TWR: Rivals of Ixalan Prerelease

This weekend saw the Prerelease events for the newest Magic: The Gathering set, Rivals of Ixalan. I already had plans for most of the weekend, but was able to attend the Sunday event at 1pm. I attended at my LGS where I took part in the Ixalan prerelease as well, and just like the first time I was not disappointed. I have been very lucky with my pulls from packs over the last year or so. Not only have I pulled both an Invention and an Invocation from the past two masterpiece sets (Kaladesh block and Amonkhet block), but I’ve managed to pull some of the desirable cards from these past two Ixalan sets as well!

Unfortunately I was only able to stay at the event long enough to crack my packs, throw together a 40-card Simic Merfolk deck, and beat my first opponent 2-1. At that point I had to jet, but got a participation pack as well that also had a decent rare inside! I’m curious what would have happened had I stayed, as my roommate managed to essentially win the whole thing and earned extra packs. Regardless, it was a good time and I felt I got my money’s worth for the small $30 investment. On top of the normal chaff that is to be expected from a small pile of packs, I ended up with cards that I needed for decks that I’m constructing, and Dinosaurs are going to be amazing at this point. Once the set officially releases next week I’ll be placing an order for singles and finishing that deck off finally, along with getting some additional power for other decks.

My prerelease promo card was less exciting than last time, but it’s still a decent card. I don’t have a place for it just yet, but whenever you can use opponent’s spells against them, it’s a nice feeling. Were this card blue, I’d have a place for it but at the moment it’s going to sit until I find a use. The cards that I was excited for that I did pull were:

People were hoping that Zacama was going to be a 5-color elder dinosaur so they could utitlize the other five mono-colored elder dinosaurs, but I’m just fine with the card being Naya, and slotting right into the 99 of the Gishath deck I’m building. Not only is this card very versatile on its own, but I could use it as an alternate commander for the deck and that’s more useful to me. Zetalpa is going in the same deck, along with the Green and Red elder dinos. Amazing stuff. I managed to also pull Tetzimoc, but without being able to use black in the dino deck, that one will collect dust for a while. It’s a great card, but I can’t use it at the moment.

I pulled three of the Forerunners, but these are the only two I’ll use. The Pirate one is only good in Pirate decks, and that’s not something I intend on building, despite owning an Admiral Beckett Brass. My dino Forerunner was also a foil, so that’s a bonus and I pulled a foil Goring Ceratops which is an upgrade of sorts since I already had a non-foil version. There were some other rares that I pulled but nothing too exciting.

Overall I still managed to get my hands on some good cards, and I might be able to trade my roommate for some others that I need to finish off some of these decks. It’s a fun time, and I’m hoping to continue to go to these events as they come up. We’re also trying to use the opportunity to find some new members for our EDH group, and apparently a few people were invited from what my roommate said, so perhaps we’ll get the steady games going again. In the meantime I’m going to try and finish up the decks I’m working on to be adequately prepared when that day comes!

TWR: My First Pre-Release (Ixalan)

This past weekend saw the Pre-Release events for Ixalan take place at LGS’s around the world. Despite having returned to the game about a year ago, and having played plenty in years past, I had never taken part in a single game at a store versus strangers, nor in a sanctioned event. It was something that had been on my mind since returning, but I just hadn’t managed to go yet. The guys in my playgroup have gone to a few that I know of, so they had filled me in on how things go and I was still intrigued. A while back we purchased pre-release kits off of Amazon when Amonkhet released, creating our own makeshift pre-release event. Finally, this weekend I made it to my first official event, and got to see how it works first hand.

Ixalan officially releases on Friday, but at a pre-release you get your hands on a few packs of the new set, get to build a 40 card deck and play several rounds (best of threes) against whoever happens to show up. My friends and I went to the 1 pm event on Sunday and it was pretty fun. I enjoyed having the experience, though I understand that I am more of a constructed player, so I wasn’t going into the thing expecting to win all of my games. I have kept up on spoilers so I knew some of the cards that I was looking for, and did end up getting a few (though none of the good vampires I want for my Edgar Markov deck, boo). Another special treat for attending is a sealed foil rare card that has the pre-release dates printed on it. Sort of a cool way to commemorate things, though it’s random so sometimes you get something less desirable. I ended up with this guy:

He’s not bad, though sort of expensive. I think he would have worked fairly well in an EDH dinosaur deck, but a bit expensive when it comes to a more standard-like format. I think I played him once in all of my games. When we arrived at the store, it was just about start time, so we paid for our kits and went about cracking packs and building our decks. I finished fairly quickly, because after I pulled my best cards from the packs, I had to clear build arounds:

Pirates don’t seem all that interesting to me, but again, I play from the standpoint of wanting to build new EDH decks or add cards to my existing ones. I’m not currently playing standard or modern, so if it isn’t going somewhere EDH related then I’m pretty much over it. It seems that there are more pirates from previous sets than there are dinosaurs (they technically didn’t exist until now, though they did some errata on a dozen or so cards to make them part of the tribe) but I don’t really like the theme. They tend to center around stealing stuff or creating treasure artifact tokens that can be sacrificed for mana. This is similar to the Clue mechanic, but those artifact tokens were sacrificed to draw cards. Regardless, these mechanics don’t seem all that great, and I just built a Grixis commander in Marchesa, so I didn’t want to do the same colors again. I feel like Gishath is a great commander idea, but unfortunately the tribe support isn’t really there just yet — trust me, I already tried to figure one out and it seems to fall flat. I think we’ll have to wait for the second block of Ixalan to get enough dinos to really make a deck. I assume by then there might be some better pirate options as well. But I’m getting off topic.

I pulled the cards above out of my packs and looked through the rest of my cards. I ended up feeling like I had a decent deck formed around Dinosaurs so of course I ran the Avatar as well. I only managed to play him once, and still lost that game, but he’s a fun card nonetheless and more exploitable in EDH. Can’t wait to see if he can be a thing someday. As our rounds started, I played through four separate opponents before the event was done. I didn’t have the best day, but I managed to get a win in the final round. My overall scoring went like so:

  • Round 1: Went 1-2 (loss)
  • Round 2: Went 0-2 (loss)
  • Round 3: Went 1-2 (loss)
  • Round 4: Went 2-1 (win)

Individually the only round that was attrocious was the second. I couldn’t get all three colors of mana out and ended up being killed quickly. In the first two rounds I played against mirror decks, though only one of those players had a Gishath in the deck, they were both playing 3-color dinos. The 3rd round was played against the only guy in the store that was clearly older than us, and he had an Orzhov vampire deck (exactly what I wanted to play but lacked the cards to do so). I managed to win the first game but then lost the second and in the third I should have won but a well timed land destruction spell kept me from being able to play Gishath for the win. In the final round I played against this gentleman’s daughter who had a rough day like myself. She surprised me with a mill strategy for the first win (this is the only game I played Gishath and still lost) but I managed to tie things up and we were amid our third game when the time for the round ran out. Officially there are only a few turns left after that, but since we were the last game still going, the shopkeep let us finish it up. I finally scored my win, and was given a participation pack, along with another pack for it being my first event.

Overall it was a fun experience but I really only was in it for the cards. I think perhaps another time I’ll try again but for now I’m cool with the limited format. What I’d like to do now is go to a random Commander night and see what other sorts of decks are out there. So it looks like Ixalan has some cool cards in it, but overall it’s another set where I’ll buy a few packs and then buy up the desired singles and call it a day.