Introductory decks for new players/casual games

A few months ago a couple of friends expressed an interest in learning to play and I started thinking about what I had which would be suited to teaching a new player (or for a first few paper games for someone who had only played duels).

All I really had at the time that was playable were my commander decks, which aren’t really the best introduction and the cube which…well I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

I did have some modern and standard decks but nothing which is on any kind of similar power level or which is intact from one week to the next (I sacrificed many decks to build the cube).

There are the wizards starter decks (see here, theyre little 30 card dealies made of recent commons and uncommons) but I didn’t want to go and get these online, nor do I particularly like the decks themselves. I would much rather, if teaching someone to play, give them something with a higher power level, some more appealing cards  and a full 60 card deck.

That in mind I set out to make a set of decks for new players (and for the odd casual game where someone wants to test a deck, not modern level stuff just casual/standard level decks).

I settled on one deck in each colour, using a small number of rares and some favourite commons/uncommons that I don’t often get to use.

I also wanted some of the traditional archetypes such as green being big dumb creatures, and black being big on removal.

The original decks were including cards up to Khans block but I wanted to upgrade to some origins cards so here are the new versions.

New Player Training Deck - White - 10/09/2015

Creatures (28)
Elite Vanguard
Doomed Traveler
Gideon's Lawkeeper
Consul's Lieutenant
Alabaster Mage
Precinct Captain
War Priest of Thune
Attended Knight
Fiend Hunter
Gideon's Avenger
Mausoleum Guard
War Oracle
Serra Angel

Spells (2)
Midnight Haunting

Enchantments (4)
Honor of the Pure

Artifacts (2)

Land (24)
24 Plains

The white deck has a pretty clear theme of making tokens then buffing the whole team, so pretty traditional white weenie. There’s some “temporary removal” and Serra Angel as an iconic white card (and just because its cool). This is also the only deck to have any equipment, and it’s as simple an equipment as you can really get.

New Player Training Deck - Blue - 10/09/2015

Creatures (22)
Palace Familiar
Azure Mage
Jeskai Elder
Jhessian Thief
Wind Drake
Mist Raven
Mistfire Adept
Tower Geist
Soulblade Djinn

Spells (10)
Mana Leak
Crippling Chill

Enchantments (2)

Artifacts (2)
Aether Spellbomb

Land (24)
24 Island

Blue is, as you would likely guess, the spell heavy tempo deck. Theres some prowess added from Khans and Origins along with a big pile of evasion.

Also this deck wants to draw a LOT of cards. Physically the creatures are a little weaker than the other decks but if you can stall out the game you should be able to drown your opponents in cards.

New Player Training Deck - Black - 10/09/2015

Creature (24)
Typhoid Rats
Malakir Cullblade
Hand of Silumgar
Child of Night
Onyx Mage
Blood Scrivener
Markov Patrician
Nantuko Husk
Soulcage Fiend
Undead Executioner
Rakshasa Gravecaller
Bloodgift Demon

Spells (10)
Sign in Blood
Doom Blade
Tribute to Hunger

Enchantments (2)
Shadows of the Past

Land (24)
24 Swamp

I’ve opted for a sacrifice/death trigger theme for black with an alternate win con of Shadows of the Past (or just an incredibly hench Nantuko Husk).

New Player Training Deck - Red - 10/09/2015

Creatures (24)
Forge Devil
Lightning Berserker
Ashmouth Hound
Stormblood Berserker
Abbot of Keral Keep
Crimson Mage
Scab Clan Berserker
Acolyte of the Inferno
Goblin Heelcutter
Scourge of Geier Reach
Zealous Conscripts

Spells (10)
Fiery Impulse
Tormenting Voice
Searing Spear

Enchantment (2)
Madcap Skills

Land (24)
24 Mountain

Red has a lot of creatures which are either hard to block or which punish blocking plus a good assortment of burn. Burn goes without saying. I’ve also allowed a little bit of dash into this one as its a fairly straightforward mechanic (the previous version actually had archwing dragon).

New Player Training Deck - Green - 10/09/2015

Creature (26) (26)
Llanowar Elves
Darkthicket Wolf
Jade Mage
Alpine Grizzly
Netcaster Spider
Briarpack Alpha
Somberwald Alpha
Giant Spider
Woodborn Behemoth
Arbor Colossus
Garruk's Horde

Spells (8)
Titanic Growth
Tread Upon
Prey Upon

Enchantment (2)
Triumph of Ferocity

Land (24) (24)
24 Forest

Green is exactly what you would expect, ramp, big creatures some things that play off having the biggest baddest creature on the field.

I’ve played a fair few games with people who only have casual decks with these and they’ve worked pretty well for that. They’ve also been a success when taking people through their first couple of games.

The match ups weren’t perfect in the previous versions, for example green tended to die to the flyer heavy decks a little too often. These current versions contain some tweaks which I’m hoping will rebalance them slightly.