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Ravnica Prerelease

Sorry, no report from me right now (or possibly at all, the memory is awful, you know). But I just spotted this on mtg.com:
ScottWills?: Well there are certainly no prizes for guessing the subject of today's column! Ravnica has finally hit and I hope you all had good fun at the pre-releases this past weekend. I was able to get to the London pre-release and got a 32 player sealed deck and three drafts under my belt, which was a nice taster for the new set.
Did anyone notice him there? --CH
Can't say I did. But there were more than 21 drafts over the course of the day! :) --AC
I did actually, standing over a draft have a look at it.  Since I usually don't read his column I didn't think it appropriate to interupt him to introduce myself tho. --NR

Report from AlexChurchill

After not too bad a drive down in my new car (we only took a wrong turning once, which is quite impressive for Central London - we were grateful for PeterTaylor's London AtoZ?!), I played in order a flight, a draft and a Two-Headed Giant tournament. In my flight I had excellent removal in both black and red, but few creatures in either. I added white for a solid curve of creatures up the manacurve including the MTG: Thundersong Trumpeter, which showed up all day making a total nuisance of himself. I had good rares including a MTG: Hunted Dragon who won me one game and lost me one game, and also MTG: Helldozer and MTG: Moonlight Bargain, neither of which I ended up playing for coloured-mana-requirement reasons. I ended up with a deck of powerful cards but split evenly between R, W and B, and mana difficulties accounted for all the games I lost. It did contain some fun combinations like MTG: Hunted Dragon plus MTG: Cleansing Beam, or MTG: Master Warcraft plus MTG: Gaze of the Gorgon (which I pulled off once as a MTG: Plague Wind). With the flights only paying out prizes for 3 or more wins out of 4, when I was 1-1 I decided to drop and draft. I would have liked to give my deck a bit more of a chance, but if I wanted to draft before the team events I had to drop at that point, so I did.

Drafting was interesting, and good fun having 5 out of the 8 of us all good friends. A couple of early black picks included a MTG: Last Gasp and a Dredge card, so I was initially thinking I had a Golgari deck coming, then several nice blue cards pulled me into Dimir as well. The U/B picks solidified and I didn't see much good G or G/B, so Dimir all the way it was. Dimir can either go for winning via evasion or milling, and my draft deck was definitely looking like a milling one. I still picked removal whenever I got the chance - MTG: Disembowel served me in very good stead later and MTG: Clinging Darkness neutralised attackers passably effectively - and there were a couple of times when I decided to take defensive creatures over mill cards. This was a very good decision, as the mill cards often came back round the table to me, even the MTG: Lurking Informant. I ended up with something like:
Mill cards
MTG: Lurking Informant; MTG: Duskmantle, House of Shadow; 2x MTG: Psychic Drain; 2x MTG: Induce Paranoia; MTG: Vedalken Entrancer; MTG: Belltower Sphinx; MTG: Thoughtpicker Witch.
Defensive/control cards:
2x MTG: Drift of Phantasms; MTG: Tidewater Minion; 2x MTG: Tattered Drake; 2x MTG: Dimir Infiltrator; MTG: Dimir House Guard; MTG: Last Gasp; MTG: Disembowel; 2x MTG: Convolute; the 2x MTG: Induce Paranoia and MTG: Belltower Sphinx mentioned above.
The only other cards I played were 2x MTG: Snapping Drake, which I reckon you'd have to be silly to pass up.

Most matches went fairly similarly: let a few early attacks through, counter anything too dangerous, stabilise around 5 life behind some combination of Drifts, Drakes, Sphinxes and Infiltrators, and keep steadily milling via Duskmantle, Informant or Entrancer, accelerated by MTG: Tidewater Minion, then finish the game with a big MTG: Psychic Drain for 8 or so. It was rather effective. There was one game that I won attacking in the air with three Drakes, but the rest I just milled away. I lost one game to an MTG: Ursapine, so in game 2 I countered it and in game 3 I used MTG: Induce Paranoia on the MTG: Chord of Calling for 5 that would have fetched it. I faced up against GreenOpal in the final, so we agreed a prize split of 4 boosters each, and then played it out for the DCI ratings. Game 1 he absolutely flattened me with hasty Boros attackers and a MTG: Rally the Righteous. But game 2 and 3 I won, principally off my faithful MTG: Lurking Informant making him draw nothing but land when I got 2 activations per turn helped by the MTG: Tidewater Minion. Overall, I like the way Dimir play, but I'm not sure it was too fun for my opponents. But I was quite glad that I'd been able to pull off a consistent milling deck without any of the rares like MTG: Glimpse the Unthinkable, MTG: Circu, Dimir Lobotomist or [Szadek].

Demonstrating there were no hard feelings, GreenOpal and I teamed up for a brotherly alliance as the "Knights of the Shack" for the Two-Headed Giant tournament. It was hard to choose the decks, but we ended up following the pattern that pretty much every team we saw did: one aggressive Boros/Selesnya? deck in RWG and one controlly Dimir deck in UB with a Golgari BG splash. There was some nice synergy between my two MTG: Bramble Elementals, two MTG: Fists of Ironwood and a MTG: Galvanic Arc and his three MTG: Drake Familiars and MTG: Flight of Fancy.

The games were a lot of fun but took a long time. The most memorable situation occurred in the final game we played: our MTG: Hunted Phantasm was serving us in good stead and they couldn't do much with the Goblins, and so they played MTG: Followed Footsteps on it! We let them get one Phantasm of their own (giving us 5 goblins) before we bounced the Footsteps with a MTG: Drake Familiar. They replayed it on our MTG: Keening Banshee which we couldn't allow to stay, so my MTG: Trophy Hunter shot it down. At this point I had 5 1/1 Goblins, 5 1/1 Saprolings, two 2/1 first strikers, and a 5/6 MTG: Trophy Hunter; they had 5 1/1 Goblins, 5 1/1 Saprolings, two 2/2 creatures, and some other guys. Nicely balanced, except that they had a MTG: Veteran Armorer pumping all their creatures! Nonetheless, we attacked with everything. They blocked the tokens one for one since their tokens were 1/2; the 2/1 first strikers with their 2/3s; and the 5/6 with 6 power of random stuff. This is when I cast MTG: Flash Conscription on the MTG: Veteran Armorer, and suddenly all the combat maths went the other way. All our attackers lived, about 12 of their creatures died, and we beat them soundly a couple of turns later, to come in finally at a 3-1 record and 4 more boosters each.

Overall, the set is intriguing and I think I like it; and I had a great but very tiring day. Prereleases are always thus.

Grand Prix - Nottingham

Report from qqzm

558 players showed up at Nottingham Arena (aka Nottingham Ice Rink with the ice removed) for GP Nottingham. I saw quite a number of people I recognised from their pro cards and from English Nationals.

I was really stuck when making my deck as I was very tempted by GB:
MTG: Drooling Groodion
MTG: Golgari Guildmage

MTG: Shambling Shell
MTG: Sisters of Stone Death

and by UB Mill:
MTG: Circu, Dimir Lobotomist
MTG: Lurking Informant
MTG: Psychic Drain + 2 cards that could transmute into it
MTG: Induce Paranoia x2
MTG: Convolute x2
MTG: Muddle the Mixture
MTG: Remand
MTG: Compulsive Research

I eventually decided upon Wrg...

My Deck:
MTG: Boros Guildmage
MTG: Boros Signet
MTG: Centaur Safeguard
MTG: Civic Wayfinder
MTG: Conclave Equanaut x2
MTG: Golgari Signet
MTG: Guardian of Viru-Ghazi x2
MTG: Lightning Helix
MTG: Moldervine Cloak
MTG: Nullmage Shepherd
MTG: Oathsworn Giant
MTG: Rain of Embers
MTG: Rally the Righteous
MTG: Phytohydra
MTG: Screeching Griffin
MTG: Selesnya Signet
MTG: Skyknight Legionnaire x2
MTG: Sunhome Enforcer
MTG: Thundersong Trumpeter
MTG: Veteran Armorer
MTG: Wojek Siren

MTG: Boros Garrison
MTG: Selesnya Sanctuary
7 Plains
4 Mountain
3 Forest

Round 1 - Michael (Switzerland) Final Standing: 162nd
He had an insane card pool including: 2x MTG: Galvanic Arc, 3x MTG: Last Gasp, 2x MTG: Viashino Fangtail and 2x MTG: Firemane Angel! Game one I got out turn 2 Thundersong Trumpeter, turn 3 Skyknight Legionnaire followed by Veteran Armorer, Oathsworn Giant and Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi. He got out a Firemane Angel which I kept from blocking with the trumpeter whilst I beat him down.

Game 2 I got out Boros Guildmage then Skyknight Legionnaire. I stalled the ground with a Phytohydra. He played out an angel. I dropped a Conclave Equanaut. He then played his second angel. His next turn he attacked with both angels and something on the ground. Phytohydra got some counters. Conclave Equanaut gained first strike courtesy of my Boros Guildmage and traded for an angel. The other one bit the dust thanks to my topdecked Lightning Helix. He was still gaining 2 life a turn with them in the graveyard, but I dropped an Oathsworn Giant and kept swinging with Phytohydra and Skyknight Legionnaire. He was forced to chump the Phytohydra a couple of times. He played out 2 Viashino Fangtails. One immediately chumped the 8/10 Phytohydra, the other pinged me a couple of times down to 14. Next turn I swung with an 11/13 Phytohydra which met with MTG: Boros Fury Shield! Meh. Down to 3. He pinged me down to 2 with his fangtail but thankfully couldn't stop me swinging for the win the next turn.

2-0 on games, 1-0 on matches.

Round 2 - Marcus (Germany) Final Standing: 127th
Game one I got out Screeching Griffin and Skyknight Legionnaire and hit him for 16 in the air. He managed o kill my flyers and then run me over with MTG: Siege Wurm and MTG: Golgari Rotwurm (Sidenote - this card is amazing).

Game two saw me mulligan one of the seven no land starting hands I saw all day into a 6-card 2 land hand. He got out quickly and had 2 Last Gasps for the critters I managed to play. Golgari Rotwurm + MTG: Selesnya Evangel hit he hard and I never recovered.

2-2 on games, 1-1 on matches.

Round 3 - Chris (England) Final Standing: 47th
Game one I dropped a Sunhome Enforcer and stuck a Moldervine Cloak on it. I hit him for 7 a couple of turns and put my life total very safely above 30. He got out a MTG: Coalhauler Swine, but his life was so low it couldn't block. He managed to drop a Firemane Angel but only to chump for a turn before he died.

Game two I don't really remember. He killed me pretty quickly and I only dealt him 2 damage so it must have been pretty bad!

Game three I really sucked. I made 3 stupid mistakes. Had I made any two of them I'd have won the match. 1: turn 3 I played a land and had Veteran Armorer and Boros Signet in hand. I played the Armorer. Later we were racing and I had Oathsworn Giant in play, he had a Hunted Lammasu. I knew I needed a blocker for the Lammasu. I forgot about the Vigilance granted by the giant so I held my Skyknight Legionnaire in hand instead of playing and swinging with it. I went down to 4. He was at 7. He played Thundersong Trumpeter. He now had a tapped Lammasu, sick Trumpeter and his own Skyknight. I had armorer, oathsworn giant, Nullmage Shepherd, Equanaut. I had another skyknight and equanaut in hand. I pulled Flash Conscription. He had 2 red mana untapped. I played the conscription on his skyknight. He sacced it to fiery conclusion to kill my oathsworn giant. Had I targetted the trumpeter and used it to tap his legionnaire, I'd have won. Had I played my skyknight and attacked with everything, I'd have won. As it was I knocked him down to 1 life. He untapped, used his trumpeter to stop my equanaut blocking then killed me with the lammasu.

3-4 on games, 1-2 on matches.
With a record of 6-2 needed for day 2, it's looking bad at this point - I needed to win the next 5 straight matches.

Round 4 - Daniel (England) Final Standing: 450th
Game one I double mulliganed. He killed me within 4 minutes.

Game two was pretty even. The ground stalled with me at 6 and him at 12. I used flash conscription to swing for the win.

Game three he got screwed. I got out 2 2-power flyers and Sunhome Enforcer but he was never really in it.

5-5 on games, 2-2 on matches

Round 5 - Michael (USA) Final Standing: 355th
Only Dimir deck I saw all day. Most people were playing RW or GB.
Game one he went down to six cards. I dropped screeching griffin, then moldervine cloak on the griffin. Things went swiftly from then.

Game two he recurred MTG: Stinkweed Imp a couple of times. That card can be so annoying. I don't remember much else about this game. He made me discard lots using MTG+Strands+of+Undeath and MTG: Mark of Eviction on my guys. He stalled my flyers with a MTG: Tattered Drake. He beat me down rather than milling me to death.

Game three I started slowly. I played a Skyknight Legionnaire, which died to MTG: Keening Banshee. He got out MTG: Vedalkan Entrancer and started milling me. I dropped Screeching Griffin and swung it around his banshee and Stinkweed Imp. My phytohydra stalled his ground. He dropped MTG: Szadek, Lord of Secrets. I played Thundersong Trumpeter, gave it haste with the guildmage and held Szadek off for a turn. Next turn he I was at 3 with 14 cards left. I had to stop the banshee swinging for 2, so I let Szadek through. I then topdecked Lightning Helix, swung with everything and then Helix to then dome for the win.

7-6 on games, 3-2 on matches.

Round 6 - Reinhold (Germany) Final Standing: 235th
Game one I mulliganed once, him twice. Screeching Griffin + Moldervine Cloak didn't give him much chance to catch up.

Game two I mulliganed once. Sunhome Enforcer put my life up to 33 before he removed it. I beat him down to 6, but he was hitting me with Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi whilst I was pulling land and he slowly took my life back down to zero.

Game 3 I got out Armorer + Skyknight + Griffin and beat him in the air.

9-7 on games, 4-2 on matches.

Round 7 - Tom (England) Final Standing: 75th

Game one I double mulliganed on the play into a 1 land hand that I had to keep. I managed to draw 2 land but never really played that game.

Game two he played a turn 1 MTG: Elvish Skysweeper and MTG: Selesnya Evangel that I couldn't remove. I drew Skyknight Legionnaire, Screeching Banshee and 2 Conclave Equanauts that were all completely useless.

9-9 on games, 4-3 on matches. Now out of the running for day 2.

Round 8 - Simon (England) Final Standing: 244th
Game one I got out fast with Skyknight Legionnaire and Moldervine Cloak. I didn't see much of his deck.

Game two I got out a double Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi and smashed face.

11-9 on games, 5-3 on matches.

I finished in 155th place which I was really happy with given I expected to scrub out. I had a really good time. Most of my opponents were really nice which makes all the difference.

qqzm tries Extended

So, how did you do? --CH

~60 people, needed to go 4-1-1 to make top 8, I went 4-2 coming 15th. 1 loss I misremembered MTG: Exalted Angel, and didn't bother reading it as I was sure it was a 3/4. We only managed to fit in 1 game (control-on-control makes for long games, lots of fetch lands makes for lots of shuffling), so that mistake cost me the match . The other loss I kept a 2 land hand game 1 and never saw a third. Game 2 I kept a 4 land hand and never drew another spell. An well, I'm sure I've won more than my fair share of matches due to opponents getting screwed in the past. I was only playing for fun and won more than I lost, so I was pretty happy. 'twas a good day all-in-all. Extended is much fun. --qqzm
Good to hear. I'd like to try Extended sometime - oh, for another, say, 5 days a week to do all I want to... Did the Squid, Elephant or Sludge come in handy? --CH

I plaid zeee follooing leeeest ("Mana Base of Death"):
MTG: Polluted Delta
MTG: Bloodstained Mire
MTG: Barren Moor
MTG: Lonely Sandbar
MTG: Overgrown Tomb
MTG: Watery Grave
MTG: Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
MTG: Cephalid Coliseum
MTG: Island
MTG: Flooded Strand
MTG: Windswept Heath
MTG: Temple Garden

MTG: Meloku the Clouded Mirror
MTG: Psychatog
MTG: Genesis
MTG: Stinkweed Imp
MTG: Wonder
MTG: Gifts Ungiven
MTG: Counterspell
MTG: Force Spike
MTG: Circular Logic
MTG: Smother
MTG: Nightmare Void
MTG: Life from the Loam
MTG: Mental Note
MTG: Darkblast
MTG: Pernicious Deed

MTG: Duress
MTG: Filth
MTG: Llawan, Cephalid Empress
MTG: Ghastly Demise
MTG: Darkblast
MTG: Kataki, War's Wage
MTG: Coffin Purge

In the end, I didn't play the MTG: Brawn. I only played 1 mirror match, where I brought in MTG: Llawan and MTG: Filth for game 2. Llawan came in very useful. MTG: Filth I didn't need as I had MTG: Wonder and MTG: Coffin Purge removed his MTG: Wonder, but it would have been needed had he removed mine as well.

Grand Prix - Cardiff

qqzm will post a fuller report later in the week. Short version: went 6-2 on day 1, made day 2. Went 3-3 day 2 to finish on 9-5 in 44th place, winning $250. [Official Coverage]
Well, that's better than a slap in the face with a mouldy kipper. --CH

Ok, so as it turns out I'm too lazy to write a full report, so I'll make do with just my 3 decklists:

Day 1: Sealed Deck (6-2 Record)

5 Swamp
5 Plains
3 Forest
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Gruul Turf

Bathe in Light
Ghost Warden
Divebomber Griffin
Droning Bureaucrats
Absolver Thrull
To Arms!
Conclave Equanaut

Orzhov Euthanist
Dimir House Guard

Galvanic Arc
Fiery Conclusion

Greater Mossdog
Scatter the Seeds
Silhana Starfletcher
Elves of Deep Shadow

Shambling Shell
Pillory of the Sleepless x2
Selesnya Evangel
Drooling Groodion

Gaze of the Gorgon
Orzhov Guildmage
Selesnya Guildmage


Day 2: Draft Deck 1 (2-1 Record)

6 Forest
5 Plains
1 Swamp
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Overgrown Tomb

Votary of the Conclave x2
Guardian's Magemark
Courier Hawk
To Arms!

Poisonbelly Ogre
Last Gasp
Clinging Darkness
Undercity Shade

Silhana Starfletcher
Beastmaster's Magemark
Golgari Brownscale
Sundering Vitae

Blind Hunter
Watchwolf x2!!!
Agent of Masks

Boros Recruit
Mourning Thrull
Wild Cantor


Day 2: Draft Deck 2 (1-2 Record)

10 Island
4 Swamp
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Duskmantle, House of Shadow

Train of Thought
Vedalken Entrancer
Induce Paranoia x3
Drift of Phantasms
Belltower Sphinx
Tattered Drake
Tidewater Minion
Stasis Cell
Telling Time

Clinging Darkness
Last Gasp
Stinkweed Imp
Restless Bones

Pillory of the Sleepless
Dimir Infiltrator

Lurking Informant x2

Dimir Signet

Regionals 2006

Colchester 20th May 2006  (aka The World's Shortest Tournament Report)

qqzm's Report:
The top 75 composite rated players in the country qualify for Nationals based on rating without having to bother with this regional qualifier rubbish. I was in 78th position last week, so went to Colchester with the hope of winning the first 2 rounds (enough to gain 16 constructed = 8 composite points assuming 1600-rated opponents) and then drop...

I played this list:

4 MTG: Savannah Lions
4 MTG: Isamaru, Hound of Konda

4 MTG: Kami of Ancient Law
4 MTG: Hand of Honour
4 MTG: Paladin en-Vec

4 MTG: Volcanic Hammer
4 MTG: Lightning Helix
4 MTG: Char
4 MTG: Flames of the Blood Hand

4 MTG: Umezawa's Jitte

5 MTG: Plains
4 MTG: Battlefield Forge
4 MTG: Sacred Foundry
3 MTG: Boros Garrison
3 MTG: Tendo Ice Bridge
1 MTG: Eiganjo Castle

4 MTG: Eight-and-a-Half-Tails
4 MTG: Threaten
3 MTG: Bathe in Light
4 MTG: Hidetsugu's Second Rite

Round 1: Alex (Heartbeat)
I won the die roll, and chose to play (obv). Turn 1 Lions, turn 2 Jitte, turn 3 equip, turn 4 paladin, turn 5 burn puts it away the turn before his earliest possible turn to combo off.

Sideboarding -4 Paladin en-Vec, +4 Hidetsugu's Second Rite (Heartbeat plays no painlands!)

He goes first this time. I play turn 1 Savannah Lions. He plays Divining Top. Turn 2 I swing (his life total: 18) and play a boros garrison. Turn 3 I swing again (16) and pass. He Kodama's Reaches for a swamp into hand and a forest into play, plays the forest then passes with 2 mana untapped. I Hit him with flames at his eot 3 (12). Turn 4 I untap, swing (10), lay a land and hit him with Hidetsugu's Second Rite (go sideboard tech). He looks a bit confused, then picks up the card to read it before realising he's doomed. He had the pieces he needed to combo off on his turn 5 :).

2-0 on games, 1-0 on matches, halfway to my target!

Round 2: Vas (from Cambridge, bah!) Glare of Subdual
I won the die roll again and chose to play (shocker). We both knew pretty much exactly what the other was playing. This makes it all the stranger that Vas decided to keep a 7-card hand whose only mana sources were 1 forest and 1 MTG: Llanowar Elves on the draw. I played turn 1 Lions, turn 2 Volcanic Hammer the Elves and that was pretty much that.

Sideboarding -4 Paladin en-Vec, -3 Savannah Lions +4 MTG: Eight-and-A-Half-Tails, +3 MTG: Bathe in Light

Game 2 was slightly more interesting. I got in some early beats with Isamaru and Hand of Honour and had him down to 12 when he stabilised the board with MTG: Kodama of the North Tree. I continued to build up 2/2s with MTG: Kami of Ancient Law and MTG: Eight-and-a-Half-Tails joining the party whilst he churned out saproling tokens with a MTG: Vitu-Ghazi, the City Tree. I get up to 8 power on the table with MTG: Bathe in Light in hand, hoping to topdeck a Flames of the Blood Hand or a Char, Bathe my team for green and then swing for 8 and burn him out. Before I can find one he drops a Paladin en-Vec which can block a guy to leave me 2 short. Now I need to topdeck another critter and a burn for 4 spell before he builds up a critical mass of saprolings, or finds a MTG: Selesnya Guildmage. I get a second MTG: Kami of Ancient Law the next turn, then a Flames shows a couple of turns later, the top card of his deck was MTG: Shining Shoal...

4-0 on games, 2-0 on matches. Job done, I drop from the tournament as planned. Vas went on to win out the last 4 rounds qualify the hard way anyway along with Nick from Cambridge. Matt, Paul and Graham all failed to qualify this time around (Paul missing out by only tie-breakers).

After the tournament, Graham commented on a strange play his opponent made...
It was game 1, round 2. Graham was playing Zoo versus a guy with Heartbeat. Graham had made a couple of early guys and sent some burn to the head and knocked the heartbeat player down to 10. His opponent then tapped a land for mana and took the burn at end of phase... Guess who he played round 1 :).

As it turned out, both of my opponents were rated around 1700 so I should have gained 20-22 rather than the 16 I was expecting, which should put me into around 61st place.


Drafting Triple-Dissension

Being an event organised by ChrisHowlett on behalf of the WikiOldMagicPlayersPlayAgainConspiracy?.

Going into the draft, I'd decided to try my best to draft Rakdos, since I hadn't done so yet. A first pick MTG: Cackling Flames, second pick MTG: Rakdos Ickspitter seemed promising, but at that point the guild dried up while the other three colours kept coming round. I managed to snaffle a MTG: Simic Guildmage fairly early, so I thought I'd move into the old tried-and-tested Simic-Azorius archetype. In the end, however, the Simic cards just didn't turn up; the reason was readily explained during casual chat at the end of the draft - the player to my right had been drafting Simic, while the other two were Rakdos. The small table size and an unreasonable abundance of GWU in all of the first packs had meant I completely misread who was stopping my Rakdos!

As it happens, I snaffled a good deal of powerful White (including 2 MTG: Azorius Guildmages) and a fair bit of Blue, but only 7 Graft creatures - two of which were MTG: Vigean Hydropon, and two of which were the less-than-stunning MTG: Sporeback Troll - so I cut green almost entirely, splashing MTG: Voidslime and MTG: Cytospawn Shambler with 2 forests and a MTG: Simic Signet. A small army of 2-mana flyers, including the MTG: Beacon Hawn-MTG: Ocular Halo "combo" were my intended route to victory, with the Guildmages and two MTG: Minister Of Impediments holding the ground along with a MTG: Guardian of the Guildpact and a MTG: Paladin of Prahv coming in nearer the top end.

Match 1 vs Edmund Pringle

Ed was playing a seriously Rakdos deck, packed with three Wrecking Balls and any number of Hellbent cards. After MTG: Condemning his 5/5 MTG: Dread Slag, the board stabilised with my Azorius Guildmage and Minister of Impediments tapping down his attackers (including a MTG: Jagged Poppet, which got enchanted with a MTG: Taste for Mayhem) each turn. Azorius Guildmage also countered a MTG: Seal of Doom, much to Ed's surprise. I started to sneak through a bit of damage, and soon had the life totals in my favour at 28-20. The death-knell came with MTG: War's Toll; Keeping enough mana back to tap his attackers meant I couldn't play new threats. When Wrecking Ball number 3 dealt with Guildmage number 2 (number one and the Minister having died to a one-sided MTG: Kindle the Carnage for 2), I ended up unable to restabilise and lost my last 23 life to a single attack, with Ed on 6. 0-1

In game two, my deck was quick out of the blocks, leading with MTG: Beacon Hawk, then MTG: Azorius Herald and MTG: Assault Zeppelid to Ed's MTG: Jagged Poppet. A Doom-laden Seal tried to take down the Zeppelid, but I had MTG: Voidslime. MTG: Kindle the Carnage reset the board, but I had another Herald. It died to a Seal of Fire, but I followed with a MTG: Mistral Charger and then a MTG: Cytospawn Shambler when the Charger bit Seal of Doom number 2. Thanks to both Heralds and an MTG: Overrule, the game finished with me on 35 life. 1-1

Game three saw the tables somewhat reversed. My only creature all game was an MTG: Azorius Guildmage, which just couldn't hold the fort against MTG: Drekavac, MTG: Hellhole Rats, and certainly not MTG: Enemy of the Guildpact. It was all over exceedingly quickly, with me losing after only chipping 2 life off Ed. 1-2 on games, 0-1 on matches

Time Spiral pre-release

Report from PeterTaylor

I'm not going to say anything about sealed, 2HG or my rare draft, but the first draft I did was quite wacky. I started with a foil MTG: Disenchant and looked to be going into generic white-black until I noticed that slivers kept coming round. About pick 5 I started trying to cut them. My final deck:
3x MTG: Sidewinder Sliver
2x MTG: Screeching Sliver
2x MTG: Shadow Sliver
1x MTG: Basal Sliver
2x MTG: Mindlash Sliver
3x MTG: Two-Headed Sliver
2x MTG: Bonesplitter Sliver
1x MTG: Dementia Sliver
1x MTG: Pull from Eternity (anti-Suspend card)
1x MTG: Think Twice
1x MTG: Evil Eye of Urborg
1x MTG: Grapeshot
1x MTG: Sulfurous Blast
2x MTG: Prismatic Lens (star card all day)
3x Plains
4x Island
4x Swamp
6x Mountain

I let at least one green MTG: Spinneret Sliver go by because I wanted more colour-fixing.

I was paired against a kid who was openly rare-drafting, so I was fairly confident. First game I tore him to shreds in 6 turns. Then I discovered the problem with playing slivers against the rare-drafter: he showed me the MTG: Hivestone that he was siding in. I responded by switching Dementia Sliver for the first-pick Disenchant, but he dropped the stone on his second turn and I never saw the removal. In the decider he got a beatdown start and I just didn't.

So 1-2 on games, 0-1 on matches, but it was quite pleasing to draft 16 slivers and pretty much get away with a four-colour deck.

Report from FlameRider

I went to a prerelease in Gravesend (24/09/06).  I didn't do very well. but I got some good cards for a deck I'm planning, including two MTG: Juniper Order Ranger.  It was fun, anyway, and when we got back to Canterbury I annoyed everyone deeply with my Ulasht/Doubling? deck.  They killed me, but we were playing muyltiplayer, and all five of my opponents ganged up on me.  I think I take that as a compliment.

Eventide Prerelease

Report from Chris Howlett

Back in London, as normal, I played in Flight 1! Largely due to them running a bit late - ChrisPaterson? was the first registered player, and I was the second (yay for preregistration and queue jumping). I could tell at a glance that I had some power in my card pool, even if some of it was irritating (MTG: Thistledown Liege and MTG+Steel+of+the+Godhead, but no other Blue-White hybrid cards). The deck I built saw me to a 3-1 record. Irritatingly, I lost the first round on the final turn of extra time due to misplay on my part - I'd missed the +1/+1 of a half-correctly-coloured opposing creature under a Liege, and thought I was on 2 when I was actually on 1. I had two blockers for three attackers and a MTG: Snakeform in hand, so passed turn and promptly lost. As it happens, had I cast the Snakeform the turn before, it would have drawn me an MTG: Odious Trow for the extra block.

Here are the card pool and deck - I reckon you could build something entirely different from my chosen build, and I'd be interested to know if anyone would.

Card Pool (by colour):
MTG: Apothecary Initiate
MTG: Inquisitor's Snare
MTG: Kithkin Spellduster x2
MTG: Kithkin Zealot
MTG: Last Breath
MTG: Patrol Signaler

MTG: Steel of the Godhead
MTG: Thistledown Liege

MTG: Banishing Knack
MTG: Briarberry Cohort
MTG: Deepchannel Mentor
MTG: Drowner Initiate
MTG: Ghastly Discovery
MTG: Faerie Swarm
MTG: Oona's Grace
MTG: Sinking Feeling

MTG: Fate Transfer
MTG: Gravelgill Axeshark
MTG: Memory Sluice
MTG: Scarscale Ritual
MTG: Torpor Dust

MTG: Beseech the Queen
MTG: Cinderbones
MTG: Gloomlance
MTG: Merrow Bonegnawer
MTG: Syphon Life
MTG: Torture

MTG: Fulminator Mage
MTG: Manaforge Cinder
MTG: Poison the Well
MTG: Sootstoke Kindler
MTG: Sootwalkers
MTG: Spiteflame Witch

MTG: Blistering Dieflyn
MTG: Cragganwick Cremator
MTG: Flame Jab
MTG: Heartlash Cinder
MTG: Hatchet Bully
MTG: Intimidator Initiate
MTG: Puncture Bolt

MTG: Firespout
MTG: Morselhoarder
MTG: Mudbrawler Raiders

MTG: Foxfire Oak
MTG: Gloomwidow
MTG: Gloomwidow's Feast
MTG: Monstrify
MTG: Nurturer Initiate
MTG: Tilling Treefolk
MTG: Twinblade Slasher
MTG: Wickerbough Elder
MTG: Wildslayer Elves

MTG: Safehold Elite
MTG: Reknit
MTG: Wiltleaf Cavaliers

MTG: Batwing Brume
MTG: Deathbringer Liege
MTG: Edge of the Divinity
MTG: Harvest Gwyllion
MTG: Unmake x2

MTG: Canker Abomination
MTG: Creakwood Liege (definitely the MVP)
MTG: Drain the Well
MTG: Odious Trow x2
MTG: Woodlurker Mimic x2

MTG: Shorecrasher Mimic x2
MTG: Snakeform x2

MTG: Inside Out
MTG: Shrewd Hatchling

MTG: Double Cleave
MTG: Duergar Assailant x2
MTG: Duergar Hedge-Mage
MTG: Hearthfire Hobgoblin
MTG: Hobgoblin Dragoon
MTG: Scourge of the Nobilis

MTG: Antler Skullkin
MTG: Chainbreaker
MTG: Gnarled Effigy
MTG: Hoof Skullkin
MTG: Jawbone Skullkin
MTG: Lockjaw Snapper
MTG: Pili-Pala
MTG: Scarecrone

Deck (by colour):
MTG: Forest x7
MTG: Plains x2
MTG: Swamp x8 (In retrospect, the land balance might have been a touch out, but it never gave me any trouble)

MTG: Gloomlance
MTG: Syphon Life

MTG: Gloomwidow
MTG: Gloomwidow's Feast
MTG: Tilling Treefolk
MTG: Twinblade Slasher
MTG: Wickerbough Elder
MTG: Wildslayer Elves

MTG: Safehold Elite
MTG: Wiltleaf Cavaliers

MTG: Batwing Brume
MTG: Deathbringer Liege
MTG: Harvest Gwyllion
MTG: Unmake x2

MTG: Creakwood Liege (definitely the MVP)
MTG: Odious Trow
MTG: Woodlurker Mimic x2
MTG: Snakeform x2 (although I was never disappointed with these either)

MTG: Pili-Pala
MTG: Gnarled Effigy

As an aside, the following layout of the sealed pool worked for me:
G/U    W/B    U/R
  W W/U U U/B B 
 G/W G R/G R R/B
    R/W   B/G

I then played in two drafts, by the end of which I'd actually played all 5 colours - a rare thing for me at a prerelease, as I do have a tendency to stick in white-blue. Both decks took me through the first round, but lost in the second (although the second deck did nearly pull out a win from a 4-card mulligan).

Draft 1 (largely mono-blue) (by type)
MTG: Cascade Bluffs
MTG: Forest x2
MTG: Island x12
MTG: Mountain

MTG: Dream Thief x2
MTG: Gilder Bairn
MTG: Grazing Kelpie
MTG: Merrow Levitator x2
MTG: Noggle Bandit
MTG: Razorfin Abolisher
MTG: Selkie Hedge-Mage
MTG: Shorecrasher Mimic x3
MTG: Wilderness Hypnotist
MTG: Wistful Selkie x2

MTG: Banishing Knack
MTG: Favor of the Overbeing x3
MTG: Idle Thoughts
MTG: Invert the Skies
MTG: Oona's Grace x2
MTG: Puncture Blast

Draft 2 (almost entirely mono-red) (by type)
MTG: Mountain x15
MTG: Island x2

MTG: Battlegate Mimic x4
MTG: Cinder Pyromancer x2 }
MTG: Hobgoblin Dragoon    } I should probably have run 1 Cinder, 2 Dragoon
MTG: Mindwrack Liege
MTG: Nobilis of War
MTG: Noggle Bandit
MTG: Outrage Shaman
MTG: Riverfall Mimic x3
MTG: Shell Skullkin
MTG: Shrewd Hatchling
MTG: Spitemare (excellent card)

MTG: Banishing Knack
MTG: Clout of the Dominus
MTG: Flame Jab
MTG: Puncture Blast
MTG: Scourge of the Nobilis x2

Born of the Gods Prerelease

Report from PeterTaylor

This was my first prerelease in 6 years, because a couple of friends have started playing and I went with them. WotC seem to have ditched drafting at prereleases: the only option was "seeded" (like sealed but with one booster biased towards the colour of your choice). I chose U.

I saw two good UG rares, plenty of playables, and not enough removal in other colours to prefer them. Only when I sat down to write this report did I realise that all 8 of my rares (including the U promo and a foil MTG: Mistcutter Hydra) were castable with UG. I left MTG: Astral Cornucopia and UUU MTG: Fated Infatuation in the sideboard for an initial build of:

MTG: Arbiter of the Ideal (promo foil, flier)
MTG: Mistcutter Hydra (foil)
MTG: Nessian Wilds Ravager
MTG: Prognostic Sphinx (flier)
MTG: Prophet of Kruphix
MTG: Temple of Plenty (dual land)

MTG: Flitterstep Eidolon (unblockable)
MTG: Nylea's Emissary
MTG: Triton Tactics
MTG: Unravel the Aether x2 (removal)

MTG: Crypsis
MTG: Divination x2 (draw)
MTG: Griptide (temporary removal)
MTG: Nimbus Naiad x2 (flier)
MTG: Nullify (counter)
MTG: Nyxborn Triton
MTG: Savage Surge (combat trick)
MTG: Shredding Winds (removal)
MTG: Snake of the Golden Grove
MTG: Sphinx's Disciple (flier, draw)
MTG: Time to Feed (situational removal)

The Shredding Winds maindeck was in anticipation of people playing promo cards. I reckoned that I had a decent balance of removal, draw, evasion, and bombs.

Match 1: I played badly in the first game (e.g. didn't notice that Hydra has haste), but won. Sided in MTG: Gainsay for MTG: Triton Tactics because opponent's three-colour deck ran U. Lost games 2 and 3. 0-1
Match 2: Since prereleases allow changing decks, I permanently sided out MTG: Triton Tactics for MTG: Deepwater Hypnotist before the match. Opponent was WR. I lost the first game, but in the second game (after getting the closest thing to a judge to confirm that MTG: Prophet of Kruphix allows bestowing at instant speed), managed to win in extra time. 0-1-1.
Match 3: up against one of my friends, who arrived late and had to take G as the only colour left. His G was, however, poor, so his deck was UB. Won 2-1, still forgetting that Hydra has haste. 1-1-1 overall.
Match 4: another RW deck. Between combat tricks (including repeating the MTG: Prophet of Kruphix + bestow) and removal I beat him 2-0. 2-1-1, and looking hopeful.
Match 5: my opponent didn't show, so 3-1-1. Played a friendly against another player whose opponent didn't show. We went 1-1 (I recall a *long* time spent explaining that MTG: Griptide on the creature he'd enchanted with MTG: Ordeal of Purphoros meant that he didn't get to sac the Ordeal), and didn't start the third game because time was running short.
Match 6: RWG, with lots of Heroic and enchantments, plus enough deathtouch to hold off ground attackers. He didn't have many ways to deal with fliers, and I won 2-1. The second game ended when I failed to bluff him into not attacking with a fatty on the basis of two cards in hand: my situation was so dire that I thought my best option was to attack with my flier and leave him with one turn on the clock, representing that the island and forest I held in hand could save me if he attacked with both of his creatures. He *almost* bought it, but after thinking hard couldn't think what I might have that would save me. The third game he might have managed to turn around had he not grown impatient at taking 1 unblockable damage a turn and bounced my MTG: Flitterstep Eidolon , allowing me to bestow his unblockability on a 7/7 Hydra.

Overall I finished 6th out of 40 and won 4 boosters. I never triggered the Arbiter's Inspiration ability, because the one time he didn't draw immediate removal I needed him to double-block a much-buffed attacker, but every single time I played the Prophet I won that game. I think that's a card to build a deck around.

Tribute was nearly always paid (and I think I always paid it) except sometimes for MTG: Snake of the Golden Grove .

See also: /PendingEvents

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