Thursday, September 26, 2013



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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 the Theros 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.

And here is a link to Comic Cellar's Website

I was worried I might not make it to the Theros Pre-Release but, scrounging what I could muster, I made it to the midnight pre-release on Sep 21st, at midnight, in the Comic Cellar. It cost me $30bucks to signs up and, for that fee, each player recieved 6 boosters packs, including a special booster pack for their chosen hero's path-- Honor (White), Wisdom (Blue),  Ambition (Black), Battle (Red), & Might (Green)-- and a promo card for your path (which you could use in the event) and with the materials each player was expected to build, with all the lands they needed, a 40 card deck. There were five one-on-one matches, each a best of three rounds, and the ranking in these matches would land you more packs (with the top player getting a box) and everyone getting, at the very least, a "pity pack". All together, the event was a lot of fun and well worth the admission fee ($25 if I had pre-registered earlier), and the event went from 12 AM to 6 AM.

I should also mention we got life dice, Hero Cards (to be used in a connected event), and these weird, but kinda interesting quiz cards.

Theros is the first set in the Theros block. This is a top-down design set with a previously unexplored plane based on the themes of Greek mythology; they've laid down the foundation with heroism, monsters, powers bestowed by the gods, devotion to the gods, and beautiful imagery coming together, set against a starry sky that tells the fate of men, so that we ended up with Theros, a set with some of the most potent flavor I've seen since I began playing the game.

The white planeswalker, Elspeth (pictured above), has been running from being a hero for a long, long time. What happens when she comes to a plane she likes and the God of the Sun, Heliod, calls upon her to undertake a great trial that, if she fails, could doom the plane she has made her home? What happens when a planeswalking satyr from this realm, Xanagos, trys to usurp the gods through dark machinations? Is there more going on? Could there be another more powerful force (perhaps a certain horned dragon) working to manipulate the plane? Only you can find out by becoming the hero that Theros needs. Now, let's take a look at the mechanics of the set, both old and new:

SCRY X- (Look at the top X cards of your library, then put any number of them on the bottom of your library and the rest on top in any order.)

BESTOW- This mechanic allows you to cast enchantment creatures either as creatures or as enchantments for their bestow cost. (If you cast this card for its bestow cost, it's an Aura spell with enchant creature. It becomes a creature again if it's not attached to a creature.)

DEVOTION- A mechanic that rewards you for having a specific symbol, ex. Green, with either an entrance or activated effect. (Each X in the mana costs of permanents you control counts toward your devotion to Y.)

HEROIC- Activates an effect every time the card's controller casts a spell that targets the card.

MONSTROSITY- In exchange for an additional cost, this mechanic allows you to put +1/+1 counters on the creature and activate some effects that range from adding abilities to destroying other creatures. EX. Monstrosity X. (If this creature isn't monstrous, put X+1/+1 counters on it and it becomes monstrous.)

The gods were not on my side this time. Rather than dig myself out of the rut I found myself in during my TWO Dragon's Maze events, I did worse than ever. I went 0-4-1. My deck was so slow and lethargic that I wound up forcing my first match to a tie. The sick part? I could blame my pool of cards, but I can't blame my deckbuilding or playing. In fact, after looking at my deck, several other players could find little to no "quick fixes". This was probably the best deck I could build and it really came down to fate not being in my favor. And yet, I'm okay with the results of this pre-release-- all of my opponents were friendly and fair, I got some cool cards, and my friend Katherine, whom I dragged out to her first pre-release, did far better than me and got some amazing cards both in her sealed and in her "pity pack"-- because in the end it was still fun. I plan to keep going and hope I can learn from this experience. Let's see if we can find out what went wrong this time (if anything was wrong) and what I can do in the future to improve my luck.

I might do another article about my other options for what to play, but I'm gonna have to think on whether it is a worthwhile endeavor.


I had a really strong white pool of creatures/monsters to give me a good base of cheap creatures (Cavalry Pegasus, Setessan Battlepriest, Hundred-Handed One, etc) to build into my bombs. Then, I chose blue over red or green (had nothing good in black) because I had three blue flyers, a cheap blue creature that clone big creatures, and one big kraken to make it worthwhile. To get my creatures out and overwhelm my enemies, I relied on a suite of blue removal and other spells to boost my evasive creatures to go for damage over time leading into an alpha strike.

The problems? The deck is slow, the removal isn't always enough, and, worst of all, other people were able to put down fat enough creatures that, since my deck wound up being slow, a bad hand would wind up getting stomped into the dirt by red/green or white/red that had better monstrosity or a combo of cheap enchantments & combat tricks than I had. In the future, I'll consider make a second deck from my pool.

Contains 40 Cards
(16 Creatures: 1 Artifact Creature, 6 Blue Creatures, 6 White Creatures, 3 White Enchantment Creatures)

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? Here is one of the reasons I picked blue. Like most of the the Heroic cards I had in my deck, the biggest problem I ran into was having ways to activate the ability (I only had four ways to do so) and this makes me think my biggest blunder, one I tried to fix in later games, was not throwing in some green to take advantage of some enchantment creatures/spells I had at my disposal.

Still, in a pinch, I could transform this wimpy 1/1 human (which works well with the other humans) into my or my opponent's best creature.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? A pretty vanilla creature/combat trick rolled into one, this Breaching Hippocamp is a solid creature in limited. Plus horsies are kind of a fun thing in this set.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? Hello ramp/fixing on a stick! I love MTG elks and this elk is pretty fantastic in limited! This probably would've allowed me, easily, to play a third color. As it was, it allowed me to pull off expensive Bestow and Monstosity costs with a nifty chump blocker.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? Howdy human helper! This nifty and cheap flyer provides my creatures with even more evasion than I already have!

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? Heliod is, at worst, a great enchantment that makes expensive tokens. At best, he is an indestructible 5/6. The only problem is that, in this format, it was difficult to reach the level of Devotion needed. Still, the fact that I got a God helped me feel better about the evening as opposed to other pre-releases where I got nothing but garbage.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? Howdy useful one drop. A 1/1 with lifelink can be useful for trades, especially if you can pump it, but it's ability to give a fatty flyer lifelink created situations where I could trade blows with my opponents and could take damage from them on the very next turn with ease. These Bestow creatures are going to be really strong in limited, especially if you draft them.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? Unlimited flavor? I can dig that. Well, not quite unlimited but more flavor than I'm used to seeing show up in a draft. This is the sort of card I love to play! As a normal creature, he is pretty fine and able to hang with most big fat red and green creatures after he becomes monstrous! This guy is a great blocker and a great draw to find in my limited pool!

Deck Contains. 2
Reasons? Flyers is a great theme for your limited take, because of just how strong Flying can be, and get a pair of these definitely pointed me toward playing blue creatures. The scry is an okay bonuses, but I certainly won't complain about getting to put these down.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons?: I wanted to release at least one kraken at the prerelease and a big fat creature is definitely a good thing to have (although, I would've preferred the blue promo instead of the red one I got in one of my boosters).

Deck Contains. 2
Reasons? This is a staple human creature for this deck, but the heroic is pretty weak. A 1/3 for two isn't bad though.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? There aren't a ton of multicolored spells but being a human 2/1 for 1 helped out and gave me a creature that could deal with Fleeceman Lions.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons?: I got some cheap flyers and this cheap flyer got the job done and helped me trade damage early and fast.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? Holy crap this card is amazing in limited and I would've loved to have more of these to combo with combat tricks and enchantments! A 2/2 flyer that just gets bigger the more you use it for a fairly affordable cost? I love it!

(8 Non-Creature Spells: 1 Artifact, 4 Blue instants, 1 Blue Sorcery, 1 White Enchantment, 1 White Instant)

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? Lame. I needed to play it for heroic but I was disappointed I didn't get more enchantments. Still, making a creature tougher and drawing an extra card? That's not bad at all.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? I needed more of these! Possibly the best of the two creature targeting instants, for it's cheap price, it can activate multiple heroics and really makes a bigg difference in a trade between your and your opponent's creatures.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? I had to play this. Everyone had to play this. This is an amazing fix that gives your creatures evasion, over and over, and let's you rock your opponent's face before they can do anything about it. I was shocked by the limited amount of artifact/enchantment removal I saw at the pre-release and it definitely made me think about how it may not be so important to have this stuff.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? This is an amazing piece of tempo control in limited (please forgive me if I mix it up with removal) and is a lifesaver that can put your opponent behind and, in a pinch, save your most important creatures from removal.

Deck Contains. 1
Reasons? This is an amazing piece of mass tempo that sets your opponent back big time and can give your army the edge to win-out in a couple turns. The biggest problem I had with trying to play tempo control, and I probably wont' ever do it again, is that I found myself either pushing the game too long or not having the right sort of damage. Against decks that could play big monsters faster and dirtier than I could, I couldn't keep up. I'll have to be careful about this in the future.

Deck Contains. 2
Reasons? This does some stuff, believe it or not, besides being cheaper less effective tempo than Griptide, because it also can be used to save your creatures and let's you scry. I can dig it.

(16 Lands: 7 Islands, 6 Plains)




And that's all folks.

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