. Those Planeswalkers were characters relevant to that block[2] or standalone set. Each Planeswalker Deck was a 60-card deck and was packaged with two booster packs from the relevant block or set with an MSRP of $14.99. They also contained a strategy insert and a Magic learn-to-play guide. The Planeswalker Decks were released in each of the eleven languages that Magic was published in at that moment.

The decks played into mechanical themes of the block or standalone set, most often making use of a new keyword mechanic. The default was that the decks were two-color even if the Planeswalker is monocolor.

By the time of the release of Amonkhet block, Planeswalker decks were considered a commercial success.[3] Going forward in the Three-and-One Model, they were announced to have a stronger integration with the revamped core set, sample decks and Deck Builder's Toolkit, allowing for an easier transition between the products.[3] This was considered a success, and it was said to be the model for the foreseeable future.[4] However, it is debated if Planeswalker decks always have to be Standard-legal cards or not.[4]

However, after Theros Beyond Death, Planeswalker decks were discontinued for expansions and replaced by a new entry-level product.[5] For Core Set 2021 they were retained, but they were officially retired in 2021.[6]

Global Series[]

In 2018, Wizards of the Coast tried something new with a pair of Chinese-market-specific Planeswalker Decks featuring new Planeswalkers created particularly for China.[7] It is Standard legal only for events held in China, otherwise is not Standard nor Modern legal.[8]

It was long unclear, if the Series would be expanded upon.[4][9][10] Two years later, Mark Rosewater admitted that the name was misleading and it never had been intended as an ongoing thing.[11]

Core Sets[]

Core Set Planeswalker decks come with only one booster. The five Planeswalker decks from Core Set 2019 and Core Set 2020 were integrated with the respective Welcome decks.[12] They were designed to be a bit more complex than the Welcome Decks but still a little on the simpler side than a normal Standard deck. In fact, the Planeswalker Decks tied to the core set were meant to be even easier for a first-time player than the one tied to expansions. The idea was that after players saw Welcome Decks, their first purchase is a Planeswalker Deck.[13]

After Welcome Decks were retired, the Core Set 2021 Planeswalker decks were redesigned. They featured cards from several sets (Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths), but the rares and mythics were still all from the Core Sets.[14]

List of Planeswalker Decks[]

Set Planeswalkers
Kaladesh Chandra, Pyrogenius Nissa, Nature's Artisan
Aether Revolt Ajani, Valiant Protector Tezzeret, Master of Metal
Amonkhet Gideon, Martial Paragon Liliana, Death Wielder
Hour of Devastation Nissa, Genesis Mage Nicol Bolas, The Deceiver
Ixalan Jace, Ingenious Mind-Mage Huatli, Dinosaur Knight
Rivals of Ixalan Vraska, Scheming Gorgon Angrath, Minotaur Pirate
Dominaria Teferi, Timebender Chandra, Bold Pyromancer
Global Series: Jiang Yanggu & Mu Yanling Jiang Yanggu Mu Yanling
Core Set 2019 Ajani, Wise Counselor Tezzeret, Cruel Machinist Liliana, the Necromancer Sarkhan, Dragonsoul Vivien of the Arkbow
Guilds of Ravnica Ral, Caller of Storms Vraska, Regal Gorgon
Ravnica Allegiance Dovin, Architect of Law Domri, City Smasher
War of the Spark Gideon, the Oathsworn Jace, Arcane Strategist
Core Set 2020 Ajani, Inspiring Leader Mu Yanling, Celestial Wind Sorin, Vampire Lord Chandra, Flame's Fury Vivien, Nature's Avenger
Throne of Eldraine Rowan, Fearless Sparkmage Oko, the Trickster
Theros Beyond Death Elspeth, Undaunted Hero Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears
Core Set 2021 Basri, Devoted Paladin Teferi, Timeless Voyager Liliana, Death Mage Chandra, Flame's Catalyst Garruk, Savage Herald

Special cards[]

Each Planeswalker deck featured four to five cards that couldn't be found in the corresponding booster pack of the respective expansion. However, they were considered to be a part of that expansion, meaning that those cards would be playable in any format in which that set is legal. Planeswalkers among these cards didn't count towards the usual five per block count.[15] The special cards included in each deck consisted of:

  • One foil copy of a mythic rare planeswalker, designed to be fun and flavorful but not pushed for tournament play. Expensive to cast and splashy.
  • Two copies of a rare spell that has an effect and also tutors for the specific planeswalker. The rare usually will cost one mana less than the planeswalker. It only looks for the Planeswalker Deck's version of the planeswalker and not any version.
    • The Core Set 2019 decks replace the planeswalker tutors with a card that looks at the top five cards and picks one card of the same color. This is because R&D decided to keep shuffling out of beginner products.[16][17] The change only lasted for one set, and tutors were still featured in the Core Set 2020 and Core Set 2021 decks.
  • Three copies of an uncommon permanent that is enhanced by having the planeswalker (or any other version of the planeswalker) on the battlefield.
  • Four copies of a common flavored to the planeswalker with a basic staple effect.
  • Four copies of an appropriate common dual land.

References[]

  1. Mark Rosewater (May 16, 2016). "Ramp of Approval". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (May 28, 2016). "What are the odds these walkers would have text that would allow them to be played as commanders?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  3. a b Mark Rosewater (2017 June 12). "Metamorphosis 2.0". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. a b c Gavin Verhey (February 5, 2019). "State of Product Design 2018". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Signofzeta (September 8, 2019). "Are Planeswalker Decks being discontinued?". MTG Salvation.
  6. The Future of Commander Preconstructed Decks! (Video). Good Morning Magic. YouTube (May 14, 2021).
  7. Blake Rasmussen (February 14, 2018). "Valentine's Day Mini–Announcement Day". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Blake Rasmussen (May 18, 2018). "Global Series: meet Jiang Yanggu and Mu Yanling". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Gavin Verhey (June 7, 2018). "Creating Global Series: Jiang Yanggu and Mu Yanling". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater (September 07, 2018). "How is the first Global Series doing? Will we see more of them?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. Mark Rosewater (December 23, 2020). "Are there plans to make this an actual series?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  12. WPN Product info
  13. Mark Rosewater (June 18, 2018). "Getting to the Core". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Louis Kemner (June 5, 2020). "Magic: The Gathering Reveals Planeswalker Decks for Core Set 2021 (Exclusive)". CBR.com.
  15. Mark Rosewater (July 01, 2016). "Are those considered outside of the "five planeswalkers per block" rule?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  16. Mark Rosewater (June 21, 2018). "I noticed the PW decks don't have the tutor cards?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  17. Mark Rosewater (June 21, 2018). "About the planeswalker tutors: they were replaced.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
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