Magic: The Gathering – Manipulative Monstrosities Intro Deck
Magic: The Gathering Intro Decks aren’t designed to win tournaments, or be unbeatable in any of the game’s formats. Their primary purpose is to provide a pre-made deck that new players can pick up and play, secondary to this is that they typically introduce and make use of the new rules implemented in the set they are from. In this way Intro Decks provide a great first stop for anyone jumping into Magic: The Gathering.
NOTE: Since Intro Decks are made for newer Magic: The Gathering players, I wrote the review to reflect that, and used some terminology that only Magic players will understand.
Manipulative Monstrosities is an Intro Deck from the current Theros set. It is a blue/red deck, and as the name suggests, makes heavy use of the Monstrosity ability, and also allows you to control how you draw cards in your deck through the Scry ability. Most of the cards in this 60-card deck will make use of at least one of these abilities.
For those who don’t know, Monstrositiy is an effect where you pay a certain amount of mana and then your monster becomes bigger. They gain a set of +1/+1 counters, and often a second ability will trigger. To best demonstrate this ability, lets check out the face-card for the deck: Shipbreaker Kraken.
So Shipbreaker Kraken is a 6/6 creature for 6 mana. Definitely not a bad thing to smack down onto the table, but lets take a closer look. Shipbreaker Kraken also has a Monstrosity ability; Monstrosity 4. By paying the 8 mana, Shipbreaker Kraken then becomes a 10/10 creature, and you get the option of tapping up to four of your opponent’s creatures and having them remain that way until Shipbreaker Kraken leaves the field. It is an expensive cost, but it works well in the intro deck. A whole bunch of creatures in this deck make use of Monstrosity, but all of them are different. Here are some more creatures in the deck that make use of Monstrosity.
So aside from playing creatures down and making them massive with monstrosity, the deck also relies heavily on the Scry mechanic. Scry was introduced in 2004 in the Fifth Dawn set, and has since been reintroduced in Theros. Scrying basically means you get to look at the top card (or cards, depending on the amount you can Scry) of your library and either putting them back on top, or on the bottom in any order you like. Effectively this lets you stack your own deck mid-game, and if used right can be devastating for your opponent. Check out Omenspeaker (one of my personal favourite cards not only from this deck, but from Theros period).
Omenspeaker lets you Scry 2 when she enters the battlefield. So basically you get to look at the top two cards of your deck, and decide which of any you want on top, and which if any you want at the bottom. It really helps if you are looking for a particular type of spell to finish off your opponent, or a land so that you can finally trigger Monstrosity.
Being a blue/red deck, there is a lot of control and burn going on aside from the Monstrosity and Scry mechanics. Blue makes use of a lot of stalling tactics, while red does its best to deal damage as quickly as possible. Cards like Wall of Frost, and Shock are staples of these two styles of play, and both are present here. However, I haven’t touched on the deck’s second rare card: Curse of the Swine. This card turns your opponents creatures into pigs! Check it out…
Awesome right? This card is fantastic, and really ties the deck together nicely. Nothing better than having a bunch of Monstrous creatures on the field, than your opponent only having a bunch of pigs to try and stop them with.
So there is Manipulative Monstrosities for you. It wont be winning you any matches at the Pro Tour, but for an intro into Magic, as well as the more in-depth mechanics of Monstrosity and Scry you really can’t go wrong. Also don’t forget that if you are picking up an Intro Deck, that it comes with two free booster packs too, so you might get something to customise your deck with and make it even better!
One final thought on the Intro Decks in general: I noticed when I was playing with them, that the cards feel quite different, almost slippery in comparison to normal. Due to this, they got dirty quicker and were also harder to shuffle, so if you plan on using them a lot you might want to invest in some sleeves (although you should be doing that anyway!).
Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.