When you first learn to play Magic: The Gathering, building your first deck can be daunting. If you’ve only played a handful of games, you may not have enough cards in your collection to put a full deck together. And even if you were lucky enough to inherit some spare cards from friends, you may be stymied by decision paralysis or lacking synergistic cards.
That’s why many new Magic players gravitate to pre-built starter decks. These products allow you to sample different strategies to see which ones you like best. They allow you to forge your own path as a Magic player without relying on friends for loaner decks.
We’ve rounded up a list of preconstructed decks that will serve Magic players well in their first few months of playing the game. We’ve ordered them based on player experience level, so if you’re looking for a deck for yourself or a player you know, read on!
Best Teaching Tool: Card Kingdom Rookie Decks
Deck size: 60 cards
Price: $6.99 each (or $29.99 for a set of five)
Best for: teaching Magic to someone who hasn’t played before
If you’ve always wanted to learn to play Magic – or want to teach a friend – Card Kingdom Rookie Decks are an ideal purchase. These five beginner-friendly decks highlight the qualities of Magic’s five colors with simple cards and interactions. They’re perfect for a first game (or several) and will help a new player figure out which colors they enjoy playing most.
Each Rookie Deck also comes with a keyword glossary and turn order guide that you can reference during your games. Decks are available for individual purchase or as a set of five.
Continue Learning: Planeswalker Decks
Deck size: 60 cards
Price: $10.99 each (or $19.99 for a set of two)
Best for: players who have learned the basic rules of Magic and are looking for more practice playing the game
Planeswalker Decks are pre-built decks that Wizards of the Coast releases with many major Magic expansions. Each deck is built around a Planeswalker card, and many cards in the deck either search for that Planeswalker card or provide bonuses when that Planeswalker is on the battlefield.
Planeswalker Decks give players a taste of what a new set has to offer, both mechanically and thematically. Two-color Planeswalker Decks – such as the Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears deck from Theros Beyond Death – also demonstrate how two colors can work together in Magic.
Once you’ve learned the basics and played some games, there are several paths you could take as a Magic player. You might even want to build some decks of your own!
Of course, if you’re not ready to build your own decks yet, there are still plenty of other preconstructed Magic decks you could try. Here are a few we’d recommend to players who have been playing regularly for at least a few months.
Card Kingdom Battle Decks
Deck size: 60 cards
Price: $9.99 each
Best for: players with some Magic experience looking to test out different types of decks
We don’t recommend Battle Decks for brand-new players (that’s what Rookie Decks are for!), but once you have a good handle on the rules, they can help you discover what types of decks you like to play.
Battle Decks are 60-card themed decks built in-house by designers at Card Kingdom. Each deck has a central theme or mechanic and is full of synergistic cards.
There are dozens of Battle Decks available, so browse them all and see which ones appeal to you!
Deck size: 100 cards
Best for: novice Magic players who want to learn to play the Commander format
Commander is one of Magic’s most popular variants. If you have friends who play Magic, odds are at least a few of them have played Commander. Maybe your friends even have a regular Commander night, and you feel slightly intimidated watching them cast 20-year-old cards with complicated rules text.
If you want to join in the fun, you could always grab some pre-built Commander decks. Wizards releases new sets of Commander decks each year, all balanced to be played against each other.
Like Battle Decks, these Commander decks will contain new keyword abilities and complicated card interactions, so we wouldn’t recommend them to brand-new Magic players. But if you’re getting the hang of Magic and are looking for a challenge, these decks are the perfect on-ramp to Commander.
Commander 2020: Ikoria is out now, and more decks are coming in October with the release of Zendikar Rising.
To learn more about the Commander format, check out our primer.
Deck size: 60 cards
Best for: novice Magic players interested in the Brawl format
Brawl is another casual Magic variant that has gained popularity since it was introduced to Magic Arena. Like Commander decks, Brawl decks are built around a legendary creature card and can only include one copy of each card (excluding basic lands). However, Brawl’s card pool is smaller and changes each year, and Brawl decks are smaller than Commander decks (60 cards instead of 100).
Wizards of the Coast released a set of four Brawl decks last fall with Throne of Eldraine. These decks are available for purchase from Magic retailers, and you can craft and build them on Magic Arena.
Deck size: 60 card main deck + 15-card sideboard
Best for: newer Magic players interested in competitive play
Finally, if you’ve been thinking about diving into competitive Magic, Challenger Decks are your best bet. Wizards of the Coast releases four new Challenger Decks each spring to provide an entry point into the Standard format. These decks are playable right out of the box, and they can be competitive with just a few minor upgrades.
Read more about 2020 Challenger Decks here.
Make it Your Own
Preconstructed decks can help you get started playing Magic, and they can grow with you as you learn and collect new cards. Adding your own cards to your preconstructed decks is like taking training wheels off a bicycle: with a little practice, you’ll find that your deck runs smoother than ever before.
If you’re looking for some new cards to add to your decks, check out the selection on CardKingdom.com. For more guidance on building your own decks and improving at Magic, check out the “new player resources” tag here on the CK Blog.
Hallie served as Content Manager for CardKingdom.com and editor-in-chief of the Card Kingdom Blog from 2017-2022. Part tournament grinder, part content creator, Hallie is always looking for ways to improve her game and to share what she learns with others.