Magic the Gathering: Sorin vs Tibalt Duel Deck Review

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Sorin isn’t your typical horrible bloodthirsty vampire. In fact, despite being a prolific traveller, has always looked after the human population of his home plane, Innistrad. Hell he even made the archangel Avacyn to look after them while he is away. So brutal as he is, he has a strong code, a sense of cause and effect, the vision he uses to plan ahead and make sure things come to pass.

Tibalt, on the other hand, is a sadist. Born a human, he tapped into the power that is found in pain and suffering, eventually casting a spell that caused the blood of devils to run through his veins. This rush of infernal power ignited Tibalt’s Planeswalker spark, allowing him to cause even more pain to those around him. Now he is tipping the balance against the humans of Avacyn and Sorin can’t allow that.

Personally, I think the best thing about duel decks is when they started using Planeswalkers. Alternate art foil Planeswalkers. I love them. They look great in Commander decks or just as something special when one of the cards in your FNM deck looks different, because sometimes the game is all about showmanship. Both cards look great, but I find it odd that the devils in Tibalt’s wake (see header image) are not visible in his card, but one devil can be seen in Sorin’s card. Maybe I’m just being picky though.

The trick with duel decks is that they need to embody the principles and styles of their namesakes, which isn’t always an easy thing to do. Sorin has vision and cunning, which translates into a slower deck that steadily overcomes an opponent. Tibalt is menacing and destructive and needs to be ruthless and fast to win.

Another great thing about duel decks is that a couple other cards also get new artworks. Often these are great for Commander, but this duel deck has a card I love using in modern: Browbeat.

Browbeat

Meet Browbeat. Browbeat’s new art is amazing, because the spell is really like making a deal with the devil. In modern your opponent will almost always pick to pay 5 life rather than let you recharge your hand with amazing cards. It is no different in Tibalt’s deck. Never let your opponent draw three cards, believe me!

Browbeat Blightning

This is what Browbeat used to look like. Not impressive at all right. Kratos, is that you? The new Blightning shows Tibalt happily torturing someone. He also reminds me of Handsome Jack in this card. Hmm.

On Sorin’s side of the table, these cards come with new artwork.

Spectral Procession Mortify Death Grasp

Lingering Souls Mortify

Lingering Souls is not marked as a new artwork on the box, because the artwork was used for the FNM foil version. Still, it is nice to have as a collector, even if you have the FNM variant. Here is the older Mortify. You decide which card you would rather use or look at.

So which deck is better? These decks are really evenly matched, often coming down to who had a better hand or had unlucky draws. Sorin’s token making machines make spot removal ineffectual, while the deck’s complement of life gaining abilities allows you to pay the price in life for Tibalt’s meanest spells. Lingering Souls and Spectral Procession will help you build up a flying force, with a Phantom General giving your tokens even more bite. Field of Souls and Twilight Drover will make your opponent think twice about killing your creatures. With all this protection, Sorin can be left to slowly build up power before unleashing his mighty -6 ability, potentially placing Tibalt and his best creatures under your dominion.

Twilight Drover Field of Souls Phantom General

Tibalt’s spells pack a mean punch and while you won’t always get what you want with Browbeat, Blazing Salvo and Breaking Point, people make mistakes when the pressure is on. And this deck is great at doing that. Recursive cards like Recoup and creatures with unearth make Tibalt’s random discard less of a nuisance, resulting in some rash plays to get rid of him before he unleashes his -6 ability.

Blazing Salvo Breaking Point Recoup
Whether you are an avid collector with a shelf of unsealed products on display, or just really want the Planeswalkers and an extra Hellrider, the Sorin vs Tibalt is selling for R280 and is available in stores now.

Here are the full decklists:

Sorin’s Hunt and Feed

2  Evolving Wilds
9  Plains
12  Swamp
2  Tainted Field


25 lands
1  Bloodrage Vampire
1  Butcher of Malakir
1  Child of Night
2  Doomed Traveler
2  Duskhunter Bat
1  Fiend Hunter
1  Gatekeeper of Malakir
1  Mausoleum Guard
1  Mesmeric Fiend
1  Phantom General
1  Revenant Patriarch
1  Sengir Vampire
1  Twilight Drover
1  Vampire Lacerator
1  Vampire Nighthawk
1  Vampire Outcasts
1  Wall of Omens


19 creatures

1  Absorb Vis
1  Ancient Craving
1  Death Grasp
1  Decompose
1  Field of Souls
1  Lingering Souls
1  Mark of the Vampire
1  Mortify
1  Sorin’s Thirst
2  Spectral Procession
1  Unmake
1  Urge to Feed
1  Vampire’s Bite
1  Zealous Persecution


15 other spells
1  Sorin, Lord of Innistrad


1 planeswalker

Tibalt’s Torment and Agonise

2  Akoum Refuge
14  Mountain
2  Rakdos Carnarium
6  Swamp


24 lands
2  Ashmouth Hound
1  Coal Stoker
1  Corpse Connoisseur
1  Gang of Devils
1  Goblin Arsonist
1  Hellrider
2  Hellspark Elemental
1  Lavaborn Muse
1  Mad Prophet
1  Reassembling Skeleton
1  Scorched Rusalka
1  Scourge Devil
1  Shambling Remains
1  Skirsdag Cultist
2  Vithian Stinger


18 creatures

1  Blazing Salvo
1  Blightning
1  Breaking Point
2  Browbeat
1  Bump in the Night
1  Devil’s Play
1  Faithless Looting
1  Flame Javelin
1  Flame Slash
1  Geistflame
1  Pyroclasm
1  Recoup
1  Strangling Soot
1  Sulfuric Vortex
1  Terminate
1  Torrent of Souls


17 other spells
1  Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded


1 planeswalker

But there is more! We are giving away duel decks to one lucky reader! To enter, all you have to do is comment on this article. Winner will be randomly selected. Competition is only open to residents of South Africa, and closes at 4pm on Tuesday 26 March. Winners will be announced on Wednesday 27 March.  

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