Last week, I pre-ordered a War of the Spark bundle from Affinity Games, our local game store. This wasn’t my first Magic-related purchase, but it signified a willingness to commit to another hobby/wallet slayer. Magic: The Gathering’s 81st Expansion was set to release on May 03, 2019 (yesterday) which meant I had to agonizingly wait for more than a week and strategize for cards I have yet to own.
I tend to will myself into forgetting about release dates of games and movies that I really love so I won’t go rabid from the excessive anticipation. I used the same approach for this product release, although my mental fortitude pretty much failed about two days ago. The fact that I recently started Magic: The Gathering Arena and how my friends kept talking about MTG probably didn’t help me forget.
After leaving work early, I headed straight to the store where I was greeted by my friend who worked there. He handed over the bundle to me with a congratulatory grin and I could feel myself grinning unconsciously too. It was the kind of face I always make when I start to overpower a particularly challenging monster in Monster Hunter. Whenever I smile like this, it admittedly looks pretty unsettling so I’m glad the younger MTG players had their backs to me. The whole “unboxing” session was a bit unceremonious and spottily documented because I forgot to take pictures about halfway through due to too much excitement.
The first thing I paid attention to was the basic land pack. This is something that veterans won’t fuss around with too much, but I really do appreciate getting something like this as it will help me try different deck builds using all colors. The d20 included was red accented with black splatter. I already have one with the inverse color scheme, so this new one would be a perfect addition to my still measly collection of counters.
Next was the actual meat of the bundle, the 10 booster packs. I admit that I should’ve taken a video or some pictures when I opened the packs, but I was too engrossed with the cards and couldn’t be arsed to reach for my phone. I didn’t even bother reading the included Player’s Guide until after spending an hour just pointlessly fiddling with the cards as if I knew anything about deck building.
During the course of the afternoon, I managed to do nothing with the new cards but categorize by color, “convince” a friend to get a bundle for himself (justification: a new player needs a decent card pool), play a few matches and somehow under appreciate the fact that I got a Gideon Blackblade.
Having realized that any deck I could build with the cards I had would have next to nonexistent synergy, I decided to make a deck from the Thirty Casual Decks under $20 for Magic: the Gathering War of the Spark article by mtggoldfish.com. The goal I had in mind was to have something on hand that showcases the beauty of cards working together. This kind of card interaction was almost absent whenever I used my daily driver deck, where at most only two effects happen by casting a single spell.
I traded in three cards to get enough store credit to get the cards I needed and to avoid spending even more money on singles:
- Enter the God-Eternals
- Feather, the Redeemed
- Gideon Blackblade (since I have no plans to invest in a collection or to run white)
In turn, I managed to build a Golgari Ramp deck and will finally be able to experience how to operate a properly formulated Green and Black deck.
I would like to thank David from Affinity Games for being patient with an overeager newbie like me and helping me build my first “real” deck. Special thanks also to the two other dudes who I hung out with but will not be named because reasons. I had fun discussing the new card mechanics and possible strategies that we could use with our new cards. Although I wasn’t able to make a solid library out of the cards I got from the bundle, I still think I got more than enough value from it. Now I have a significantly larger card pool, two boxes, a nifty poster and handy expansion reference from the Player’s Guide.
The “pre”release event is in about 11 hours. I’ll probably join that one not because of the exclusives, but because of the cute box included in the pack.