Last updated on September 8, 2022
Agent’s Toolkit | Illustration by Olena Richards
A long list of products has come and gone across Magic’s long and expansive history. From oversized cards to collector boosters, the marketing department at WotC has certainly gone in some weird directions. One of the more classic and memorable products was the Deck Builder’s Toolkit.
Originally intended to help new players quickly build a collection that could support a variety of styles and strategies, these Toolkits lasted nearly 10 years before being discontinued. Today I’m going to talk a little about their history, what made them good (or not so good), and whether or not they’re still worth it.
Let’s get started!
What’s in a Deck Builder’s Toolkit?
Toolcraft Exemplar | Illustration by Zezhou Chen
A Deck Builders’ Toolkit is a sealed Magic product that comes with a set number of specific cards and basic lands. It’s meant to be a cheap and efficient way for a new player to get the “essentials” needed to start building their first decks.
How Many Cards Are in a Deck Builder’s Toolkit?
The number of cards in each Deck Builder’s Toolkits ranged from 85 to 185, not including basic lands, based on the product.
List of Deck Builders Toolkits
Original Deck Builder’s Toolkit
The original Deck Builder’s Toolkit was released on May 21, 2010 and came with a grand total of 285 cards for players to play around with. It included 20 of each basic land type, 85 fixed cards, four packs from recent sets, and four random packs from a pool of 11 different strategies.
Deck Builder’s Toolkit 2011
Like its predecessor, the 2011 Deck Builder’s Toolkit had 285 cards. A self-described “instant collection,” the 2011 version was released on March 11, 2011, and again came with 100 basic lands, 85 fixed cards, four random strategy packs, and four random 15-card booster packs from recent sets.
The Magic 2013 Deck Builder’s Toolkit hit the shelves in July 2012, again with 285 cards following the same card breakdown (100 basic lands, 85 fixed cards, four 15-card booster packs from recent sets, and four strategy packs).
- Deck Builders M13 2013 Core Set Toolkit (2012 Edition) 285 Trading Cards
- 125 semi-randomized cards suitable for building several different Magic decks
- Four 15-card booster packs from a variety of recent Magic: The Gathering sets
- 100 basic land cards to help you cast your spells & Magic “learn to play” guide
- Deck builder’s guide with tips about building the best Magic decks
Magic 2014, Magic 2015, and Origins
The Deck Builder’s Toolkits for Magic 2014, Magic 2015, and Origins all came with a similar split of products. Each kit had 100 basic lands (20 of each type), 85 fixed cards, 40 of 125 semi-randomized cards, and the usual four booster packs from recent relative sets.
Shadows over Innistrad, Kaladesh, and Amonkhet
The series of Deck Builder’s Toolkits picked back up in April of 2016 with the Shadows over Innistrad installment. Like the two that followed it, the variants for Kaladesh and Amonkhet, this version had the typical 100 lands, 85 fixed cards, a random set of 40 from a pool of 125 themed cards, and four recently released booster packs.
The Deck Builder’s Toolkit for Ixalan is where things started to change a bit. This iteration of the product came with all the same things, but the card pool for the semi-fixed cards was nearly half the size: 70 instead of 125.
- Brave the Unknown!
- Ixalan features double-faced cards!
- Ixalan features three brand-new planes walker cards, including the introduction of Huatli!
Core Set 2019, Ravnica Allegiance, Core Set 2020, and Theros: Beyond Death
Here marks the end of the Deck Builder’s Toolkits. The last batch, which included Core Set 2019, Ravnica Allegiance, Core Set 2020, and Theros: Beyond Death, actually put away the semi-fixed side of things. Every kit came with the exact same contents which included 100 lands, 125 fixed cards, and four booster packs from the block of the Toolkit’s release.
What Was the Purpose of Deck Builder’s Toolkits?
Deck Builder’s Toolkits were meant to do what the current Jumpstart packs do: act as a cheap way for newer players to build a small collection and a variety of decks. Not only that, but they supply the player with plenty of basic lands.
I can’t remember how many times in the first few weeks of my Magic career I was actually missing basic lands to use. Hell, even now I don’t have that big of an excess!
Are Deck Builder’s Toolkits Worth It?
Overall I wouldn’t recommend picking up these Toolkits. You can get the bulk basic lands for pennies on the dollar, and the price of these kits is actually driven up by the variety of older packs they come with, not the rares or mythics included in some of them.
Instead of picking up a Deck Builder’s Toolkit, I’d suggest you buy bulk of basic lands you like off of a third-party marketplace, and then bulk sets of cards from individual sellers. Players have plenty of bulk to offload, and you’ll get much more for your money (maybe even some foils) if you go that route.
The Best Deck Builder’s Toolkit
If you’re deadest on picking up a Deck Builder’s Toolkit, I’d recommend the Ravnica Allegiance one. It’s one of the cheapest online which means you’re getting a better price per card with practically no downside.
It’ll supply you with a nice deck box, plenty of basics to get started, and a few rares out of your packs to spice things up a bit.
- BUILD DECKS. Are you a blue mage, outwitting opponents with superior intellect? Or perhaps a red mage, burning everything in sight with elemental fury? Whatever your style, the Deck Builder’s Toolkit gives you what you need. With boosters, land cards, and a selection of individual cards, you can build a deck that’s truly your own.
- STAND WITH YOUR GUILD. Your Deck Builder’s Toolkit contains 4 booster packs: 2 Ravnica Allegiance, 1 Guilds of Ravnica, and 1 Core Set 2019. Pick your favorites, put them in your deck and battle!
- FILL YOUR BINDER. Your Deckbuilder’s Toolkit includes 100 basic land cards and 125 cards chosen by the game’s designers, including five rare creature cards. Altogether, more than 250 cards, plus deck-building aids.
- PLAY THE ORIGINAL. Magic: The Gathering is the first modern collectible card game. Magic has inspired more than 20 million fans over 25 years, from the first dragons and angels to today’s Planeswalkers and Commander decks.
- JOIN THE FAMILY. Wizards of the Coast has been making the world’s best strategy games for almost 30 years: Magic: The Gathering (MTG), Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), many board games under the Avalon Hill umbrella, and more. Explore them all, discover new favorites, and make new friends along the way.
What Happened to Deck Builder’s Toolkits?
The Deck Builder’s Toolkits were discontinued after Theros: Beyond Death and were basically replaced by Jumpstart packs. Given that their main purpose was to give new players a way to put together a deck and get playing, the new packs blew the Deck Builder’s Toolkits out of the water in terms of price and ease.
Jumpstart packs are pretty cheap, offer a more synergistic (and therefore functional) deck than any new player could put together, and they can easily be mixed and matched without much worry. A better product came along, and that’s something to celebrate.
Alternatives to Deck Builder’s Toolkits
The immediate alternative is Jumpstart packs. They’re better at doing what the Toolkits were meant to do, and they’re a great way to get started actually playing some Magic.
But if you’re looking to build a bulk collection of a specific set or block then the bundles of packs that release with every set are the way to go. They can be found for as low as $30 if you’re going for Streets of New Capenna, and editions like Crimson Vow have over eight set boosters on top of a few copies of those sweet, sweet basic lands.
Set boosters are much better for building up a collection, which makes these bundles more valuable than the Toolkits when it comes to having a more diverse set of cards to start out with.
Stoic Builder | Illustration by Howard Lyon
That wraps up today’s look at the Deck Builder’s Toolkits! I had my fair share of these when I was first starting out, and while they were great back then I’m glad we’ve moved on to some bigger and better things.
What do you think of these Toolkits? Did you ever have one? If so, did you like it? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below or over in the official Draftsim Discord.
Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!
Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, you’ll help Draftsim continue to provide awesome free articles and apps.Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: