Let’s Design: Modern Event Deck

Today’s article has been brought to us from the mind of Lily Robinson. I think this is a brilliant idea, and as a Modern lover, this is exactly the kind of product I would love to see.

This is an article idea I’ve been muddling over for a while, I want to take a look at existing Magic products, create new ideas with Magic products or even resurrect an older design.
So for my debut to this experiment, I want to look at the Modern Event Deck its shortcomings, its breakthroughs and how, I think, this product could have actually been a mainstay in the Magic the Gathering product line.

So, when thinking about the Modern Event deck, we need to remember what the solitary result from the experiment was. The first and only Modern Event Deck was called March of the Multitudes and was announced in January of 2014 and was released a few short months later on the 30th of May. Between these times many players, myself included were frantically speculating on what popular deck archetype Wizards of the Coast would give us, would they be giving us an enfranchised deck like Jund, Affinity or perhaps simply Burn. Or maybe they would have gone for a more specific and newer deck like UR Delver or Birthing Pod. Any of these decks I think would have been a great starting point, with the possible exception of Jund for reasons we will get to soon. However, the deck we got I don’t think we really expected at all, a deck out of the ballpark somewhat and while powerful in its own right, not a deck many consider to be a powerhouse threat in Modern, that as we know, was WB tokens. WB tokens is a midrange/aggro swarm deck capable of its full power and with the since unbanning of Bitterblossom has the potential to quickly put a good amount of evasive threats quickly while playing a host of removal spells and hand disruption to really keep your opponents off-kilter while your life total is bolstered by an often existant soul sisters package which keeps you afloat and makes spells such as Spectral Procession and Lingering Souls just that much more powerful.

However, that being said the Modern Event Deck was sadly a failure, which has given Wizards of the Coast cause to believe that perhaps the product itself just isn’t popular, perhaps it had the wrong price point, or perhaps it just needed to be released at a different period of the year maybe around a Modern Pro Tour?
These questions aside I solemnly believe that the Modern Event Deck is an idea scrapped past it’s prime, it had some issues true, but it was birthed from a wonderful idea, giving the consumer, the average Magic player, someone who just plays FNM’s at the store the ability to get started into a diverse, non-rotating format where more often than not, your deck is unlikely to be completely banned out (That being said, Splinter Twin and Birthing Pod are both casualties of this), the idea was amazing, the execution was the issue here and, well, I think we can do it better.

The logical starting point for this is not what deck should we use, or how many of each card should we include, because while that’s important we need to think of this as a company and as such we have to think about this not as an immediate start into a format with just a box containing Fetches, Dark Confidant, Chalice of the Void and Tarmogoyf and call it a day, because thats just a pipe dream, instead I want to create this as a logical product, one that if Wizards of the Coast did make, while we may be shocked by it in some regards, it’s not something that should feel foreign to us. So, what we should start off with is a price point, the original Modern Event deck retailed at $74.99 which to me is actually honestly something that could have put people off of buying the product to begin with, perhaps it was done that way to dissuade people hiking the price of them up further, in order to make ludicrous profits from them. I would instead have them retail slightly lower at $64.99 this I feel is a slightly more agreeable price point being only around $20 more than the MSRP on a Bundle which is miniscule when this product will provide the player with an instantly playable deck that could comfortably be played at a Modern FNM and be easily upgraded into an existing deck in order to be played at a GP or Open event.

Right now what you’re likely wondering is what the contents of this product would be, for me, in an ideal world it would contain the following

  • The 60 Card deck alongside a 15 Card sideboard some of which feature new art

  • 5 Foil double-sided token cards featuring new art

  • A guide on how you could upgrade this deck with card suggestions and possibly even a pro players opinions and suggestions

  • An exclusive Spindown Die.

And that’s it, the most notable omission is the absolutely laughable sleeves that came bundled with the product beforehand, they are just filler and are often discarded almost immediately, with the price drop from the previous product it also allows for the player to put the $10 they’ve saved into some high-quality sleeves such as Ultra Pro Eclipse or Dragon Shield Mattes. With the inclusion of new or rarely used art it will allow the product to grab more of an audience which should give it a better chance to sell, alongside the foil double-sided tokens, taking inspiration from Unstable, its a great way to get people to care more about the product as its something rarely done and a product like this would be a great way to print more.

Finally we can start talking about the actual cards, I was brainstorming ideas for what deck would most benefit from a product like this, the issue with preconstructed decks is that with the secondary market being a very real thing, just throwing in a playset of Tarmogoyf quickly creates issues as people would just buy this en masse and then there would be none left for my customer in mind. So that being said decks like Jund or Abzan are definitely off the table as are hard to control decks such as Grixis or UW control due to their reliance on expensive staples like Snapcaster Mage. This left me in a bit of a muddle as I wanted a deck that had mass appeal but would allow this product to easily exist. Then it hit me, a deck that would have immediate appeal to both casual and competitive players alike, and that is Elves. Elves are one of the longest-running tribes in the history of Magic and have huge appeal to all players, newer players typically enjoy playing a tribal strategy while enfranchised players will be drawn to a deck with a lot of synergy and lines of play. However with the average Elves deck costing around upwards of $700 so we will have to make compromises, I present you with the decklist I have created.

LANDS (18)

1 Cavern of Souls
3 Pendelhaven
1 Westvale Abbey
13 Forest

CREATURES (32)

4 Devoted Druid*
4 Dwynen’s Elite
4 Llanowar Elves*
3 Elvish Archdruid
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Nettle Sentinel*
2 Heritage Druid
3 Ezuri, Renegade Leader

SPELLS (10)
2 Chord of Calling
2 Collected Company
4 Lead the Stampede*
2 Triumph of the Hordes

SIDEBOARD (15)
2 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Chameleon Colossus
2 Elvish Champion*
2 Scavenging Ooze
3 Relic of Progenitus
1 Fracturing Gust
2 Dismember
2 Beast Within

While this deck is still a steal, at time of writing a TCG mid value of $222.28 many of these cards are due reprints with Devoted Druid and Nettle Sentinel desperately needing them, which hopefully thanks to this product will drive costs down. Within the decklist I have marked certain cards with a star, this is relating to one of the premier selling points of the product which would be the chance to get these cards with new alternate art, I chose those 5 as I believe they hold mass appeal both in the casual player and enfranchised player alike.

In my closing statement for this product I don’t believe I have come up with a completed solution for the Modern Event Deck, because I honestly don’t think there is a way to turn this into the perfect product, due to issues of community response, pricing of cards on the secondary market and the focus Wizards of the Coast has on Standard, however, I do strongly believe this as a product, even just a one off would be a success, at least being more popular and well recieved than the initial product.

 

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