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.

[d title="New Player Training Deck - White - 10/09/2015"]

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

2 Midnight Haunting

2 Pacifism
2 Honor of the Pure

2 Bonesplitter

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 [mtg_card]Serra Angel[/mtg_card] 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.

[d title="New Player Training Deck - Blue - 10/09/2015"] 

2 Palace Familiar
2 Mindshrieker
2 Azure Mage
2 Jeskai Elder
2 Jhessian Thief
2 Wind Drake
2 Watercourser
2 Mist Raven
2 Mistfire Adept
2 Tower Geist
2 Soulblade Djinn

2 Unsummon
2 Mana Leak
2 Dissolve
2 Crippling Chill
2 Divination

2 Domestication

2 Aether Spellbomb

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.

[d title="New Player Training Deck - Black - 10/09/2015"] 
2 Typhoid Rats
2 Malakir Cullblade
2 Hand of Silumgar
2 Child of Night
2 Onyx Mage
2 Blood Scrivener
2 Markov Patrician
2 Nantuko Husk
2 Soulcage Fiend
2 Undead Executioner
2 Rakshasa Gravecaller
2 Bloodgift Demon

2 Sign in Blood
2 Doom Blade
2 Murder
2 Tribute to Hunger
2 Gild

2 Shadows of the Past

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 [mtg_card]Nantuko Husk[/mtg_card]).

[d title="New Player Training Deck - Red - 10/09/2015"] 
2 Forge Devil
2 Lightning Berserker
4 Ashmouth Hound
2 Stormblood Berserker
2 Abbot of Keral Keep
2 Crimson Mage
2 Scab Clan Berserker
2 Acolyte of the Inferno
2 Goblin Heelcutter
2 Scourge of Geier Reach
2 Zealous Conscripts

2 Fiery Impulse
2 Tormenting Voice
4 Searing Spear
2 Pyrotechnics

2 Madcap Skills

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).

[d title="New Player Training Deck - Green - 10/09/2015"] 

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

2 Titanic Growth
2 Tread Upon
2 Prey Upon
2 Cultivate

2 Triumph of Ferocity

Land (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.