Thursday, May 3, 2012

TABLETOP TALES: MY FIRST PRE-RELEASE!

TABLETOP TALES PRESENTS
MY FIRST PRE-RELEASE DECK!

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This article serves two purposes: To share the nerd entertainment around with anyone who might find it interesting and, in this case, to share my experiences with my first pre-release.


You can find Magic Cards in super stores (Ex. Walmart, Target) but the best place you can buy your cards, meet other players, and play in events is at your local comic book store or hobby shop. I buy most of my cards at The Comic Cellar. Here is a link to its Google Maps location at 3620 Austin Peay Highway #2 Memphis, TN 38128.

I took part in the pre-release on April 29th, 2012, at The Comic Cellar. Taking part in the event cost $25. For the entry fee, each player was given 6 booster packs, for the Avacyn Restored set, and all the lands they need to make a 40 card deck. Then, the players would take part in 5 one-on-one matches in best out of three matches. There was a time limit and if the time runs out the players have five rounds of play to finish the game. If they fail to finish, the game ends in a draw. All results would be put on record and players with the best record would each get part of the prize pot, a box of cards. As a consolation prize, all of the "non-winners" received an intro-pack for their trouble, courtesy of the store.

This particular pre-release event was for the Avacyn Restored set. It is the third, final, and largest set in the Innistrad bloc. As part of the promotion, our event came with a cardboard Helvault and a set of "Achievement Cards".

In the story canon of Magic the Gathering, the Helvault is a large structure that contained Innistrad's angelic goddess Avacyn and the demon lord Griselbrand. Avacyn Restored is built around the theme of the demons and angels escaping the Helvault and peace/order being restored to Innistrad. As part of the event, we were each given these nifty achievement cards.

The achievement cards had a list of goals that, once accomplished, we  were told to check off. Once we reach a certain amount of goal's accomplished, we hand the card in, and a lock is taken off of the Helvault. It was all in good fun and I got to open a lock during my first game. After all 20 locks were taken off, the Helvault was broken open, and the innards were divided amongst the players. Each of us received a limited edition Avacyn Restored life dice, a Commander card of Avacyn, Griselbrand, the three legendary angels of the set, lovingly compared to the Powerpuff Girls, and double-sided tokens with angels on one side and demons on the other.

My ending record was a draw, two losses and two wins. I didn't place anywhere near the top, but I had a lot of fun. Now, that we've discussed the fun involved in the event, lets discuss...

MY AVACYN RESTORED PRE-RELEASE DECK:
WHITE / GREEN FLYERS

I don't have much to say in ways of themes with this one. The best cards I drafted were a grip of angels, some useful white/green humans, a pair of Wolfir Avengers and a lot of miracle cards. Now, let's see what cards I used out of the 90 cards I had to work with.


 Contains 40 Cards
CREATURES
(12 Creatures: 5 Green Creatures, 7 White Creatures)

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? This is is probably the best card I got in the pre-release. It is a 3/3 flyer for 4, that buffed my creatures (better than an Honor of the Pure), and prevented my opponents from being able to use sacrificial tactics. A great addition to any mono-white deck that splashes anything besides black. I expect to see here in EDH.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? Say hello to my beat stick. In general, I'd prefer a Serra Angel, but they didn't reprint an Avacyn Restored version. In limited, Archangel worked just fine as a late game destroyer. With flying and vigilance, I used her to swing away and block without hesitation. And if my foe dumped her into my graveyard, she made a perfect target for Defy Death.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? With so many big white angels to play, a mana-getter like Borderland Ranger was a blessing. Combined with the fact that he is a 2/2 drop for 3 and can combo with Emancipation Angel, and I really can see myself picking up more copies of this classic card in the near future.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? It's kind of awesome how pre-releases force you to use cards that you might otherwise skip over. Emancipation Angel is the perfect example. A 3/3 flyer for 3 is fantastic but, at a glance, her ability seems a hindrance, especially in a limited format like a pre-release. In reality, realizing at worst I'd have to return a tapped land to my hand and at best could take advantage of her ability to reuse entrance abilities like those of Borderland Ranger, Timberland Guide, Abundant Growth and other useful combos. I am picking up more of these to build my next angel deck, post haste. Flicker away!

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? Now, here is the perfect example of a card that I normally wouldn't use but, in the pre-release, was a great beat stick. Combined with a Call to Serve, Nettle Swine would become a 5/5 flyer, and a flying-pig-angel. That and the art on this card is gorgeous.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? In the right deck, Seraph could work wonders as a mid-game blocker with the added benefit of soaking up some life. In the pre-release, I used her just for that purpose.

Deck contains. 2.
Reasons? Another great mechanic was the Souldbond of Spectral Gateguards. Paired up with a Emancipation Angel, Nettle Swine, or Wolfir Avenger and I had all the blocking power necessary to delay my opponent long enough to get the field advantage. I think this card will see some use in UW Spirit decks this year.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? At worst? Timberland Guide can enter the battlefield and add a +1/+1 counter to himself. At best, he can add that counter to another creature, then get bounced back to the hand, get resummoned, and add another +1/1 counter. Rinse and Repeat.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? I must admit that this card was a blast to play and I would love to put this in a planned "Lumberwolves" deck. Its a 3/3 for 3, it has Flash, and it has a pretty cheap regenerate ability. Pair it with a Spectral Gateguard or a Call to Serve for a defender or a brutal beat stick.

NON-CREATURE SPELLS
(9 Non-Creature Spells: 1 Green Enchantment, 1 Green Instant, 3 White Enchantments, 2 White Instants, 2 White Sorceries)

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? I was a little worried about the use of this card but, in this setting, it was extremely helpful. Not only did it give me the mana coverage I needed, I could combo it with Emancipation Angel to keep drawing cards and move the mana coverage as needed. I am definitely picking up a load of these for my auramonger deck and my angel deck.

Deck contains. 2.
Reasons? For some people, the miracle cost of this card barely makes it feasible but I think it did its job. I used it for its miracle cost as often as I could, almost always being able to get rid of an enemy card, and clear the field. I like it more than putting a creature in the graveyard because of how many cards love being put in the graveyard or pull cards from the graveyard.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? With all the vigilance in this deck, this enchantment was a lot of help. People didn't have quite enough removal to deal with it, once it hits the battlefield, and is a must have for decks with walls and decks with vigilance.

Deck contains. 2.
Reasons? And here is Wolfir Avenger's and Nettleswine's best friend. It is cheap, give +1/+2, and makes my creature a flyer. Even better? For Angel tribal, this will turn creatures into what you need.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? A fantastic card in limited and a must-have for angel tribal. It can potentially get you angels for cheaper and buffs them as well. It is not even too shabby for regular creatures once you blast the field free of your enemy's creatures.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? And here we have a miracle with praying for. This nasty removal is superior to destruction effects, after all who wants to see creatures in graveyards, and can be cast for a potential 1 white mana. The miracle tied my first game and won me my last game. I prefer its usage to Day of Judgement, especially against zombie decks and undying decks.

Deck contains. 1.
Reasons? For one more than Fog, this nifty instant gives you the benefit of being useful for creature removal/protection, etc.

LANDS
( 20 Cards: 7 Forest. 13 Plains)

 CONTAINS: 7

 CONTAINS: 13

And there ya go. Feel free to leave comments, opinions, and questions. I plan to take some of the useful tactics of this deck into my angel deck. Now if only I had a big game-ender...

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