On Saturday began the prerelease weekend for the latest Magic set, Born of the Gods. The ancient Greek themes and flavors of this set are really great.
The way prerelease events work is as a special Sealed event. Sealed is a Limited format where everyone in the tournament is given six new packs of the latest set and they build their deck out of that. This has a lot of appeal compared to constructed, because often people simply don't have access to the premium cards. Here you're only dealing with the chance of what's in your card pool and the skill of building and playing.
For prereleases now, the setup is that each person picks a color. That color is your sealed event box, with a pre-seeded pack with a special promo that replaces one of the six packs. The box also comes with more flavor introductions to how to pair colors and a spin down twenty-sided die to track your life. I think it's a fantastic way to introduce a set, as well as give new and young players extras to help them play the game more readily.
The lad and I had been looking forward to the new set release for a month. We always do. So we did two events. They're only three rounds of Swiss, which is prize payout based on won rounds, rather than rank.
Event 1, BU, 3-0
One thing the boy has proven to me again and again is that he's got a pile of luck stacked higher than a snowbank compared to me. Speaking of, our snowbanks this year are about as high as an elephant's eye, so spring should just show up now and harvest it.
I picked the black box to start the day, thinking that I like the black pairing with everything. That choice was the solid one, because my pool had one decent card in each other color. This is not what you're looking for in sealed, because it's very power-card driven and I had access to nearly none. My one saving grace was in the last pack I pulled an Ashiok. It basically forced me into blue-black, one of the most solid pairings in the format.
I don't think Ashiok fully helped me win more than a single game, but she's always so solid. Plus I'm planning to build a deck around her for Standard for fun, so getting another is always gravy to me! In the end though, I managed a full 3-0 because the deck could always stabilize while I was half dead and eventually take over the matchup.
The Lad, however, went with the red box, similarly chosen because he plays well with anything combined with red. Plus its promo was a cool dragon, and was one of the better ones. Then he pulled the dream card of the day for him: the new lesser god, Mogis. That black-red god, especially in limited, is nuts. It lands on the battlefield, has nearly no answers, and you win in five turns. He played well and enthusiastically and went 2-1 for the afternoon. Oh, and to top it off, with his winnings, he pulled two more gods. I pulled a second copy of something I would never play.
Event 2, UR, 3-0
We skipped the second afternoon event to do dinner and whatnot, then came back for the evening event. For this one, I picked blue and the Lad opted for green. Then we've covered four of the five promos, and we both picked colors that we like as a basis for the rest of the deck.
My blue was definitely strong, but the rares I pulled were nonsense. I pulled two of the triple-cost Fated cards, basically meaning they were unplayable. I wound up with the worst pairing of colors, blue-red. Red or black were my choices, but red had the earlier removal I could possibly play. Black had the better creatures, but only three of them, so not much was worthwhile there.
For blue, it was all won on the backs of Griptide and the promo Arbiter of the Ideal. Red had a couple bits of removal, and Fall of the Hammer is definitely a strong card in this set. And Akroan Conscriptor is worth mentioning. I absolutes loved Zealous Conscripts in Innistrad block. While Akroan Conscriptor is clunky in needing to be targeted, the reactionary theft of their creature makes combat very complex and look terrible if you're on the other side of the table.
The boy however, nailed his green deck with a splash of blue. I think it was great, with the promo hydra and a pair of the very efficient Courser of Kruphix. A 2/4 for only three mana is way ahead of most creatures in that curve, plus it nets lands and life. He actually wound up pulling a third one in his victory pack too, so we have a solid base for future green decks on Friday nights. Unfortunately I think the boy was just tired and since the crowd was small, he wasn't as enthusiastic to play so he went 0-3. I played him for one of the rounds and I think if he'd been just slightly more aggressive, he could have trounced me.
The day was good and I like that I feel increasingly comfortable in limited formats. I'm 3-0 in getting top in the monthly drafts at Village since they started. I like the level playing field and more game skill involved, not that I don't really enjoy constructed as well. Friday Night Magic is bread and butter for my gaming.
Once again though, I came across obnoxious people around me. There was a father-son pair just a bit older than the boy and I. But it was really weird hearing them talk similarly as I would while my buddies and I play our weekly online game. I'm fairly sure that when those two were playing and the dad made a strong play, the kid called him a dick, half jokingly. It was still really weird and does plenty explain why I didn't like playing against that boy at an FNM a while back either.
There's a worthwhile safe distance between parent and child that I think needs to be there. The parent needs to be a questioned authority for certain, but still the respected ruler until the child has actually grown up. I'll grant some parents don't deserve it, but in cases like that I think it's more a matter of just surviving your own childhood and breaking away when you can.
I'm glad I can say my son's name and he'll instantly cool his jets if he gets over-enthused and devolves into monster mode. He needs that check and me being able to teach him those limits has already made hime more aware of where and when things like that are appropriate. Also, I'm enjoying watching his mind think increasingly strategically and when facing down an unbeatable play, respecting your opponent and just enjoying the game and its interactions. He takes to it well, knows readily what's rude and what's polite, and I think will pass on the healthy gamer attitude to his sister as well.