SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Kahns of Tarkir Holiday Gift Box

I purchased two Theros gift boxes for the SpartanKids last year.  I didn’t bother reviewing them.  But I purchased the Kahns of Tarkir gift box for myself at Friday Night Magic on Feb 13, and thought I would share my unboxing experience with the world!

1 box front

The front of the box is pleasant, featuring the Zurgo Helmsmasher art with a red wash over the image.  Note the price…$19.99.  I actually got this for $16 something.  There was a Valentines Day special! (at the Tangled Web)

2 box back

The back shows what you get.

What is actually going on is there is a sleeve over the actual box.

3 whats in the box

Sorry.  Too big a shot to keep the kitchen table from appearing!  I was surprised…there was what looked like a seeded pack with a special foil on top!  You got four regular packs, a pack of artsy dividers, and a label sheet.  Oh yes, also a nice box with three sections.

9 dividers

Here are the dividers where you can see them.  They are really pretty!

7 not a seeded pack8 foil Sultai Charm

That “seeded pack” wasn’t a seeded pack after all…(sadness.)  It was a pack of lands, with a premium foil Sultai Charm on top.  I believe this card is exclusive to this Holiday gift set.  I think that is one copy of each of the basic lands printed for Kahns of Tarkir.

I am going to open the packs so you can see them just as I did!  I will reveal the commons, then the uncommon, and finally the rare and extras from each pack.


10 pack I commons 11 pack I uncommons 12 pack I rare and extras

Nothing too notable in Pack 1!  Clever Impersonator hasn’t seen that much play, surprisingly.  I like Kin Tree Invocation.  But even in the warrior deck, it hasn’t been used much.


13 pack II commons 14 pack II uncommons 15 pack II rare and extras

I noticed right away that there were less commons in this pack…meaning a special surprise in the back!  Of the commons and uncommon, I like Gurmag Swiftwing the best.

My rare was Mardu Ascendancy.  What was that special card?  A fetch land?  No.  A premium rare?  no.  A foil Singing Bess Strike.  Really a pretty good card.  But not a fetch land.

Pack 3!

16 pack III commons 17 pack III uncommons 18 pack III rare and extras

Another situation like before!  But no fetch.  This time my rare is really good, Blood-soaked Champion.  A fighter who just won’t die!  Horde Ambusher was my foil card.

Pack 4!

19 Pack IV commons 20 Pack IV uncommons 21 pack IV rare and extras

And things round out with Sultai Ascendancy.  A pretty good card for Sultai decks.

Packs are packs.  They are always a gamble.  If I had purchased these four packs, I wouldn’t have been too happy.

Finally, how good does the box hold cards.

22 box is functional

I stocked it up with more cards so you could see.  There is enough room for sleeved cards.  This box has already helped me consolidate some of the odd and end boxes in my nerd closet!

What do I rate the Kahns of Tarkir Holiday Gift Box?

This is really a terrific product.  If a person did not know what to get a MTG player, then this is a pretty good gift.  The box works good, but the packs are a gamble.  The label sheet is the only thing I haven’t mentioned.  Check this out!

5 information stickers

6 set stickers

The labels are not really my thing.  What I really like about them is the educational value for new players!  I didn’t even know about different formats when I began playing.  Here is a good way to create awareness.  Guess what?  There is even a label for “Cube!”  (Among the newest formats, players find enjoyment in making booster packs for people to draft.  Then they collect the cards and reassemble the cube.)

I wish there was a guide for what set each symbol  represents.  This is something I can’t do yet.

Then there are blank labels for you to write whatever you want when organizing your cards.

So I guess I will give it a 5/5.  The packs are a gamble, so I easily could have gotten a Sorin and a Sarkahn. (I heard of someone opening a Holiday Box and getting these two.)  But I didn’t.  Otherwise, it is a good general product for MTG players, and a good starting product for new players, giving you four copies of the basic lands.

What is your rating?  Do you agree?  Let me know.  Even better, let me know what you opened in Your holiday box!

SpartanNerd Review…Fate Reforged Pre-Release Sealed Deck Experience

Fate Reforged, the second set in the Kahns of Tarkir block in Magic the Gathering, comes out this Friday,(1/23/2015) So naturally the Pre-Release was the weekend prior.  How did it go for me?  Read on, oh Hub City Geeks!

I decided to skip out on the midnight event at the Tangled Web in Spartanburg, SC.  I have played in those kinds of events a few times, and figure I am just too old.  My driving isn’t good at night, and my card playing isn’t either.  At about 3:00, my brain feels like it’s going to melt.  So I figured I would do better at the 1:00 tournament the next afternoon.  (Incidently, the Tangled Web also had a Sunday tournament, but I skipped that one on account of church and some other business.  Ah…Life.)

As in every Pre-Release I’ve been to outside of the core sets, I was handed a box with my materials for building a sealed deck.  The box contained some promotional materials, a “Sultai” button.  (Sultai was the color combination I chose.  Blue, Black, and Green.)  A life counter, four Fate Reforged booster packs, one Kahns of Tarkir booster pack, and a “seeded” pack meant to weigh the color choices towards Sultai.  All this for $25 is a pretty good deal…basically six packs, and a counter, plus the entry fee.  The box has long been in the trash…usually these are flimsy and useless.

But I do have pictures of the best cards of the night, and some commentary         IMG_5470 Here are the rares from Fate Reforged.  (Destructor dragon is uncommon…sorry!)


And I got these two cards from Khans of Tarkir.  What actually happened was that the Polluted Delta was packed in one of the Fate Reforged boosters instead of a basic land or a gain land.  The wizards said that a lucky few would get a fetch land, I guess I am one of them!

And then the other significant cards…


I decided to keep my colors as Sultai, so any rare red or white cards were useless.  Kind of a shame, really.  Flamewake Phoenix would surely be a star in sealed deck.

I decided that in my main deck I wouldn’t play Tasigar, the Golden Fang.  I probably made a mistake in that…I played him some in other decks since this tournament, and if you Delve him in, you have a fatty for only one swamp.  His other ability is fun, but because the opponent gets to choose the card from the graveyard to go to your hand, there is an element of stupidity, and I think this is what threw me off of this card for this particular event.  I decided to go with Archfiend of Depravity as my bomb instead.

Below are some cards with battle stories!


Sandsteppe Mastadon…the fatty of fatties.  He has maybe the best war story of all from this tournament.  Me and my opponent had full board states, with my side slightly better.  Instead of combat, he casted a sweeper, “End Hostilities.”  All creatures, bam.  Gone.  Leaving me with six lands.  And his lands were all tapped.  I only had this card in hand.  I smiled as I drew a forest, and GG!  (I had a 10/10 elephant as a response to that sweeper!)  Moments like this keep you playing Magic.


This guy was pretty reliable.  But because this is sealed deck, the only non creature permanents to destroy were generally lands.


The bomb of this deck, Archfiend of Depravity, was pretty good.  He’s a big flyer with non-targeted removal.  Unfortunately, usually the opponent didn’t have but two creatures on the battlefield.  If I was going to fire someone, it would be Sultai Skullkeeper, who causes you to mill two cards when he enters the battlefield.  Guess who got milled more than twice during the tournament…(this big demon, that’s who.)

And one more honorable mention…sorry, no big photo.  You’ll have to look at the collage above.  Archers of Qarsi.  5/2 with defender and reach.  These guys were just good deterrent.  So many people were playing big flyers…the dragons, Wingate Roc, etc.  The archers caused them to hold off.  Which let me find time to get out my bombs.


So how did I do?  At the conclusion of round five I had two wins and THREE DRAWS…  Basically, me and a slew of people were all tied after the fifth round, according to the standings.  So all of us were destined for ninth place or worse, and the top eight were locked in.  Sadness!  I gave a half hearted effort and called it a day after losing round six.

I didn’t get an Ugin.  But if I had, I doubt I would have been able to play him.  He would have broken up the creature stalls I suppose.  (I didn’t see an Ugin all day.  Is he real?)


I am glad to see dragons in Magic finally.  There have been an odd few every now and then, but they haven’t been a focus so much since I began playing.  The experience of the sealed deck box is OK.  The box leaves a lot to be desired.  The seeded pack did its job, but I probably could have gone red-white/ splashing black with my card pool and ignored Sultai.  (I chose Sultai because I thought the cards were stronger, when looking at the gallery on the Magic website.)

Still, I think this is a weak set.  Maybe even weaker than Born of the Gods from last year.  The dragons are nice, but the uncommon ones are take-it-or-leave-it.  I only saw one rare dragon all night.  He was no chump, but he steered clear of TWO archers.  A weak set that is designed to shake up the Standard environment.  At the Tangled Web, Jeskai is the deck to beat. There may be more diversity ahead.  I have found places for a few of my cards in other decks already, including Tasigur.

I’m a little underwhelmed.  But not too much.  So I’m going to give the set based on my pre-release experience a 3/5.  I have read very little in the way of spoilers, and haven’t played the new Standard yet.  We’ll see if I’m wrong…