Sunday, September 30, 2012

Return to Ravnica prerelease report

So. RTR Prerelease weekend.

The first flight went well. 3-1 with Selesnya.

My Selesnya deck didn't have much that was particularly exciting. Wins came on the back of a solid creature curve bolstered by combat tricks. Two-drop into three-drop into four-drop can get there. Call of the Conclave, Centaur Healer, and Deadbridge Goliath (the latter of which was essentially just a vanilla 5/5 for 2GG, since I never used the ability) were all-stars, as were Selesnya Charm (most-used mode: +2/+2 and trample) and Swift Justice.

Regarding Populate, it was...not bad. Druid's Deliverance ended up being an instant-speed 3/3 or 2/2 vigilance for two mana most of the time, and Eyes in the Skies as an instant-speed Hill Giant that comes with a 1/1 flyer is quite good. That's pretty good. But on the downside, without at least a Centaur token in play, they're super-underwhelming. I'm pretty sure Naturalize and Fog are not maindeckable cards in this format. So, hit-or-miss: high highs, low lows.

I splashed blue for New Prahv Guildmage (and Righteous Authority) because New Prahv Guildmage seemed absurdly powerful. In hindsight, I believe this was definitely incorrect--I should have splashed red for Mizzium Mortars (AKA Flame Slash) and Explosive Impact. New Prahv Guildmage was definitely very good, but in my deck, the burn spells would have fit much better with the gameplan. For the record, New Prahv Guildmage was very good for pushing through damage and dealing with opposing threats, but as a splash (I couldn't use the Guildmage's abilities more than once a turn), Explosive Impact would have done the same job more efficiently.

I had a Korozda Guildmage I could have splashed, but that seems clearly worse.

My one loss came in the third round against Azorius. He had Dramatic Rescue for my tokens, which is the other big drawback of Populate: getting destroyed by bounce spells. Got an 8/8 token? Nope! I nearly had him in the final game--he had Azor's Elocutors on four, but I had a lethal alpha strike. Cue Blustersquall. Fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu...

Anyway, I won four packs, went home, and passed out as soon as I got in bed because by this time it was six in the morning and I'd been up all night.

So then I had a second flight in the afternoon. This time: Izzet.

Dressed for blue-red success
Well, my Izzet pool was certainly more...interesting.

It was difficult to build because I had a lot of noncreature spells. Splashing black was an easy decision, as I had Stab Wound, Ultimate Price, and Dreadbore, all of which are amazing removal spells, plus Rakdos Keyrune as my only (nongreen) fixing.

I ended up cutting Traitorous Instinct, Dynacharge, Electrickery, both copies of Paralyzing Grasp, and all but one copy of Inspiration. At the last second, I got wishy-washy on Mizzium Skin and added it to the deck.

This time, I had two awesome bomby rare creatures: Hypersonic Dragon, obviously (even though I wasn't playing any relevant sorceries), and Mercurial Chemister, the rare from my guild booster. Wow, is that guy sweet! I got him out several times, and without exception, he dominated the game. It was about as powerful as you'd imagine.

Teleportal was the big all-star this time. It's the real deal. You remember Overrun? And how casting it is always a total blowout that wins you the game on the spot? Yeah, it's like that. Except they can't block at all. I had a great game in the first round where I went Stab Wound, bleed, bleed, bleed, Teleportal to attack for 13, bleed and you're dead. Now that's some whammies right there.

And again, I got a healthy share of wins just by playing efficient beaters. Bloodfray Giant was another all-star, as were fellow Unleashers Gore-House Chainwalker and Dead Reveler. So was Cobblebrute: a vanilla 5/2 might not look like anything special, but it pulled a lot of weight because I could use effects like Soulsworn Spirit to take out their blockers or just straight-up make it unblockable with Rogue's Passage or--of course--those game-winning Teleportals. I definitely won a few games off of unblockable Cobblebrutes.

I managed to draw a fair share of cards off of Izzet Keyrune and Stealer of Secrets as well, which was lots of fun. And I got to bring in Sewer Shambler out of the sideboard against Rakdos and Golgari, just for value.

With my sweet Izzet-splash-black deck, I swept the competition, going 4-0 in matches and 8-1 in games (losing in the finals against a fellow Izzet) to win eight packs!

The spoils of war.

And on top of that, I got hold of all the cards I wanted for Mayael. I traded one of the derpy bulk rares out of my binder for a Guild Feud--also a derpy bulk rare, but one I'm excited to play with. I picked up Angel of Serenity in exchange for Ajani Goldmane and a handful of other casual-quality rares. And finally, the guy with Worldspine Wurm didn't find a card he wanted from me, but he was happy to trade it for one of my prize packs.

All in all, today was a good day.

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