Challenger Decks are back! I think most of know what those are, but if you don't, you can check out all the decklists here! Today we're going to take a look at the new Challenger decks and see if they're just what you're looking for! And if you're interested in getting some for yourselves, they're available here on coolstuffinc.com!
Realistically, the answer to that question depends on what kind of Magic you play if you really are the target audience for these Challenger decks. If you've been thinking about getting into Standard but don't know where to start or don't have the cards to get in, these decks are definitely for you. Most of the time, the Challenger Decks end up retailing for between $30 and $40 and all 4 decks current estimated values are much more than that. The Allied Fires deck has the least value at approximately $73 worth of singles, while Cavalcade Charge has the most at $105. I can't speak to the competitiveness of these decks in the current Standard format, but they all resemble what was recently a pretty good deck. I would assume with the base construction you are capable of winning matches at your local FNM. As a result, if you're looking to transition from maybe playing Magic Arena to playing in your local game store, these are only one pack of sleeves short of what you'll need for FNM.
Don't want to play Standard? That's no problem. There are enough high value cards that you may end up wanting to buy this to help round out your collection. Let's break down each deck and look at the best things in each that may influence your decision.
So I told you this was the lowest value deck and it still remains true here. There are not a ton of standout cards in this list and the most expensive is one of the most ubiquitous in older collections. A single copy of Steam Vents is easily the most expensive and useful card in the deck. Unfortunately it falls off pretty quickly after this. It includes 4 copies of Fires of Invention (the namesake card) and 4 Narset, Parter of Veils but not a whole lot else. This is one of the few places where you can get a non-foil copy of Kenrith, the Returned King which you should keep in mind if you plan to play in professional level events like Grands Prix or Pro Tour Qualifiers. Ultimately there is not enough in this deck to entice most players that aren't interested in playing this deck in Standard. I would pass on it.
Final Adventure is a little bit better in regards to value. Its singles currently sell for $90 and it has a lot more higher dollar reprints. Topping the reprint list is Fabled Passage, a card that is extensively played in Standard, Pioneer, and even shows up in EDH decks. Its current retail value is about $19 which makes it one of the most valuable cards in Standard and it has the most appeal to non-Standard players. After this it also features 2 Knight of the Ebon Legion ($5/ea), 2 Murderous Rider ($6/ea), Vraska, Golgari Queen ($11), 2 Castle Locthwain ($6/ea), and 4 Noxious Grasp ($1.50/ea). If you are interested in getting into Pioneer, you may really want to consider this deck. If you buy 2 copies you will get 4 Knight of the Ebon Legion, 4 Murderous Rider, and 4 Castle Loctchwain for about $60 which is still $8 less than those cards individually. And you end up with a pair of Fabled Passage and Vraska you can resell to push the price down further. If you want exclusively Fabled Passage, you could buy this and sell the remainder to probably end up coming out ahead. Either way, the more of this deck you want, the more likely you will get a discount by buying it. I think the biggest miss of this deck is that although Allied Fires includes a Steam Vents, this deck does not include an Overgrown Tomb.
Flash of Ferocity
Flash of Ferocity would have been a great top tier Standard deck during the last Pro Tour but I don't think it's as popular now. Fortunately, it contains approximately $100 worth of singles and has them concentrated in some higher value items instead of a lot of $0.50 - $1 cards. This deck also contains a Fabled Passage, for those interested, and an array of different supporting cards. The most expensive reprint in this deck is actually Brazen Borrower which retails for $24 right now. If you only wanted the Brazen Borrower and Fabled Passage (like I do) then you're getting $42.50 worth of cards for $30-40. If you stop there you're already ahead! But..the hits keep coming! This deck contains 4 Nightpack Ambusher ($2.75/ea), 2 Thassa's Intervention ($1.30/ea), 2 Castle Vantress ($3/ea), 3 Aether Gust ($2.50/ea), 2 Mystical Dispute ($3/ea), and 3 Shifting Ceratops ($3.25/ea). Nightpack Ambusher isn't really seeing a lot of play outside of Standard but Aether Gust and Mystical Dispute are definitely cards you will need for Pioneer. I don't think people realize they're as expensive as they are for uncommons but they definitely add a lot of value if you play with them or could be sold for a few bucks to bring down the cost of the rest of the deck. If you're able to get this deck for $30 I think it's hard to lose money on it. If it's $40 then possibly consider if you really plan to use the other valuable cards outside of the Fabled Passage and Brazen Borrower. If you're really only interested in the Fabled Passage make sure to also compare the price of the Final Adventure deck before buying.
Cavalcade Charge is the last and most valuable deck (at $110) of the bunch. Unfortunately, it also has pretty bad value to non-Standard players. This is probably the most complete deck for FNM because it includes 4 copies of almost every Red Standard staple but they don't translate as well into other formats. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and Bonecrusher Giant are the two cards that see some play in Pioneer but combine only for about $26 worth of value. If you really want to get your money's worth you'll need to want the Embercleave ($22), 4 Fervent Champions ($1.50/ea), 4 Runaway Steam-Kin ($2/ea), and 3 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame ($3.50/ea). It's good value if you want all of the cards but they really just don't have the same overlap in usefulness for non-Standard players to recommend this deck. If you really want an Embercleave you might be able to snap this deck up a little cheaper later but I'm not going to recommend it if you aren't going to use it in Standard.
What do you all think about these Challenger decks? I think I'll try to pick up the Flash of Ferocity deck as I've been meaning to get a Brazen Borrower and Fabled Passage for EDH and the deal is really too good to pass up.