We know that reprints of old and rare decks are coming in Duel Decks: Anthology, but these products were released so many years ago that many of us (including me) aren't more than passingly familiar with the cards in them. If you want to get the bottom of these decks without trying to navigate old, broken product announcements like this, you're in luck: I've done the work for you. Let's talk about what's exciting in Duel Decks: Goblins vs. Elves.
This box set can currently be found on Amazon at a low, low price of $198.99. With a price tag like that, you know the deck is going to be packing some goodies. All prices cited below are TCGplayer mid, and it should be noted that none of these prices will be real when this product is released—almost everything will suffer a price drop when reprinted, at least temporarily.
The Big Kahunas
Almost every Duel Deck has one card that sticks out as the big, desirable reprint to buy the product. For the inaugural product in the Duel Deck series, we get...well, I guess there isn't really a big, flashy card in this one. Sorry?
Uncommons as the Hook
Interestingly, the most expensive cards in this set are all uncommons.
*Quick aside: I guess there's a new border in town, so what do we call the Eighth through Conspiracy border now? "Modern border" is a misnomer, and "old border" leads to confusion. This is something the community will have to decide in the coming months. I guess I'll use "8C" border for now?
The reprint of Wirewood Symbiote, currently $3.13, mirrors the Warchief reprint in many ways: it's a staple in Legacy Elves, is the only 8C-border available, and is a one-of. Two copies of casual-favorite Imperious Perfect ($4.93) and one of Elvish Promenade ($3.29) close out the "priciest" cards on the list.
Stuff Between $1 and $3
The elves deck doesn't boast quite as many Legacy-quality cards, instead including casual stuff like Elvish Harbinger, Heedless One, Sylvan Messenger, Wellwisher, Wren's Run Vanquisher, Harmonize, and Wirewood Lodge.
Bulk Rares Aplenty
This set really derives its value from the uncommons. Besides the two foils, the other rares included in this set are under $1. For reference:
So is the Deck Worth It?
I'm not going to do the math, but I'm pretty sure the cards added up in this set do not equal the $200 price tag that it's enjoying. This is a collector's item more than anything, and while $25 (a quarter of the Duel Decks: Anthology) price looks good compared to the current availability, keep in mind that this is a markup from the original $20 price.
This isn't exactly an auspicious start, at least from an MTG finance perspective, but these two tribes are casual favorites and these decks will provide a lot of fun for the casual player looking to expand his or her collection.
Until we go over the other three decks in the product, it's too early to tout this as a great buy or denounce it as a ripoff. We'll cover the other the rest of Duel Decks: Anthology in the coming weeks.