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The (mini) Background of these Two Planeswalkers:
The history of Ravnica has long been shaped by the struggle for supremacy among its ten feuding guilds. A tenuous peace keeps the power of the guilds in balance, but they would need little excuse to reignite the smoldering coals of a conflict that could engulf Ravnica’s world-spanning city.

Jace Beleren, a mind mage who has adopted Ravnica as his home, has seen to it that the delicate peace holds. He has become the Living Guildpact, the embodiment of the guilds’ agreement to share power, and he works tirelessly to preserve that peace.

The deadly gorgon Vraska, a Planeswalker who was born on Ravnica, is an assassin for hire who follows her own arcane moral code. She is a master of her trade, killing her marks and then disappearing into the tunnels of Ravnica’s vast undercity. Though she works mostly with the Golgari guild, she is bound by no permanent allegiance.

In the wrong hands, Vraska’s skills could destabilize an entire world. With a few key assassinations, suspicions would lead to accusations, and accusations could lead to war. Jace, the caretaker of Ravnica’s peace, refuses to let that happen.

In this dual Duel pack Seven cards receive new artwork: Jace, Vraska, Body Double, Remand, Putrid Leech, Night's Whisper, and Future Sight, while Consume Strength, Future Sight, Hypnotic Cloud, Memory Lapse, Prohibit, and Tainted Wood are introduced to modern frames for the first time.

This DUEL DECK has a rrp of £15.95 but can be found online for £16.44 (Amazon)  £18.95 (eBay) and £14.45 (Chaos Cards)


JACE: Architect of Thought

Mana Cost:     2BlueBlue              Converted Mana Cost:  4 

Card Text:
+1: Until your next turn, whenever a creature an opponent controls attacks, it gets -1/-0 until end of turn.
-2: Reveal the top three cards of your library. An opponent separates those cards into two piles. Put one pile into your hand and the other on the bottom of your library in any order.
-8: For each player, search that player's library for a nonland card and exile it, then that player shuffles his or her library. You may cast those cards without paying their mana costs.

Loyalty:  4                                        RarityMythic Rare
All Sets:  Return to Ravnica (Mythic Rare)Duel Decks: Jace vs. Vraska (Mythic Rare)                                 Card Number: 1
                                                          Artist:  Igor Kieryluk  


Mana Cost:     3BlackGreen                 Converted Mana Cost:  5
Card Text:
+1: Until your next turn, whenever a creature deals combat damage to Vraska the Unseen, destroy that creature.
-3: Destroy target nonland permanent.
-7: Put three 1/1 black Assassin creature tokens onto the battlefield with "Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, that player loses the game."
Loyalty:    5                                        Rarity: Mythic Rare
All Sets:   Return to Ravnica (Mythic Rare)Duel Decks: Jace vs. Vraska (Mythic Rare)                                   Card Number:  42
                                                            Artist: Igor Kieryluk

Jace's Deck: 60 Cards

Jace, Architect of Thought : - Planeswalker

24 lands                                           15 other spells
Dread Statuary                              1  Agoraphobia
Halimar Depths                             1  Claustrophobia
21  Island                                          1  Control Magic                                                                                          
                                                          1  Memory Lapse
20 creatures                                      Thought Scour
Aeon Chronicler                            1  Griptide
Æther Adept                                  1  Into the Roil
Æther Figment                              1  Jace's Ingenuity
Archaeomancer                             Future Sight 
Body Double                                 1  Prohibit
Chronomaton                                1  Ray of Command
Crosstown Courier                        1  Remand
Dream Stalker                               1  Spelltwine
Errant Ephemeron                         1  Summoner's Bane   
Jace's Mindseeker                        
Jace's Phantasm
Krovikan Mist
Leyline Phantom
Merfolk Wayfinder
Phantasmal Bear
Phantasmal Dragon
Riftwing Cloudskate
Sea Gate Oracle
Stealer of Secrets

Vrask's Deck:  60 Cards

Vraska the Unseen - Planeswalker

24 Lands:
Forest              1  Golgari Guildgate         1  Rogue's Passage
11  Swamp          Tainted Wood

24 Creatures:
Acidic Slime                    1  Corpse Traders                     1  Death-Hood Cobra
Drooling Groodion          Festerhide Boar                    2  Gatecreeper Vine
Highway Robber             1  Mold Shambler                     1  Nekrataal
Ohran Viper                     Oran-Rief Recluse                1  Pulse Tracker
Putrid Leech                    Reaper of the Wilds              1  River Boa
Sadistic Augermage        1  Shadow Alley Denizen         1  Slate Street Ruffian
Spawnwrithe                   1  Stonefare Crocodile              1  Tavern Swindler
Vinelasher Kudzu           1  Wight of Precinct Six

11 Other Spells:
Consume Strength           1  Grisly Spectacle                   1  Hypnotic Cloud
Last Kiss                          Marsh Casualties                  1  Night's Whisper
Stab Wound                      Tragic Slip                           1  Treasured Find
Underworld Connections

This DUEL Deck gives new and experienced players a balanced combat between the forces of Blue (Jace) and Black & Green (Vraska). This brought back many old memories to me as when Magic the Gathering first came to these shores, 24 years ago (I remember Carl Sargent telling me in 1992 that MtG wouldn't last 2 years) at the first GenCon in the UK. Fran used to collect White and Blue cards and I went for Black & Green.

Okay so Jace is a Blue deck not Blue and White, but it is a very powerful deck with some fine, fun enchantments, instants and sorceries:


Fran's Blue & White (or just Blue or White) decks always gave my Green & Black builds more than a run for my money, so I was happy
to see that the Vraska deck isn't any easy push over.


There are some very nice cards in these decks, many of which aren't all actually unique in their powers or abilities but are augmented with the excellent artwork expected. I always enjoy seeing what Lands are capable of rather than simply providing Mana and bulking up the deck. The designers are always thinking of different ways in which Lands can play a larger part in the game as indeed terrain should and does in most battles.


There are so many good cards but as usual there are some you probably wouldn't have chosen for yourself. These are a matter of personal choice and there is nothing to prevent you from exchanging cards with others from your collection. Do be sure to make a list of which cards you swap in and swap out though as if you want to play either the JACE or VRASKA deck in a "sealed deck" Duel - between friends only though as an unsealed deck even with only the original cards in it, is unlikely to be allowed in an organised play competition.


Speaking of OP (Organised Play) and Collecting it is always a good idea to collect as many cards from each Magic the Gathering set and deck pack because you never know how combinations of cards are going to work out and there is no way that I believe anyone could have tried every possible deck and card combination from the number of cards printed in the past 20 odd years. Also you never know which cards are going to be of value or which cards are going to be banned from tournaments.

The idea of Duel Decks packs is to give players balanced but exciting games, however the decks are only really balanced towards each other. When you take 2 decks from different Duels packs it is quite likely that you will find a much varied contest. Of course the way the cards are drawn and played have a lot to do with the outcome of each battle but the type of deck also has a part to play. We played a number of games between these decks and 2 of the other Duel decks, the Heroes and Monsters decks, and had some really good challenges and some deadly annihilations.

The Green/Red Monsters Deck came out better than its Red/White Heroes counterpart in the majority of our games against both Jace and Vraska whereas both Jace and Vraska had more success against the Heroes deck. Of course although this wasn't a scientific experiment, just a few friendly games between us here at GGO, it does show you can have enjoyable, if somewhat varied, games using pre-built decks.

If you have these two Duel Deck packs make sure you have your card lists for each deck safely secured and then begin to experiment with the cards from all of the decks. You can come up with some surprisingly good competitive single or 2-colour decks. For the new or newish player this allows some easy deck building as all of the cards are good and make solid decks that give game after game after game of varied entertainment.

This is MAGIC!




© Chris Baylis 2011-2015