Tyrant of Kher Ridges | The Brothers' War
28, Aug, 23

New MTG Starter Kit Is the Most Mid Product Ever Printed

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Article at a Glance

As the majority of MTG players will know, Wizards of the Coast releases an awful lot of products each year. With ten major sets, Secret Lair releases, and Alchemy too, it’s almost impossible to keep up with everything going on. As MTG’s Lead Designer is fond of saying, this has turned MTG into more of a buffet, rather than an excessively indulgent meal.

Rather than consuming every MTG product as much as possible, players are instead now pushed to pick and choose. While this seems like a sensible solution, it can leave some products being almost entirely overlooked. If they don’t have incredible value or new cards to entice enfranchised fans, it seems they may as well not exist. 

Given away by the “New” in the title, one of the latest products Wizards is releasing falls into this category. Set to launch alongside Wilds of Eldraine, the 2023 Starter Kit is far from being the latest and greatest MTG product. That being said, however, it still manages to offer some compelling value, both financially and otherwise. 

Deconstructing the Decks

MTG 2023 Starter Kit

To put it bluntly, the MTG decks within the 2023 Starter Kit are not very good. This, however, should not really be an earth-shattering revelation to players. After all, these decks are very much for starters, rather than veteran players. Nevertheless, should you bring either of the kit’s decks to a Standard tournament, you’ll be ruthlessly decimated. 

Looking at the deck lists for either deck, it’s easy to see a lot of room for improvement. Miraculously, this is evident from just looking at the product description for the 2023 Starter Kit. Only offering “2 Mythic Rare and 6 Rare cards” in each deck, these decks were never going to be good. 

Delving into the actual decklists, this presumption is quickly proven right. Each deck, for instance, only uses one copy of their best cards such as Sarkhan, Soul Aflame. Compared to these powerful mythic cards, the rest of the deck is severely underpowered, effectively relying on uncommon Draft chaff.

With a bad mana base, weak core, and an incredibly basic beatdown win condition the 2023 Starter Kit decks don’t win any prizes. That, however, is kind of the point, so, in reality, it’s not actually a problem at all.

Rather than being designed to be the best of the best decks around, the 2023 Starter Kit is obviously a beginner product. As a result of this, the decks should have a lot of easy and obvious avenues for improvement. Just like with preconstructed Commander decks, this encourages new players to get more invested in the game, by enhancing their own deck. 

Finding the Value

MTG 2023 Starter Kit Expensive Cards

While the power level of the deck may not truly matter, there is one thing that all MTG players care about; value. Important to players both new and old, everyone wants to get a good deal on what they buy. Through this lens, the MTG 2023 Starter Kit is once again rather meh, however, again, that’s not the end of the world.

As briefly mentioned earlier in this article, the best card within the new Starter Kit is also the most valuable. Released during the rather controversial March of the Machine: The Aftermath, Sarkhan, Soul Aflame is the most expensive card by quite a margin. Currently, valued at around $6, this Sarkhan mostly sees play in Dragon Typal Commander decks.

Beyond this veritable bomb in value, the next most expensive card is Silverback Elder. Costing around $5 to purchase, this Ape Shaman sees a smidgen of play in Pioneer. Mostly, however, they’re another niche Commander card for both Monkey Typal and general creature shenanigans.

After these two prize mythic cards, the individual card value takes another hit and then plummets to the floor. Priced at roughly $3, Shivan Devastator is still worth something, however, they’re the last card we can say that about. For example, the most expensive currently released card, for instance, is In the Trenches which is only worth $0.59. 

While the value of the significantly cheaper cards does add up over the course of the two decks, they’d be incredibly difficult to sell. This essentially removes them from the value equation leaving only three cards worth a grand total of $14. Considering the 2023 Starter Kit costs around $20, there’s a least a smidgen of value mismatch. 

Room for Improvement 

Relentless Advance | War of the Spark

Obviously, considering a good deal is always nice, it would be good to see more rares and more value. This, however, could jeopardize the intended purpose of the product. Even if a single high-value land like Otawara, Soaring City was included in a deck, the Starter Kits could be instantly snapped up by savvy players. This could potentially prevent new players from being able to acquire and enjoy these decks as intended. 

With this in mind, it’s likely for the better that the 2023 Starter Kit isn’t a true value powerhouse. That said, however, there’s still room for improvement with this product, especially when you consider the new Story Decks. Released alongside Wilds of Eldraine, these Wizards curated deck lists offer MTG players a flavorful introductory slice of the new set. In theory, these decks could be packaged as new entry-level MTG products. 

On one hand, this would solve a lot of the current issues with the implantation of Story Decks. Providing an easy way to access the cards, alongside a place to play the flavorful decks, a Starter Kit-esque Story Deck seems like a great idea. On the other hand, however, they’re similarly not great Standard decks, and may not be ideal for new players.

At the end of the day, considering the complexity of MTG, new players definitely deserve their own product. Even if it’s a little bit bad, or missing some potential, it’s undoubtedly for the better these decks exist. Subsequently, we’re looking forward to seeing what Wizards can do with the product line going forward. 

Read More: Enchanting Tales Cards Provide Epic Prerelease Infinite Combos!

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