Magic: The Gathering’s 2019 Challenger Decks are almost here, and we’re going to help you decide which one to get.
Wizards of the Coast has once again announced a lineup of four Challenger Decks to get anyone catapulted back into the Standard Magic format. These decks are based on real tournament-winning decks and come ready to brawl straight out of the box, so there’s no need to worry about card legality or if your deck is good enough--it most certainly is.
The only question is which deck do you buy to fit your personal play style? Well, don’t you fret, because we’re here to help. There are four decks to choose from and each comes with its own unique feel. Let’s go over each one and find out which is the right fit for you.
White weenie returns in United Assault! This classic deck archetype takes advantage of white’s inexhaustible supply of hyper-efficient cheap creatures. Cards like Healers Hawk, Leonin Vanguard, and Skymarcher's Aspirant offer incredible value and early-game menace, while long-term threats like Legion's Landing and Ajani's Pridemate force your opponent to act lest they fall to your rabid onslaught of holy minions.
This deck makes heavy use of the Ascend mechanic to generate value, while key creatures are kept alive thanks to Dauntless Bodyguard. Conclave Tribunal offers cheap and efficient removal to keep your army in the fight.
United Assault is all about aggression--empty your hand of soldiers and just keep swinging. The idea is to overwhelm your opponent with threats and force them into untenable positions, all while evasive creatures continue to chip away at their dwindling life points. This is probably the simplest deck of the four to learn and ideal for new players.
Aggressive red decks have always been a fan favorite archetype, and the current Standard format is no exception. Lightning Aggro takes a different approach to aggression than United Assault. Whereas United Assault uses an army of efficient creatures to batter away at an opponent's defenses, Lightning Aggro takes the more direct route of simply sending damage directly to your opponent’s face.
Creatures like Viashino Pyromancer and Goblin Chainwhirler deal damage even without getting into combat, while Ghitu Lavarunner and Runaway Steam-Kin are highly efficient creatures that become even more deadly over time. Once your opponent drops to the single digits, it's time to aim burn spells like Shock and Lightning Strike directly at their life points to take them down.
While Lightning Aggro might seem simple, it’s actually very complex. You only have so much damage at your disposal, and you have to constantly gauge whether or not to burn your opponent’s creatures or throw your spells directly at their life points. It’s a tricky balance that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Our first dual-color deck, Deadly Discovery combines black and green to make a midrange aggro-control deck that ramps you up while it wears your opponent down. The Explore mechanic pulls double duty here, either boosting your creatures' power or finding you more land to keep your mana generation going. It can also be used to fill your graveyard with cards you can get back later thanks to Find//Finality or Golgari Findbroker.
Vraska, Relic Seeker is the centerpiece here, and the only planeswalker to make an appearance in the Challenger Decks. Once played, she single-handedly removes opposing threats while generating threats of your own, and can eventually win the game all on her own if your opponent lets her.
Deadly Discovery is all about outlasting and outmaneuvering opponents. Your Explore mechanic ensures this deck is the most consistent of the four--especially when it comes to drawing land--while its removal doesn’t need to worry about specific damage numbers. Pick this deck if you like your fights to be a little more drawn out.
The second dual-color deck to appear in the 2019 Challenger list, Arcane Tempo brings blue-red tempo-control to the mix. This deck is all about controlling the flow of the game, speeding things up when you sense an opening, but more often than not slowing things down until you’re ready to strike.
Goblin Electromancer makes your instants and sorceries cost less, while Murmuring Mystic throws out 1/1 tokens to keep your enemy at bay. Opt, Radical Idea, and Chart a Course ensure your hand is always full of options, and direct damage spells like Shock and Lava Coil remove threats before they become too hot to handle.
But even if they do, Dive Down and Blink of an Eye can buy you a turn or two.
Once you've played enough instants and sorceries, Crackling Drake and Niv-Mizzet, Parun becomes your kill cards. Swing with a massive, flying Dragon to win the game.
Arcane Tempo is for the player that loves the kind of victory that only comes when a plan comes to fruition. This deck is probably the toughest of the four to play, and you’ll be making extensive use of your sideboard in order to adapt to challengers’ decks.
2019 Challenger Decks are on sale April 12th for $29.99 wherever Magic: the Gathering cards are sold.