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, but were retired after Core Set 2021.
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 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. 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. This was considered a success, and it was said to be the model for the foreseeable future. However, it is debated if Planeswalker decks always have to be Standard-legal cards or not.
However, after Theros Beyond Death, Planeswalker decks were discontinued for expansions and replaced by a new entry-level product. For Core Set 2021 they were retained, but they were officially retired in 2021.
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. It is Standard legal only for events held in China, otherwise is not Standard nor Modern legal.
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. 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.
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.
List of Planeswalker Decks
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. 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. 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.
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