Wow it sure has been a while…..
With Dragon’s Maze (the newest Magic: The Gathering set) coming out next weekend, I figured it would be a fun time to write up my pre-release experience.
Guild Pack: Boros
I actually played with this card during the Gatecrash pre-release, and loved it. When I opened up my first pack, I was hoping for Aurelia, the Warleader, but this was a welcome pull as well, and I knew I would find a place for it.
Guardian of the Gateless is probably one of the strongest cards in limited I can think of, and when I saw one it was another immediate add, no questions asked.
Secret Ally: Izzet
I had the impression that removal would be at a premium for this event, and 4 damage to one or all of my opponents creatures is a wonderful benefit. This firmly established my red manabase too.
Other key cards:
Dragonshift was too fun not to throw in to my deck, though to be honest I was not sure when I would play it, but as a win condition ( 4 small battalion guys are suddenly 4 dragons? scary win).
Warleader’s Helix is another wonderful addition in a format with not much removal, plus the life swing is great, and the fact I can target opponents as well (not just creatures like the mortars) is a great benefit.
Match 1: Rakdos (Red/Black)
My first opponent was a new player. So new in fact, the first game I did not realize that he did not know he could Mulligan (draw a new starting hand -1 card) if he did not have a playable hand. I wound up stomping him the first game because of this, took the second game slower, but won it too. Afterwards I helped him through his deck (it was built by his uncle, and had 51 cards (you only need 40)).
Record: 2 – 0
Match 2: Simic (White/Green/Black/Blue)
I say simic because that was the guild the player represented, but he drew several good cards in other colors, and changed his mind. Unfortunately, the four colored nature of the deck opened him up to color problems, and I swept the first game easy.
Second game turned out to be a bit of a different story, as I got a few creatures out quick, but wound up taking several kill spells to my creatures and never having anything really good aside from a Nivix Cyclops that was a 7/4 at one point due to instants. I was forced to 4 life, played Spark Trooper to put me at 10 and kill his only blocker with flying, and had 3 creatures left while he was sitting smugly at 12 life. My opponent tapped out to swing for lethal, but I was able to block a 3/3 trampler with my 1/4 cyclops, so I only took 7. Next turn I drew my 7th mana and overloaded Dragonshift for the win. It felt really good.
Record: 4 – 0
I should also note at this point that both Boros and Dimir finished the Maze side event, but due to me being the only Boros player with a win this round, Dimir finished first.
Match 3: Golgari (White/Green/Black)
The only golgari player at our pre-release happened to be the judge running it. We started game 1 fast with a pair of Vashino Fastblades, a Warmind Infantry, and my Spark Trooper to put me at 26 and my opponent down to 6. After drawing land for the first 6 turns with no white mana, he finally pulls his 7th (thanks to a cluestone or 2) and drops a luminate primordial on me (getting rid of a runewing I had just played as a defender). Luckily, I was able to detain both his blockers and swing for lethal before he could comeback.
Game 2 went slightly better for the judge, getting all his proper colors and mana acceleration, while I was stuck at 4 mana for a bit due to a risky starting hand. I dropped a runewing as a defender again, and for the second time, the Primordial comes out the next turn to exile it and slowly wear all my creatures down. After 2 turns of huge swings, I was out of creatures and dead on board.
Game 3 started off in the judges favor once again, but after he tapped out to drop a 4th creature onto the board, I overloaded mizzium mortars to wipe it for myself. The same turn I also blew up one of his cluestones, just for the extra trigger on Nivix Cyclops (again making him a 7/4), and it turns out this won me the game, as he was one mana short of his primordial once again. Cleanup crew came in, and an extra detain allowed my cyclops to seal the deal.
Record: 6 – 1
At this point, I was already sitting with the other players who had been doing well, and the player sitting next to me (Dimir) had also won his 3rd game. I found out that it had been him vs the judge in the finals for the previous three tournaments this weekend, and he lost to the judge each time. No pressure for me =/
Match 4: Dimir (Red/Green/White/Blue)
This deck couldnt be less Dimir (Dimir is supposed to be Blue/Black if you dont know). I started the game pretty well, with a few solid beats early with a pair of Boros Mastiff’s, and a combat trick to save my dogs while wiping his board. Turn 5 I dropped my guardian of the gateless, while turn 6 I swung with the team and triggered battalion, gaining some life. The next turn saw my opponent dropping a Progenitor Mimic on my angel. Trying to be cheeky, I responded by turning my angel into a dragon with Dragonshift, but I immediately realized that the copy effect of Mimic still gives him the unaltered guardian. Card wasted, and a pending army of incredibly powerful angels incoming. Next draw yeilded my Mizzium Mortars, which I gladly used right away to get rid of the angel before it could become a threat. The rest of the game went smoothly, and I finished off game 1.
Game 2 started with an absurd hand for my opponent, opening with 2 mana acclerators and a few creatures that can double their attack for mana. I dropped to 4 rather quickly, but was able to put my opponent to 10. Detain into Spark Trooper swapped our lives to 10 – 4 with my advantage, but the Mimic came down once more, this time copying a 3/5 flyer, out of all my removal range. I drew my angel to buy me a turn (blocking all combat damage, but dying in the process), but the mimic was pumping out more strong fliers and it looked bleak. My opponent passed and I told him “I have one card in my deck that can save me, so if I don’t get it you win this one”. Draw. Warleader’s Helix. 4 direct damage when your opponent is at 4 life feels really good. He asked me to play round 3 just for fun, and we wound up playing 4 more (just because our games went so fast), of which I won 3.
Record: 8 – 1 1st Place
So there we go, my first 1st place in any official magic tournament! Though winning was nice, I have to say that the best feeling was when my opponent from round 1 (the new player if you don’t remember), stopped by the final table after I won. Turns out he had been playing for less than 2 weeks, took some of the advice I had offered on fixing his deck, and managed to win his final 2 rounds! Most importantly for me though was that everyone had fun. I also took home 4 prize packs, winding up with a fun pull there too =D
So that’s my pre-release experience for DGM! I know I haven’t posted here in a while, but hopefully I will get back to it eventually. School is wrapping up for the term soon, so who knows.