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Starter decks and tournament packs

Starter decks and tournament packs

A tournament pack, formerly known as a starter deck, was a Magic product containing a random assortment of cards from a given set. They are similar to booster packs, but contain 4 to 5 times as many cards.

Description[ | ]

Starter decks were produced for core sets and large expansions beginning with Alpha and continuing through Tempest. They contain 60 cards and a rulebook or storybook. For Urza's Saga the name was changed to tournament pack, the number of cards was increased to 75, and the rulebook was replaced with a quick-reference rules sheet. This made the decks roughly equivalent to 3 booster packs plus land. The change was made to facilitate Sealed deck tournaments. Sixth Edition was the only core set for which tournament packs were produced, but they continued to be produced for all large expansions up to Shards of Alara, after which they were replaced by Intro packs.

Starter decks were initially packaged in 10-pack starter deck boxes. After Ice Age, they were packaged 12 packs to a box.

Tournament packs were the only certain source for basic lands, until WotC started producing preconstructed theme decks. Tournament packs were not produced for core sets from Seventh Edition onward, but booster packs were modified to have one land slot.

The box of the original Alpha starter deck was designed to look like a magical tome. The sides of the box depict pages, a bookmark, and the binding. The front of the 'tome' is the standard Magic card back. It was designed and colored by Jesper Myrfors, the original art director for the game, and Christopher Rush.

Product breakdown
Sets Packs Per Box Cards Per Pack Rares Uncommons Commons Basic Lands
Alpha through Revised (early) 10 60 2 13 45 ? *
Revised (later)* 10 60 3 12 45 ? *
4th Edition and Ice Age 10 60 3 9 26 22
Mirage - Tempest 12 60 3 10 25 22
Urza's Saga - Shards of Alara 12 75 3* 10 32 30
  • Later print runs of Revised starter decks had an additional rare and one less uncommon.
  • From Alpha to Unlimited, basic lands were printed on all three print sheets, and could be found in any slot in a pack. In Revised, they were only printed on the uncommon and common sheets.
  • In Shards of Alara packs, each rare slot could contain either a rare or mythic rare.