Thursday, January 26, 2006

Guildpact Pre-Release

Before the sushi dinner that I prepared Saturday Evning I went to the Pre-Release for, Guildact, the newest set of cards in Magic: The Gathering.

If you don't know what "Magic: The Gathering" is click here.
If you don't know what a "Pre- Release" is click here.

I arrived in at the Pre-Release around nine in the morning. Normally there would be a half hour wait, or longer, when I arrived. I got in and was through the line in a matter of minutes, there wasn't as many people as usual. Pre-Releases (at least the Saturday portions) are done in 'flights' of 32 players, since there wasn't as many players it also meant that I has to wait a bit for my flight to start. Thats OK though I would rather wait sitting at a table and playing some casual games, that be stuck standing in line.

My first impressions of the set are good. I like the like all the guilds that they introduced. My favorite guild is the Orzhov, but I didn't have to cards to support playing it in the PreRelease. Green-Red is great at the beatdown, and blue-red is tricky, and white-black is all about controlling the game.

I got a great pull from the Ravnica Tourney Deck. Glare of Subdual, Twilight Drover, were the highlights. I also got a few (very few) token producers, and some limited removal spells, but not enough of any one thing to have a consistent deck.

I felt a really strong pull to go 4 colors, but my lack of mana fixing, caused me to go only 3 (red, green and white). I had some great black cards but most of them required double black to play, I ended up cutting it, because it looked even more inconsistent red green white. My deck ended up relying on cheap and undercosted creatures to do early damage, then using the Glare of subdual to lock things down to get in the last few points of damage in. One huge help in this strategy was this Awesome DRYAD. Most people were playing multiple non-basic lands, and this little gem was worth twice her weight in gold all day. She punched through a lot of damage in almost every game that I got her out.

Match One: I played an opponent playing a Red Green Black deck. His most effective card was Shambling Shell. (in multiples? He seemed to get it out in each of our three games). Game one was close, but fell into my favor, largely because of my dryad, which he ended up nuking, We went about 8 turns with him about about 4 life until I got the Glare to finish things off. The second game was just as close, but he ended out edging me out with good removal. By this time the clock was wearing awefully thin, we had about 6 minutes left going into the 3rd game. It wasn't even close, my cheap creatures had him dead in about 6 quick turns. Match results 2-1, Overall results 1-0

Match Two: This gal was playing green black white (and red?) The first game was back and forth for a bit. But the Dryad finished her off. The second game was an exercise in frustration. She got out an early Souls of the Faultless, I was able to take it out but it caused a severe rift in our life (10 points). She then locked down on of my creatures with This Awesome Enchantment. We both drew dead for about 12 turns, and the enchanment pinged me to death, while I tried to keep things close with a Twilight Drover. I finally got another creature, and tried to get in the last few points of damage but lost the race. Game three, I drew a ton of my Gruul cards and she had mana problems, the game was over pretty quick. Match results 2-1 Overall 2-0.

Match Three: This was the pinnacles of frustration for the day. Game one, I mulliganed my first had, (holding 6 mana and one small creature). My second hand I had a land a signet and a 4 cheap creatures. I figured if I could draw 1 mana in the first two turns or so I would be okay and kept the hand. Big mistake, I didn't draw another land until I was already beyond hope. On the bright side I did get a good look at my opponents deck, She had a cool (but inconsistent) deck built around the Gruul Mechanic Bloodthirst . Her deck even had a doubling season. I sideboarded in some cards to take care of the cards I thought could be problematic and I shuffled like a madman trying to get my mana out of clumps. It didn't work. I got a fair opening hand of 4 creatures and 3 land. I kept, and only drew one other non-land card the rest of the game. I had her on the ropes early I got here down to about 6 life and I was at 15 or so, but I was forced to trades some stuff off and never drew any replacements. A frustrating loss to say the least. Match results 0-2, Overall 2-1

Match Four: This guy had a sweet deck. He was playing red, black, and blue. He had answers to everything I put out. Its like his deck was built around destroying mine. His Wojek Embermage was used in conjuction with a Tidewater Minion, the combo was more than enough to wipe out my weenie hord. It didn't help that he was a good player too. He won both rounds pretty quickly. I was also having mana problems this game but even if I wasn't I think he would of outplayed me, and won. Match 0-2 Overall 2-2

During the last break and during this one I was tearing my deck apart trying to find why I was having so many mana problems. And hopeing to find an Answer to them so I could sideboard it in after the first game of my next match. I couldn't find anything that would lead to my problems other than unlucky shuffling and cutting. So I reshuffled everything and took a break waiting for the next round to start.

Match Five: Both my opponent and myself had a record of 2-2, One of us would win cards and the other of us wouldn't. (unless we drew then we would both not get any cards :( ) So the play began. I could tell he was really wanting to win and get into the prizes, so I felt bad that I beat him. The first game we played was pretty close, he had a bunch of weenies and I had a Streetbreaker Wurm that was eating him down. He finally threw enough weenies infront of my wurm to kill it. I drew a few mid range Creatures (2/2 and 3/3's) he never could recover the tempo and I won. The second game he started off trading creatures, and ThoughtPicker Witching me. I fianlly got the witch out of the way but then he had some fliers out and I had no way to stop them, I kept hoping for my Glare to topdeck but it never did. He won, at this point he was so exited that he scooped up all of his cards and started to walk off. He wanted that win so badly, but I had to remind him I had won the first game and if he left then he would lose the third game, and I would win the match. His face kinda fell a bit when he realized that he had lost the first, and that this thing wasn't over yet. (like I said the first was AWEFULLY close and he had been ahead most of that game) The third game was a horrible game to win, we played into another deadlock, then I drew my Glare of Subdual. I grimaced and put it on the table. It took two turns for me to win. I felt horrible beating the guy, but I wanted into the prizes too, and I DON'T like to throw matches.

I stuck around just long enough to get my prizes (three Guildpact booster packs). I didn't even had time to open them, I was running late, and had to get home, if I was to have any hope of getting the Sushi dinner on. But I had a great time, other than the fact that none of my friends came. So I didn't really have anybody to talk to inbetween rounds, which meant that I talked to complete strangers instead. This brings up another point about PreReleases, they are with out a doubt the most friendly magic tournament. I compared cards with some other guys, played a few games with casual decks, and met some other players from around the state, I think I may have even made a new freind or two. Any day in which you make some friends is never wasted.

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