This weekend I attended the pre-release event for the new Magic the Gathering set Gatecrash, which will be released next week. Now I have sat down to tell you just how awesome it is!
Yes this Saturday I headed down to Nerdtopia in Belfast and joined the mighty Orzhov guild. First let me start off by saying that if you are into Magic, but have never been to a pre-release event, give it a go. It was great fun playing in a format of deck building which I hadn’t tried before.
The event started with everyone choosing which guild they wanted to play as and receiving their guild box filled with all manner of goodies.
Pre-release tournaments used a sealed format. This is similar to Drafting (where players pass around a number of booster packs and make a deck from the cards they choose) only rather than passing the boosters around you have a set number of cards to make your deck from.
In the box we got about 20 semi-randomized guild cards to help us base our deck around if we so chose, along with 6 booster packs. This meant that someone might choose to play Boros for example, but upon opening their boosters would end up with a lot of great Gruul cards, thus allowing them to make a Gruul deck with perhaps some Boros mixed in (a combination which spelled my downfall).
My own deck was Orzhov, with a bit of Dimir thrown in due to the fact that I was fortunate enough to draw the Duskmantle Seer in a booster.
No way I was leaving him on the sidelines!
My first game was against a Simic deck. The combination of Green and Blue allowed my opponent a good degree of control over the game, while the Simic Evolution rule meant his creatures just kept on growing. This swiftly became the bane of my existence.
Fortunately I was able to exile it and then it was a case of sitting back and letting my Extort ability (every time I cast a spell I can spend 1 swamp/plains for each creature with Extort, each time taking one life from my opponent and going up one myself).
My next three games were against Gruul/Boros mixes, where I learnt that the Gruul’s Bloodrush rule is not something to be reckoned with. The ability to power up a creature using the creatures in your hand made it very hard to read my opponent’s attacks and judge which ones I could afford to block.
I also gained a whole new bane of my existence.
What are the odds of having to face her twice!
In the end I managed to beat one Gruul player, using a Dimir spell to keep their Rubblehulk tied down while Blind Obediance bought me the one turn I needed to win, but I ended up being trampled by the next two.
Out of all the games I played these two cards proved to be the most useful in my Library:
Blind Obediance (left) meant that all my opponent’s creatures and artefacts entered the field tapped, giving me much needed protection from Haste.
The Crypt Ghast (right) proved to be invaluable. While on the field it allowed me to gain two mana from tapping a single swamp, which then allowed me use more expensive spells as well as using the Extort ability more often.
In the end I managed to come 9th out of 24. Not bad for my first event. I was one win away from being in the top 8, which would have got me three booster packs. Why mana, why did you not turn up when I needed you in my last game?
Still, it was a great event and I had a lot of fun using the Orzhov. Extort is such a great ability, allowing you to steadily whittle away an opponent’s life. I for one cannot wait to build a full Orzhov deck!
A big thanks to guys from Nerdtopia Coffee for running such an awesome event and letting me use some of their photos, be sure to check the place out if you are in the Belfast area.