Theros GameDay Playmat

mtg theros playmat

Elspeth going -3 on that hydra

I’m really excited about the new Theros Game Day playmat. It’s way nicer than any of the previous ones and features the sizzling hot Elspeth taking on a Hydra. The word ‘Champion’ is floating over Elspeth between hydra tnetacles, reminiscent of a videogame player indicator. Arm yourself with a great deck for Theros Game Days everywhere because the competition will be fierce.

The illustration was used for many promotional items and is featured on the art of Vanquish the Foul, a card that costs way too much mana for what it does.

theros gameday events

Find a Theros GameDay near you!

Shipwrecked II: More Theros Limited XP

shipwrecked 2

by Steve ‘DDT’ Giannopoulos

It’s about 5:45 PM and I’m looking to get to another Pre-release for the day. I feel super refreshed and ready to go. Let’s see what’s in store. I call a local shop that recently opened hoping that they are not as horribly strict on starting time as some shops in Montreal. Seeing as this is a sealed, the worst that should happen is a reduced dekcbuilding time. I call to make sure that it’s fine if I get there at around 6:15. The owner, who is an avid MTG player himself, lets me know that it should not be a problem. I’m also bringing him a couple of new customers as well.

Once at the store I run into a couple of employees from another shop who just happened to be playing there. Does their store not have an event? Bah, don’t really care. They jokingly ask if I’m going to write up an article on my Sealed experience to which I respond: “Right, as if I will remember all my Sealed decks”. Truth is, I don’t have to know my decks by heart only the key cards that mattered in my games.

Let’s Get Started !

shipbreaker kraken

Release the Kraken! Again!

Low and behold, I chose the Blue pre-release kit. I might as well go Blue all the way in order to properly gauge its sealed deck performance. Having a guaranteed late game bomb in your pool just makes you feel a little more confident about your odds. One of the other store’s employees starts boasting about all the good stuff he got in his Sealed pools. Time to start cracking mine.

Pack 1) (Blue pack) Bident of Thassa

Sure, no value here but a heck of a good card in my opinion. I definitely want this in my pool. Makes all my guys into Thieving Magpies and can force my opponent to attack and lose/trade his creature in mine.

Pack 2) Thassa, God of the Sea

FOIL! Yes!!! In your face other guy! Just kidding, but who doesn’t want to open this? It just so happen that I’m playing Blue as well. Even if this thing never becomes a creature you are steadily ahead. Scry each upkeep? Sure thing! It’s even more potent in Sealed play.

Pack 3) Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

Back to back value? Is this for real? Christmas in September? I’ll take it. (Note: Sadly did not make the cut in my deck as I was not running White this time, but I can assure it must be the bomb).

Pack 4) Purphoros, God of the Forge

At this point the other guy was just in shock at the back to back to back Mythics that he said some randomness in french and went back to deckbuilding. I really thought about just playing a mediocre Elspeth + Purphoros Boros deck but someone ended up doing that instead. I played against him in my final game, more on that later.

Pack 5) Colossus of Akros

No value, not a consideration for my deck and directly into my binder.

Pack 6) Steam Augury

Some good old skill-testing Fact or Fiction fun! 100% in my final deck.

I hastily make a RUG deck, since I see a few familiar faces in my pool. Namely:

horizon chimera therosWe meet again, ‘old’ friend!

I of course had two of these. They are much better in multiples 🙂

The Red part consisted of:

purphoros magma jet flamespeakeradept

lightining strike spearpoint oread  steam augury

All Red and all just costing one actual Red mana!

Is this for real?

Yes, I am playing Purphoros as a ‘Pandemonium‘ and sometimes a sort of ‘Captive Flame’. He never needed to be a creature in any of my games and was just really good at all times.

The Green cards were basically some enchantment removal and fatties. Nothing really stuck out except for the Horizon Chimeras

Pairings are called and I’m just finishing up sleeving my deck as people note how nuts my deck is looking. I get paired against a random unknown that’s probably playing in one of their first pre-releases.

round 1 banner

vs. ‘Boros’

He comes out strong with some Heroic action and does some severe damage with Anax and Cymede. I Scry and cry enough to find a Lightning Strike and get that nuisance out of the way. He does do a lot of damage with the rest of his army, getting me down to 1 life while he has no cards left in hand. He also happened to only have 3-4 lands in play and the odds were he was going to draw quite a few of them in the next turns. I flash in my Horizon Chimera end of turn and start slowly gaining life after life and attacking for three. Of course he draws a land, complains and passes the turn. Next turn he draws what is obviously not a burn spell and passes. I flash in another Horizon Chimera and gain 2 life on my draw step, putting myself out of Lightning Strike range. I then draw and play Thassa on my turn, he draws blank and I Scry on upkeep. I gain 2 more life, drop a random blue creature giving me the devotion to blue required to have Thassa be a creature. I make him and one of my other creatures unblockable. Attack with two unblockables and the Horizon Chimeras for victory.

Game 2 is very very similar. I get to the 1 life mark and make a comeback. One of my friends even joked that me being at one is like having a Near-Death Experience in play – I just win after that.

near death experience

It’s over … for you!

I think this time I never actually gained life. I just kind of drew removal for his guys and attacked when I could. I cast Steam Augury and netted 2 creatures to stall the ground while a Prescient Chimera attacked my opponent. I may have been lucky but more importantly, I had a good deck.

1-0

round 2 banner

vs. Black/Green

I’ve been paired down. Not only that, but it’s versus my roomate. He concedes since there is no point in both of us being 1-1 and he realizes that I have the ‘nuts’ deck as well. I go grab some soft drinks from the counter and trade with a few of the other players. My Theros binder is reasonably full and people are looking for new cards. I pick up some older stuff I either don’t have or am low on. One of my other friends is also running a Green/Blue deck that started with a Green kit. He also got the deck’s Hero, Anthoussa in a regular booster. I thought that it would be pretty good but according to him she is very average. I pray I do not have to face him since he gives me his winnings and in exchange I make him a deck here and there when he wants.

anthousa anthoussa 2

Not as good as having 2 Shipbreaker Kraken, apparently

2-0

round 3 banner

vs. Red/Blue

I’m facing yet another one of my friends that I make decks for at times. He’s 1-1, has a lesser deck so he offers to conceded and go grab some good poutine. I obviously cannot refuse this offer. Unfortunately, I am a feeling super lazy and ask him if he can just pick me up a poutine while I continue to trade and scout my possible next round opponents. He brings back a super compacted Italian chicken poutine of pure goodness. It’s a big portion that looks small until you realize how jam-packed with stuff it actually is. They even throw in a big cup of Italian sauce on the side, just in case the exorbitant amount already in the poutine does not quench your sauce thirst.

I actually end up not being able to one-shot the poutine and give the rest to my friend who conceded last round. A WTF? is heard and immediately rush to see what it is. It’s the owner playing against a dude wearing really thick glasses. They are both at 2-0 and playing at the store counter so the the owner can server anyone coming in. Examining the board state gives me all the information I need. Purphoros and Elspeth have happened. This is probably really really tough to get out of. Not only does the ‘combo’ deal 6 damage, it also almost completely blocks any kind of opposing attack on Elspeth. This then allows the controller of the combo to repeat the process until their opponent is dead. The store owner draws a Bow of Nylea to buy some time, but not enough unfortunately.

elspeth theros

Force to be reckoned with in Standard?

That was their second game and they were going to play the third. I’m probably going to be facing one of these two players next roundand thus pay very close attention to their hands and how they play. The store owner is the better player but the other guy seems to have a much better deck. It does not take long for me to realize my assumptions were incorrect. The ‘combo’ payer has the 2 Mythic cards and not much else. He seems to struggle with the basics a little and his deck seems like he could have built it better. Fortunately for me, he gets the combo online and wins it 2-1.

3-0

round 4 banner

vs. Red/White Elspeth combo

I win the die roll for Game 1 and get to play a Turn 3 Thassa followed by a Turn 4 Steam Augury. I get one of my Horizon Chimeras and a Magma Jet (the other pile was also Horizon Chimera with Lightning Strike and a land). I think I would have given me the three card pile, but the Thassa Scry 1 is probably going to do what Magma Jet was going to anyhow. My opponent floods the board with a few creatures, none of which are really threatening. I play a few creatures too and manage to ‘animate’ Thassa. Unfortunately Thassa is met with a Chained to the Rocks (which I had not seen him play in any of the games I scouted).

chained to the rocks

‘I’ve got that too! ‘ – Boros combo guy

With Thassa down and out, I need to ‘Unleash the Kraken‘. A few turns later my opponents scoops to Shipbreaker Kraken as many before him have done. I side in an Annul versus his deck, in case I get another nasty surprise like I did with Chained to the Rocks. I would also get to counter his Purphoros by just keeping one blue mana up.

I didn’t get a great start but I got to kill his Ordeal of Purphoros with Artisan’s Sorrow the turn before he got to cash in the Order. He drops a Purphoros that I don’t have an Annul for. I then draw and play my own Purphoros, let’s see who can ‘turbo shock’ their opponent for the win first. Shall we? Two turns later opponent being awesome and all that casts Elspeth, Sun’s Champion like he has many games before . “This time she will not be doing much ” I say to him. He spawns three soldier tokens and deals me six. No problem, right? I cast a Horizon Chimera on his end of turn step, deal Elspeth 2 damage with Purphoros’s ability. On my turn, Horizon Chimera attacks Elspeth and removes her two remaining loyalty counters. Those soldier tokens do a great job defending but they don’t fly. He tries to go on the offense with his soldier tokens, but keeps losing one per turn to my awesome Mnemonic Wall that gets a boost from Purphoros. No Kraken this time, just regular Purphoros triggers and some ‘team firebreathing’ to take this one down.

purphoros

Believe the hype!

4-0

round 5 banner

vs. What?

Apparently the event was a 4-Round affair. Thankfully, this is great at my friend and I are the only 4-0’s. We get 24+12 boosters (a box, basically) and we start cracking packs. Nothing of interest really. No FOIL Gods, no insane value either. It’s very average for a Theros booster box. I did however manage to open this little gem:

thoughtseize

I just can’t get enough!

I start packing my loot and make some last minute trades. It was a great pre-release day and my other friends were hungry. We go to a local pizza shop to order fried chicken. Wait, what? At least it was cheap and plentiful, unlike their drinks. We were going to be coming back on Sunday for some more Pre-release fun. When I said I was going to maybe go with the Black kit the others laughed and said : ‘Riiiight!”.

Lazy Sunday

I get up only to notice that it’s already 12:30. This is already starting off badly. None of my other friends called to wake me up either. Upon looking at my messages, all is revealed. One of them had to work and the other one just didn’t feel like going again. My roommate was also working this day and I was doomed to go there alone. This meant less competition but also lowered the chances of getting more booster packs.

theros boosters

This is what it’s all about! Oh, and fun too!

I again call the same store warning them that I will probably be late. The store owner gives me the same speech about having less time for deck construction and I’m on my way. I arrive 15 minutes late, which isn’t all that bad. He hands me the Blue kit, already knowing that it was going to be my selection. And so another pre-release begins….

shipbreaker krakenNomNomNom! Foodstuffs!

This sealed pool was very different from all the rest. It contained a Omenspeaker (yay!) and another Shipbreaker Kraken (woah!). I once again play Simic and finish building my deck before everyone else. I notice that my other firend whose Standard Elves deck I lost to on Friday is there as well. He also chose Blue as his color and we look over each other’s decks. He’s amazed that I have two Krakens and I explain to him that I can’t possibly add another 6-drop to my deck (Horizon Scholar) if I play both Krakens. He suggests I don’t switch out a Kraken for a Sphinx since Kraken is just a ‘must deal with’ creature. Fine, I won’t be greedy.

Pairings are call and we’re both glad to not be facing each other.

round 1 banner

vs. Black/Green

My opponent is a foreign guy who recently came to Canada, so I’ll need to be patient since his English is not the best. Still, the game does not require that much actual communication and we understand each other just fine. The first thing I notice about his deck is that it is very removal heavy on top of having Agent of the Fates. One of my Kraken dies to a Sip of Hemlock. My second Kraken dies to fighting with his Agent of the Fates (Time to Feed). I also lose another creature in the process thanks to Agent of the Fates’ Heroic trigger.

agent of fates

Kraken killer?

I begin Game 2 with a hand of 4 lands, Kraken, Voyaging Satyr and an Agent of Horizons. Fairly respectable and can maybe get me a Turn 5 Shipbreaker Kraken. He dispatches my Agent of Horizons with a Pharika’s Cure. There goes a great deal of my aggro! I get my Turn Shipbreaker Kraken, but it I refuse to block and trade with whatever 2-power creature he attacks with fearing eh has a Lash of the Whip in hand. He gets  Viper’s Kiss on my Kraken before i get to 8 mana. Great move! I eventually decide I might as well start blocking with it and to no one’s surprise he casts Lash of the Whip on my Shipbreaker Kraken. No ‘Heroic’ comebacks were made and I lose this one quite miserably. What a way to start my last Theros Pre-release.

0-1

I look over my opponent’s deck that seemed to be chock full of removal and Bestow-pump. It was indeed a 4-0 deck (which he ended up doing). I go pack up my stuff and leave, swearing to never go back there again. Just kidding, I still had chances of going 2nd -8th and getting some boosters prizes.

round 2 banner

vs. Red/White

The matches were really quick and both were won on the back of a Shipbreaker Kraken (I have 2 this time, so it’s more likely I get one each game, right?).

1-1

round 3 banner

vs. Black/Green

I’m paired against a guy that I’ve traded with many times before. He got the Black pre-release kit and is unsurprised that I chose the Blue one. Game 1 is fairly close until he hits Abhorrent Overlord. There go my hopes of winning with my flying creatures. He attacks without fear with his Overlord. I don’t chump or trade 3 of my creatures early on since I still have ways of winning this one. I don’t draw into any of my outs, so I choose to give him a 2-for-1 on his Abhorrent Overlord. Unfortunately he casts a Rescue from the Underworld which gets him his Overlord back on his upkeep with 5 little Harpy tokens. I do get my Shipbreaker Kraken but I never get to the 8-mana mark. I believe the gods have forsaken me.

Game 2 is pretty good for me as I get 2 Agent of Horizons in play early on and just get there via unblockable damage while chump blocking what I need to in order to stay ahead of the damage race. He did gain some life along the way, which made the game longer than it should have been.

We have ten minutes left for Game 3 so I actually lowered the curve  of my deck and added a third Agent of Horizons to it.

agent of horizons

Theros’s Phantom Warrior

I cast Voyaging Stayr, followed by Agent of Horizons and then another Agent later on. On his end of turn I get a Horizon Chimera in play. It’s basically too much for him and I get the win before time is called. Didn’t even need Kraken for that game.

2-1

Meanwhile the guy who beat me in Round 1 just beat my Elves! deck friend to move up to 3-0. I warned him the the deck was pretty tough to beat and surprisingly low on ‘bombs’.

round 4 banner

vs. Green/Blue

I’m facing my friend who also has a SImic deck. One of us will get top 4 and the other might get a booster if they’re lucky. Third or fourth place is just 3-4 boosters. Nothing to write home about but still some loot. We only ended up being 17 for this pre-release, which is why booster prizes are not mind-blowing.

We have trade tempo plays: his Griptide being better than my Voyage’s End. I get some inevitability with my Agent of Horizons in there. He activates Monstrosity on his Kraken but I have another Voyage’s End for it. My team does not get frozen and I get to attack him for more damage. He does nothing the following turn but cast Shipbreaker Kraken again. I swing with everything to secure the W.

Game 2 was very anti-climatic with me keeping a 5 lander plus Kraken and him having seemingly done the same. I get a turn 4 Bident of Thassa (first time I probably cast this thing) and he does not cast his Kraken on turn 6. I cast mine however, threatening a ‘quick game’. He shakes his head, reveals his all land hand (which was fairly obvious he was holding) and shakes my hand. Not quite the way I want all of this pre-release goodness to end,but I’ll take it.

3-1

I hastily crack my boosters, revealing an Erebos and not much else. I can’t and won’t complain at all. Unsure if I will play him, Erebos finds his way into my Theros trade binder.

erebos god of the deadHarbinger of the new Mono Black in Standard?

If you’re planning on making this Devotion to black thing work, you’ll probably need some Nightveil Specters. The go a long way in making your devotion count (monoblue as well). The card itself is far from unplayable, but it was just not good enough last Standard season. What’s in store for it this time? Why not try a playset in your decks and give us some feedback?

Let us know what new brew you’re planning to play at your local store’s FNM Standard event.

FNM_logo

Thoughts?

 

The Blue pre-release deck gained a lot of popularity in my area since a lot of the pre-release winners played blue either as a main or support color. Clearly a lot of wins were backed by Shipbreaker Kraken, a creature that most may have prematurely dismissed as ‘costing too much’ as far as its Monstrous ability goes. I guess we showed them!

 

Overall record: 16-2-1 (Though the draw is an ID in the final round)

 

 

theros preorder

Shipwrecked: A Theros Limited Experience

shipwrecked

by Steve ‘DDT’ Giannopoulos

It’s Friday and it’s nice outside. Unfortunately I won’t be able to enjoy it much because I’m going to spend most of it playing some Magic. I motivate myself to go to a local store’s FNM. They have a Type 2 tourney at 6:00pm followed by a draft at around 9:30 pm. However, today’s the midnight pre-release of Theros as well so I have a lot on my plate. I could just go to the pre-release, but I’m a gamer at heart and I want to get as much Magic: the Gathering in on one weekend without being completely wasted in between pre-releases.

I grab the good old Golgari control deck that’s been faring really well this last month and a half figuring that with one week of Innistrad/M13 Standard to go it’s foolhardy to create something new. I may possibly write a bit on the deck, time permitting. It’s a great metagame call and allows you to play some underplayed cards like Desecration Demon and Mutilate. You can probably also call it GB Rock or ‘The Rock‘ and it’s actually pretty fun to play.

desecration demonThat would certainly explain its sudden price surge …

round 1 banner

vs. USA Aggro/Burn

I face a random USA Aggro/Burn deck with Delver of Secrets, Guttersnipe and Nivix Cyclops. My opponent is an OK player but is rather impulsive in nature as well. He tends to play burn-style decks then complain because he gets ‘flooded’ past turn 5. I keep a 5-lander in Game 1 and game very much punished for it. I thought I would buy myself some time by playing an Ultimate Price on his Delver of Secrets, but I get my first of many WTF? moments of the day when he responds with a Faith’s Shield. He doesn’t get to flip his Delver in like forever, but he had double Izzet Charm in hand to make sure that my Liliana turn 3 and 4 do not resolve. It’s a sad state of affairs as I continue to draw land after land and try to ‘race’ wth my Mutavault only to see it get Searing Speared. I didn’t have much gas to begin with, so it’s not like I ran out. I just lost really badly. The story does end well however, as I pretty much did what the deck does and gained enough life to get out of any kind of burn range and beat him down with bigger creatures. I also more or less destroyed all his creatures with the variety or removal the deck packs (all of them being good versus that particular deck).

1-0

round 2 banner

vs. Naya Blitz

I’ve face this guy before and it never seems like he ever plays enough lands in his deck. The one win he got off me once was due to 4 x Boros Charms. In Game 1 he goes Experiment One into Strangleroot Geist and then Loxodon Smiter. I can’t even Mutilate fast enough and even at that it would cause his Strangleroot Geist to come back and finish me (since it has Undying). Game 2 is much much different as I have some Tragic slips for his Experiment Ones and a Scavenging Ooze later on to make sure his Strangleroot Geists do not come back. Scavenging Ooze is probably the addition that made this deck much much better than it originally was. Before the deck used to run main deck Cremates which were kind of a concession to the Reanimator decks at the time. On the third game my opponent gets stuck on mana and I just play Thragtusks and Disciple of Bolas to put myself out of any kind of danger whatsoever. I easily win that one afterwards.

2-0

round 3 banner

vs. Elves

I know my opponent quite well since we usually go hang out at the local bar and grab a bit to eat after these FNM’s. I know he usually plays elves but he had been talking about trying random decks before rotation. When he wins the die roll and starts off with a forest, I know I’m in a bit of trouble. He casts Elvish Mystic and follows up with Elvish Archdruid on his turn 2 and another on turn 3. My Mutilate was looking good before he cast that second Archdruid. While the GB Rock deck plays a lot of swamps it packs quite a few nonbasics as well (other than Overgrown Tomb). With 2 swamps in play by my turn4 I cannot even cast mutilate to take out as much as a Elvish Mystic. He just really really puts the hurt on me. Game 2 is very similar only this time he plays Druid’s familiars to get out of Mutilate range followed up by Wolfir Silverhearts. He had also emptied out his hand fairly quickly to the point where targetted removal even the biggest of creatures was not accomplishing much.

2-1

round 4 banner

vs. UW Control

This is a matchup I have had the pleasure of playing on numerous occasions. The deck”s pilot is not really patient enough to play this archetype and as such makes many mistakes. Game 1 is really good for me since I get to peek at his hand with Lifebane Zombie and remove a Restoration Angel. It also allows me to confirm he does not have double white nor does he have a Supreme Verdict. I repeatedly attack with 2 x Mutvault and Lifebane Zombie to close it out early. In Game 2, I start off fairly strong and cast a Turn 5 Duress hitting a Sphinx’s Revelation and seeing no Snapcaster Mages. The game goes slightly longer than I like and one of my Thragtusks gets Syncopated. He also gets to draw and resolve a Sphinx’s Revelation to come back and win this somewhat long game. With about 15 minutes left for Game 3 we both pick up the pace. I get to resolve a Turn 2 Appetite for Brains on Restoration Angel and also notice that he has no counterspell or Detention Sphere in hand. I get a turn 3 Underworld Connections and the rest is pretty much history. He did get to play a Turn 5 Jace, Memory Adept against me. My deck runs Mutavaults and Thragtusks so I’m not sure just how good of an idea that sideboard plan was. I guess he really had nothing else since his list just seems different from the norm. He ran 2-3 Terminus on top of Supreme Verdicts which I felt was excessive. In his defense though, he got color-shorted on one white and had to activate his Ghost Quarter on an Island to get his second source of white in order to cast Supreme Verdict.

Final record: 3-1

So that record merits me two boosters, which is pretty good if you consider that it’s only a 2$ buy-in. I pull a Sanguine Bond and a Kalonian Hydra, which I am quite thankful for as I traded most of mine away early on.

kalonian hydra

Yummy Value!

and now onto the final M14 Draft

m14 logo

I snap value pick a Fiendslayer Paladin because sometimes it’s just the right thing to do. As a rule, if the card value is 8$ or greater I will usually value pick it early on. The draft stakes are not high either, at 8 people it was like 3-2-1-1-1. I ended up with a pretty sweet Black/White draft deck overall featuring 2 of my favorite draft cards: Gnawing Zombie and Blightcaster. They have 3 toughness and a good enough impact on the board be it early, mid or late game. I also had 4 Charging Griffins and a Serra Angel. I would at times side in/out my Strionic Resonator as it worked with over half the cards in my deck (including the always good Banisher Priest).

round 1 banner

vs. Black/Green

I face my friend that was running Elves in the standard portion of the FNM. Game one is close but he gets the better of me with his Sengir Vampire + Fireshrieker. I had to go for an Alpha strike to win, but he cast a Wring Flesh to go down to 2 and take the game on the back swing. Game 2 goes by normally aside from the odd Millstone that popped up on his end. We go to Game 3 and he gets two Millstones in play with no much else. I draw a lot of lands but eventually some Charging Griffins and a Banisher Priest to take out his Sengir Vampire. I eventually get there with a couple of more swings.

1-0

round 2 banner

vs. Blue/Red

The guy’s deck seemed like something very similar I had drafted a week ago during a friendly draft. It was a Blue/Red Scourge of Valkas, Shivan Dragon, Dragon Egg deck. Only his main issue is that he ran the Dragon Hatchlings and did not have any sac outlet for his Dragon Eggs. I had a Trading Post and Barrage of Expendables in mine. The game goes by quickly as he needs to firebreathe his Dragon Hatchling to do any real damage to me and I just attack with whatever I am happy to trade with. He hits on of my creatures with a Scourge of Valkas later on but is met with a Pacifism afterwards. Game 2 was really really weird. He just got out a Phantom Warrior and a Shiv’s Embrace by turn 4. Unfortunately I had a Mark of the Vampire on one of my 2-power creatures and followed it up with an Angelic Accord. I was getting and Angel token that turn, was taking 6 or so damage, getting 4 life back, making another Angel token. It was basically over and he scooped revealing a hand of just lands. He would have maybe won had he draw into Frost Breath and Archaeomancer or Chandra’s Outrage.

2-0

round 3 banner

vs. Mono Blue

It’s down to me a pretty good player I know playing Monoblue with 2 x Opportunity. He offers me the draw so we can go grab food instead. I’m definitely down with that! There’s less than one hour left for the pre-release registration and I don’t intend to play on an empty stomach.

Final Score: 2-0-1

Pre-Release Time!

I register and select my color: Blue

I thought I was more of a Golgari or Boros, but the more I examine my playstyle and actions in general, I pretty much know I am a Dimir kinda guy. I’m not always very direct,slightly secretive and don’t always reveal my true self, much like the Dimir. I even pasted the little Dimir Guild sticker on one of my trade binders.

Getting a Blue Pre-release pack gives you this bad boy:

shipbreaker kraken

That’s a pretty ‘Monstrous” effect

However, most of you will recognize him undet this form:

shipbreaker-kraken 2

I very much prefer the artwork on this pre-release version, the Kraken seems more menacing

I come in a little late from eating at the pizza place and have less time to build my deck. I crack open my boosters and get nothing really good in the blue one (Meletis Charlatan). I figure his stats are ok and I may use his ‘Fork’ ability once in a while, so he makes the cut. The other Rares/Mythics are not worth mentioning, save Thoughtseize (which I promptly put in my trade binder). I have enough decent looking blue cards to build something worthwhile, but no Omenspeaker or Triton Tactics. I really was looking forward to having at least a copy of one of those. Then I started looking though the color combinations I could build and noticed I had two of these:

horizon chimera theros

New Restoration Angel? Well, maybe not …

It did everything I wanted the deck to do. Potentially it could destroy a random attacker with 1 power. trade with anything really threatening at 3 toughness or less or simply be flashed in and be ready to attack on my turn. This card has 4 abilities by the way and the lifegain was very relevant in many of my matches. I add the green enchantment destruction, some mana fixing/accelerators (Sylvan Caryatid, Voyaging Satyr, Traveler’s Amulet) and the deck is almost complete. Unfortunately I am short on playables and after examining the rest of my pool I figure I can go Black for a couple of removal spells and Rescue from the Underworld. The black cards each contained only one black mana symbol in their cost and I had 3 swamps, Traveler’s Amulet, Sylvan Caryatid and Unknown Shores.

The deck seemed ok when I was goldfishing a few sample starting hands. No bombs were going to be winning me my games except for Shipbreaker Kraken himself. I really liked the potential turn 3 4-drops that Sylvan Caryatid and Voyaging Satyr enabled. Pairings are called and I notice that I am facing some Asian dude and for once it’s not my roommate (we end up facing each other a lot even at bigger events). I go to my table and don’t recognize this player at all.

round 1 banner

vs. Blue/White

We roll dice, wish each other luck and the game is under way. He starts off with an Island and I know the game is probably going long. I start to get beat down by some fliers and I don’t must up much of anything until turn 6. The pivotal turn of the game where I cast, you guessed it, Shipbreaker Kraken. Must be nice! It must be also nice to have 2 lands in hand knowing that if i survive two more turns I can get a foothold in winning this game. He’s playing Blue/White so I am almost sure that as long as I don’t attack when he has 4 mana up (Divine Verdict) then I am not losing my Kraken. Turn 8 rolls around, I drop my 8th land and pass the turn. I can activate the Kraken’s ability at the end of my opponent’s turn so why rush it? Also, it would leave me with open mana on his turn to run a counter or response to something he may do (eventhough I have none in hand, but he doesn’t know that). He only has 4 creatures and doesn’t drop a fifth on his turn. the end of turn comes and I activate my Kraken (“Release the Kraken!”). He simply looks at the battlefield and scoops up his cards. Game 2 is somewhat similar, only I got the Voyaging Satyr, Sylvan Caryatid acceleration. This allowed me to cast Shipbreaker Kraken turn 4 and activate if turn 6. I know right?

1-0

round 2 banner

vs. Black/White

I’m facing a girl this time and she actually beat a decent player to get to 1-0, so I’m under the impression that she knows her stuff. She has me down to 5-6 pretty early in the game, but I cast a Horizon Chimera and then I cast the other one at the end of her turn again. Having stabilized the ground and gaining two life a turn while beating down for 6 in the air means I got this one.

Game 2 is just really bad for her as I get to copy Fade into Antiquity and copy it with Meletis Charlatan. I then get to the point where I copy Thassa’s Bounty with him as well. The game is clearly out of reach for her as I get to win without my pet Kraken. She reveals a grip of 3 Ray of Dissolution and I asked her why she didn’t side them out. I tell her that I had exactly two enchantments in my deck and played none on game 1. She said: “Well, you never know.” On that she was correct, I may have had some Bestow dudes she did not see but to keep all 3 copies just seemed a poor choice.

I help her modify her deck so that she only has one copy of Ray of Dissolution and noticed that she did not have more than 13 creatures while playing and aggro deck. We move that up to 17 since the deck was mostly a weenie deck (she had the White pre-release kit). We play a game for fun which is much closer than previous games, but this time Shipbreaker Kraken appears to seal the game. Still, she is more satisfied with the newer build, so I wish her good luck on her remaining games.

2-0

round 3 banner

vs. Green/White

I’m facing a pretty good player that I have played against in every possible format. I believe we are pretty much 50/50 versus each other, meaning I’m a little worried about my undefeated streak coming to an end. He also helped me splash the black cards in my deck and thus has a bit of an advantage since he knows all of my deck’s contents. I get a terrible start on Game 1 and he gets the exact opposite. He cracks his Burnished Hart after attacking me with it and a few other guys. On his turn 5 he has 7 mana and I am still unsure if he had the White or Green pre-release kit. I’m fairly certain he took white, since it’s the one most thought had the best creature. I get to kill one of his creatures with Time to Feed + Sedge Scorpion. I get a couple of high toughness fliers into play as well to cut down his offensive options. I eventually get to Shipbreaker Kraken range, but can’t attack with it since he’s always representing Divine Verdict. I use the Monstrosity effect of it at the end of one of his turns and he concedes since at the point the damage the Kraken may have done while attacking did not matter and his guys don’t untap right away even if he hits it with Divine Verdict. Game 2 is similar to one of the previous ones i had where I accelerated the Kraken on Turn 4 and he offered little resistance. I had also cast Griptide on his Burnished Hart on turn 3 to prevent him from getting any kind of acceleration early.

Afterwards we both agree that my deck is much much better than originally thought. He tells me I better not randomly lose any of my two last rounds, since this is definitely a 5-0 deck. I promise him I won’t.

3-0

My roomate is 2-0-1 at this point and I’m scared that we might face each other. It would be terrible since we share our cards and this would me that we would lose out on prize payout. He needs to g 4-0-1 to get 21 boosters and I need to go 5-0 to get a box. We go check the pairing and….

round 4 banner

vs. NOT my roomate Red/White

I had actually seen this guy play next to me in the previous round and his deck seemed like a decent aggro deck but I never saw him drop a really good card. Also he made quite a few play errors versus a deck similar to his. Based on those observations, I am fairly confident that I have got this.

Game 1 starts out with him attacking early on, but I get enough higher toughness dudes to soak up his offense. I get down to 2 life and it’s the lowest I’ll get to in this game. Horizon Chimera helps me get back into the game and gets me 3 life the turn I cast Thassa’s Bounty. I end the game at 10 life while flying over whatever creatures he has.

Game 2 is somewhat scary because he plays a Magma Jet on my Horizon Chimera. I cry a little on the inside since it’s the first time one of my Chimera dies. Despite the Scry from the Magma Jet, he seems to be flooded somewhat. He hard casts his Celestial Archon, but at that point it’s a little too late for him to do any real damage because….

shipbreaker-kraken 2

It’s baaaack!

This was yet another match-up where I had to fear Divine Verdict. So I tap down 4 of his guys and slowly grind down his life total with my other creatures. I think I’d compare the Kraken to a one-sided Supreme Verdict at this point because that’s almost what it always felt like.

4-0

In other news, my roomate goes to 3-0-1 and needs to win his last game to get 21 boosters.

round 5 banner

vs. Green/Blue

I’m facing another player I know as we are the only ones at 4-0. I’m unsure about intentionally drawing with him so that we each get 21 boosters. He’s a nice guy and the thought of randomly losing to end up with only 6 boosters at 4-1 is good enough reason to accept a draw. We shake on it, hand in our result slip and decide to play for fun and bragging rights.

Since the actual result of these games is irrelevant, I’ll just admit I got beaten badly. He flooded the board with creatures while I could not do the same. His pre-release kit was Green and he had a Bow of Nylea, Prophex of Kruphix and lots of fatties. I only had so much time to stabilize between casting some Voyage’s Ends.

4-0-1

voyage's end

Thus ends my first pre-release

My roomate won the game to also go 4-0-1 so we get to crack a lot of boosters. We open some good stuff but nothing really noteworthy except a Thassa and a Thoughtseize. We go home and get some much needed sleep. Then I get up, but it’s not morning time. It’s 12:30 and most other pre-releases have already began. I quickly go on Facebook and check the local store events then notice that one of them starts at 1:30pm. I call them to confirm and they assure me that it’s ok if I’m a little late. I wake up my roomate and we rush to the store.

Pre-Release # 2

I decide to go with yet another Blue pre-release kit since Shipbreaker Kraken was insanely good. I open yet another Thoughtseize and joke about how I’d much rather open it in my winnings than in my Sealed pool. Looking over my options, I spot no eally good 2-color deck. I go with the one that allows me to stabilize the mid game and to deal with opposing bombs : White. With 2 Divine Verdicts, Coastline Chimera and a Spear of Heliod, I was pretty sure to be able to contain most aggressive decks. Sadly, I again have no Triton tactics nor do I have any Omenspeakers. The Spear and Daxos are the only rares in my deck except for Shipbreaker Kraken, but that was a given when I selected my color.

Pairings are announced!

round 1 banner

vs. Blue/White

So I start off facing the same combinations of colors as I did yesterday. Fair enough! I recognized the guy as one of the regular customers who was frequenting the last card store I worked at. He recognized me too and was not too happy to be facing me early on. I assure him that my deck is far from good.

Game 1 is pretty close, but I end up losing to a Dauntless Onslaught targetting two of his unblocked creatures. Not much I could have done at the point but make the proper bocks to not lose and hope to win on the back swing (which never occured). Game 2 is very very different with me going full aggro by casting an early Spear of Heliod and beating down with a Daxos of Meletis who is now a pain to block. I gain some life and cast some of his deck’s cards. I never was really in bad shape during the game and was dealt pretty much most of the damage with Daxos.

daxos of meletis

So far so good in Limited formats

In the final game I get to Divine Verdict his Celestial Archon to gain a good moment of respite. I really don’t know why people are so impatient with this card. I would always want to Bestow this card. I get to cast Daxos in this game as well but he gets double blocked this time. I opt to let combat damage resolve and kill both his guys I had a Nimbus Nayad enchanting him. Taking out two of his fliers seemed fine as I’d get a 2/2 flier back anyhow. A few turns later he casts his own Shipbreaker Kraken (he got one in a boosters). I cast Voyage’s End to buy some time and hope to win with my fliers. The card I Scry is  Vanquish the Foul, which I decide to keep on top. I could have sided this card out but I figured with all the Bestow creatures he had there was probably going to be a 4/4 or bigger creature on his end eventually. I destroy the Kraken he re-casts the following turn and we’re both in no condition to attack (we each had a Nimbus Nayad and a stalled ground position. I draw a Heliod’s Emissary and Betsow my Nimbus Nayad with in order to start attacking. Low risk, high reward at this point. I attack, tap his Nimbus Nayad and get 5 points of damage in. The following turn I try the same thing but am met with a Divine Verdict. I decide to save my Nayad by casting Voyage’s End on it. I then Bestow my Heliod’s Emissary with the Nayad, basically re-creating the same beast. He then casts his own Vanquish the Foul on my Heliod’s Emissary and casts a Wingsteed Rider. The Aura-fest continues when I cast a a Hopeful Eidolon for its Bestow cost on my Nimbus Nayad. I figure that with his available mana he can’t do much from what I have seen other than target his 2/2 flier and trade with my 3/3 flying lifelinker. He just lets it through and just never really gets to trade with my creature as he draws blank the following 2-3 turns.

1-0

round 2 banner

vs. Red/White

He starts of the game with a Priest of Iroas which can be pretty annoying against me if I don’t get it off the board so that it doesn’t kill one of my Bestow creatures. I get a Travelling Philospopher to trade with Priest of Iroas and another 1-power guy later on, which clears the way for my Bestow creatures.

traveling philosopher

For when you need that 23d card in your deck

The rest of the game was pretty much one-sided. I just attacked with my enchanted creatures which were always bigger and/or had evasion, so we move onto game 2. The following game is just ridiculous. I start off by casting Daxos of Meletis. The following turn I Bestow Hopeful Eidolon and the the turn after that I Bestow Nimbus Naiad ending up with a super creature akin to Banesalyer Angel. And that’s al she wrote!

2-0

round 3 banner

vs. Blue/White

I’m facing one of the store’s better players and he’s yet another person who chose the White pre-release kit. He starts off strong with some Heroic creatures:  Battlewise Hoplite and Fabled Hero. I am rather instantly unsettled as to the probably outcome of this match. I draw Divine Verdict, think for a bit, play my land and pass the turn. It’s fairly obvious that he will attack and I’m more than happy to trade my removal spell for either of these guys (though I obviously prefer Fabled Hero). He attacks with both and plays Dauntless Onslaught. He Verdict Fabled Hero and gladly take 5. I cast a Thassa’s Emissary to potentially draw a couple of cards. He attacks with his Battlewise Hoplite, bluffing a potential combat trick. These is no real reason for me to block/trade as I would really like to draw with my Emissary, so I let the Hoplite through for 3.

thassas emissary

Crabs are cool again! Well, maybe not …

The crab draw my one of my best defensive creatures: Coastline Chimera. I cast it and figure that I’m probably going to have to lose it to the following attack. My opponent chooses to not attack with his Battlewise Hoplite this time. Clearly this is a mistake? He basically is confirming that he had no combat trick. Then again, maybe he’s just not happy to just take out a Coastline Chimera. Beats me, but it also means I can’t really attack with my Crab. I’ll assume he knows what he’s doing so I’ll just lay down my sixth land and cast Shipbreaker Kraken (since I’m fairly sure that Stymied Hopes is not maindeck-worthy). I get to the 8-mana mark a couple of turns later, attack with everything but Kraken and get a concession from my opponent.

Game 2 I sided in some lifegain in the form of Lagonna-Band Elder and Ray of Dissolution. It ended up being just enough to edge him out in the damage race. No kraken this time, just all my little dudes versus his Heroic team. Not much in terms of trading since I was mostly flying and choosing not to trade any of my other creatures for his unless absolutely necessary. It became necessary in the end and allowed me to counterattack for just enough to win. There were a few removal and bounce spells along the way, but this game was pure and simple Magic.

3-0

round 4 banner

vs. ???

I honestly do not even remember this match at all. it even shows up as Unknown, Unknown in my match History on the DCI site. I think he just auto-scooped due to intimidation. Ha! as if! Try as I might I just really cannot remember this one.

4-0

round 5 banner

vs. Green/Blue Good stuff

This is the store’s regular judge and I usually judge their Monday Standard events since he only usually does FNM‘s. I saw what he opened and already did not want to face him. Polukranos, Thassa, Boon Satyr and Stormbreath Dragon. It was as though he had already won. Despite being the only player at 4-0, I had to face off against him as he was 3-0-1. I honestly would have rather faced the other 3-0-1 player.

Game 1 is close enough until Thassa hits the board and makes his guys unblockable. It’s fairly easy to win when your opponent can’t really interact.

The following game is rather close as well, with me gaining small amount of life with Daxos, but flipping lands or smaller spells and not casting them. He accelerates with Karametra’ Acolyte into Polukranos who is ready to go Monstrous x =3 the very same turn. That does not happen. Instead it does X = 6 the following turn taking out 2 of my guys plus the creature who had to block him. I cannot possibly recover from this (even Kraken is not enough) since I am dead on the following attack.

4-1

Unfortunately we could not have drawn, since he would of ended up lower than the 4-1 and  might have ended up second. We had to play and the prize differential was not huge. It was something like 15-13-10-etc. I ended up third place since the other guy with a 3-0-1 record also won. My packs were so-so with my best card being:

thoughtseize

You know it!

Up Next …

Part 2 of this rather lenghty article. I just saw the word count and 5000+ seems a tad much. Stay tuned for my report on the following 2 pre-releases I attended.