Thursday, 2 May 2013

Dragons Maze prerelease

Being busy with Kaleb, I don't play Magic as much as I used to, but still try to get some games in when I can. I only managed one draft after the Return to Ravnica prerelease, and only played Gatecrash once at the prerelease for that. I generally try to get to the prerelease events when I can at least, even if I can't get to anything else, so for the Dragons Maze one, I ensured I registered in advance.

In the morning, before getting ready, I thought it would be fun to write a little app that could flip 5 coins for me, on the off chance I needed to due to the new Planeswalker (Spoiler: I didn't, but it was fun to code nonetheless).

Liz and Kaleb were not going to be playing, but travelled down with me so they could go shopping. We arrived almost exactly on time; good train picking skills on Liz's part there.

I had picked Golgari as my main guild (wearing the guild T-shirt I got too), with part of me hoping for Gruul as those are the two guilds I picked for the other two prereleases. My actual secret guild was Orzhoz, so I started to get into the mindset of having some longer games.

Opening the pool, I think I got a decent set of cards. I figured my guild packs were good enough that I would probably play them, so decided I would start thinking from a different point of view, and pick a colour to not play, if possible. The first colour eliminated was blue, as I didn't really have all that much worth playing.

I almost eliminated red, but really wanted to play Ruric Thar and Warleaders Helix, so thought I would see if I could keep them in. I almost set aside Advent of the Wurm before realising that if I was paying green-black and white-black, I was also playing green-white...

My big Orzhov bomb was the mythic Blood Baron, and I had Alms Beast too. Other good cards included Dread Mangler, Toil & Trouble (and I could play both halves with my red splash), and two Ubul Sar Gatekeepers, which I was happy to play as all 6 gates I got were in my three main colours.

About half my deck needed black mana, so I played 6 swamps, the rest being covered by gates, and a couple of plains and forests, as they were also covered by the gates. I played one mountain and two red cluestones (boros and rakdos) to cover my two and a half card red splash, but I think I could have gotten away with just the cluestones and a prism in retrospect.

I won all four of the first matches I played, my deck seemed to play quite fast. Not by number of turns as it took me a few turns usually before I had played that much, but whenever I did play something, it was usually really good. One game I was able to play a turn three cluestone into a turn four Blood Baron. I think in those four matches I only lost one game to a madcap skills creature with double strike and a flyer, but being hit for 17 in one turn isn't something I was expecting.

The whole day I had been having fun and feeling relaxed, but come the last round (the finals), the games were very tense. Very fun, but still very tense. I lost the first game, I think it was close though. The second game I won, but that was close too. In the third game I think I made a few mistakes and lost, but was impressed with my record part the first round really, so didn't mind that much. One mistake was I was being attacked with a 5/2 and 5 power of double strike and temple, I had a 5/5 to block and blocked the one with double strike, I should have blocked the other one to trade as I took 10 in any case. Another mistake I think was that I held on to the gatekeeper waiting to draw my second gate (all other games I played I had two gates out quite quickly), when I should have played it earlier to either trade or hold off some damage. I did spend a turn playing two cluestones and not developing my board which was also a mistake.

All in ask it was a fun day. I'll see if I can actually get to draft this set unlike the last one when I didn't have the time. I wasn't too good when I last drafted a set that encouraged more than two colours, but I think this one supports it better, so hopefully I'll be OK :-)