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If you took a break from Magic: The Gathering, new Challenger Decks can help

Four decks built around proven strategies that work right out of the box

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Arni Brockenbrow sits on a wooden throne, red firelight and read hair filling the frame. Image: Dmitry Burmak/Wizards of the Coast

One of Magic: The Gathering’s most popular formats, Standard play, is also among the most challenging to collect. Successful strategies come in and out of fashion with every new release. That churn is what makes the cards fun to collect, but for Magic newcomers or lapsed players, it can also present a huge impediment. That’s why Wizards of the Coast publishes Challenger Decks, and four new ones are set to arrive on March 26.

Over the last few years, pre-constructed Magic: The Gathering decks have traditionally centered around a given planeswalker, a powerful character from the fiction of that universe. Planeswalker Decks often tell a story, or work in a new stunt or mechanic unique to a given set of cards. But rarely do they become mainstays of the competitive play circuit. The newest set of cards, Kaldheim launched on Feb. 5 without Planeswalker Decks, offering up pre-constructed Commander decks instead.

Challenger Decks are quite a different beast. They include cards from across multiple sets, baked into 75-card decks, which includes a sideboard, tokens, and a deckbox. The strategies that they are built around have been play-tested for months by the community, and they’ve more or less trickled up to become retail products.

There are four new Challenger Decks coming out next month. You can check out the full decklists at the Wizards of the Coast website. Their names — Mono-Red Aggro, Mono-Green Stompy, Azorius Control, and Dimir Rogues — may mean very little to newcomers. But, for less than $30, the publisher says you’ll be able to put up a decent fight at your local game store.

Note that Challenger Decks don’t come with a code to unlock their contents inside Magic: The Gathering Arena.

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