July 17th marked the release of Magic Origins Armed and Dangerous. This is a Clash Pack, a product introduced with Magic 2015, that alternates set by set with the usual Event Deck. It contains two decks that can be played against each other, but can also combine into a more powerful deck with a 15 card sideboard. They differ from Duel decks in that they only contain cards that are playable in standard.
Contents and Gameplay
Armed and Dangerous contains two 60 card decks. Armed is a purely Green/White (Selesnya) and Dangerous is a Green/White/Black (Abzan) deck – combining to make the more powerful deck: “Armed and Dangerous.”
With a large number of instants, Armed is centered on punching through damage and pumping up creatures with combat tricks. This deck features a number of creatures with Prowess, which means all combat-tricks will add power and toughness. The inclusion of cards with the new Renown mechanic, which gives +1/+1 counters when a creatures deals damage to an opponent, means punching through is rewarded. Making something like an Outland Colossus fly with Mighty Leap whilst pumping all your prowess creatures seems a good way to round-out a game.
Dangerous, on the other hand, has a large focus on +1/+1 counters and the Bolster mechanic of the Abzan clan from Khans of Tarkir. Cards like Abzan Falconer and Tuskguard Captain grant creatures with +1/+1 counters a bonus, with plenty of ways to get them there in the deck’s suite of non-creature spells. Those bonuses are going to add-up. It also has a Siege Rhino , which is pretty much a life-draining house of a card on its own.
Rares indicated with ★
1 Windswept Heath ★ 2 Blossoming Sands 2 Evolving Wilds 10 Forest 11 Plains
1 Anointer of Champions 1 Consul’s Lieutenant 1 Dragon Bell Monk 1 Dragon Hunter 1 Dromoka Warrior 1 Honored Hierarch ★ 1 Kytheon’s Irregulars ★ 1 Outland Colossus ★ 1 Seeker of the Way 2 Citadel Castellan 2 Topan Freeblade 2 Undercity Troll 2 Valeron Wardens 2 War Oracle
1 Collected Company ★ 1 Dromoka’s Command ★ 1 Feat of Resistance 1 Pressure Point 1 Valorous Stance 2 Enshrouding Mist 2 Mighty Leap 2 Titanic Growth
1 Sandsteppe Citadel 2 Blossoming Sands 2 Jungle Hollow 2 Scoured Barrens 6 Forest 6 Swamp 7 Plains
1 Dromoka, the Eternal ★ 2 Ainok Bond-Kin 2 Disowned Ancestor 3 Lightwalker 1 Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit ★ 1 Avatar of the Resolute ★ 2 Abzan Falconer 1 Tuskguard Captain 1 Abzan Battle Priest 1 Mer-Ek Nightblade 1 Longshot Squad 1 Siege Rhino ★ 1 Elite Scaleguard
1 Scale Blessing 2 Dromoka’s Gift 2 Ultimate Price
2 Cached Defenses 2 Incremental Growth 2 Map the Wastes
1 Abzan Ascendancy ★ 1 Ancestral Vengeance 1 Citadel Siege ★ 1 Debilitating Injury 1 Suspension Field
Value to Newer Players
Generally, I like to recommend products for brand new players that also give a pool of cards to build from, like a Deck-Builder’s Toolkit. But having a “shuffle and go” type product that won’t be the dreaded worthless bulk of the Intro Packs is a value.
Whilst the balance and gameplay of Clash Packs have never quite compared to the better end of the Duel Decks, they do still provide a product that two people can simply sit down and play. The value of that can’t be overlooked. They also act as a good way to get a chunk of cards that are currently in standard — especially considering the number of standard playable cards present in Armed and Dangerous. With the head-to-head gameplay and possibility to build upwards, I think this wouldn’t be a bad first product for a novice player and makes an excellent supplement to someone with a budding collection.
Value to Experienced Players and Collectors
The inclusion of cards that are played in Modern is a huge boon for the long-term value of this deck. The cards in Armed and Dangerous won’t just plummet in value as soon as they cycle out, which is frankly the reality for most Magic products aimed at standard. Cards like Collected Company are now widespread in Modern, but crucially are not unfair or oppressive. You can simply buy this Clash Pack for the juicy rares and the alternate art foils included.
Being a filthy Brit-Bong, I bought this using the Queen’s pounds sterling. But whatever you’re paying with, the upshot is that at time of writing you can sell the cream from this Clash Pack and more than make your money back. For a collector, or just someone looking to get a few more modern/standard playables, this is not going to be a purchase you feel bad about. The inclusion of a Windswept Heath is especially welcome; Wizards knows fetch-lands will always hold some value. Putting them in a pre-build deck is a sure-fire way to ensure value.
Conclusions and Recommendations
As a product, I would say Armed and Dangerous is well worth a buy for almost any kind of Magic player who does not already own all standard/modern playable cards that are in it since the product costs less to buy than the sum of its parts. It’s a given that this will, in the short term, drive prices of these cards down to be about equal to the price of the product (that’s just the way the Magic market works). Some of the cards have applications in Modern and so will increase in value over the long term — save for the slim chance of them being banned.
Armed and Dangerous also has gameplay for newer players. Whilst it’s a world away from a deck you could just show up with and be competitive at an Friday Night Magic, it gives you a good selection of cards to start working up to that level . I think Wizards has cracked the formula on this one and I hope future clash-packs can live up to this high standard. More of this please.
Published by: Wizards of the Coast (Subsidiary of Hasbro)
Cost: £21.50 as of 28/07/2015 (Ebay)
Source: Reviewer Purchased
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