Tag: prerelease

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JP Vazquez JP Vazquez - April 6, 2016

Early Shadows Over Innistrad Impressions

Optimum Jank – Early Shadows Over Innistrad Impressions

 

IMAGE - AVISITOR - Bastien L. Deharme - Asylum Visitor

 

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

The Shadows Over Innistrad Prerelease is behind us and we are just a few days away from the official release date of the new set. I hope you all had a chance to participate in a Prerelease event or two because Shadows Over Innistrad (SOI) is amazing. Perhaps my early impressions are overly favourable because I loathed Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) so much, but I feel my instincts for this set are on the mark: Shadows Over Innistrad is going to be tremendous fun.

One of the more fascinating aspects of this set are the sheer number of moving parts – from the mechanical elements of the game down to the story and presentation – working in unison in a truly meaningful way. If I may take a moment to contrast Shadows Over Innistrad with Battle for Zendikar, the story of BFZ was that of the Zendikari fighting alongside the unbelievably poorly named “Gatewatch” superteam of Planeswalkers to vanquish the terrorizing Eldrazi menace rampaging across Zendikar. While BFZ’s premise may have been presented as everyone working together to defeat a common foe, in reality, the entire block felt disjointed and divided into three separate entities each trying to do their own contradicting thing. The Eldrazi mechanics mostly worked parasitically meaning they didn’t really work well with anything else in the set… which is fine. The Eldrazi should feel different and alien. The Zendikari, however, were all over the place. Some were Allies which worked with everything… including the Eldrazi, which doesn’t make any sense at all. Others were… just there? They didn’t really do anything, nor were they Allies, so I guess they didn’t mind the Eldrazi being there? I have no idea. Maybe non-Ally Zendikari simply hate Zendikar. They weren’t overly synergistic with the Eldrazi either, so I’m not really sure why they were there in the first place.  Finally, we had The Gatewatch, functioning in their own space to the side by their very nature of being Planeswalkers. For a story and set about teamwork and working together, nothing meshed well nor made any sense.

I’m speaking in broad, generalized terms, of course, but I’m sure you get the idea.

Shadows Over Innistrad is pretty much the exact opposite. There are both obvious and covert synergies between many of the cards and mechanics in a set with a mythology in place that brings rhyme and reason to the improbabilities of certain cards or tribes working together. The madness currently overwhelming the plane of Innistrad gives us a credible reason for why humans would be working side by side with vampires or werewolves or zombies. In fact, in a large majority of the art, the humans are scarier than the actual monsters! Have you seen the art for Rabid Bite?

 

CARD - BITE

 

That human is BITING A WEREWOLF. This is amazing.

As if that weren’t enough, SOI just feels more powerful and more exciting than anything found in BFZ. There were a number of times I would be looking through my sideboard during the Prerelease thinking to myself: “I should be running this card… and I should be running this card too.” The reason for that is a lot of the cards feel like they could be role players in multiple strategies.

 

CARD - VESSEL

 

Take Vessel of Ephemera, for instance. It can provide attackers, blockers or sacrificial fodder, it can fuel Delirium, it works with cards that care about Spirits, at worst it can be pitched for Madness costs… the list goes on. That’s just one common. Imagine an entire set that has that level of synergy. The major problem of SOI isn’t a lack of options, its problem is having too many!

 

IMAGE - WITCH - Wesley Burt - Accursed Witch

 

Scared Walkers Going Crazy in a Caged Box

Since we’re on the subject of powerful cards, let’s talk about a few I was very impressed with because they turned out to be far more powerful than I had initially anticipated and a few that turned out to be a little less so.

 

I was lucky enough to pull these two cards in my first Prerelease pool and yes, I was able to live the dream once: I flashed in Avacyn at the end of my opponent’s turn to save one of my creatures. During my next main phase, I sacrificed five creatures, transforming Westvale Abbey into Ormendahl, Profane Prince which in turn transformed Archangel Avacyn into Avacyn, the Purifier. It was pretty glorious.

Archangel Avacyn is everything you would expect her to be. She’s a fantastic card when you’re ahead, when you’re at parity and when you’re behind. That being said, she’s not as clear cut a card to play as you would believe her to be. I played against another player with his own Avacyn and I felt there were times he would run her out too soon. She’s strong, but she isn’t unbeatable and well placed removal will send her to the yard. More often then not, I liked holding her back in my hand: If I was already ahead, I didn’t need to use her frivolously and get her killed. If I was behind, she was my insurance to get me back to parity. Knowing she was in my hand ready to fly in at instant speed certainly gave me confidence when making combat decisions. Archangel Avacyn strongly reminded me of the Queen piece in chess: A lot of power that is often best held back until it’s time to strike.

 

IMAGE - QUEEN

 

On the other hand, Westvale Abbey is an incredibly difficult card to use in Limited. Simply having it on the board – even if I wasn’t anywhere near activating it – definitely made my opponents play more aggressively and use their removal more liberally.

Activating Westvale Abbey in Sealed was very hard to do. I can see him being much more powerful in Draft or Constructed formats where you have more control over deck building and can take advantage of sacrificing creatures or building up your board with tokens. In Sealed, getting 5 creatures on the board isn’t easy. Using five mana just to get a 1/1 token was a tough pill to swallow. Sacrificing my board and hoping my opponent didn’t have a way to interact with Ormendahl was agonizing. I realized early on that transforming him against anyone running Blue was usually the wrong thing to do: Just the Wind was everywhere. Sending my entire board to the graveyard only to have Ormendahl return to my hand didn’t seem like the wisest of actions. If you could build a Draft or Constructed deck that could take advantage of powerful leave the battlefield effects when your creatures died or had a means of generating a large number of tokens you wouldn’t mind sacrificing, I could see how Westvale Abbey could be an absolutely crushing card. In my case, however, it was more often a land than it was a game-ender.

 

CARD - BOON

 

Where did this card come from? Who okayed this card? Because this card is insane.

Auras are usually frowned upon by the majority of Magic players because they often lead to potential 2-for-1s, i.e. enchanting your creature with an Aura followed by your opponent casting a removal spell targeting your enchanted creature. Your opponent only used one card (their removal spell) to get rid of two of yours (your creature and the aura). Gryff’s Boon completely disregards this weakness because it keeps coming back whenever you want it to. What makes it even more insane is that it doesn’t return to your hand like you would expect it to, it goes right onto the battlefield attached to whichever creature you’d like to turn into an immediate threat. Anything and everything in your deck has the potential to be stronger and fly. Short of exiling the enchantment, you’re never going to get rid of this thing. I had two players simply crush me with this card because I had very few ways to interact with it. Let me tell you, turning Inspiring Captains into 4/3 fliers can be backbreaking.

 

CARD - VISIONS

 

When this card was first spoiled, I though it was okay. I wasn’t certain how detrimental giving your opponent cards would be.  My strategy, if it were to be played against me, was to either A) outrace my opponent with damage or B) get my hand size down using discard outlets if I needed to. Turns out, I was correct in my assumption that it wasn’t as good against aggro/Madness decks, but I was wrong about it being easy to get my hand-size down to a manageable number if I needed too. If your deck lacks methods to discard cards and you’re running a control deck, you’re essentially racing against inevitability. You’re being punished for doing what a control deck loves to do – draw cards. In retrospect, I feel I should have somehow sided into a more aggressive deck with a lower curve to beat this card; playing my control deck against it was an exercise in futility.

I still don’t think this card is amazing, but I’m definitely giving it a bit more credit then I initially gave it.

 

IMAGE - CURSE - Wesley Burt - Infectious Curse

 

See Me Heal These Wounds

My first impressions of Shadows Over Innistrad have been overwhelmingly positive and I can’t wait until Friday when we’ll finally get a chance to draft it for the first time. I’m very excited to see if SOI Draft is as rich and nuanced as it appears to be from its Sealed environment. If you’re in the Montreal area, Three Kings Loot will be hosting SOI drafts all day on Friday starting at noon, followed by a 6:30 Sealed event. If you’re interested in playing with the new set all day, you should absolutely swing by and check it out. As always, if you liked this article or have any questions, feel free to leave a comment in the Comments section below!

JP Vazquez – Optimum Jank

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JP Vazquez JP Vazquez - March 30, 2016

Prerelease the Kraken Horror!

Optimum Jank – Prerelease the Kraken Horror

 

IMAGE - KRAKEN - Svetlin Velinov - Stormsurge Kraken

 

Shadows Over Innistrad Prerelease – Everything New Is Dead Again

Culminating one of the best spoiler seasons in recent memory, Wizards has finally unveiled the complete set for Shadows Over Innistrad (SOI), which can be found here. The set looks absolutely phenomenal. Powerful cards at all rarity levels and flavour that’s off the charts. I have a feeling this will be one of the most bought, most talked about sets since the original Innistrad.

As always, with the arrival of a new set comes a new season of events, starting with this weekend’s Shadows Over Innistrad Prerelease! What is a Prerelease? It’s an event that allows players to jump into the new set one weekend before its official launch date. You’ll be able to purchase, play with and take home cards from SOI before anyone who hasn’t attended a Prerelease event. For that one glorious week, you get to be the object of envy and ire of all your Magic-playing friends who didn’t go to a Prerelease as you brazenly brandish your sweet new loot in their faces. MOO HOO HA HA!

Ahem… I mean… provided that gloating’s your thing, of course.

Before you can let that power get to your head, though, you’ll have to attend a Shadows Over Innistrad Prerelease event at your friendly Local Game Store (LGS)! You can sign up for a Prerelease event in-store or even online (provided your store has a website which allows you to do so). Smaller stores may have a limited number of spaces available, so you’ll want to sign up as early as possible if you want to take part in an event.

Prereleases are fun, exciting, and much more casual than almost any other Magic tournaments. There will predictably be some more competitive players that will have laboured over the card gallery prior to arriving hoping for that competitive edge, but those players will fortunately be in the minority. Most players at a Prerelease will be reading the cards for the first time at the event and discovering the set the same way you are: By playing at the Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease.

Everyone will be reading everyone else’s cards, everyone will inevitably be making mistakes, and everyone will be helping each other out as they navigate this return to Innistrad. If you’ve ever wrestled with the desire to dive into a more competitive environment but were unsure of when or how to start, I cannot recommend Prereleases any more than I already am. You should absolutely attend one.

 

IMAGE - STRANGER - Ryan Pancoast - Kindly Stranger

 

The First Rule of Prerelease Club

Fellow Bag of Loot contributor Kyle A Massa wrote an article on Monday with some useful Prerelease advice to keep in mind should you decide to attend one. I would highly recommend checking out his article before continuing here.

In addition to Kyle’s tips, here are a few things I have found to work for me. These tricks have aided me for most Limited events: From Prereleases to FNM Drafts to Grand Prix. Keep in mind, you don’t have to do any of these, but I’ve certainly found that doing a few – if not all – of them make events much more enjoyable and much less stressful.

1) Pre-sleeve Basic lands and bring them with you

 

IMAGE - SLEEVES

I’ve gotten into the habit of bringing my own Basic lands to Limited events which are already sleeved and ready to go. Bringing your own Basics allows you to forgo joining the mad rush at the land station which often resembles a travelling tour group at an All You Can Eat buffet.

Almost every LGS will have a land station with Basic lands ready for players but believe it or not, I’ve been to a few that didn’t. I’ve also been to LGSs that ran out of a certain land type.  One of the reasons stores will run out of Basic lands is that people often forget to return them at the end of an event. Those stores have to refill the land station and sometimes they simply run out of Basics (unless players donate lands to them). Not only does bringing your own Basics help your LGS, not needing to return your Basics at the end of the event is one less thing you’ll have to remember to do before leaving.

Having your Basics pre-sleeved also cuts down on sleeving time and allows you more time to read your new cards during deck building. I often see newer players frantically sleeving their decks during the first five minutes of round one because they took the entire allotment of time during deck-building to read all their cards, build their deck, and figure out their mana base. With your Basics pre-sleeved, you only need to sleeve 22-23 cards instead of 40 and it makes an enormous difference.

Having your own Basics can be a form of personal expression as well. I know a number of players love their full art Basic lands. You can sleeve those and play with them at the Prerelease! Personally, I’ve been using foil Basics as my go-to Limited Basics. Inevitably, I’ll end up playing someone who asks: “Are your Basics foil?” Why, yes, yes they are. Thank you for noticing.

As a rule of thumb, I carry 12 of each Basic which means 60 in total. I keep them in their own dedicated deckbox. While there have been times when I’ve needed more than 12 of one particular type of Basic land, those times have been few and far between.



2) Bring snacks and drinks and remember to eat

I’ve been to Prerelease events with anywhere between 4 to 6 rounds plus the time it takes for deck building, (which is usually anywhere between 30-45 minutes). Roughly speaking, you’re looking at a 4-5 hour event. Some stores will hold up to six Prerelease events over the weekend. I’ve done six event marathon weekends before: They’re very tough… Especially if you forget to eat.

Some LGSs have in-store eateries you can purchase food from. Most don’t, so be sure to bring snacks with you or, at the very least, make sure you know where you can purchase food nearby. It is very easy to forget to eat when you’ve been concentrating on Magic for a few hours and getting lost in friendly discussions of new cards. Making sure you’re well fed is not only healthier, but will keep you fresh which will allow you to play better. Keep this in mind if you’re thinking of doing multiple Prerelease events, especially if those events are on the same day.

I would also highly recommend bringing water with you to keep yourself hydrated. Make sure your water bottle is distinctive enough to be easily identifiable in case you misplace it at the event. A good water bottle should be easy to carry and must be resealable. The last thing you want is to accidentally pour water all over your brand new cards or worse, the cards of those sitting around you.

 

3) Pace yourself

Attending multiple prerelease events is a blast until they end and the adrenaline that’s been pushing you through the day comes crashing down. You will have been challenging yourself with complex lines of play and multiple convoluted calculations over numerous lengthy matches. When all is said and done, you will be exhausted.

With this in mind, try to make sure you’re well-rested before attending events. If you want to challenge yourself by participating in multiple events, that’s fine, but understand what you’re getting yourself into. You’re looking at somewhere between 8 to 10 hours of Magic per day.

Remember that you don’t have to do all the events. Nor do you have to finish all the events. After two losses, your chances to win prizes decreases tremendously, so if you’re tired and need to drop to get some rest, no one will fault you for it. I’ve seen players push themselves too hard to marathon through events and those players end up getting sick. Even worse, they’re miserable through the Prerelease, which is the exact opposite outcome you’re hoping for when attending.

Know yourself and your limits. If you’re getting to a point where you’re not having fun, don’t be afraid to turn it in for the day.

 

IMAGE - WREATH - Jason Engle - Wreath of Geists

 

My Zombie Pappy Always Used to Say…

Those first few days playing with a new set is incredible and getting the chance to do so with a bunch of like-minded players is exhilarating. If you happen to be in the Montreal area, this is your friendly reminder that Three Kings Loot will be hosting their own Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease events this weekend! If you’re interested in attending one (or more!), you can preregister at the store or online here. As always, if you liked this article or have any questions, feel free to leave a comment in the Comments section below! I wish you all a wonderful Prerelease!

JP Vazquez – Optimum Jank

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Kyle A Massa Kyle A Massa - March 28, 2016

5 Quick Prerelease Tips

Heir-of-Falkenrath
Play the Ten Drop – 5 Quick Prerelease Tips


Ah, the prerelease. The first time we get to play with those shiny new cards. It’s also one of the few times of the year that we get to play Sealed deck (which may or may not be an exciting prospect, depending on your tastes.) Eh, whatever
––just hope for a bomb.

If you’ve never been to a prerelease before or just want a refresher, here are some quick tips, tricks, and suggestions for having a good time!

 

Do a Little Research Beforehand

You’ve probably already checked out the spoiler, but it never hurts to go a little deeper. Consider the strengths of the colors, the possible synergies, the cards you’d be thrilled to open and the cards you’d rather not see. For instance, if you made a vampire deck, it might help to consider a hypothetical ratio of discard enablers to madness spells. This helps for faster and better deck construction.

 

Find Your Bombs

Sealed deck, more so than draft, is a bomb driven format. A bomb is basically a card that, if unanswered, will win you the game by itself. Think Archangel Avacyn, Arlinn Kord, Sigarda, Heron’s Gracethose kinds of cards.

A word of warning: don’t be deceived by rarity. Despite the above examples, a rare (or even a mythic rare) does not a bomb make. Altered Ego is a great example. Sure, it’s a big, splashy spell with a unique effect, and it’s rare. But is it the kind of card that’s going to win you the game all by itself? Eh, probably not.

 

Be Kind

I see a lot of new players showing up for prereleases, which is outstanding. I think it’s because prereleases are generally a little less intimidating than, say, Modern tournaments. People are usually pretty laid back about the whole thing.

That said, I still see experienced players being totally unforgiving at prereleases. They just roll the new players and then walk away.

Am I saying that you should let the new player win? No, absolutely not. You paid good money to play, so you absolutely have the right to play hard and win. Furthermore, if you let the inexperienced player win, they’re not really learning how to play and they’re not getting any better.

However, if you notice that your opponent made a huge mistake in games one and two, you can definitely try to give a little advice. A lot of new players will appreciate it. You can say something like, “Hey, I’ve found that this works pretty well,” or, “I tried doing this and I love it.” Sometimes it’s tough to give advice without sounding like a know-it-all, but it can make a huge difference.

 

Throw Out Your Packaging

Maybe this is just a pet peeve, but packaging always seems to gravitate toward the middle of the table, where it clumps and turns into a gigantic mess for the store owners to clean up. You might say, “Who cares? They can just throw it out.” And sure, they can. But remember that these people are giving you a place to play Magic every week, and that they work long hours for not a whole lot.

Do them a favor. Show your appreciation by walking to the trash can and throwing out the wrappers. It’s not that hard.

 

Have a Good Time

I think this one’s pretty self-explanatory. Magic is the best game there is––but it’s still just a game. Just go and have some fun. If you win, you win, and if you lose, you lose. The most important part is having a good time.

 

In Parting…

Have any amazing prerelease stories? Did you flip your Westvale Abbey into Ormendahl? Did you make a successful investigate deck? Did you kill someone with Triskaidekaphobia? Tell us your prerelease story in the comments below!


By Kyle A. Massa – Play the Ten Drop

You can reach Kyle at @mindofkyleam on Twitter or through his site www.kyleamassa.com

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Bruce Gray - September 30, 2014

Deep Thoughts on…Khans of Tarkir Prerelease

Abzan Houses -

Deep Thoughts on…Khans of Tarkir Prerelease

 by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

So, I’m back and all bleary eyed from my Khans of Tarkir prerelease experience.  Wow…what a time!  Let’s get out in front of this…I didn’t do very well.  I played in the Two-Headed Giant prerelease on the Sunday evening and it was packed! We ended up in the pizza joint next door for deck construction as overflow and it was nuts.  With that many players it was bound to be a tough hill to climb and it was exactly as I expected.  My brother, who is my usual partner, and I had a record of 2 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw.  We ended up way down the standings, but had tons of fun and really didn’t feel like our record was indicative of the strength of our decks.

 

In the first game we were a little slow off the mark but were starting to make some headway and stabilize the board.  It wasn’t helping matters that I drew land for 6 consecutive turns forcing my partner to handle the load of the work.  However, just as we were turning the corner and getting things set up to really get in the match we got hit with a HUGE Icy Blast that tapped us down for 2 full turns.  Needless to say, we didn’t last long because that sort of tempo play is just backbreaking.  We took it on the chin and were 0-1 to start.

 

In game two our opponents got out to a quick start and built up some solid board presence.  However, they got tentative and tried to slow roll us as they set up their kill stroke.  However, when both our decks roared to life at the same time, and yet another HUGE Icy Blast later, we had them dead and kicking themselves for playing so slowly.  We moved on in a very respectable 1-1.

 

Game 3 was a situation where we came out and dictated play reasonably well.  We had strong board presence, had preserved our life total reasonably well, and generally were in good shape…until they hit us with…you guessed it…Icy Blast.  Well, that was the game and we were 1-2.  You may have noticed that we were just getting crushed by Icy Blast and it was doing some work.  Essentially, whoever resolved Icy Blast typically won out and it proved to be a ridiculous bomb.

 

Game 4 we were on the beatdown plan pretty hard.  We had them on the ropes pretty good and were laying waste to them pretty hard when out of nowhere came End Hostilities clearing the board.  Since they knew it was coming they could follow up with some explosive creatures and very quickly we found ourselves in a hole.  We just never recovered from the Board Wipe and they quickly mopped up the rest of the damage to leave us 1-3 and feeling pretty sorry for ourselves because we felt we deserved a better fate,

 

Game 5 was one of those games that everything went our way.  We dodged all their big spells, countered or killed all the most relevant threats and generally had the run of things.  However, they scrounged and wouldn’t give up and we ended up going to extra turns.  In the end we drew, but it should have been a win for us…with our life total being at a ridiculous 49 life to their 2 points and all the threats in the world. We just couldn’t quite seal the deal leaving us in a draw. This sort of game leaves a bad taste in your mouth because we had the win…we could see it…we just didn’t quite get it in time. Sweet…everyone loves to be 1-3 and a draw.

 

It was at this point that we dropped the actual event, but we did sit down with some buddies of ours who came with us to play.  They had fared much the same way we had and were way down in the standings, so they dropped too and we played them in a sort of exhibition game with our Limited decks.  It was pretty fun but we pretty much ran them over quite quickly.  I’ll call this a win for us, even though it doesn’t appear in the standings.  2-3 and a draw…not ideal, but fairly reasonable.

 

Here’s my deck:

 

Abzan Limited

 

Breakdown

Overall, my impression of the format was that it felt very slow.  With so many tapped lands entering play to enable the wide array of colours, early pressure was super important and usually left your opponent reeling.  The good news was that it was easy as pie to meet your mana requirements in terms of colours.  I found that all evening I was able to cast my spells and never in need of looking for double black or double white to cast my spells…I always had it.  The “Refuge” land cycle was hugely important because it was occupying a common slot in just about each booster pack and was readily available to provide the fixing that was needed.  Also, casting costs seemed to be generally pretty high and did not have a ton of easy to cast 1-2 and 3 drops.  The argument on the flip side was that Morph could enable a quicker play, but a 2/2 for 3 is pretty poor considering what else we can get.  I’m not sure I saw Morph get used to its fullest abilities in this first go around, but it definitely looked powerful and could do some very neat things.  I liked the Limited play in general, but deck construction proved very challenging as I had to balance a number of colour requirements, a reasonable curve, and generally manage the demands of straining my mana that little bit further than normal.

 

Icy Blast- This was a devastating card all night long.  Every time it resolved it pretty assured that a winner was going to be declared soon.  For limited this is a ridiculous bomb and automatic include in your deck.  If you see this in a Draft, grab it, even if you aren’t in blue just to ensure you don’t need to face it down.

 

End Hostilities- Another disgusting bomb that messed things up. Not as scary as Icy Blast, but still very good and pretty uncool to try and face down.  At least now you have the option of countering it, but it is still pretty crushing if you can hit it.

 

High Sentinels of Arashin- This is a disgusting bomb.  A 3/4 flier for 4 mana is pretty good, but it is the additional abilities that makes it just busted.  It gets +1/+1 for each creature you control with a counter on it.  Cool…but in Abzan that’s EVERYTHING.  This was routinely a 8/9 creature for me, and with the “Sliver-esque” feel to the Abzan it could get first strike, trample, Lifelink, or anything else really.  It’s pretty crazy to say the least.

 

Abzan “lords”-  As I said, the “Sliver-esque” ability of the Abzan to grant each other abilities can make for a devastating combination if left unchecked.  It resulted in gross amounts of life gain through the Lifelink granted by Abzan Battle Priest and coupled with the High Sentinels I had a full team of disgusting, Lifelinking monsters to terrorize my opponents.  I liked them and they all synergized well together.

 

Outlast

On the whole, I liked the Outlast mechanic, but I found it very slow.  Some of the other abilities, like Prowess or Ferocious ended up being easier to trigger and it was a bit of a challenge about when to spend the mana on the Outlast counter and tap the creature down versus when to keep it up to block.

 

Funniest card that I ran

Feed the Clan.  Normally I would never run a card like this.  Pure, unadulterated life gain is just not something I like to play, but we kept getting blown out on Icy Blast and such.  So, both my brother and I main decked one of these with the express intent of firing one off to save our bacon and let us buy another turn in order to staff out getting knocked out of the match.  Believe it or not, it worked.  It bought us considerable time in one match and was not a dead card in another game we played.  I could hardly believe it was playable.  I’m still not convinced based on my small sample size, but I will be keeping an eye on it.

 

MVP

My MVP was Armament Corps.  My opponents would always allow this to resolve thinking that it was just a 4/4, but it could target itself and be a nasty 6/6 to cope with it.  However, the real benefit was in dumping the +1/+1 counters on other creatures (without utilizing their Outlast mechanic) to gain the benefits of the Abzan “lord” cards or to trigger the High Sentinels.  It proved to be a terrific barrier to shut out an aggressive ground game and a great way to enable powerful plays through the synergy with other Abzan cards.  This was a quiet star and one I was always glad to see turn up.

 

Biggest Bust

Honestly, while it was useful a couple of times, Take up Arms largely disappointed.  This is not M15 limited where Triplicate Spirits and the like are defining cards.  This is an expensive card that spews out some counters that could be neat if you are all aboard the Warrior-tribal theme…but I think will usually be an under performing card.  1/1 tokens just aren’t relevant enough because they don’t really trade profitably with much unless you double (or usually triple!) block a creature.  I would have rather played something more powerful at 5 mana than this.

 

I really enjoyed the Prerelease and wished I could have played a few more over the weekend, but needless to say that wasn’t possible based on my schedule.  It was a ton of fun, but it was just a glimpse of the Limited format that is going to shape up now that Khans is hitting the stores.  This format seems light years more complicated and nuanced than M15 which felt very narrow and stifled, but Khans is crazy diverse and a breath of fresh air.  The next several months are bound to be fun.

 

Well, there we have it, thanks for reading this week.  I’ll be back to my usual affairs of putting together a crack a pack and I’ve got some other irons in the fire in order to brew up some new decks and some other fun things.  So, stay tuned as we start to ramp up some of the brewing and news now that Khans is here.

 

Until next time, keep it fun, keep it safe…and most importantly keep it is Casual.

 

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791 on Twitter
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Three Kings Loot - September 2, 2014

Khans of Tarkir WPN Retailer Video

Khans of Tarkir WPN Retailer Video

Watch for prerelease and launch info with a new special twist for FNMs.

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Three Kings Loot - January 12, 2014

Journey into Nyx – Release notes & Artwork

Journey into Nyx

    • Journey into Nyx Release notes

  • Set 3 of 3 in the Theros block
  • Number of Cards: 165
  • Prerelease Events: April 26-27, 2014
  • Release Date: May 2, 2014
  • Game Day: May 24-25, 2014
  • Official Three-Letter Code: JOU
  • Twitter Hashtag: #MTGJOU

Journey into Nyx Set Symbol

Number of Cards: 165

  • Prerelease Events: April 26-27, 2014
  • Release Date: May 2, 2014
  • Launch Weekend: May 2-4, 2014
  • Game Day: May 24-25, 2014
  • Magic Online Prerelease Events: May 9-12, 2014
  • Magic Online Release Date: May 12, 2014
  • Magic Online Release Events: May 12-28, 2014
  • Pro Tour Journey into Nyx: May 16-18, 2014

Pro Tour Journey into Nyx Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Pro Tour Journey into Nyx Formats:

  • Swiss: Theros Block Constructed
  • Journey into Nyx / Born of the Gods / Theros Draft
  • Top 8: Theros Block Constructed

Official Three-Letter Code: JOU

Twitter Hashtag: #MTGJOU

Initial Concept and Game Design: Ethan Fleischer (lead), Dan Emmons, Erik Lauer, Mark Rosewater, Matt Tabak

Final Game Design and Development: Dave Humpherys (lead), Ian Duke, Tom Jenkot, Erik Lauer, Ken Nagle

Languages: English, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

Available in: Booster Packs, Intro Packs*, Event Deck*, Fat Pack*
(* – Not available in all languages)

Journey into Nyx Artwork – Multicolored Gods revealed!

Journey into Nyx Art 615x922BidentUnderworld CoinsmithLeoninPlainsSage of hours

 

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Three Kings Loot - November 26, 2013

Battle the Horde at Born of the Gods Prerelease, Release & Game D...

 

 

 

Battle the Horde continues the Hero’s Path where you left of after Theros Game Day. We assembled  all WOTC posters for these events. Born of the Gods promos are listed in another article linked here.

Born of the Gods Heros Path David PalumboBorn of the Gods Launch Aleski BriclotBorn of the Gods Game Day Michael KomarckBorn of the Gods FNM Jason Chan  

Battle the Horde Prerelease

Are you ready to Battle the Horde? You faced the Hydra decks at the Theros Game Day, but at the Born of the Gods Game Day you will Battle the Horde!

Born of the Gods Game Day: March 1-2, 2014!

Battle the Horde

Magic: the Gathering – Born of the Gods Prerelease

Quest 4 on the Hero’s Path takes place at the Born of the Gods Prerelease events, February 1 and 2, 2014. As with Theros, players will choose their heroic path based on a favorite mana color and receive a Sealed Prerelease Pack based on that color.

The Prerelease Packs are as follows;
• WHITE – Destined to Lead
• BLUE – Destined to Outwit
• BLACK – Destined to Dominate
• RED – Destined to Conquer
• GREEN – Destined to Thrive

Each ‘seeded’ Prerelease Pack contains the following;
• 5 Born of the Gods booster packs,
• 1 ‘Seeded booster pack’,
• 1 Premium foil pre-release promo card,
• 1 Activity card,
• 1 Spindown life counter,
• 1 Welcome Letter, and
• 1 Hero Card

Battle the Horde Prerelease 2

 

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