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First Look: These White Cards from M:tG’s Core Set 2019 Will Raise Your Skill
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First Look: These White Cards from M:tG’s Core Set 2019 Will Raise Your Skill

Interested in Magic: The Gathering? Be sure to tune in every Wednesday here on Geek & Sundry for new episodes of Spellslingers, where host Day[9] plays epic battles of Magic: The Gathering against fantastic guests!

Wizards of the Coast is mounting a two-pronged assault on the notion that Magic: The Gathering is only for the so-called “spike” player: the expert, the hardcore, the professional. First, the company brought back the once-a-year “core” sets, which are entry-level expansions with fewer rules-entangled cards, in the form of Core Set 2019.

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Five Decks for Five Colors

Second, Wizards has expanded on the idea of including a couple of introductory Planeswalker Decks alongside the usual booster boxes. This time around, there are five Core Set 2019 Planeswalker Decks, one for each color of Magic. Each is designed to pick up and play out of the box and each offers a fun experience versus any other Planeswalker Deck. These decks help you learn the rules of Magic, improve your skill and let you play with the cool, iconic Planeswalkers, the superheroes of the Magic: The Gathering universe. Plus, the decks include a Core Set 2019 booster pack, and the Planeswalker is premium foil.

The white Ajani, Wise Counselor deck, in particular, is built around Ajani Goldmane, the Leonin wayward son who’s the stalwart healer, protector and fierce warrior among the Planeswalkers.

Ajani, Wise Counselor

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Ajani, Wise Counselor costs three colorless mana and two white mana, for a total of five mana. He begins with five loyalty, and can add two loyalty to gain you one life for each creature you control. You can remove three loyalty to give all your creatures +2 power and +2 toughness until end of turn. Or, after you’ve built up some loyalty, you can remove nine loyalty to put a number of +1/+1 counters on a creature equal to your life total.

Court Cleric

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One of Ajani’s helpers in the deck is the Court Cleric, a Bant healer who tutored Ajani in healing, exactly when he needed it the most. She costs a mere 1 white mana, has 1 power and 1 toughness, and gains +1/+1 when you control Ajani. Plus, she has Lifelink, which gains you life when she deals damage.

This speaks to a lifegain theme in the white deck, which will help it hold its own against the more aggressive nature of some of the other decks.

Interview with the Core Set 2019 Associate Brand Manager

We got the opportunity to speak with Chris Tulach, the Associate Brand Manager for Core Set 2019, about some of the goals and objectives for this set and these Planeswalker Decks in particular.

Steve Horton (Geek & Sundry): So what were the overall goals for these Planeswalker Decks and the white deck in specific?

Chris Tulach (Wizards of the Coast): We wanted to ensure that new players had the easiest learning curve possible through our products. After starting their Magic learning journey with a Welcome Deck, they can now select the same color Planeswalker Deck for their next step. This continuity of experience is important to ensure players are able to quickly gain proficiency in the game, and move on to more advanced concepts. Each Planeswalker Deck represents a core gameplay experience for its respective color. For example, the white deck, featuring Ajani, loves to summon an army of smaller creatures to break through the enemy’s defenses and claim victory.

SH: How do they fit into the big picture as far as Core Set 2019 being more of an entry-level set?

CT: I covered this a bit already, but the entire product mix for Core Set 2019 is designed around providing the best onboarding experience we’ve yet crafted for a Core set. This was the first large Magic set designed with an emphasis on new players first. The Welcome Decks, Planeswalker Decks, and Deck Builder’s Toolkit products had priority during design, and then the rest of the cards that would excite veteran players were designed to complement what was already built. But it’s not just for new players; it’s for everyone. There’s plenty of great cards here to love, no matter how experienced you are with the game.

SH: How will playing these decks versus each other help new players transition into a prerelease and/or Standard?

CT: You’re going to see the color themes from the Planeswalker Decks reinforced in the booster packs when you play in a Core Set 2019 limited environment, like a Prerelease or Draft Weekend. After you’ve had an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the color through the deck, you’ll probably want to explore other colors too. Players that feel like they’re ready can dive right into cracking boosters, or they can get a great intro to each color by picking up another Planeswalker Deck. In addition, they can form the foundation of a Standard deck which you can supplement with boosters from this set, or the last few as well.

Play with the Decks Early

If you happen to be attending Grand Prix Vegas starting June 15, you’ll be able to play with the Ajani deck and the other Core Set 2019 Planeswalker Decks, weeks before the general public!

Otherwise, you can also buy these decks at the Core Set 2019 Open House, June 30 and July 1 at a friendly local game shop near you. It’s a great event for new players to show up, play against other players with free intro decks or purchased Planeswalker decks, socialize, and get a free promo card for participating. You can even play in a casual Standard tournament with your Planeswalker deck or your constructed Standard deck.

If you can’t make the Grand Prix or the Open House, these decks go on sale July 14.

Are you excited for the new Core Set 2019 Planeswalker decks? Tell us which ones and why in the comments below!

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Image Credits: Wizards of the Coast

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