MTG – Is it worth it to buy a Starter Set for Magic: The Gathering? No.

Many Magic the Gathering players ask the question; is it worth it to buy a Starter Set? Starter Sets consist of two welcome decks, which are the free 30 card sample decks that local game stores give out for free to new players. They also contain two spin-down die. Here, the price for these two free samples is $9.99. So is this product a great way for brand new players to ignite their spark and begin their journey into the world of the Magic the Gathering trading card game? Or is it an offensive, cynical ripoff of a scam that Wizards of the Coast should be utterlym utterly ashamed of? Corporate thievery and exploitation at its most vile? Let’s take a look! A Magic the Gathering starter set contains the following: two free welcome decks, you’ll only receive two out of the five total, so additional starter sets will need to be purchased if you want to collect all five of these free sample 30 card decks Before we go on, let’s take a moment to look at Wizards of the Coast’s own website to better understand the potential value new customers are getting here. Now this is me just reading directly off the corporate Wizards of the Coast website, but here under “no-charge decks to demo Magic the Gathering!” Wizards of the Coast writes; “These no-charge decks feature the five colors of magic. Packaged as sets of two in a take home deck box, one of the decks in each set features the color of the Planeswalker who appears on the deck box. The other deck is selected at random from the remaining four colors of Magic. Each deck includes one special rare that cannot be found in other magic products. New players can build their first 60 card decks around these very special rares, since they are legal for tournament play. So is it worth it to spend $9.99 to get two of these? No! Of course not! It’s $9.99 for something that Wizards of the Coast has given away for free for years upon years. Something that local games stores are told not to resell. That are given out as free samples at everything, and every event imaginable. From gaming conventions to in-store events such as the ‘Magic Open House’. How is it that I’m having this conversation? Am I in a coma? Am I in a state of pure delirium here? I need to explain this? You do not sell free samples. Period! You also don’t do so prominently at a major retailer. Here’s a photo of the Target I bought my starter set at. It’s placed above the bundles, above the Planeswalker decks, even above those horrid gift boxes. This is the first item you are going to see when you look for MTG in the aisle. Let’s not forget that Planeswalker decks are only a few dollars more than this. Now, I know, I have been hard, extremely hard on Planeswalker decks in my past reviews. but when you compare them to two free sample welcome decks? It makes Planeswalker decks look like the freaking Nintendo Switch! Keep in mind that these sample welcome decks are only 30 cards each, so you’re literally getting the same number of cards. 60 cards here, 60 cards there. Only with the Planeswalker deck it’s a couple of bucks more, and for that you’re getting a foil Planeswalker, a handful of rares, a deck that maybe, just maybe, you can work towards standard with-okay Oh okay I’m gonna argue that point still, but other people disagree with me. Nonetheless There’s at least the two booster packs in the Planeswalker deck. I thought there was gonna be a couple booster packs in this at least. Nope! There’s an ad telling me to buy a Planeswalker deck though. Maybe they should have put that on the front. Like with an arrow pointing to the Planeswalker deck and saying “Buy this instead!” $9.99 rookie decks are $5.99 each and contains 60 cards, carefully selected and handcrafted, to work as a new players first mono-colored learning deck. You can get two of these for essentially the same price being charged here. Or at least a sixty card battle deck. And no, this isn’t me dropping an ad for battle decks, I’ll make one of those later. But, what you get for the exact same price is a deck designed by the legendary Chris Van Meter. Famed Magic player, and who now literally is in game development, crafting each battle deck off of an established draft archetype for again the same price as two. Free. Samples! The list of alternatives is huge. But the best being; just walk into your local game store and get these for free! You know, like Wizards of the Coast says to do on their own website. Let’s run through a few excuses, shall we? New players don’t know any better! Oh, so that makes this okay? Here’s a question; a kid who is just starting magic comes into your store, opens a pack of Kaladesh, and gets a Sol Ring Masterpiece. The kid has no idea what this card is, or what it is worth, so you offer to trade him not one but two Burning Suns Avatar for it. Is this an acceptable thing to do? Now sure , there’s no law about this and if the kid agrees to the trade that’s their own fault I suppose, sure, whatever, but you – the person who took advantage of a brand new player in this way, are a * bleeping to cover cursing * And when you take stuff that you give out for free everywhere, and charge new players $9.99 for it, and justify it because they don’t know any better? Then you, too, are a * bleeping to cover cursing * It might not be an official Wizards product! Now I have no idea whose bright idea this product was, and it is fully possible that, like the mystery box from earlier this year this is simply a company other than Wizards of the Coast possibly Target, taking a selection of overstock, and wrapping it up in a crappy box and selling it for a couple of bucks. Well, 10 bucks actually. Now I really doubt that that is the case here, because why would Target have a huge overstock of welcome decks in the first place? But even if that’s what this is, or even if other crappy products like this are ones that someone else is wrapping up and selling, Wizards of the Coast is allowing their name and likeness to be used. Look, just like on the ‘Mystery Packs’, nowhere on this box does it say anything other than Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro. It’s got IP images of Planeswalkers, has all the right logos –
oh, look Magics 25th! Gonna go on for another 25 years with practices like this, huh? There’s nowhere on this packaging that even suggests to me this is anything other than an official WotC product. If someone else is being allowed to use your name and likeness to bilk, cheat or otherwise exploit your customers, and potential customers, then you need to do whatever legal action you can to ensure anyone buying this knows it does not come from you. Because as far as I know, from looking at the packaging, it does. Final conclusion; you are selling free samples for $9.99 to unsuspecting children, parents and grandparents and potential new customers. There is no excuse for this. FAIL! I hope very much this video has been of some help to you. I also hope very much this holiday season, when trying to get your friends into Magic the Gathering, you will buy for them instead a: Planeswalker deck. A deck builders toolkit. A rookie, or battle deck. A pre-release kit. A bundle, or, just a bunch of booster packs. A duel deck. A Pokemon theme deck. Oh, no, not that one! * noise of window smashing and cat screaming * And remember; whether you were buying booster packs or card sleeves, you can’t get welcome decks for free at Target or Walmart. So when you spend your money, spend it at the place where you spend time playing Magic the Gathering. And it’s the same place that gives you welcome decks for free. Instead of $9.99. And that’s your local game store, whenever possible. You’re supporting the opposite of this exploitative business practice. Also community. And this video is brought to you by my, and many other people’s, local games store; CardKingdom. A brick-and-mortar pillar of this community. As well as the Patreon support of viewers such as you. These are the people that keep Tolarian Community College going, and growing strong. So thank you! * outro music *


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