It’s the holiday season, and as my children get older I’ve been thinking a lot about when I finally get to introduce them to what Daddy does for a living. Magic has played a huge part in my life, and the game is a hugely positive influence for children, promoting problem solving skills and improving vocabulary. With it being the holiday season, you may be thinking of getting your children into Magic with a gift, but no idea what it should be.
There are a lot of products out, there so I’ve done a little research on good places to get started if you’re looking to introduce children to Magic.
Keep in mind that a lot of these products aren’t intended to be used in tournament Magic, and are intended to be used at home for casual play. Some of them may not have a rule book for new players. Here’s a link to the rules of the game if needed.
Welcome decks are a product Wizards of the Coast uses to introduce players to Magic. They’re totally free, and given away at local gaming stores when they’re in supply. They’re a little basic, and if you’re looking for a gift idea or something with a little more substance I’d look more into the various pre-constructed decks being sold.
Here’s a link to how you can find out more about Welcome Decks.
Spellslinger Starter Decks
Spellslinger Starter Decks are a cheap way to give a child everything they need to start playing Magic right away. It comes with a pair of decks, a rule book, some quick start guides, and some life counters.
This product is intended to introduce players to Magic. The decks also come in a predetermined order so that you can play the games out as intended, sort of like a tutorial. Once you’re ready, take the next step and shuffle them up, then play.
This is a great, cheap way to get started for a beginner, and if you yourself aren’t too familiar with Magic, this is where I’d start. This will give you a bit more substance than the free Welcome Deck, but also eases a player into Magic.
Planeswalker decks are designed to teach new players about Magic, and also come with a cool exclusive planeswalker for each deck. These decks are geared towards teaching new players, so they’re excellent tools to teach children the game.
The planeswalker decks also come with two booster packs so you can additionally customize your pre-constructed deck with the cards you open.
They’re available at prereleases, and at some you can even try them out for free. One neat thing about the planeswalker decks is that they come with a code so that you can unlock the very same deck on MTG Arena. This means that you can both teach the game in paper and digitally with the same purchase. This seems like a great new tool for getting into both platforms.
Elves vs. Inventors is the last of the series as Wizards of the Coast is moving in another direction with Challenger decks.
Duel Decks provide you with two decks, designed to be pitted against each other, the tokens you need for each deck, and some life counters to keep track of life totals.
Duel Decks are a bit more complicated than the basic Spellslinger Starter Decks, but will also have a longer shelf life of enjoyment. As a professional player, I find even myself playing Duel Decks now and then in between rounds at tournaments against my friends.
Duel Decks are designed with a single strategy in mind instead of more basic cards of specific colors. In a year or two when my children are old enough to learn Magic, this is going to be my go-to for teaching my kids, as it’ll provide decks to let them play against each other.
Commander decks are designed for one of the most popular casual formats of all. Commander is a way of playing Magic either one-on-one, or in a multiplayer setting. Commander decks are 99-card singleton decks, meaning they only have one of each card, as stated by the rules of Commander. In addition, you also have a commander as the 100th card.
You can find those rules here.
Commander decks are designed around one legendary creature or planeswalker that players have access to in every game they play. You’re allowed to cast your Commander whenever you have the mana!
For a beginner, Commander decks introduce players to a lot of cards, and come with a variety of options for the commander. You can have a unique experience choosing between commanders, so games will play out differently.
Commander decks are a bit flashier than other pre-made decks, which make them a bit more exciting, but they are also the most complicated out of the bunch. They are sold individually so if you need two decks to play, you’ll have to buy at least two, and if you want to play multiplayer, you’ll have to buy as many decks as you need to get started. Commander is known for being a multiplayer game, but it can also be played one-on-one. Personally I’ve only played one-on-one Commander, and I find it to be a ton of fun as it’s very different from many of the competitive formats I’m used to playing.
Now this product is different and doesn’t come with a pre-designed deck. This is a collection starter product designed for the purposes of giving a player what they need to begin collecting and deck building.
Each Magic set has its own bundle, which comes with 10 booster packs of that set, a life counter, and a bunch of basic lands.
This product is for you if you want your children to experience opening packs and building deck with their favorite cards they opened, and add to it as time goes on.
As far as I know, it doesn’t come with a rule book, so make sure you use the link above if you don’t know the rules of the game yourself but want to gift this experience to someone.
If you want to continue adding to this, you could buy some booster packs or a booster box. When I first started playing Magic, I was excited about all the different options the game had for me so I’d mix it up with different sets. It may be something to consider if you plan to add to this with boosters.
Over the years there’s been a lot of the products I’ve mentioned. After some time, Wizards of the Coast created Anthologies sets, which include a bunch of Duel Decks or Commander decks, depending on which you prefer. These are a bit more pricey and more difficult to find.
When I first qualified for the World Championships my daughters were born days before. The first thing I bought for them was Duel Deck Anthologies at the Wizards of the Coast booth at PAX and I still have it in my room to this day, waiting for when they’re old enough to understand the game. Other friends of mine also purchased the same product and we played them for fun when we had down time at Worlds. The decks are all a lot of fun. You can even battle them all against each other to see how they line up and get a new experience every time. My friends and I like to randomize who plays what deck since there are a bunch to choose from.
If you’re looking to spend a little more, I highly recommend Anthologies packages.
Magic is a great gift to give to children. These are the best ways to have what you need to start playing Magic, and to get your children excited about Magic. Happy holidays!
Brought to you by Mike Sigrist, sponsored member of the Magic Pro League.