Theros Pre-Release

The latest Magic set is finally out and was hyped a huge amount. A massively well-designed Greek theme had everyone salivating at the flavour we’d get from the set. As is normal for sets now I attended the pre-release at Major Arcana for 2 headed giant and Highlander for sealed.

Theros

Saturday Two Headed Giant Sealed @ Major Arcana

This release my team mate was Ewan Higglebottom Hiddleston. We were each getting a sealed set of 6 packs to build a deck from. I made a nice Black blue deck which looked quite fun whilst Ewan made a Red Green aggro build. We didn’t know how it would work together but figured we’d have fun doing it.

Match 1: Sion and Daniel

In the first match we were against Dan and Sion who are both pretty good players. I think we put this down as a loss before we started – Dan had shouted out that his packs had 3 mythics including 2 planeswalkers so it was always going to be tough. This was also the first time we all got to play with the new mechanics so it was interesting. An obvious loss leaves us sitting at 0-1.

Match 2 (bye)

We got a bye for round 2 which gets you an automatic win but unfortunately also means you miss out on trying the deck out in the environment so go into game 3 with people who have played 2 matches already. The downside of the 2HG format is you aren’t allowed to sideboard so I didn’t even want to glance at my unchosen cards as I knew there were things I needed in the deck. 1-1

Match 3: Adam and Unknown

Next match didn’t stand out and we managed to win going to 2-1. Can’t remember second players name and it’s not on the match record site

Match 4: Daniel and Helen

Match 4 was always going to be tough, I had played Daniel before and knew he was a good player. At one point Ewan and I had control with 3 creatures each. Then next turn Daniel drops an Agent of the Fates. It gets bestowed 3 times and suddenly we’ve been board wiped and they have a massive deathtouch dude. We tried to recover but buff spells kept wiping us out and we weren’t drawing removal leaving us at 2-2

Match 5: Ross and Liam

For the final match we were against a team with new players in it. Arcana is really good as a casual environment as you play against people for fun, as it was the final match and this was a pre-release we ended up telling them some optimal moves and let them re-do some plays to their benefit. We managed to win in the end though so went 3-2.

ThoughtSeize

Another fun casual pre-release although I’m not 100% sure about 2HG sealed. Pre-release is awesome because you get to play with lots of new cards. Not being able to sideboard kills that aspect of it and on top of that making a wrong card evaluation or missing a combo that’s in your pool can really reduce the effectiveness of your deck.

Sunday Sealed @ Highlander

5 colour Sunday as some like to call it. I get a chance to build a deck, play 3 matches per round and also sideboard. I start the day by trading for a Thoughtseize so am chuffed anyway. After yesterday’s Black box I decide to grab a Blue one. Opening it and looking at what I have I have a choice between White/Red and White/Blue. I build White/Blue first but am not happy. I call over Ray Doyle, one of the more experienced players who tells me White/Red is much stronger and switches it around. I make a couple of cutsand am ready to go.

Match 1: vs Jamie

For the first game I face Jamie Jackpot Keddie. Even if I hadn’t been opposite him deckbuilding I knew I’d be facing something that was heavily Green. Game 1 sees me lose to fat Polukranos. I sideboard and going first come out the gates running wearing him down after a few turns. It’s 1-1 and there’s not been this much smack talk/trolling at a table since last time we were on the same team. Neither of us tilt though. Game 3 I manage to get a fair board presence and wear him down to 10 life. I have 6 power on board, a kill spell and an Act of Treason (reskin) in hand. He has one creature. His turn he drops a creature with 4 power and taps out. I smile, kill the other one and on my turn steal his 4 power hitting him for lethal. Time to leave him in the loser room and progress next door.

1-0 (2-1)

Match 2: vs Zayd

It’s mirror match time as I face Zayd who I have previously faced at a pre-release. We are both on the top table – no pressure now. I take one point of damage and slowly wear him down to win the first game. For game two it’s a bit more even handed but I slowly wear down and use combat tricks to remove blockers resulting in a 2-0 win. Afterwards I look at his deck and he has loads of humans but hadn’t included a Titan of Eternal Fire which would buff them all. I advise inclusion and get over Specs to have a look.

I’m now at 2-0 (4-1)

Match 3: vs Julie

For the third match I stay at the top table facing Julie, someone who regularly trounces me in constructed. She’s playing a black blue deck this time and is unlucky with land draws in game 1 which I win. For the second one it’s a bit more even and we are both down to 6 life before I triumph.

Blood hell, I’ve went 3-0 (6-1). I look round and mutter that it’s time to get beaten by Ray Doyle or Dave Tait next and send me back to the middle of the pack.

Match 4: vs Dave

The pairings are up and I’m facing the Doctor at table 1. He has an obscene amount of flying sphinx’s and as expected I fall from grace to run 3-1 (6-4). Afterwards we play a couple of games for fun and I beat him once, which is the first game he has lost with it, so that was a consolation.

Match 5: vs Frazer

I’m now up against Frazer, someone I’ve never met before. He’s playing Black White and manages to quickly stabilise, removing my early threats and dropping his own to win the first game. For the second it’s a rout on my end and I beat him in 6 turns. The decider is a bit more even with us both on about half health before he triumphs to make my record 3-2 (7-6).

Match 6: vs Ray

I sit down, why the hell am I playing you game 6? says I, expecting Ray to be in the final. He’s had a bad day and both of us are 3-2. I’m quite happy as 3-3 would be what I’d expect from a pre-release and 4-2 would be a great finish for me.

Match 1 starts and I come out running, after turn 4 I have a board and Ray has nothing *scoop*, seeing the writing on the wall. Here comes the boarding as I get demolished. Match 2 and Rays deck hates him. He drops about 2 creatures, all of which I kill straight away or he chumps with. 2-0.

I end the day 4-2 (9-6) in 8th place having beaten two players who I would have sat down to face expecting to lose to – Ray and Jamie so am delighted with my 3 packs.

Afterwards we have a draft where I do my usual draft quality and go 1-2 beating yesterdays team-mate Ewan in the battle of the 0-2’s.

Release weekend – Trios limited

The following weekend is team sealed where Jamie, Ferg and I form The Overgrown Chins which due to data entry error becomes The Overgrown Chimps. I make up a sweet White/Red deck with tonnes of heroic triggers and buffs to trigger it, as well as two Pegasus to give the humans flying.

Match 1 – David, William and Anand: The Leftovers

I face off against William in a mirror match. I am totally mana screwed losing the first game after mulling to 5. Game 2 I am on the play and mull to five, I have the same play as last time, human 1 drop, pegasus, fly at opponent drop more dudes. I win and it looks like it’s going to be a who goes first in aggro wins result. Game 3 I get completely mana screwed again losing 1-2 but Ferg and Jamie do the business making us 1-0.

I had stuck in 16 lands as my deck curved out at 4 with only a couple of 4 drops plus devotion costs. As mana/colour screw was a feature all day I think that may have been a mistake in retrospect.

Match 2 – John Irish Malanaphy, Sam Wood, Michael Stabby Douglas: Trait Doctoring Appreciation Society

I play Stabbys fat green deck. This match looked to be on to a loser. Stabby and Sam went to the last Grand Prix and are really good. Irish is normally in the top 10 in Scotland and has attended Pro-Tours. We are informed however that their pool was absolute balls.

I win the first game after a mull to 6 but just can’t deal with the big fat creatures for the next two losing 1-2 (again), but Ferg and Jamie do the business making us 2-0. After the match we compare decks and are informed that Ferg’s sideboard is better than any of their three decks.

Match 3 – Jon, Ray Doyle and Sean-O: Doctor and Patients

I play Sean-Os fat green losing 1-2 (yet again) winning game 2, but Ferg and Jamie do the business making us 3-0. We are somehow in the final against All Lands Up Front which is strange for me as I’d had shitty luck all day. The upside was I hadn’t noted any misplays. In a couple of matches Jamie had triumphed first so was watching me for my third game. After them all he agreed I’d made optimal plays each time just not drawing the right cards.

Hammer

Match 4 – Gary Campbell, Dave Tait and Matt Wood: All Lands Up Front

This is it, all to play for. we are informed that Dave has won all matches, Matts won none and Campbell has been decider in most matches. In round 3 I watched him win the deciding game through using two of the fog reprints.

Game 1 I sit down opposite Matt in another Boros mirror. I make a misplay on turn 1 but we slowly whittle each other down eventually facing off. I have enough blockers to fend him off whilst doing 5 flying damage a turn due to a pegasus. We eventually get to 1 life each. He passes turn and I topdeck Lightning Strike. He looks and his is 2 cards down. Hammer of the Gods saves me by allowing me to turn land into 3/3 Golem blockers.

Game 2 and Ferg has lost to Dave Tait meaning he comes over to coach Matt partway through. we are again mirroring each other slowly doing damage. I see Dave give advice pointing to cards. No attack is made and the turn is passed. I drop a land and move to attack, blockers are declared. Play that, aww shit I hear Dave mutter as he realises the combat trick in Matts hand is a sorcery. Massive misplay turns the game, gives me tempo and I win with us both sitting at 8 life.

I triumph over The best deck in our pool but Ferg has fallen leaving Jamie against Campbell (currently no 3 in Scotland). Jamie has lost the first game and is fighting hard for game 2. He’s whittling him down to 3 life but the bow is saving Campbell. Jamie is sitting with 10 of his 17 land on board and 2 in his hand. Drawing land for about 9 out of 14 turns. He drops a dork every chance he has and gets through damage with his opponent convinced he’s holding 3 combat tricks back. He eventually runs out of gas and Campbell breaks through pushing us into second place after an amazing 3-1.

Theros

I’ve really enjoyed Theros. It’s strange to experience my first Standard rotation. My deck had went 3-1 at the last FNM and was finally tuned. Now I lose half the spells and have to find replacements or change the deck around. It looks interesting though and once everyone is not running RDW it might work.

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