Clash header

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.

Deck List

Rares in­di­cat­ed with  ★

Armed

Lands

1 Windswept Heath ★ 2 Blossoming Sands 2 Evolving Wilds 10 Forest 11 Plains

Creatures

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

 Instants

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

Sorceries

2 Epic Confrontation

Enchantments

2 Pacifism

Dangerous

Lands

1 Sandsteppe Citadel 2 Blossoming Sands 2 Jungle Hollow 2 Scoured Barrens 6 Forest 6 Swamp 7 Plains

Creatures

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

Instants

1 Scale Blessing 2 Dromoka’s Gift 2 Ultimate Price

Sorceries

2 Cached Defenses 2 Incremental Growth 2 Map the Wastes

Enchantments

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.

Clash insert 1

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.

Clash insert 2

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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John Sweeney
John Sweeney is a ter­ri­bly British man with a back­ground in en­gi­neer­ing. He writes long-form ed­i­to­r­i­al con­tent with analy­sis of gam­ing, games me­dia and in­ter­net cul­ture. He also does the oc­ca­sion­al video game ret­ro­spec­tive with a week­ly col­umn about Magic the Gathering thrown in for good mea­sure. He also does most of our in­ter­views for some rea­son, we have no idea why. A staunch sup­port­er of free speech and con­sumer rights; skep­ti­cal of agen­da dri­ven me­dia and sus­pi­cious of un­ac­cou­table au­thor­i­ty but al­ways hope­ful for change.