Duel Deck League Doc

Al-Ahssa Expatriate Gamers (working title)


Document v. 1.0 by Eli Kaplan, revised Sept. 23, 2015

Welcome to Duel Deck League! This is a casual Magic: the Gathering format for repeated casual play. This format is a bit different than most, in that there is no deckbuilding involved. All decks have been designed and developed by Wizards of the Coast. In this format, we play against each other to earn points for each deck. Each deck has a theme, as described below, and almost all of the decks are led by a Planeswalker, a powerful ally that can be used on each of your turns to powerful effect.


  • To have a fun, competitive Magic format that people of any skill level can play at any time and experiment with.
  • To give players a dynamic, varied play experience with numerous strategies.


  • All games must be one-on-one, with each player starting off with a randomly assigned deck. After a match, that player may choose to retain their deck, or they may choose to get a new, randomly assigned deck, though decks assigned to or retained by another player are not available.
  • After four matches with the same deck, a player must switch to a different, randomly assigned deck. A player cannot get the same deck they relinquished through random assignment.

RANDOM DECK MATRIX: Players may use a random number generator or a ten or twenty-sided die to determine the deck.

1 – ESC – Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

2 – KCW – Kiora, the Crashing Wave

3 – CN – Chandra Nalaar

4 – JB – Jace Beleren

5 – GWS – Garruk Wildspeaker

6 – LV – Liliana Vess

7 – AV – Ajani Vengeant

8 – NBP – Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker

9 – JAoT – Jace, Architect of Thought

10 – ELD – The Eldrazi


Players will keep a log of their personal win/loss match record, as well as the number of games won by each individual deck.


A match will consist of two players, playing games with the same deck until one player wins two games. A game where both players draw does not count towards the match win, or towards the deck’s victory points.

Players get 3 points for a match win, and 1 point for a match loss.

Decks get 1 victory point for each game win.

The most current form of the Magic rulebook will be in effect. The most practical implication of this will be the inclusion of the Vancouver mulligan rule, where players that take a mulligan will scry 1 after their final hands have been kept.

Participation is open to any foreign instructor, their families, friends, and associates who understand why we keep these kinds of games to ourselves and not the locals. We know there’s nothing wrong with these games, but I probably imagine that the religious police might have a thing or two to say about them.

For those who are unfamiliar with Magic: the Gathering, demonstration decks are available, but the best way to learn the game is by downloading and playing the Duels of the Planeswalker series of games, available on Steam, Xbox 360, and PS3. The absolute best game to start with and learn from is Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014, as it gives players a good walkthrough of the rules, many fun archetypes up front, and several engaging play modes. Duels 2014 costs around 5 bucks. The current Free-to-Play game, Magic Duels, is also recommended, though the AI is particularly unforgiving at first and the deckbuilder archetype programs can be aggravating if you know what you want and the interface won’t give it to you. Magic Duels is available on iOS, Steam, and Xbox ONE, with eventual PS4 release promised at some point.


The decklists are all available online, with links below. Here is a brief description of the ten decks. Many of the decks have designated rivals, which were designed to play against each other, but the point of this league is to give each of these decks a chance to play opponents with varying strategies and tactics.

Here are brief descriptions of each of the Duel Decks and their leaders.

ESC – Elspeth, Sun’s Champion (White) – This proud human warrior fights to defend the innocent from rampaging monsters. She is a military tactician without parallel, and can channel the power of the divine to assist her. Her deck focuses on recruiting Soldiers, efficient white creatures that gain advantages when their tactical advantages are brought to the field, adding bonuses to your entire squad. Keen battle tactics and board management are essential elements of her winning strategy. Elspeth’s designated rival is Kiora.

KCW – Kiora, the Crashing Wave (Blue / Green) – Kiora, a Merfolk trickster, explorer, and elementalist, seeks to find the most powerful beasts in nature to rally for her cause. She has learned to harness the beasts of the skies and deep seas, while harnessing intimate knowledge of the lands to gain unparalleled affinity with the lands’ mana. Her deck focuses on resource development in the form of mana acceleration and ‘bounce’ unsummoning effects in the early game, while rushing resources out so that she can summon gigantic sea monsters and flying biomonstrosities. Kiora’s designated rival is Elspeth.

Decklists for Elspeth and Kiora can be found at this link:


CN – Chandra Nalaar (Red) – Chandra is a creative, passionate, and witty pyromancer who travels the planes in order to truly understand herself. She would make friends easily, if not for the fact that she sets off fires she can’t always control. But then again, if she has a problem with you, she won’t hide her displeasure. She is perfectly capable of subtlety, but when it’s quicker to set you on fire, she’ll take the faster route. This deck embodies the classic ‘burn’ archetype that has been present in Magic since its conception. Even the creatures she summons are aflame. Chandra’s designated rival is Jace Beleren.

JB – Jace Beleren (Blue) – Jace is a master of illusion, mental manipulation, and negation. Early in his career, he kept his personal information close to his vest, and sought to learn the secrets of the multiverse. He can flummox enemy mages’ spells, and can obscure the true capacities of the creatures he summons. For Jace, victory comes with learning more than his opponents. Jace Beleren’s deck was designed to embody the traditional ‘control’ style of Magic that has been around since the game’s creation. Jace’s designated rival is Chandra.

You can find an overview of both decks and decklists at this link:


GWS – Garruk Wildspeaker (Green) – Garruk is a towering giant of a human, preferring to travel through the planes in search of beasts to ally with or to dominate. Hunting is his life. His ability to harness the leylines to tap mana is unparalleled, and he uses that mana to summon stout beasts and monsters to fight for him. His opportunities for growth and vigor are unparalleled. Garruk is an example of the ‘midrange’ strategy, using early game spells to get out bigger and tougher creatures than the opponent can at a comparable point. But green’s traditional weakness of not being able to remove opposing permanents is very much in effect with Garruk. Garruk’s designated rival is Liliana.

LV – Liliana Vess (Black) – Liliana Vess is a millennia-old necromancer, and one of the oldest beings in the multiverse. She has made bargains with demons and worse to recapture her youth and vitality, and seeks to keep her ill-gotten gains while finding a way to regain her freedom. Liliana’s magics involve reanimation of the dead, summoning zombies and shades, and forcing opponents to discard key spells. She embodies black’s pursuit of power and its willingness to pay any price to achieve that power. This deck is the one most active in destroying enemy resources such as lands, cards in hand, and creatures. Liliana’s designated rival is Garruk.

You can find an overview of both decks and decklists at this link:


AV – Ajani Vengeant (Red/Green/White)- Ajani Goldmane, a Leonin warrior, seeks to preserve life and nature from unnatural predators. His sage wisdom, ties to mighty behemoths, and ability to tap his righteous indignation into fury make him a powerful warrior and leader. His deck combines effective, efficient creatures with various methods of profiting from lifegain spells, making for an incredibly hardy, tenacious fight. While using three different colors of mana means that Ajani has access to a broader set of options than most other Planeswalkers, the deck does have the potential to stall due to not having access to the right color of mana at the right time. Ajani’s designated rival is Nicol Bolas.

NBP – Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker (Blue/Black/Red) – Nicol Bolas is one of the Multiverse’s oldest and most powerful entities. As a dragon, he embodies cruelty, fury, and knowledge, and has access to many spells that will cause pain and agony to his opponents as their resources are stripped from them. Bolas’s creatures are particularly transgressive, but not always efficient. But Bolas’s spells are especially brutal. Like Ajani, Bolas often has problems in the early game when he may not have access to all the colors of mana necessary to cast his spells. However, Bolas’s late game control spells can easily make up the difference. Nicol Bolas’s designated rival is Ajani.

Decklists for these two decks can be found here:


Rogue Agents:

JAoT: Jace, Architect of Thought (Blue) – This deck represents Jace Beleren’s period as a maturing planeswalker. After having discovered numerous secrets of the Multiverse, some of which have terrified him, Jace now seeks to rally support from his fellow Planeswalkers to preserve the planes. This incarnation of Jace relies less on trickery and misdirection than his earlier form, but still maintains power over illusions and countermagic and gathering information. His creatures also hit harder. The Architect of Thought’s designated rival, Vraska the Unseen, a hideous gorgon Planeswalker, has elected to return to the shadows and avoid contact with outsiders for the time being, so the Living Architect is a free agent with no specific friends or foes.

Jace, Architect of Thought’s decklist can be found here:


ELD: The Eldrazi (Black/Red) – This deck has no Planeswalker to lead it. Rather, the deck is comprised of otherworldly, alien agents of some strange, unknown entity. The Eldrazi are a race of gigantic, hungering monsters that prey upon entire worlds. They existed before mana was codified into color, and they may represent the forces of entropy that will lead to the multiverse’s ultimate demise. The Eldrazi are known to exile cards, force players to sacrifice cards, and are incredibly destructive. Their magics create broods of Spawn, 0/1 creatures that can be sacrificed for mana in order to summon forth larger and more destructive Eldrazi. While their power may take a while to manifest, once they come in full force, almost no one can stand in their way. This deck is a ramp deck, a deck that creates resources and destroys key creatures of the opposition, preferably at the same time. While the deck does not have any Planeswalkers, its most powerful card is It That Hungers, a card that forces players to sacrifice permanents while adding those permanents to its own side. As eldritch horrors, the Eldrazi have no specific allies or rivals. As far as we know, they exist only to consume.

The Eldrazi’s decklist can be found here:


PDS: ???


If this league is popular, it is possible that more decks will be added to the repertoire. Whispers suggest that there is a larger predator out there, an ultimate lifeform that can destroy a Planeswalker outright, and that two or more Planeswalkers may be needed to successfully overcome its prowess.

For questions, feedback, and inquiries, contact Eli at japaneli@hotmail.com .


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