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 spending the time to parse the the lists, you're in luck: I've done the work for you. Let's talk about what's exciting in Duel Decks: Jace vs. Chandra.
On Amazon, this one is even more expensive than Elves vs. Goblins, coming in at $209.99. Like last time, keep in mind that the prices cited here (TCGplayer mid) will almost certainly go lower than this once the reprints hit the market. Prices here are just for a rough frame of reference.
Stuff That Will Make You Want This Product
We're already starting off better than Elves vs. Goblins, and just with the two planeswalkers that headline the product. Jace Beleren is a Cube staple that sees some fringe Modern play. Sure, Chandra Nalaar is unplayable, but even the non-foil copies go for $4 or so. You should be able to trade a foil one out to a casual collector for twice that without a problem.
To me, the actually exciting card in this product is Ancestral Vision. The card is good enough to be banned in Modern, and I've been meaning to pick up a copy for Cube. The card is hovering just under $10 right now, but if it ever gets unbanned, a sharp increase should be expected.
If you refuse to pay $7 for a card you can get for less than $1, you'll be excited to know that the Counterspell with the cool Jace art is (presumably) coming back, this time with the new-new border and not the 8C border printed in the original Jace vs. Chandra. I think this is by far the best art featured on this classic spell, but is the cooler art worth removing an old-border Tempest one from my cube? It remains to be seen, but I say probably not. Note that there are two copies of Counterspell in this product.
We've also got a copy of Daze, a Legacy staple and all-around fun card for casuals (/s). Add a few bucks to the total value of this set.
My first introduction to Magic was way back in '95 or '96, and the first deck I built was Mono-Red Burn. While I consider myself more of a blue mage these days, I still have a soft spot in my heart for cards that say, "Deal 3 (or 4 or 2 or whatever) damage," and we've got a bevy of them in this product.
In the Legacy-playable category, we get two copies of Fireblast, so that's cool. Two copies of Incinerate with Chandra-specific art are also included, and for some reason (supply, no doubt) these retail for nearly three times as much as the clearly superior Mirage and Ice Age ones.
Firebolt, Flame Javelin, and Magma Jet are all played in Cube, as is Flametongue Kavu, which is pretty reasonable in Commander, too. None of these cards are particularly pricey, but they're all good ones for the casual player to have in his or her collection.
The only thing I like more than burning things, of course, is drawing cards. And countering spells. And bouncing things. Old-school classics like Ophidian and Man-o'-War help with this, as do their more powerful contemporary versions Form of the Mulldrifter and Riftwing Cloudskate. Powerhouses Fact or Fiction and Gush draw you even more cards. I have never heard of Terrain Generator before viewing this list, but I'll be keeping it in mind the next time I want to ramp in a non-green deck. Few of these cards are even a full dollar, but they are all powerful, important parts of Magic history.
Bulk Rares for You!
It wouldn't be a Duel Deck without bulk rares, and Quicksilver Dragon, Rakdos Pit Dragon, Borrowed Hostility, Demonfire, and Balshan Beguiler have us covered in that department. It's funny how Duel Decks usually have better uncommons (and even commons) than most of the rares.
So is the Deck Worth It?
It's certainly a better-looking product than Elves vs. Goblins! To me, these two decks represent some of the purest forms of Magic, and while their contents add up nowhere close to the current $210 price tag, I would be thrilled if every Duel Deck was designed with so many cool cards included.
Is the product worth the $25 it will cost this fall? Yeah, probably. Does it mitigate the lack of money cards in Elves vs. Goblins? Probably not so much. We'll have to take a look at the last two reprinted products included in Duel Decks: Anthology to know whether or not this set is a buy at $100, so join me next week when we do just that.