Sunday, September 25, 2016

MTG: Kaladesh Pre-Release (Solo)

It's new set time again for Magic: The Gathering. On Saturday, I made the short trip out to Lowell to play in the Kaladesh pre-release hosted by Rookies Sportscards Plus.
Looks easy enough to open, but looks can be deceiving!
Some of the events that are run by Rookies have low turnouts, but the pre-release events almost always get at least a dozen. This time was no exception, with a total of eighteen playing in the event. It actually got a bit crowded in the section of BC Pizza where we were set up. They weren't too busy, though, so we were able to spread out a bit.

The first hurdle to overcome in this event was getting the cards out of the box! It didn't open quite the way that I was expecting. Instead of the top just coming off, it sort of unfolds. There's a separate little space for the countdown 20-sided die also. Took me a bit to figure it all out, but fortunately there's plenty of time allowed to open your cards and build a deck.
Promo card, die, and six packs. All you need to play!
My pool was pretty decent, though not amazingly good. My promo card was Aetherstorm Roc, which is one of the better creatures in the set for limited play. I also pulled the planeswalker Dovin Baan and the vehicle Smuggler's Copter from my packs. All of those are great cards, and I ended up going with a blue-white deck to take advantage of them plus a good number of flyers. What I didn't have was much in the way of options to deal with large vehicles on the opposing side - just a single Malfunction. Any other removal I had either worked only against small creatures and artifacts (Impeccable Timing, Fragmentize) or had to be played on my turn (Captured by the Consulate, Revoke Privileges, Fairgrounds Warden) when those vehicles weren't creatures. So I either needed to win before those big things could come after me, or keep my opponent's other creatures occupied so they couldn't crew the vehicles.

In three of the five rounds, I had fairly easy wins. I had a lot of flyers - the aforementioned Aetherstorm Roc and Smuggler's Copter, three Wind Drakes, Long-Finned Skywhale - plus a couple of trampling Renegade Freighters. Keep a couple of those alive for a few turns, and the game was over. The first, third, and fourth rounds went nicely according to that plan. Won all three, losing only one game along the way.
All three of the thopter models from the event kit.
The second and fifth rounds were a different story. Both opponents were also playing white, and had many of the same removal options that I did. Both also had those large vehicles that I was worried about: Aradara Express backed up by Fleetwheel Cruiser in one case, and Skysovereign, Consul Flagship in the other. Lost both games in round two, and just barely pulled out the 2-1 victory in round five.

Final record, 4-1. Good enough for second place, behind the only undefeated player. (I didn't play him, since I'd had that early second-round loss.) Pretty happy with that result, especially considering how close the fifth round was...could have easily lost that one. There's not a lot of prize support in an event this size, but I did end up with four extra Kaladesh packs. Plus, the top three players each got to take home one of the model thopters that were provided as promotional material.
My thopter in its new home, hanging in my front room.
Good fun at this pre-release, as is usually the case out in Lowell at the Rookies-run events. Plenty of friendly people and a relaxed atmosphere. Thanks to the organizers and everyone who came out!

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