SpartanNerd…Dual Deck Anthology Vacation matchups.

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The only Magic cards I took with me on my recent vacation was pre-constructed decks.  I took the entire Duel Deck Anthology box, and stuffed it with loads of Commander, other duel decks, and the solitaire decks.  The box was great for transporting my cards!  (I removed the tray for the first time, and discovered a Serial Number!

I held two memorable Duel Deck matches with the SpartanKid, before our interest shifted to testing the French Dark Ascension deck I purchased.

Following is a record of what happened during those two matches!

Elves Vs. Liliana

The match was generally unfair at first.  I was piloting Liliana, of course, and knew what I was up against.  I kept a hand full of removal!  I knew it would be important to keep as many elves from sticking to the board as possible.  At around turn six, the SpartanKid wasn’t having any fun.  He began saying,”This isn’t fair!”  Deathgreeter ensured that I kept gaining life as creatures died.  Lucky for him, I was out of removal.  But I had Enslave ready because I knew eventually the SpartanKid would try for Allosaurus Rider, one of the Elf deck’s most insane cards, controlled by one of Liliana’s most broken cards!

True to form, he played that Allosaurus Rider, and then I hit it with Enslave.  .

It was Lys Alana, Huntmaster that landed next, and I had no response.  The game became very grindy, eventually getting lots of traction for the elf deck.  That Allosaurus Rider went down to the Voice of the Woods token.

Down but not out, I cast Rise from the Grave, getting the Allosaurus Rider back, and even better than ever late in the game, with ten lands on the field!

But all of this effort was not removal.  Imperious Perfect and Ambush Commander hit the battlefield, and the game was pretty much over.  In fact, Liliana Vess was the final thing I cast.  Too little, too late.  It was GG.  Elves took the victory!  I was two turns away from Mutilate, which would have totally shifted the game back in Liliana’s favor.

Later, we would play Divine vs. Liliana.

It all seemed grim.  The Angels were truly beating down Liliana’s deck.  (Recently, when I read the fiction put on the Mothership Site, Liliana would remark that Angels were “goody two-shoes.”)

Then I drew Liliana, and used her to tutor up Mutilate in the face of Twilight Shepherd and Akroma.  But Twilight Shepherd has that pesky persist ability, and also brings things back to the battlefield from the graveyard that died on the same turn.

And that was pretty much it.  The Divine Deck truly is a casual masterpiece of destruction!  Really, almost none of the decks can stand against them except for Jace and Chandra…Jace who controls and cancels and bounces angels, and chandra who burns everything except Akroma, (but it doesn’t matter, because it takes so long to cast Akroma.  However, the life gain of the Divine deck can be frustrating against burn.)

(I posted a review of matches between Liliana and the Angels once before, and had different things to say…)

The Duel Deck Anthology has proven to be one of the greatest gifts for a Magic player.  It was reasonably priced.  Resaonably rare.  Reasonably cool.  And nicely archival.  I hope the Wizards release more of these Anthologys in the future.  I am a dedicated purchaser at this point!

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Magic the Gathering Duel Decks Anthology

Couldn’t wait.  Had to open my first OFFICIAL Christmas present!

It came in this massive box….I picked it up at the Tangled Web in Spartanburg SC for MSRP…(thanks guys!  It is reported that many places are marking this up.)

 

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That was just the shipper!  But it indicated that it contains a HUGE product!

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The real box looks like this.  I love the foil treatment that the box has…it really makes this feel like the premium product that it is.

The back has this propaganda on it.  Upon removing the cellophane, I discovered that the stuff printed on the back is actually a separate poster.  I think I will hang that on my office wall…  You get a shot of the art featured on each deck…”Elves Vs. Goblins” “Divine vs. Demonic” “Jace Vs. Chandra” and “Garruk Vs. Lilliana.”

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Opening the box reveals all eight decks, in premium foil deck boxes, seated in the proper recesses of a plastic tray designed to hold them.  You can also see two official counter dice, one silver and one bluish.  Both of these feel a little lighter than the counter dice usually feel…not as much heft.  Maybe I’m just imagining that?  Then the other issue, is I can’t really read the silver one, my vision being so bad.  Still, they are a nice inclusion.

 

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I was opening this at midnight of Saturday December 6, and basically was bouncing with excitement, as well as my children.  The SpartanWife was also very impressed.  She said, “I didn’t really know what to expect…it is much larger and more impressive than I expected for sure.”

So those are all of the first impressions.  Me and the SpartanKid decided to go ahead and crack open Divine and Demonic and give them a late-night-early-morning quick test.  I took pictures before the match, but it was getting late, so I didn’t unbox them properly for you to see.  Still, here are some details…

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The deck boxes are designed to hold all 60 cards…sleeved.  I was afraid that the boxes would be the general boxes that usually come with the dual decks which can only hold the unsleeved cards.  So this set my mind at ease at least.  The decks have a spacer to help hold the unsleeved cards in place until you can get some sleeves on them.  Each deck is cellophane wrapped, of course.  You can see “Akroma, Angel of Wrath” and “Lord of the Pit” featured on top of the decks.  These cards are foil, in the “new card frame,” featuring a holofoil sticker on the bottom of both rares.

The SpartanKid wielded the Divine deck, and I took on Demonic; those angels were just too much in our initial test.  It hadn’t been a good MTG night for me, so thinking that was all it was, I decided to do more testing in the morning….

So what happened?  Here is the beauty readers.  Keep on reading, and I am going to test each deck against the others, as well as against other decks not in this set.  And I will let you know how it turns out, right here at SpartanNerd.com!

My rating of Magic the Gathering Dual Decks Anthology so far…

I am only going to grade the experience of receiving the package and unboxing it, as well as other logistical details.  I can’t comment much on the contents of the decks yet.

  • The box is huge…as well as beautiful.  It is a premium product.
  • The tray inside is very welcome, giving you a way to keep your decks safely shielded from getting bumped around.
  • The deck boxes are very nice, featuring foil artwork.  And they are large enough to accommodate 60 sleeved cards.  Not sure if they will hold the tokens as well, yet.  I suspect there won’t be too many tokens.  But there will be some.  And then there is the clasp.  This is the worst thing I can say about the deck boxes.  The boxes close by that stupid weak cardboard clasp that the event decks have.  “Divine” and “Demonic”‘s deck boxes both will not close tightly after the initial opening.  (sadness)
  • Two spin-down counters are included.  They are nice.  I don’t prefer the coloration of the silver one, but that is my personal preference.  Other people might like it.  Personally I have a hard time seeing the numbers on it.  The blue one is just fine, though.
  • The rares are placed in the modern card frame, with a holofoil sticker on the bottom which screams “I’m a Rare!”  These rare’s also feature alternate art from the regular circulation.
  • The poster on the back is nice, and wall-hangable if you are a SpartanNerd

So my rating of the Magic the Gathering Dual Decks Anthology so far is 5 out of 5.  I don’t think the weakness of the deck box clasp is enough to take any off.  At any rate, if I love the box enough to use it in other places, I can and should put velcro on it, at least.  But I suspect the boxes won’t be going anywhere.

I have the urge to keep this product in tact, making no changes.  Don’t get me wrong…Lilliana is definitely going to see some play in the current Standard environment.  And who knows what other card might.  But these decks are not going to be modified.  The counters are staying put.  The boxes.  Everything.  I am treating it like its own game for the time being.

My rating of Magic the Gathering Dual Decks Anthology is 5/5, at least as far as the PRODUCT is concerned.  I will be placing more reviews and post information about the different match-ups that happen at my kitchen table as I can!

Do you agree?  Let me know in the comments!