Thoughts from the M13 pre-release

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Just got back from a pre-release and my impression of the format is that it is a little bland. I suppose the core sets won't be too exciting for sealed and limited play. I got a pretty mediocre pool, only playable bomb was Rancor. I had the X mill artifact but nowhere near enough other mill cards to support it for a control/mill strategy. 

The games were fairly slow. Exalted was good with Trample or Flying, but it didn't seem like an amazing mechanic.  I played a G/B deck with a little removal, some 3cc and 4cc green creatures, and some black exalted creatures. Switched to G/W deck about halfway through that was more aggresive and used 3 of the +2/+2 mages and three of the +2/+2/+Flying eagles. Ended the night 3-1, and my one loss was mostly a result of not mulliganing when I should have.

All in all, building a deck with a reliable mana bass and decent curve let me knock over some decks with higher quality cards.  
Opened a Nicky and a Cleansing.  None of the rest of my pool supported either.  Round zero drop.
I had a fairly good pool. I had Nefarox and a good number of playable black cards, then had to choose between serra angel/o ring/white filler or talrand/a few value sorceries and instants (like rewind which was average). I eventually played blue. 



I know that this is going to sound like it always has; but this format is very bomby. Round 2, I lost solely to Staff of Nin games 2 and 3; round 3 I lost to Odric games 1 and games 3.


Cower in Fear is just NUTS against most decks. Not only are most of the exalted creatures X/1, most of the value flyers are too. T2 whelkin tern, t3 white knight guy, t4 aven squire - cower kill all 3 guys. so good 
I went 3-1 with a B/W deck, only loseing to another B/W deck that had more removal than me. Winning the matches with a clean 2-0 each time.

Rhox Faithmender comboing with vampire nighthhawk pumped with dark favor and exalted cards on the field lead to me swinging in the air for 7 while gaining 14 each turn. the Bloodhunter Bats were also very good allowing me to block thier flyers while continuing to swing with the nighthawk, also gaining me 4 each time I played one if faithmender was on the board.

All in all, although I didn't pull any 'bombs' I made a very soild deck that offen allowed me to have over 50 life with the other playign in single figures, leading to quite a few scoops.

In fact all top 8 decks were B/W.
Green is the best colour in limited just like in AVR that's what I took out of the prerelease.
I went 3-1 with GR Beats in the only flight that I played the MVP of the night was definitely [CARD]Flames of the Firebrand[/CARD] being able to kill my opponents [CARD]War Falcon[/CARD] + [CARD]Aven Squire[/CARD] on turn 2 off an [CARD]Arbor Elf[/CARD] in multiple games felt absurd.

[CARD]Flinthoof Boar[/CARD] + [CARD]Ring of Kalonia[/CARD] was also another ridiculous combo against slower blue decks the boar getting in 2-3 hits each time undisrupted whilst growing each turn put most games out of reach for my opponents.

I don't remember the entire pool but this is the deck I ended up playing with the only relevant SB cards being Naturalize and a 2nd Plummet.



From my prize packs notable pulls were Thragtusk, Hellkite of the Overrated and foil Vampire Nocturnus.


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I went 3-1 with a B/W deck, only loseing to another B/W deck that had more removal than me. Winning the matches with a clean 2-0 each time.

Rhox Faithmender comboing with vampire nighthhawk pumped with dark favor and exalted cards on the field lead to me swinging in the air for 7 while gaining 14 each turn. the Bloodhunter Bats were also very good allowing me to block thier flyers while continuing to swing with the nighthawk, also gaining me 4 each time I played one if faithmender was on the board.

All in all, although I didn't pull any 'bombs' I made a very soild deck that offen allowed me to have over 50 life with the other playign in single figures, leading to quite a few scoops.

In fact all top 8 decks were B/W.



How intersting. W/B, exalted you say...
I went 3-1 with a B/W deck, only loseing to another B/W deck that had more removal than me. Winning the matches with a clean 2-0 each time.

Rhox Faithmender comboing with vampire nighthhawk pumped with dark favor and exalted cards on the field lead to me swinging in the air for 7 while gaining 14 each turn. the Bloodhunter Bats were also very good allowing me to block thier flyers while continuing to swing with the nighthawk, also gaining me 4 each time I played one if faithmender was on the board.

All in all, although I didn't pull any 'bombs' I made a very soild deck that offen allowed me to have over 50 life with the other playign in single figures, leading to quite a few scoops.

In fact all top 8 decks were B/W.



How intersting. W/B, exalted you say...




Indeed useing the +2+2 and flying and other buffs. When you're swinging with a 6/6 or higher flyer every turn theres not much that can stop it. Add in lifelink and you have a very mean deck.
I made the prediction that W/B exalted would be the best deck in another thread, and people were pooh-poohing the idea. I've gotten pretty good at picking color strengths from the spoiler lists. I called G/U in AVR and those deck were winning upwards of 73% of their matches before everyone started drafting those decks.
I think the main problem with W/B exalted is that there aren't that many Exalted cards in the set. The mechanic can certainly be good with enough support, but getting the right mix of cards (especially in sealed) is no mean feat.
There are four white or black commons with exalted, and three uncommons. It seemed to me as I played that I saw those cards alot.
... You didn't run Sands of Delirium? That card is a win condition in and of itself. I'd run it with no other mill support in most pools.

The normal Sealed Deck prerelease is tomorrow where I live, I was at the 2HG one today, and evaluations change a lot from one format to another (for example, Exalted is really bad in 2HG since you seldom attack "alone").

Exalted looks like it could be a thing in 1-on-1, but there are effects at uncommon (Flames of the Firebrand, Cower in Fear) which can totally wreck a deck filled with small Exalted things.

Cards that impressed me were...
Cower in Fear
Public Execution (might be less impressive in the arguably faster 1-on-1)
Downpour
Flames of the Firebrand
Deadly Recluse
Vedalken Entrancer
Bladetusk Boar
Rancor
Bloodhunter Bat
Courtly Provocateur
... I know some of there are obviously good, but I'm putting them on there cause they are even better than I had expected.

I played a Jayemdae Tome and even in the slower 2HG format, it was unimpressive.
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There are certainly enough in the common/uncommon slots that everyone will open at least a couple, but to build a functional B/W deck focusing on the mechanic would require getting a good mix of those along with the right support cards. It's certainly a viable strategy but I think it will need the right mix of cards.

Edit:

So a look at the card gallery shows the following Exalted break down:
White has 2 at common, 2 at uncommon, and 1 at mythic rare. One of the commons has defender and one of the uncommons is an enchantment.

Black has 2 at common, 2 at uncommon, and 1 at rare. There is also the exalted land.

I think the odds of getting the right mix of cards for that deck is fairly low. 
... You didn't run Sands of Delirium? That card is a win condition in and of itself. I'd run it with no other mill support in most pools.



I was expecting a faster format so the idea of taking a turn to play a card that didnt really affect the board state didn't excite me, especially when I would need to devote my mana to then milling them over multiple turns. There was one game I can think of where it would have won me a game because of stalled board state, but other than that I think it just makes their graveyard bigger while they kill me.

I did have two Mind Sculpt in blue and I made a U/W control deck with my pool but never played it. If I had gotten one of the Vedalken mill guys I would have run the mill/control deck at least once.

Had some good fortune at my first ever MTG pre-release last night, going 3-1 with a B/U deck. Black seems like it might be the best color so far, as my one loss was in round 1 against a B/W exalted deck with a Knight of Glory. I managed to go 3-0 the rest of the way for 3 packs, thanks to some all-stars like Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis, Duskmantle Prowler, Harbor Bandit, Staff of Ninx2 and my MVP, Vampire Nighthawk, who brought me back from 2 life to beat my opponent at 26 life. I had a Sphinx of Uthuun in my deck, sometimes in my hand but never on the battlefield. Either I didn't have the mana, or the one time I did have the mana, my opponent had just milled me for 14 by playing two Mind Sculpt, leaving my library with 7 cards. I also had Staff of Nin in my hand, but couldn't play it after the big mill. I continued playing the Sphinx and the Staff of Nin for my final 2 matches, but I was always paranoid about a big mill coming out of nowhere. Should I be more cautious about playing card-draw in this format, or should I even beef my deck up to 45-50 cards? I felt like I had enough playable cards to do so. Thoughts?
Lobster is right about Sands of Delirium being a win condition on its own. You don't need to devote all of your mana to it every turn to make it good.

I played a GW deck with lots of value cards and stallers along with the Sands of Delirium. Between the Primordial Hydra, Ring of Kalonia, Sands of Delirium, and some green fatties my opponents were typically further and further behind the longer the game went.

The deck ended up going 4-0. The only opponent that gave me any trouble was a BR deck that had a good amount of removal along with a Knight of Infamy and Bladetusk Boar, which stretched my removal a bit thin since most of it was white. I also had a game where I drew 8 land and 4 spells and another game where I started with 2 lands, didn't draw another unil turn 5, and the fourth until turn 8. They really need to fix the RL shuffler.
Same as most limited environments. Opening lots of removal and bombs win.

Getting sick of WotC's no draft policy though. 
I played in one prerelease today.  I went with a white and green deck that contained:

1 x Duskdale Wurm
1 x Serra Angel
2 x Roaring Primadox
1 x Spiked Baloth
1 x Primal Huntbeast
1 x Centaur Courser
2 x Attended Knight
2 x Yeva's Forcemage
1 x Knight of Glory
2 x Aven Squire
2 x Silvercoat Lion
2 x War Falcon
1 x Arbor Elf
1 x Titanic Growth
1 x Angelic Benediction
1 x Prey Upon
1 x Predatory Rampage
9 x Plains
8 x Forest 

The synergy of the primadox with both the Attended Knight and Yeva's Forcemage worked well.  I was also surprised by Overrun's retarded little brother, Predatory Rampage.  That card won three games for me.


I  went 4-0 with this deck.  I felt the lack of a naturalize or some other sideboard cards like plummet to board in.


I played a guy that was using the Sands of Delerium in his  mostly black and green deck.  He just milled with whatever mana he had up on his opponent's end step.  I played him in round 4.  In the first 3 rounds, he won at least one game against each opponent by milling them out with Sands.  It is definitely a wincon in its own right.



The format is defintely a little slow but I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It looks like I'm going to have to put up with all kinds of vampire decks on friday nights again though.

Hope you all had and have fun with M13. 
I felt the lack of a naturalize or some other sideboard cards like plummet to board in.



Heh... I also went with GW (although very little of our decks overlapped surprisingly) and I had the same problem. One of my opponents played several artifacts in our first game, including Akroma's Memorial. I had absolutely nothing in my entire pool that could remove an artifact. I was thinking, "What the hell?!?! I'm playing GW and I have no artifact removal??" The same for enchantments, as one of my opponent was playing multiple Divine Favors and a Mark of the Vampire and I had nothing that I could board in to deal with them. He actually got Mark of the Vampire and Divine Favor both on Tormented Soul.
Went 5-0 playing Jund. Two main take aways were that Prey Upon is ridiculously good in this draft format. It is so often just 1 mana kill a creature of your choice. The other main take away was that regenerate was very good. I had 1 each of Crimson Muckwader, Duty-Bound Dead and Ring of Xathrid. All of them were amazing. Ended up with a 7/9 Duty-Bound Dead one game, saved me from a Duskdale Wurm with Rancor on it when I was at 1 life. Definitely would recommend those 4 cards.

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Went 1-2, if you want to include a bye. Ugh.

Rare Selection was like Hellion Caduldra; Clone; Void Snatcher; Kraggo, Mob Boss(?); Ground Stone, and Elvish Archdruid. No Elves, 3 sources of Goblins, and my most plentiful common was Bountiful Harvest (x4!!!). My first opponent had the Merfolk Skycaller dude and the uncommon that summoned drakes, and Ajani, the Pride Caller! The second opponent had a ton of Exalted creatures, and overwhelmed me over time.

Overall, I had a negative experience, with little to be excited over. It's not really a reflection on the set or anything, but I felt I was dealt a bad pool by Kismet.
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Hit top 8 in the event I went to despite having a very poor pool to work with. My green, red and blue were utterly unplayable (I had a grand total of two green creatures...).

I ended up barely able to cobble together a servicable B/W deck with about 6 exalted creatures (Duty Bound Dead, Aven Squire, Servant of Nefarox, Duskmantle Prowler) and a couple of Battleflight Eagles plus a kitesail. My only real bomb was Captain of the Guard, and I only saw him once the entire day. That game was glorious, however - I blocked with the captain (trading with a Centaur Courser), and then cast Faith's Reward to resummon him and spawn 3 more soldiers. That combo won me that game, although I lost 2-1 overall.

I won games against decks I had no right winning against due to a kitesailed Servant of Nefarox exalting in with a Dark Favor and the Ring of Xathrid. Kitesail was ludicrously effective with Exalted in many games.

The deck ran out of steam in my first top 8 game, but it illustrated how powerful Exalted can be; I didn't really have any particularly decent creatures, but Exalted kept me in it.

Some of the pools players received were crazy. Ever seen Ajani and Yeva on the field at the same time? Not pleasant. That player also had the white/green dual land! :D

The pool I registered was pretty decent; I remember opening an Odric and a Liliana, so I'm sure someone was happy.
Had quite a bit of fun this weekend. First event I played in I was able to reach the top 8 off the back of an Akroma's Monument, Odric and Intrepid Hero.

Second event that I played I had a decent green and black pool focusing on exalted and kill spells. Tormented Soul along with Ring of Xathrid were the all-stars of my deck and allowed for consistent damage every turn. One comment I have is that Duty-Bound Dead is an insanley good one drop common.

My deck was:
Primordal Hydra (foil)
Silklash Spider
Ring of Xathrid
Ring of Kalonia
Public Exexution
Arbor Elf (Foil)
Yeva's Forcemage x2
Bloodthrone Vampire
Duress
Murder x2
Cower in Fear
Liliana's Shade
Tormented Soul
Duty-Bound Dead x2
Duskmantle Prowler
Rancor (foil)
Servant of Nefarox
Mark of the Vampire
Spiked Baloth
Bloodhunter Bat
Crippling Blight
Swamp x10
Forest x6

Other rares I got were Dragonskull Summit, Door to Nothingness, Stromtide Leviathan, Void Stalker, and Master of the Pearl Trident.

My overall pool was diverse enough that I considered five color control with Door of Nothingness but friends talked me out of it. 
Rares:
Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis
Rootbound Crag
Serra Avenger
Firewing Phoenix
Stuffy Doll
Ground Seal

I ran black/red with a lot of removal and black exalted creatures.
 
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I got screwed pretty hard.  I had a few "solid" fillers, but no real bombs unless you consider stormtide leviathan a bomb when the rest of my total of six other blue cards were almost completely unplayable. 

I also opened a Reverberate.  With exactly two burn spells and no creatures in the color of any particular note other than a couple walls and filler beaters.  I got a Sands of Delirium which I ran in every game as a last ditch effort.  It was Naturalized at every available opportunity.  I pulled a Cathedral of War!... as my only exalted card.  Joy.  Quirion Dryad was useful if I got her out early.   Which I never did.  I also opened a Dragonskull Summit, which tempted me to run B/R.  But I had effectively crap for support in those colors, as I had only two Searing Spears, no black removal, and no particular bombs which could end the game at that point.

Meanwhile my opponents pulled ridiculous bombs, such as the Hydra, that damn legendary Goblin (My opponent got the count up to 100,000 goblins as there was literally nothing at all I could do about the situation as my Searing Spears were unfortunately both bottom decked), one pulled a Nicol Bolas (Which he didn't use, but come on... compared to crap I got).  I ran a G/W beater deck as I had at least a decent amount of support in those colors.  Not much, but some.  Got brutalized by ridiculous decks with amazing bombs, good support base, and very little filler. 

Fortunately the shop gives out prizes to all entrents (The more you win, the more you get) in the form of boosters.  My "prize" boosters included a Xathrid Gorgon (Joy.  It's not like I didn't get one a couple hours earlier for free as a give-away), and a Rhox Faithmender (Which actually would have been useful).  That said, there was an AVR draft earlier, and I went 2-1(Won two out of three matches with a G/U/W monstrosity of a deck).  Out of the two packs I won there I pulled a Bonfire of the Damned(My other pack was Dark Ascension which I pulled Curse of Echoes from;  I'm not terribly dissapointed with it, as we played a small casual game with what we had from the draft and it was terrible fun to play with and I'm probably going to include it in an EDH deck for the giggles), picked up a Divine Deflection as it was passed to me (Which I actually like a lot, and am considering doing something with), and earned myself one of the FNM Forbidden Alchemys.  So the night wasn't a complete waste.

rares
Leviathan
Battle of Wits
touch of the eternal
rhox faithmender (foil)
hamletback goliath
slumbering dragon
sunpetal grove

I went BR with some exalted and quite a little bit of removel and went 3-2, which is my best tournament record so far

most fun play
opponent has that white chick that is as strong as the number of creatures on his side, a 1/2 dude and three soldier tokens, I have the slumbering dragon in play, but without counters. he plays prey upon, targeting my dragon and his 5/5 creature, I respond by playing cower in fear...
I often was able to drop the dragon turn one or two, but apart from the situation above, he never did anything usefull (except sometimes make my opponent waste removal on him)
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Rancor turns every one drop into a pain in the a@&. Which is why I was glab I got 2 of them in my pool (also, toss it on a 1/1 first striker? ehhehehe)

A good number of fliers in blue can outrace most decks

White got splashed for removal a lot. I started maindecking my Naturalisms for Pacifism (and they could take out rings if the opponent wasn't running white).

Farseek was great, it really greases the hinges of 3 color decks and mana ramps too. 
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I had a horrible card pool with no outstanding colors or playable bombs.  I mean, my rares included Battle of Wits and Worldfire, crap!  Mutilate was good though.  Ended up going W/U/B and it seemed like almost everyone played three colors.  I did poorly overall, but flyers and unblockables worked best for me, with plenty of removal.

Only two planeswalkers were unwrapped at the prerelease I attended, a Garruk and a Jace.  Didn't stick around to see if anyone opened one in their prize packs.  My one little prize pack (the equivalent of a "You Tried!" ribbon in grade school) was nice, however; it had a foil Stuffy Doll which I really wanted.
Rancor turns every one drop into a pain in the a@&. Which is why I was glab I got 2 of them in my pool (also, toss it on a 1/1 first striker? ehhehehe)

A good number of fliers in blue can outrace most decks

White got splashed for removal a lot. I started maindecking my Naturalisms for Pacifism (and they could take out rings if the opponent wasn't running white).

Farseek was great, it really greases the hinges of 3 color decks and mana ramps too. 



Rancor was one of the few enchantments that was played in constructed decks, I'm not surprised that it dominates in this format. It plays out like an equipment, enchantment hybrid, but when it's working it can be near impossible to deal with.
In the discussion thread when Rancor was showcased there was at least one poster that said if it was for real he'd start forcing green in drafts, just for Rancor.

I could see grabbing Rancor and that Wolf that +1/+1's for each other copy, as well as other random green, being a fairly strong deck arch-type in draft.  As well as exhalted.

Wish I could make the pre-release :-(  have to settle for the midnight draft this Friday.
Tolkein was a jerk. Seriously, what DM sends 9 Wraith Lords at a Lvl 2 party of Halflings. The only 'correct' way to play D&D is by whatever method is making the group you have at that session, have the most fun.
Yep, Rancor was a killer.  
Went 1-3, but had a good time.  Would have been 2-2, but my third opponent got lucky and drew Elixir of Immortality with his last card when I thought I had him decked.  Had 2 Mind Sculpt and a Veldaken Entrancer that accounted for 2 of the 3 games I won.  I made the mistake of being overly confident in green because I pulled a Rancor and some decent creatures.  After going 0-4 in the first two rounds, I started sideboarding in white after game one and was competitive thereafter.  I was really hitting myself in the head for not playing white instead of green, but I hadn't spent much time on prepping.
I went 4-2 at today's Prerelease to finish 12th (of 42 people) - I lost to Thundermaw Hellkite (and a really good player who went on to go 5-0 and only lose the sixth and last match) in round 1, won against Sublime Archangel (it's a nice Rise from the Grave target) in round 2, won against Liliana and a Vampire Nighthawk with Ring of Xathrid in round 3, won against a burn-laden G/R deck which luckily never got to cast his Elderscale Wurm in round 4, lost to a really good player navigating a W/R aggro deck with a ton of burn (and a Thundermaw Hellkite he luckily never drew) in round 5, and won against Rancor (on like 5 different creatures in the same game) in round 6 - with a 4-colored deck. It looked roughly like this:

Augur of Bolas
Welkin Tern
Deadly Recluse
Elvish Visionary
Courtly Provocateur
Yeva's Forcemage x 2
Firewing Phoenix
Primal Huntbeast
Roaring Primadox
Talrand, Sky Summoner
Faerie Invaders x 2
Garruk's Packleader
Stormtide Leviathan

Total creatures: 15

Prey Upon
Essence Scatter
Farseek
Divination
Flames of the Firebrand
Essence Drain x 2
Rise from the Grave

Total non-creature spells: 8

Evolving Wilds x 2
Forest x 7
Island x 6
Mountain
Swamp

Total lands: 17

I originally started a Spelltwine instead of the Essence Scatter, but found that I boarded it in every game so I just let it stay in after round 2 or 3. Other sideboard cards that I used were Unsummon and Mark of the Vampire in some matchups.

I found the format very enjoyable even if it, like most sealed deck tournaments, does depend quite a bit on certain cards (some of the rare or mythic rare). I felt like I put up a great result considering the decks I played against.

I also passed my level one judge exam - so, a good day all around
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How intersting. W/B, exalted you say...



It's doable. I went 5-0 with Sublime Archangel and a bunch of other exalted guys, a couple Vampire Nighthawks, and some token cards, using my Rings to give the Nighthawks vigilance, hexproof, and +1/+1 counters.

Wez in ur base, edictin ur flierz.
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How intersting. W/B, exalted you say...



It's doable. I went 5-0 with Sublime Archangel and a bunch of other exalted guys, a couple Vampire Nighthawks, and some token cards, using my Rings to give the Nighthawks vigilance, hexproof, and +1/+1 counters.

Wez in ur base, edictin ur flierz.



Archangel isn't "exalted"-theme. It's just gross in and of itself. It's exalted the same way Elder of Laurels is. And if I may, I think a single Nighthawk would matter more to your result than any Exalted creature except the angel. They're insanely good.

For what it's worth, Exalted wasn't played very heavily as a theme as far as I could tell at our prerelease and was more of an incidental "value"-thing. It's very good at that, though, I won't deny that.
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I'm curious what speculation is for drafting the set now that we're pretty much post pre-release.

Aside from opening a bomb and sticking to that color, what's the game plan if you open something like Battle of Wits and don't see an obvious take card like Rancor in the uncommon slot?
Tolkein was a jerk. Seriously, what DM sends 9 Wraith Lords at a Lvl 2 party of Halflings. The only 'correct' way to play D&D is by whatever method is making the group you have at that session, have the most fun.
I just got back from my second prerelease event. After the 4-0 and pulling a mythic Friday night I didn't think that I could do much better. I did pull an Ajani, Caller of the Pride though and managed to go 3-1 with another GW deck. I lost 0-2 in the first round against a BR deck that was playing 2x Knight of Infamy. Despite playing 10 green creatures and 5 white creatures I was stuck on all white creatures both games and my removal consisted of Pacifism and 2x Prey Upon.

After that dissappointing performance I ran really well. One surprisingly good card for me was Chronomaton. It was very versatile. After putting a couple of counters on it I could start attacking with it. If my opponent ever put out a blocker that was too big I'd just go back to putting counters on it. I also managed a nice trick where, after my opponent declared his attacker, I used Naturalize on the Pacifism that was on Chronomaton, declared him as a blocker, then added a counter which made him just large enough to eat the opposing creature. He also managed to Prey Upon a newly cast 4/4 Primordial Hydra before it got out of hand.

Ajani, Caller of the Pride was of course very powerful, especially when the board stalled. Silklash Spider is also excellent in GW since you can use it to lock down the board and then use it to clear the skies before dropping your own flyers. Titanic Growth is also very powerful, but that's probably not a big surprise to anyone.

I had one chance to create a dozen cats with Ajani's ultimate, but his -3 ability let me just end the game anyway. Paired with green he's even better, since you can be putting counters on guys with trample or on Primal Huntbeast.

As others have pointed out, Rancor is of course very powerful and annoying since it's very hard to get rid of outside of instant speed creature removal. I didn't have one in my pool, but several were floating around. Luckily I only had to face one of them myself.


Fortunately the shop gives out prizes to all entrents (The more you win, the more you get) in the form of boosters.  My "prize" boosters included a Xathrid Gorgon (Joy.  It's not like I didn't get one a couple hours earlier for free as a give-away),..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />


I was sat next to someone who, after going to Saturday and Sunday pre-releases, now has 5 Xathrid Gorgons.

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Getting a right-coloured ring on an evasive creature seemed very good, I won one game with an Elvish visionary equiped with kitesail and ring of kalonia flying over for 20, while the fatties that I had planned to win with stared down my opponent's fatties. With the potential of exalted support, Tormented Soul is shaping up to be a prime removal target. Primal Huntbeast plus Tricks of the trade was another back-breaking partnership.

I tried building a mill deck with 2 Vedalken Entrancer and a Mind Sculpt (with an Archaeomancer and a Spelltwine to recur it),  which turns out to be too little mill. It won 3 games out of 6 before I changed to BW, but one of those wins was my flyers doing 20 to a mana-flooded opponent. Later I lost a match to a deck that used Mind Sculpt to turn on Jace's Phantasm

Most wrong feeling play of the weekend: I attack with Faerie Invaders and also suicide a soldier token into your blockers so that Exalted doesn't turn my flyer into an Intrepid Hero target.


went to the 2hg last night, opened a very good pool. i played monoblack with nefarox and xathrid gorgon, and my friend played g/r, but switched to g/u after the second round (but we got a bye third round anyway). vampire nighthawk is ridiculous as expected, as is rancor, knight of infamy is very good, and mark of the vampire is also very good.

went went 0-2-bye after i got flooded both games (drew 14 of 17 lands first game, had about 15 cards left in library probably) and my friend also flooded first game but then didn't hit his fourth land drop in g2 until t6ish. so yeah we were really frustrated by that (but not as much as another guy there, that was hilarious).
Went 3-2. Sealed Pool was terrible, my rares were Ground Seal, Drowned Catacomb, Rhox Faithmender, Elvish Archdruid, Magmaquake, Vampire Nocturnus and foil Worldfire. After some thoughts I ended playing a Bg deck since the removal was nice, Murder, 3x Crippling Blight (more on this later), 2x Prey Upon. Had 10 swamps and 7 forests as manabase.

Round 1. UG skies with tricks. With the two games combined I drew 7 forests and 2 swamps so I got to play a lot of spells. Not that it mattered much, because his deck (and playskill) was very good. I got the nefarious Talrand Invocations, Archaeomancer, Invocations play that totally screwed me.
Round 2. New player, first game he removes two Crippling Blights from his blockers (who plays 2 MD Erase?) and wins with fliers. Third game he won 20 life with Elixir of Immortality and Rhox Faithmender, but I managed to defeat him in the last turn.
Round 3. New player too. First game he has four mana open and attacks for nonlethal with a hexproof 3 / 3, I masterfully play around Divine Verdict only to see a Titanic growth for exactsies. . Won the other two games, but in part because of some misplays of his.
Round 4. I keep a hand with a turn 3 Vampire Nighthawk and he goes turn 1 creature, turn 2 flier, turn 3 Ajani pump flier, turn 4 pump flier and Rancor on the flier... suddenly Nighthawk wasn't good. 2nd game was longer but lost.
Round 5 is very anticlimatic. I got manascrewed game 1, game 2 my opponent was and game three he got flooded.

Overall this are my impressions:


  • Black is actually good beyond its removal. I overrated Crippling Blight because even the evasive creatures have bigger than 1 thoughness in most cases. Red is the new black, avoid it like the plague.

  • UW skies is probably the best archetype for the core set. Surprise, surprise.

  • Green lacks depth, and it can be outmaneuvered easily with other colors.

  • Rings are overrated. A single ring on the deck is more than enough.

  • On the speed of the format, if 1 is Tempest and 10 is Rise of Eldrazi, this gets a 5. Sure, is slower than previous formats but certainly we have been playing several fast formats in a row. However, I feel that there isn't really much to do in the late game apart from topdeck mode and Exalted and some other cards still encourage attacking over blocking, but is true that this the first format in a while in which not having played a spell until turn 4 doesn't automatically spells doom for you.

  • Is it me who seldom plays sealed, or manascrew / manaflood is a more frequent ocurrence in this format? My impression is that too many good spells have double colored mana symbols and that there is a tension between playing a good curve of bad cards or a bad curve with good cards that results on game losses if draws were of the other kind.


Not really dying to play limited again, really (first I have to use the foil Worldfire in Commander) but I will give a try to drafts, as long as noobs don't boycott it at my store.

If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
I went 4-2 at today's Prerelease to finish 12th (of 42 people) - I lost to Thundermaw Hellkite (and a really good player who went on to go 5-0 and only lose the sixth and last match) in round 1, won against Sublime Archangel (it's a nice Rise from the Grave target) in round 2, won against Liliana and a Vampire Nighthawk with Ring of Xathrid in round 3, won against a burn-laden G/R deck which luckily never got to cast his Elderscale Wurm in round 4, lost to a really good player navigating a W/R aggro deck with a ton of burn (and a Thundermaw Hellkite he luckily never drew) in round 5, and won against Rancor (on like 5 different creatures in the same game) in round 6 - with a 4-colored deck. It looked roughly like this:

Augur of Bolas
Welkin Tern
Deadly Recluse
Elvish Visionary
Courtly Provocateur
Yeva's Forcemage x 2
Firewing Phoenix
Primal Huntbeast
Roaring Primadox
Talrand, Sky Summoner
Faerie Invaders x 2
Garruk's Packleader
Stormtide Leviathan

Total creatures: 15

Prey Upon
Essence Scatter
Farseek
Divination
Flames of the Firebrand
Essence Drain x 2
Rise from the Grave

Total non-creature spells: 8

Evolving Wilds x 2
Forest x 7
Island x 6
Mountain
Swamp

Total lands: 17

I originally started a Spelltwine instead of the Essence Scatter, but found that I boarded it in every game so I just let it stay in after round 2 or 3. Other sideboard cards that I used were Unsummon and Mark of the Vampire in some matchups.

I found the format very enjoyable even if it, like most sealed deck tournaments, does depend quite a bit on certain cards (some of the rare or mythic rare). I felt like I put up a great result considering the decks I played against.

I also passed my level one judge exam - so, a good day all around



You got good results because the deck is good. Provocateur + Yeva's forcemage x2 and firewing phoenix is kind of hard to get out of. Especially with primadox bouncing the forcemages. 


Fortunately the shop gives out prizes to all entrents (The more you win, the more you get) in the form of boosters.  My "prize" boosters included a Xathrid Gorgon (Joy.  It's not like I didn't get one a couple hours earlier for free as a give-away),..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />


I was sat next to someone who, after going to Saturday and Sunday pre-releases, now has 5 Xathrid Gorgons.





Now compare my pulls to the guy who pulled a Nicol Bolas and a Garruk, the one who pulled both a Foil Gilded Lotus and a regular one, the one who pullled Primordial Hydra and three Rancors...

Yeah.  I got screwed.