Here’s the list:
4 Caves of Koilos
2 City of Brass
4 Isolated Chapel
1 Vault of the Archangel
4 Windbrisk Heights
2 Soul Warden
3 Tidehollow Sculler
NON-CREATURE SPELLS (31)
3 Honor of the Pure
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Intangible Virtue
4 Lingering Souls
3 Path to Exile
4 Raise the Alarm
2 Shrine of Loyal Legions
4 Spectral Procession
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
3 Zealous Persecution
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
2 Burrenton Forge-Tender
2 Ghost Quarter
3 Kataki, War’s Wage
3 Relic of Progenitus
First of all, let us consider what the spoiler from a couple of months ago told us. We were expecting Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Intangible Virtue, and Honor of the Pure. What is missing is Hero of Bladehold. This is okay, because of what it was replaced with:
Speaking of fetch-lands, let’s look over the no-fetch mana base.
Overall, it’s not a bad mana base, although I would replace the two City of Brass and at least one plains and one swamp for a full play-set of Godless Shrine. It is, at least, a functional mana base.
Let’s move on to the meat of the deck, the non-creature spells!
The three copies of Honor of the Pure, which pumps all of your white creatures by +1/+1 are an obvious inclusion, as are the full play-set of Intangible Virtue, which gives all tokens +1/+1. Being able to stack multiple copies of this card on the board is key to this deck’s success.
As for tokens, there is a full suite available. A full-playset of Lingering Souls, with its Flashback ability, is an absolute must. It’s joined by a full-playset of Raise the Alarm, which creates two 1/1 white soldiers for only 1W. There’s also a full play-set of Spectral Procession, which makes 3 flying tokens.
The deck also contains 3 Path to Exile, which is a very pricey removal card nowadays.
Now onto one of the main win conditions of the deck, my favorite card in all of Magic: the Gathering:
Overall, the main deck looks quite playable. Let’s look over the sideboard:
Most of the remaining side-board cards are self-explanatory. Dismember deals with big threats, Duress gives you more hand-destruction, Ghost Quarter gives you some land destruction ability against greedy mana-bases and Relic of Progenitus helps stop graveyard shenanigans.
Overall, this deck looks fairly solid. Black/white tokens are a deck that doesn’t necessarily need the fetch-lands to function. Of course, four Marsh Flats and the four Godless Shrine would be nice, but the pain-lands do suffice in this case. Besides, the pain from the fetch-lands and the shock-lands coming in untapped is very similar, and you’re gaining life back from Soul Warden in many cases anyhow.
I think as a gateway deck into the format, there’s nothing wrong with Wizard’s first attempt. Is it worth the $75 MSRP? I would say most likely. Since card price numbers can fluctuate over time, I won’t break it down here, but the cards did add up to well over $75 at the deck's release, if you consider median prices for these cards (double that, in fact!) Unfortunately, as the decks did not sell as well as anticipated, many hobby shops and card stores broke them down to sell the individual cards, deflating the value of many of the cards included. However, the original printings of the cards have maintained their values a bit better due to the fact that the Modern Event Deck cards have a separate set symbol, fortunately.
While I certainly am happy to see the Sword in here, Hero of Bladehold may have made more sense. It’s clear that Wizards wants to give it the “Bang for its Buck” without having speculators buying them all up, thus making them inaccessible to players trying to enter the format. For what it’s meant to be, it’s pretty good, and it’s put copies of some harder-to-get cards out there more readily available without flooding the market too much.
I can why see this didn't sell quite as well as some might have first suspected, but I think the Modern Event Deck is a worthy start to what will hopefully be a long line of event decks for the Modern Format.