Magic The Gathering 2015 Core Set Intro Packs Review

The 2015 Core Set will be the penultimate Core Set in the Magic The Gathering universe. Yes, you read that right, this is the second to last Core Set which will ever be released. After the 2016 set, Core Sets will be no more and the release schedule of MTG Blocks will be drastically overhauled to fix a myriad problems and reinvigorate Magic with more storytelling and more variety. We’re on the cusp of an exciting time, and you can read more about it here:

This change will have some interesting ramifications in how Wizards approach coaxing in new players. The Core Intro Packs have been a solid, uncomplicated way of getting started with the game. With them gone then it’s likely, and even hinted, that we’ll see new Magic sets targeted specifically at enticing new players.

For now, however, Core Sets are the way to go, and in this article I’ll talk about a couple from the 2015 release; Infernal Intervention and Hit The Ground Running.

These Intro Packs serve as a great starting point for an MTG beginner and include a variety of cards chosen to fit a particular theme and feel. They’re generally uncomplicated and not the sort of thing you’d want to use against the deck of even a moderately experienced MTG player, but great bought in pairs and played with friends or siblings.

I still consider myself a novice MTG player, because that’s what I am, therefore my deconstruction of these decks is probably neither suitable nor interesting for more experienced players.

Infernal Intervention

Infernal Intervention is a red/black deck, full of dark and demonic flavour and fronted by the pesky flying [mtg_card]Indulgent Tormentor[/mtg_card].

Keeping this card in play for any length of time could be interesting, if a little difficult. At the beginning of every turn it forces your opponent into choosing between you drawing a, potentially game changing, card or them sacrificing life/creatures. It’s an entertaining opposite to cards like [mtg_card]Baleful Force[/mtg_card], but isn’t very tough and could be taken down with a well timed instant. It’s a testament, in fact, to the matching of Intro Packs, that Hit the Ground Running includes [mtg_card]Plummet[/mtg_card], and even more so that Infernal Intervention has a counter to this counter in the form of [mtg_card]Gravedigger[/mtg_card]. The interactions between cards are almost poetic and can lead savvy beginners into rewarding, if formulaic, top-trumps style encounters. Price of Glory and Will of The Masses has less obvious counters to this beast while Flames of the Dragon has good old [mtg_card]Lava Axe[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Shrapnel Blast[/mtg_card].

Alongside the foil card, come a plethora of handy offensive spells like [mtg_card]Heat Ray[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Lightning Strike[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Blastfire Bolt[/mtg_card]. These are great for clearing away anything that might block you, so you can plug away with [mtg_card]Nightfire Giant[/mtg_card] to win the day.

For the early game, you’ll have [mtg_card]Carrion Crow[/mtg_card] and the deceptively low powered but nasty [mtg_card]Typhoid Rats[/mtg_card] to get the ball rolling and suppress any resistance.

Indulgent Tormenter is certainly a deck true to its name, and one I think a beginner could enjoy playing.

Hit the Ground Running

Fronted by a foil [mtg_card]Mercurial Pretender[/mtg_card] and backed up by the likes of [mtg_card]Carnivorous Moss-Beast[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Stormtide Leviathan[/mtg_card] you’ll get no prizes for guessing that this deck is all about hitting hard. [mtg_card]Satyr Wayfinder[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Shaman of Spring[/mtg_card] will ensure you get the mana and creatures out quickly, and with any luck you’ll pop [mtg_card]Restock[/mtg_card] just in case any of your big guns end up in the graveyard.

Despite looking rather brute-force at first glance, this deck isn’t shy a few tricks up its sleeve. [mtg_card]Into the Void[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Peel from Reality[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Invasive Species[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Roaring Primadox[/mtg_card] all allow you to return cards from the battlefield to your hand. Coupled with likes of the aforementioned [mtg_card]Shaman of Spring[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Coral Barrier[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Frost Lynx[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Kapsho Kitefins[/mtg_card] and more cards from this deck besides, you’ve got lots of opportunity for devastating and devious combos.

Both of these decks, and the others within the 2015 Core Set, are fun to play; once or twice. The trouble with Intro Packs is that, once you’ve mastered their gimmick, you’ll grow tired of it and want something more. But I guess that’s what an intro is all about. Once you’ve used and mastered these mechanics then there’s nothing stopping you from mixing and matching your favourites into a new deck and, before you know it, you’ve got sucked into the alluring crafting puzzle of tricks, gimmicks and combos that is Magic. And in Magic, the crafting of a deck is every bit as important as playing it, and much more rewarding when you discover something that works.