A brutal takedown at the Theros pre-release

The all-stars from my Theros sealed pre-release deck.
The all-stars from my Theros sealed pre-release deck.

I was late getting out of the house to get to the store in advance of the event start time, but actually ended up being right on time as the event didn’t actually officially start until about an hour (and change) later. When I got there five minutes before the store opened for sign-ups, there were a few people who had already been waiting, including one of my previous opponents who’d destroyed me with his Slivers deck at a previous Friday Night Magic. We talked a bit about the new cards and all the new mechanics, which are completely new to Magic.

There are a few self-imposed rules I currently have regarding Magic and one of them is that I’m not going to become so invested in this game beyond reason. To me, that means memorizing what all of the cards do because there are over 20 years of cards to remember and that’s a bit much, I think. I prefer to learn about card mechanics by having them demonstrated to me. This is often to my detriment but I think that once you learn how not to use a card or have someone make their creature monstrous before your very eyes, you learn quickly not to let your opponent have that opportunity again.

After signing up to play a Blue deck, I got into a conversation with Sliver dude and a few other people about the new cards. Sliver dude had brought his laptop with him, so he fired it up so that we could look over all the cards again. I was really pleased to note that there were a lot of great Blue cards, like Curse of the Swine and Master of Waves that I really wanted to get. The rest of the cards really looked intimidating to play against, but I was really looking forward to seeing how they all worked.

There was a bit of time before the event started, so Sliver dude and I pulled out our decks for a few games. Since the last time I played, I had tweaked my deck a little, adding in a Jace, Memory Adept that I’d pulled from a booster pack earlier that week. I still had Azor’s Elocutors in my deck because I’d realized at my last FNM that while I had a lot of great cards that locked other cards down, I didn’t really have a win condition other than plinking them with flyers. I’d also pulled an Archangel of Thune and an Angelic Accord; those two went immediately into my deck.

First game, I got to play Jace and use his zero-ability once before he was chased off by Slivers. In the meantime, though, Azor’s Elocuters had made it onto the field and I’d had enough blockers down to keep damage coming through to me so that I was able to get up to five counters and immediately win the game. Just before we started our second game, I told Slivers dude that I was just so happy to see them win for me once that I could probably consider the whole day a total win; this would become very prophetic. Second game, a Galerider Sliver came down and there was no stopping them after that as Pacifism and Claustrophobia never came out for me. Before we could go into a third game, the event started.

Opening up my sealed deck, I found that the promo card was Shipbreaker Kraken. Other packs I opened up included the rares Temple of Mystery, Fabled Hero, Spear of Heliod, Artisan of Forms, and Bident of Thassa; that sent a message to me that I should probably be in Blue/Green/White. As I kept opening up my packs, I also found the Opaline Unicorn, Commune with the Gods, Nylea’s Presence, and Traveler’s Amulet, all of which would be very useful in helping me get the cards I needed into my hand and being able to cast them.

It took me a while to finally get my deck to a comfortable 40 cards, and for the sake of trying to keep things simple, I decided to only put the white cards I thought would be useful into my sideboard and only run Blue/Green, the idea being that if I had Nylea’s Presence or the Opaline Unicorn out, I’d use it to cast the white card, but if I didn’t, there would be no loss to me (other than having a dead card in my hand).

A great many people here, playing Magic today!
May the gods of Theros be with them all.

Since there were an odd number of people signed up, I got the first-round bye and watched a game featuring one of the kids I’d been talking to before the store opened. We’d also been in line together, and he revealed to me that with the small part-time job he has, he pretty much uses all his money to play Magic. It made me realize that I’m pretty damn lucky I came into this game as an adult and can actually lay down $30 for a tournament like this or $15 for a booster draft whenever I feel like it. Both he and his opponent needed tokens and counters, but didn’t have them, so I let them borrow mine while I watched the kid win the match.

When their match was over, I wandered about and realized that there were so many people signed up for the event not only had they doubled the length of their regular play tables, but that they had to put a table in the lobby of the adjoining apartment building. It took a while for everyone to finish playing and report their results; in the meantime, I spoke to one of the other few women I saw at the event (I think there were less than 10 of us out of 53 people). She had been a regular at the store when it was in a different location and since she and the store had moved and public transportation isn’t great here, she didn’t get to play at the store as often as she liked. I told her about how I’ve been writing about my experiences playing at the store, a bit about this site, and wrote down the site address and my email address—reminding me that I had better get some business cards made up pretty soon.

The extra play space in the lobby.
The extra play space in the lobby.

I don’t remember much from my games (other than the fact that I lost all of them), except for the last one against Sliver dude. I think he was running a White/Black deck, and he’d had either Baleful Eidolon or some other creature with Deathtouch and a flyer. I used Feral Invocation on top of a creature that had the Nimbus Naiad enchantment bestowed upon it to make it big enough to kill his flyer and I think I used my Sedge Scorpion to kill the Eidolon, leaving me with three other creatures to face. Then, I got enough land in my hand to make my Shipbreaker Kraken monstrous, tapping down his creatures and being able to ping away at his inflated Life total until he was down to single digits, just like me.

We were down to zero cards in hand, each hoping for a top deck miracle. Apparently the gods of Theros were not on my side, as he top-decked Hero’s Downfall, killing my Kraken, releasing all his dudes, and swinging in for lethal. Sitting here a day after the event and recounting it here, I think that what I’ll probably do from now on is that when I’m in a top deck situation, even if I have only land in my hand and I have enough land on the battlefield to cast any abilities, I’ll keep it in my hand so that I can represent either a Cancel, a Negate, Spell Ruptureanything that looks like it can counter that bloody Hero’s Downfall!

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