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Would these be a good set of starter decks for someone who played a very long time ago?
I'd say yes. I got into Magic with the release of M19 earlier this year and they really know how to build decks that let you dip your toe into various different play styles without really focusing on one over the others within a color. Plus, you can play the decks against each other and use all five of them on MTG Arena!
I hadn't played since the mid-90s but attended the midnight pre-release to get one of these kits and made a deck with it that whoomped in competition. Admittedly it was a simple green/white deck with mostly creatures, but it was fun with a friend.
However the mechanics in the more complicated decks like Izzet might be a higher hill to climb.
I don't think I've seen mention of Arena codes anywhere on these products.
You're exactly right. I was wrong in thinking these were the Ravnica Standard decks that are out now, so definitely no Arena codes. Still a decent fun buy though!
It depends. If you want to set up a play group with a few interested friends, these decks could make for a good time, but if you're looking for decks that you can play out of the box and play at a store, or even modify to play with at a constructed event, like an FNM, these aren't the best choice. Most of the cards are one-ofs, and many of them are older reprints that can't be played in Standard. These decks could make for a fun "CCG board game" experience if you pit them against one another, but the variance in them may make getting back into Magic with them a little bit frustrating.
It's actually a little unclear just who this product is for, but if I had to make a guess, I'd say it's aimed at Commander players and collectors: the alternate art is fantastic (I'm definitely putting the new Niv Mizzet into my Niv draw-to-win deck) and there are lots of fun toys, and potential commanders, that you can play with in these lists. Also, the pins are a nice bit of theme-bling: you can wear one to your LGS to rep the guild your commander hails from.
If you're looking to pick up a starter product, I'd wait for the next set of Challenger decks. The Planeswalker decks aren't the greatest starting experience, but the last series of Challenger decks were a great sampling of different deck archetypes that you could play out of the box, and upgrade easily. Fingers crossed that Wizards releases another set soon.
yeah, these are perfect for Commander players or those looking to start into the format :)