Sample decks, samplers, or demogame packs are decks given away as a free product to advertise Magic: The Gathering. They are handed out at conventions and distributed to stores to potential new players. Since 2013, sample decks are also used at the yearly Magic Celebration event. Since 2016, they have been advertised as welcome decks.
Portal Demogame boosters contained 24 cards. In these boosters, six cards were printed with either flavor or reminder text different than their booster pack counterparts. Those cards are: Armored Pegasus, Bull Hippo, Cloud Pirates, Feral Shadow, Snapping Drake, and Storm Crow.
Portal Second Age
Portal Second Age Demogame boosters contained 24 cards and a tip card (same cards in every pack).
Starter Demogame boosters contained 24 cards, including 8 cards from the Starter Game Box that weren't available in regular boosters. Also included were a tip card, a rebate card, and an instruction sheet. Everything two players needed to play their first Magic game.
- Eager Cadet
- Goblin Hero
- Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
- Mons's Goblin Raiders
- Royal Falcon
- Scathe Zombies
- Sea Eagle
- Willow Elf
The Starter 2000 set came with both 24-card Demogame boosters and 10-card sampler packs. Cards in the sampler are:
- Armored Pegasus
- Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
- Spined Wurm
- Stone Rain
Each Seventh Edition 10-card sampler contains:
- Razorfoot Griffin
- Coral Merfolk
- Scathe Zombies
- Spitting Earth
- Gorilla Chieftain
Eighth Edition set came with both 24-card Demogame boosters and 10-card sampler packs.
Ninth Edition set came with both 24-card Demogame boosters and 10-card sampler packs.
Magic 2011 until Magic Origins
From Magic 2011 on, each core set came with the preconstructed decks first seen in Tenth Edition. Initially there were ten decklists and from Magic 2013 onwards five. They mostly contain cards from the relevant core set, although there might be a few cards sprinkled in from previous blocks.
- Sample decks (Magic 2011)
- Sample decks (Magic 2012)
- Sample decks (Magic 2013)
- Sample decks (Magic 2014)
- Sample decks (Magic 2015)
- Sample decks (Magic Origins)
In June 2016, five monocolored 30-card ready-to-play decks became available as free sample decks at Wizards Play Network locations around the world. These were also available in Booster Battle Packs. Welcome decks are distributed for free by Wizards of the Coast, so that game stores can give them away to new or potential Magic players. The Welcome decks are renewed each year.
Other than featuring cards from recent blocks, each welcome deck also contained a selected range of reprinted cards from older sets. Those cards had unique expansion symbols and code, and were considered to be part of the set that is simultaneously released in terms of Standard's rotation.
Going forward in the Three-and-One Model, the welcome decks gained a stronger integration with the revamped core set, planeswalker decks and the Deck Builder's Toolkit, allowing for an easier transition between the products. They now had the same expansion symbol as the core set, and were numbered in the same system. Note that, due to the changed naming convention, there is no Welcome Deck 2018.
These Welcome Decks are traditionally one color and tend to reduce the number of concepts to learn within any one deck. Each Welcome Deck has one rare, almost always a creature, which is meant for players to see a bigger, flavorful, and more powerful card. These Welcome Decks are especially designed to be a good "first thing players see."
The revamped Welcome Decks are considered a succes and will be continued in the foreseeable future.
Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013
With each copy of Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 a six card sampler (or "promo pack") could be obtained by redeeming a unique code on the official Wizards Duels of the Planeswalkers site. Five cards were random Magic 2013, the sixth was an Alternate Art promo card (dependant on which system the game was purchased).
Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014
The six-card promo packs for Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 contained:
- Steam, iPad and Android: Scavenging Ooze
- Playstation 3: Bonescythe Sliver
- Xbox 360: Ogre Battledriver
Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015
The six-card promo packs for Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015 contained:
- Tom LaPille, Latest Developments (July 09, 2010). "My Favorite Things About Magic 2011". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Monty Ashley (June 13, 2011). "Magic 2012 Sample Decks". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Welcome Decks
- Gavin Verhey (January 18, 2018). "Know Your Audience". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (2017 June 12). "Metamorphosis 2.0". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (June 18, 2018). "Getting to the Core". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Gavin Verhey (2019-02-05). "State of Product Design 2018". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Monty Ashley (June 14, 2012). "Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 Promos". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen (June 12, 2014). "Magic 2015 — Duels of the Planeswalkers Promo Packs". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.