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MTG Rundown vs. Warhammer 40K

The Warhammer 40k preconstructed Commander decks officially launched this past Friday. Like everything else in the Magic: The Gathering world recently, it came with issues. Cancelled preorders, exorbitant prices, pringled foils and reports of product shortages were all over Twitter and Reddit throughout the weekend.

This isn’t about that.

This is about the most fun day of Magic I’ve played in a very long time.

My home FLGS, Fantasy Games (South Bend, Indiana), hosted a casual Commander open play. I was set to record a gameplay episode with the guys from Game Talk Network’s MTG Rundown show, so I decided to get a practice game in with the Necron Dynasties precon.

I was podded up with my spouse and two players I’d never met before. One of them, a big Warhammer player, had the Forces of the Imperium deck and nervously told us it had been seven years since he last played Magic. Turns out, he only decided to play because of his love for Warhammer and curiosity about the decks. It was a sentiment I heard repeated a LOT at other tables.

I’m going to put this in big letters for all of the social media naysayers:

Universes Beyond will and does bring new players into the game.

One more time for the kids in the back. Universes Beyond, with its appeal to fandoms outside of the typical Magic: The Gathering lore and art style, will bring players into the game that otherwise wouldn’t play.

There is something refreshing about playing with people who are genuinely excited about the cards in their hand and the stories the cards tell. It’s not just about how devastating the card will make your next turn, but how cool it is to play Inquisitor Greyfax or Be’lakor, the Dark Master. I loved every little bit of lore and gameplay anecdote I was treated to in that game, because it gave the game life. Even if Blood For the Blood God! hit them for their last 8 life, Warhammer 40k fans shouted along with it all the same. For the first time in a long time, a game of magic was a bonding experience and not just the TCG equivalent of a blind date that I was only enduring for a promo Fabricate.

It is a pretty sweet Fabricate, though.

If this sort of gameplay experience is what I can look forward to when the Lord of the Rings set drops, I am 1,000% here for it.

After open play, I joined Happy, Andrew and Nick for a rousing game of Commander using all four Warhammer 40k precons. The decks were fresh out of the box and unaltered, though as Happy and Nick were all too happy to point out, Andrew and I tested ours a little bit beforehand.

I called dibs on Necron Dynasties, the mono-black artifacts deck, as soon as they proposed the idea a few weeks ago. Andrew picked The Ruinous Powers (Grixis cascade). Happy drew Forces of the Imperium (Esper tokens). Poor Nick got “stuck” with Tyranid Swarm (Temur stompy good stuff). Happy hit the ground running, but lost momentum once he ran out of board wipes to keep Nick in check. Andrew did silly chaos things to keep me from having fun, and Nick eventually overran all of us with a massive army of bugs.

Play of the game!

The highlight of the game for me was using Canoptek Scarab Swarm to exile my own graveyard with Imotekh the Stormlord already on the board. Nine 1/1 flying insects and 18 2/2 Necron warriors? Yes please.

I still lost horribly, because Andrew killed both me and Happy with Blood for the Blood God! before I could use Their Number is Legion to regain a bunch of life. Also, it turns out ignoring the Tyranid deck is a recipe for a bad day. But I got to do the thing, and that’s what matters.

Looking to the future

Even if you aren’t a big fan of the franchise, I highly recommend playing at least one game with all of the Warhammer 40k precon decks together. They are surprisingly well balanced against each other. It makes me optimistic about the Game Night: Free For All set that releases on 10/14/2022. If it’s as much self-contained fun as the Warhammer 40k precons are out of the box, it’s going to be a LOT higher on my holiday to-buy list.

Did you pick up one of the Warhammer 40k precon decks? Share your release weekend experienc in the comments below! And don’t forget to keep checking back with Game Talk Network’s MTG Rundown for more news, gameplay videos, and more!

About the Author
Silver has been playing Magic: The Gathering and other trading card games off and on since 1999, and is a lifelong roleplayer. They believe in Rule 0 and The Rule of Cool, and that the gaming table should be a safe space for everyone.

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