Deck-building is one of the hardest aspects of Magic: The Gathering to master.
Identifying synergies, finding the right mana curve, and including enough card draw and interaction are some of the finer points that make for a successful deck brew. This process is difficult and time-consuming, which is why so many players look for decklists online.
Aside from net-decking and learning Magic that way, preconstructed decks, or simply “precons,” are a great way to be introduced to Magic and its many different formats.
There are several different precons on the market that are legal in a variety of formats. Generally, these decks include 60 to 100 cards, a deck box, dice, tokens, and a how-to-play insert.
Commander, Standard, and even Pioneer have precons available at your local game store, but not every product is created equally. There’s also the option to obtain some older, more expensive precons for Commander or kitchen-table play.
Here are the best precons available in Magic, from the readily available to the pricier, more difficult to find.
The set of Commander decks released with Strixhaven: School of Mages are all excellent choices for players looking to get into Commander. Unlike the precons from Zendikar Rising and Kaldheim, the five Commander 2021 decks are fueled by more powerful reprints and new cards. These lists are designed to be competitive out-of-the-box in most pods.
Commander 2021 contains some of the most popular legendary creatures in the format, according to Commander deck-building site EDHRec. Osgir, the Reconstructor; Veyran, Voice of Duality; and Adrix and Nev, Twincasters are among some of the most popular Commanders over the past month.
Another perk of Commander 2021 is that each deck represents a different strategy in the format, making it easy for new players to find a deck that suits their style. Silverquill is one of the few group-hug precons ever made. Prismari is a solid spellslinger list. Lorehold is an excellent graveyard Artifact deck. Both Quandrix and Witherbloom are solid midrange lists that can be expanded upon with a few upgrades.
Pioneer is an eternal format introduced at the end of 2019 and allows cards from Return to Ravnica onward.
It’s an alternative to Modern that is a little easier to get into due to the exclusion of fetch Lands. But Pioneer took a major hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wizards of the Coast intended the format to be played mostly in person and when events were cancelled during the pandemic, Pioneer fell into irrelevancy.
Pioneer Challenger decks are a great way to get into the competitive format. The four decks are copies of top-tier meta decks from Pioneer’s short history. The lists aren’t fully optimized but are more than capable of holding up at a Friday Night Magic and are only a few upgrades away from being optimized.
The four precons available are Azorius Spirits, Lotus Field Combo, Mono-Red Burn, Orzhov Auras.
These precons were released in 2019 when Magic visited Ravnica for the third time. Both Ravnica Allegiance and Guilds of Ravnica focused on five of the 10 guild color pairs. Each color pair has a guild kit that contains an alternate art legendary creature and special Ravnica-themed basic lands.
Here are the 10 legendary creatures that received special art for the product.
- Etrata, the Silencer
- Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
- Izoni, Thousand-Eyed
- Aurelia, the Warleader
- Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice
- Isperia, Supreme Judge
- Teysa, Orzhov Scion
- Rakdos, Lord of Riots
- Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
- Zegana, Utopian Speaker
These decks also contain an additional legendary creature and a suite of useful Commander staple cards for the color pairs. Ravnica Guild Kits are great starting points for a potential Commander deck or fun for a kitchen-table battle box.
This product is a little harder to find. Some online retailers like Card Kingdom have some in stock for $30 or higher. Check your local game store. They may have these kits lying around in the back.
Planechase is a multiplayer format that changes the game’s rules through the use of a planar die and cards. These jumbo-sized planar cards showcase a setting in the Magic universe and have different benefits and drawbacks that change how players interact with each other.
These Planechase Game Packs come with 10 plane cards and a 60-card precon to play with.
Availability is an issue for a lot of these products. Online retailers are the most reliable source to purchase these packs. There is a Planechase Anthology that contains four 60-card decks and over 80 different plane cards. These can occasionally be found at your local game store or online.