MTG Worlds Reprints

23:40 Thu 12 Apr 2007. Updated: 22:22 06 Jul 2007
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The World Championship deck reprints are some of my favorite MTG decks. They’re printed with different borders and backs, so they’re not tournament legal—but that means that you could get a deck worth about $400 in legal cards for between $10 and $15. I was extremely disappointed when they stopped printing these—2004 was the last World Championship to have four decks immortalized in reprint form.

I really think it was a poor decision by Wizards of the Coast, not least because easy access to the Worlds decks provided a sense of connection between less serious players and that highest of tournament levels. On top of that, the Worlds reprints are fantastic teaching tools—I’ve used them to teach at least three people how to play the game. Some of the decks are too complex for beginners, but there’s a good range through the eight years they were printed, providing an excellent way to increase the difficulty level as the beginner improves.

They also provide a sense of history for the game. Being able to play with those decks is to have a connection with those championships, and to feel that the game is something that has continuity and stability.

While it is of course possible to recreate them with real cards, that’s much more expensive, and also means that those card won’t be available for other decks—hardly a likely scenario for most players to put up with. This essentially means that they won’t be built very often, and accessible, available, and static high-level decks won’t be around for people to play. That last aspect is important—decks whose contents are changing to evolve with the game environment are much harder to use either as teaching tools or as examples. The reprints have a classic aspect about them that’s hard to recreate elsewhere.

I also have the eight Pro Tour: New York reprint decks, which are a lot of fun as well. But I really wish that Wizards of the Coast would reconsider.

Without the Worlds reprints, what more-or-less static, pre-built decks are available? There are preconstructed decks that they put out with every expansion, but these are designed with holes that you’re supposed to fill with your own cards. They aren’t classic in any sense, and tend to be kludgy and uneven. Whereas the Worlds decks, having made it through the toughest competition the game offers, are smooth, efficient, sleek, elegant and brutal.

Because of the way the game works, and how complicated it is, it’s not as if Wizards of the Coast could just produce decks like that for the precons (or something else) even if they wanted to. Thousands of hours of player effort went into the creation of those proven decks, and matching that isn’t easy at all.

I have some favorites, and some favorite matchups. Brian Hacker’s White Weenie versus Ben Rubin’s Sligh, both from 1998, are the best for teaching new players, because they’re both monocolor decks with relatively simple creature-based plans. They’re also very evenly matched. The Stompy deck from 1999 works relatively well for beginners also. Beyond that, Alex Borteh’s Da Folk and Jan Tomcani’s Dark Fires (both 2001) are very balanced against each other and provide a great opportunity for teaching the intricacies of a matchup. I also like 1996 Necro versus 1996 ErnieGeddon (the Lestrée version), another close pairing that captures a lot of what the beginning of true tournament MTG was like.

And naturally, since I feel this way, I have as a project the assembly of decks for each year since 2004, no matter that the decks aren’t being printed. Which means I have to use real cards, sadly, and some of the cards are rather more expensive than I’d like. Still, given how great playing with the older decks has been, I think building (and keeping together) a set of the newer ones will be worth it.

The decks I’ve decided on:
Katsuhiro Mori’s Ghazi-Glare
Frank Karsten’s Greater Good
Akira Asahara’s Enduring Ideal
Marcelo Carvalho’s Blue/Black Control
(Decklists here.)

The top two more or less have to go in. After that, I thought the others were the most interesting of the top eight, but leaving out Coimbra’s Aggro-Control was a very tough choice. (Another erason for these choices is that I’d like to see if Asahara’s deck beats Carvalho’s anytime outside of their actual meeting.)

Makihito Mihara’s Dragonstorm
Ryo Ogura’s Izzetron
Gabriel Nassif’s Martyrtron
Nick Lovett’s Boros
(Decklists here.)

I took the top four this time, leaving out two duplicates (and a Zoo deck), but sadly also Tiago Chan’s AngelFire Control, which I liked.

I haven’t gotten too far in assembling these, but it’s a project I want to resume, and maybe it’ll even get me to organize my cards again so that I can trade for what I need more easily.

7 Responses to “MTG Worlds Reprints”

  1. Brett Says:

    Since you sleeve the decks anyways, why not just proxy up every single card? Didn’t Seth give you infinite printer ink for your birthday? You could even make the borders gold to fit in with the other decks. Add some nice “SB” circles to the sideboard. And if you’re feeling really saucy, throw on your interpretation of the competitor’s signatures. It would take some time, but so would trading for 30ish dual lands…

  2. Tadhg Says:

    Well, I’ve played with all-proxy decks before, and they’re kind of awkward and bulky, so I’m hesitant to go in that direction for decks I’m planning to keep built in perpetuity. Proxies are generally things I like to use for testing, but not as permanent card replacements.

    I’m still thinking about proxying some cards, like the duals, as a compromise. I’ll probably start out that way but try to trade for the proxies along the way.

    That, or start a one-person campaign to persuade Wizards to start printing them again.

  3. Duke Schnolis Says:

    I love the World Championship Decks for many of the same reasons you mentioned. I only just discovered they haven’t released any more when today I went to purchase the 2005 and 2006 sets. I’m disappointed in Wizards’ decision, and I will join you to support the release of these products.

    Thanks for making some good choices on decks that you might create. I’m deciding now whether I want to proxy up these cards and keep them built for the fun of playing with some friends who don’t play Magic except with my cards and will not be purchasing their own.

  4. Tadhg Says:

    Thanks for the comment! I’m still disappointed about this, and continue to be so every time I think about the effort and/or compromises involved in making the decks myself—or about how many people will never get a chance to play with the decks because of the decision to stop printing them. I really should email Wizards about it…

  5. Dude McAwesome Says:

    I agree. I have had a lot of fun playing with the previous Worlds decks, and was dissapointed when they were discontinued. I will join you in petitioning the re-release.

  6. Craig Says:

    I am in the process of collecting all of the World Championship decks. I too am disappointed in the decision to stop printing these decks.

  7. Zeromant Says:

    Sorry for digging up this entry with a slightly off-topic question, but would it be possible that you mailed me the deck lists from PT 1996? I am writing an article about the evolution of magic deck types over the years and am frustrated, that there seem to be no reliable and complete deck lists from the first PT on the net, even though a collector’s set with them in it exists.

    Help would be greatly appreciated and honored with some name-dropping and a link to your site in Germany’s most-read magic site (PlanetMTG)!

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