Know what would make an awesome movie? Knights vs. Dragons. In fact, that’s the basis of many, many movies. Know what’s a terrible idea for a Duel Deck? Knights vs. Dragons.
Yes, many people were excited when they heard the announcement. Knights? Dragons? #winning. What we all seemed to forgot, however, is how awful these decks would actually work in principle.
You see, the fundamental flaw with this Duel Deck is that it is not Knights vs. Dragons; that’s not how the game of Magic works. The game is still me versus you, except I’m playing a Knight deck and you’re playing an awful Dragon deck. What this product really translates as is Two Drops vs. Eight Drops. Suddenly it seems like a much worse idea.
I understand that there are things to help the dragon deck along. There are a couple mana ramp cards as well as a lot of burn. A lot of burn. Mostly bad burn, but still a lot. In fact, the deck has almost as much burn as it does Dragons (And the only reason it’s not a tie is because they cheated and put a creature with changeling in). The deck also has more spells than creatures, which doesn’t seem to really fit for a Dragon themed deck.
What’s even worse about the Dragon deck are the Dragons they chose. Of the ten Dragons, one is a changeling which doesn’t even count, one is a crappy, non-flying artifact that had to be errata’ed to be a Dragon, two of them are both very recent and terrible (Mordant Dragon? Do you have any idea how many of those pieces of crap I already own? Even if you don’t have lots of them, if you had any hopes of opening a Jace, the Mind Sculptor in a pack then chances are you own your fair share) and four of them were in From the Vault: Dragons. That just leaves Kilnmouth Dragon which is kinda cool, and Shivan Hellkite which we just had in Tenth Edition.
The only possible draws on the dragon portion of this product are Bogardan Hellkite and Thunder Dragon, except those were both already in From the Vault: Dragons, so they’re not exciting anymore. At all.
Clearly I have a lot of hatred towards the Dragon deck, but that doesn’t mean that the Knight deck isn’t without its faults as well. As a whole, the deck is pretty much in line with what you’d expect, which is fine. There’s one thing that I can’t forgive however: mythic rare Knight of the Reliquary. As much as I’m sure everyone appreciates getting foil Knight of the Reliquary’s handed to them, I can’t forgive them for putting a mythic rarity symbol on it. In fact, I can only describe how I feel about it using words that my editor won’t let me use. [Editor’s Note: Darn straight.]
Why does this piss me off so much? After all, they’ve done it before. However, when they did it before, it was on cards that were printed before mythic rarity even existed. Maybe they would have been mythic rares, given the chance! The thing is, Knight of the Reliquary had that chance. It had that chance, and it said “no thanks, I’m just a rare, guys.” I understand that there aren’t really any mythic rare Knights that they could have used for this deck and that the foil Knight of the Reliquary would help sell it, but maybe the fact that there aren’t any mythic rares for them to choose should have been a good signal that this wasn’t their best idea.
In conclusion, I’m really glad that we were able to call our distributors as soon as the decklists came out and drastically cut our numbers on this embarrassment of a product. At the time of writing this we have sold exactly one of these, and I’m getting ready to lock the doors in a few minutes. Wizards, stick to planeswalker themed Duel Decks. They make more sense, they sell better (Phyrexia vs. the Coalition was almost as much of a dog as the all foil Sliver decks!), and you’ll never have people complaining that the foils aren’t really mythic rares.