These new “Reloaded” decks were really hyped, and for good reason. The original Yugi and Kaiba Starter Decks introduced many North American fans to the game, and are all-time classics. The Evolution Starter decks upped the ante and created even more powerful decks for a new era. So obviously, these new decks had a lot to live up to. So how did they do?
First of all, these decks are marketed towards beginners. I have no problem with this, as the game has progressed to a point where they shouldn’t taint the original characters’ decks with cards that simply don’t belong (not to say that they can’t take a few liberties here and there).
Anyways, Yugi’s deck is great. It’s A) easy to use B) has a clear strategy, and C) uses cards that feel at home in Yugi’s deck. It was a lot of fun unboxing this one; two Dark Magicians really helps the strategy. They were sure to include most of the classic Dark Magician support cards, and other support cards to add variety. There’s even a bunch of great throwback cards that are still useful; Neo the Magic Swordsman, Mystical Elf, and Giant Soldier of Stone to name a few. Mirror Force is re-released as a common yet again, but since it’s Yugi (c’mon, it’s one of his key cards), I’ll allow it.
A few nitpicks on an otherwise excellent deck? Electric Virus sticks out like a sore thumb and just isn’t necessary. Equip cards, as seen in the Yugi Evolution Deck, would also help out. This deck would have been a good opportunity to release Dark Renewal as a real-life card, but it’s not a big deal (though Dark Magic Curtain could have worked). Come to think of it, it would have been way cool if they finally released Arkana’s Dark Magician as the second Dark Magician, but that’s just wishful thinking. Between the two decks, the Ultimate Rare cards are great, though some Super Rare cards as well would have been a nice way to keep tradition (especially since they’re bringing that trend back).
All-in-all, they both releases work as beginner’s decks, but I believe that only the Yugi deck actually capitalizes on what it means to be a character deck (both useful AND authentic). Though it’s not that bad, as Konami’s actually had a pretty good run in recent times (Joey’s World rocked), and I wouldn’t be discouraged if they continued making character decks; the Marik deck was amazing; way better than the Japanese counterpart, which had 15 more cards. Honestly, I’d love it if they released character decks for characters that haven’t been given the opportunity yet (Bandit Keith, Weevil, Mai, etc.). I’d give it 4/5 stars.