By Isaac Chandler
July 12, 2019
Core Set 2020 is upon us and with it a whole new set of preset decks to ease us into the new year. While you may need to put some mastery points in to get a couple of them, there is a nice one you can get right away, but only for a limited time. You can follow this link to get the MTG Arena Chandra’s Blaze Planeswalker Deck any time before Sunday, July 14th.
While preset decks are generally mediocre and really just utilized to get you used to the game, this is actually a great deck for low level ranked play. In fact, I’d argue this deck may just be an overall good deck. In my tests with it, I was able to easily set up a four-turn win with just a couple of the standard cards.
But what makes this deck so special? Let’s take a look first at what’s included in the deck. MTG Arena Chandra’s Blaze contains: 23 creatures, 9 instants, 2 sorceries, 1 planeswalker, and 25 basic lands. The deck is exclusively a mono-red deck that utilizes two strategies for winning: Temporarily buffing units, and non-attack spell blasts.
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But it’s their effects that really shine, especially when combined with Chandra’s Spitfire, a 1/3, 3-cost card that is definitely the star of this deck (beyond Chandra herself). Spitfire’s ability gives it +3/0 each time non-combat damage is done to your opponent, an effect that stacks infinitely but only for the duration of the turn.
What makes this so powerful is that most of the other spells and monsters in this deck have effects that directly do minor damage to your opponent and their monsters. This means you can abruptly play a card or two in a turn and turn your little Spitfire into a monstrous 7/3 or 10/3, allowing you to smash your opponent for most of their health.
It’s not a rare card either, with four in the deck, meaning you can fairly consistently get 1-2 of them on the field in just the first few turns and wipe your opponent before they can even get going. In testing we performed yesterday, we were able to rather consistently get one on the field with a Scorch Spitter within the first 3-4 turns, and in one case even got it with two Spitters and winning by turn four.
The deck’s powers are further amplified once you get Chandra on the field. Her laneswalker abilities include a +2 that does two damage to a target on the field of your choice, a -4 that does four damage to a monster on the field and two damage to its owner, and the penultimate -8 ability that does 10 damage to your opponent AND every monster they control on the board. This card is your bread and butter monster/board clear and allows you an extra source of buff your Spitfires if you have nothing else.
While the deck is very strong for a prebuilt, it does have some pretty glaring flaws.
First and foremost is the problem with board clear. While the deck does have Chandra to blow everything off your opponent’s side of the board, she’s the only card in the deck that can, and it comes at a once in eight turn ability; if you get her one copy on the board at all that is.
The deck doesn’t have anything in it to allow you to draw more cards either, so if you don’t get the components in your initial hand you’re going to have to just wait turn by turn until you get what you need.
The deck’s monsters and spells, as we stated before, also aren’t very strong for more than your turn or do much damage with their effects, so if your opponent is running something like a dino deck you’ll struggle if you don’t win early.
We also noticed the deck’s problems with other decks revolving around preventing your minions from attacking or utilizing deathtouch, as it has no counter to any of these abilities.
It’s mana cards also basic, as most prebuilts are, so you won’t get any nice effects from those. In addition, a few of the cards in the deck don’t really work well with the rest of it, specifically the Pack Mastiffs, which only interact with one or two other cards in the entire deck beyond themselves.
Overall, this is a nice starter deck to get you used to the the new core set. While it’s stronger than most prebuilts we’ve seen (save Merfolk from last year), it does have some pretty glaring weaknesses that will force you to either tinker with it or move on to more creative decks if you want to climb the ladder. It should get you to at least gold, though, and for a lot of people, that’s good enough.
We give it a solid ★★★☆☆.
Thanks for reading our first-look at the MTG Arena Chandra’s Blaze prebuilt deck! Be sure to stay tuned for more Magic: The Gathering content!