I recently returned from my first Magic the Gathering set prerelease, and I’m excited to document my experience. First, let me set the scene. I decided to go to the Battle for Zendikar prerelease at a local comic book shop last minute, mostly to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I wore a Simic t-shirt, because it’s the only piece of MTG merchandise that I own. I also thought it would be a funny trick to wear a specific color combination’s shirt and then force a completely different strategy in my sealed deck. I knew I was in for a ride when the first rare I cracked was Kiora, a green and blue planeswalker, which basically forced me to play Simic colors anyway.
As for the experience itself, the comic book shop was small, but comfy, while the patrons were friendly, but just about as stereotypical a crowd as you could imagine. I met some all types of players, from the loud-but-clueless types, to the quiet ones that only come out to these kinds of events for the valuable cards. The vibe was clearly established from the beginning of the event to the end, and only a few annoying nerd incidents occurred.
The cards, on the other hand, were a much less positive part of the night. My intro-pack rare was the worst rare in the entire set, Prism Array.
Needless to say, I didn’t force five color “good stuff”, but I did end up running Simic with a splash of black, because of a few green rares that I thought would be better than they were and removal. My deck ended up being a durdly mess, like a blue/green ramp deck without any strong game plan. Most of my matches ended up running very late, one even ending in a draw that went to my opponent. I only won one game out of seven, because I was able to play enough large creatures to swing out for lethal. Although I was pretty happy with my blue creatures, my green creatures never got anywhere close to the size that I thought they’d be, leaving me with very few viable win conditions. Even if I was able to muster a small army of giant Eldrazi, my opponents had easy answers to them. Worst of all, my Kiora ended up doing diddly squat, despite being played in at least one game of each of my match-ups. I could search for creatures or lands with her -2 ability, but ended up using her as a jenky Llanowar elf most of the time. My opponents made sure to keep her just out of reach of her ultimate, but they never really felt threatened by her. In fact, that was a running theme of my deck.
Some memorable moments from my night included getting mana screwed hard by there perfect Ingest triggers, having an opponent call-shot an Ingest trigger to exile my Kiora, and drawing before casting spells on my opponents’ endsteps more times than I’m proud to admit. I didn’t play perfect, but neither did my opponents; it was fun and no one took the game too seriously. All in all, I’d say I enjoyed myself, but I think my lack of interest in the Battle for Zendikar soiled the experience overall. I didn’t find many new cards to add to my pauper cube, or build-around cards for Tiny Leaders; there was nothing that stood out to me as cool enough to get excited about. I really wish I had gone to the Khans of Tarkir prerelease a year ago, since that’s one of my favorite sets, but I’m glad I got my training wheels on and can now go into a better set’s prerelease with a better understanding of what I’m doing.
I’ll make sure to talk about my thoughts on BFZ in a future article. In the mean time, what did you think of your prerelease? How are the Battle for Zendikar cards treating you so far? Anything you’re specifically excited about? Let me know in the comments section below or on twitter or facebook @pandamanana.