Design Challenge #5: "Introductions Please"

Posted in Feature on January 12, 2011

By Mark Rosewater

Working in R&D since '95, Mark became Magic head designer in '03. His hobbies: spending time with family, writing about Magic in all mediums, and creating short bios.

There are many ways for players to experience your set for the first time. One way is by opening a booster pack. Design Challenge #4 let you create the best experience for that entry. Today, we're going to be allowing you to tailor a different introduction. The goal for Design Challenge #5 will be to make an intro deck for your set.

Here's what's going to be asked of you:

  • The deck must be exactly 60 cards
  • The deck must have exactly twelve uncommons, one rare, and one foil rare (visible through the packaging).
  • The foil rare needs to be a splashy card that the players will want to play in the deck. Players who use intro decks want the shiny card in it to be good so we make sure to meet their expectations.
  • You may have any number of lands and common cards to fill in the remaining 46 slots.
  • You must have between 20 and 24 unique cards not counting basic land.
  • You may have up to five cards from Magic 2011 (note that is five total; two copies of the same card count against that total).
  • The deck should feature one of the set's themes.
  • The deck needs to be fun to play. (We will play them. I urge you to as well.)
  • Unless your theme strongly dictates otherwise, make the deck two colors.
  • Don't include more than one new mechanic in your deck.
  • There are no requirements for how many cards have to be yours or have to be someone else's.
  • You may use cards that have been submitted before.
  • You must provide a name for your deck. No logline is required. Please spend some time on this, as the deck name is an important element to setting the tone of your deck and set.

All the deck lists for previously published intro decks can be found on their product page. (Scars of Mirrodin's intro deck decklists can be found here.)

Please use the following template for your submission:

Name of World:

Name of Deck:
Deck list: (name only along with number, as would be listed on



Noncreature spells

List of Cards: (list each card with complete text as you have listed cards in every other Design Challenge in the order they appear on your deck list; while there is no limit on who designed the cards, you still have to list who designed them if it is not you and please provide a link)

Comments: (you will have 250 words to explain anything you wish about your submission)

Here is what you will be judged on:

The quality of your deck: You are creating an intro deck. It needs to feel like one. You must follow all the guidelines above.

The quality of your cards: Not only must the deck be solid but also the individual designs of your cards. We will examine them both individually and in the context of your set.

The window into your world: Just as the booster pack was showing off your set, so too is the intro deck. You need to show off your world in the best way you can.

Improvement of your set: We've given you a lot of notes. We want to see this submission demonstrate that you were able to do what we asked. We understand that the restrictions of this Design Challenge will not allow you to show us everything, but we urge you to make a deck choice that allows us to see you've adopted some of the changes we've suggested.

The deadline for your submission is 11:59 EST, Sunday, January 23. Note that you will have almost two weeks to complete this Design Challenge. The judges will also be taking two weeks to judge it. Please submit the Design Challenge submissions to both email addresses you have. Good luck!

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