September 2012 – Return to Ravnica Prerelease.
On review of the Return to Ravnica Spoiler on MTGSalvation.com, my initial thoughts of the power of this set were in Blue/White with the new Detain mechanic and the great removal pieces provided by Black/Green and Red/Black. Since there were a few Green/Black cards that I was already wanting for my Vhati il-Dal EDH Deck, I decided to play Black/Green and join the Golgari guild.
This was my first midnight pre-release, and being the oldest man in the group of 67 players, I was definitely up way past my bedtime. I powered through the yawns with a 5 hour energy and grabbed my Golgari Guild box provided by Just 4 Fun Games in Peoria, IL. Wizards of the Coast™ did a fantastic job with presentation as every player received a nifty card box containing:
- 5 Booster packs of Return to Ravnica
- 1 Modified Booster Pack with Golgari Colors
- Guild Colored Spin-Down Die
- Guild Logo Sticker (Which Found it’s Way to my Green Monster Collector Album)
- So… Let’s crack some packs!
In the words of Frank Caliendo’s impersonation of Charles Barkley the cards I opened were just plain Turable (Terrible). Check out this putrid list of rares I had to try and build a Golgari Green/Black Limited Deck with:
To solidify my six boosters to the status of ultra terrible, I must mention that there was not one Mythic Rare or Foiled Card in the bunch.
I combined the Golgari colors (and threw in my black/red hybrid Cryptborn Horror into my 40 card deck that included 16 basic lands and 1 gate and sighed at the ho-hum creation I have compiled for today’s battles.
GOLGARI vs AZORIUS
Match 1 vs Tony
Game 1 of my first match was very unexpected as my promo card Corpsejack Menace hit the table and produced some exciting results. On one swing my Golgari Swarm did 9 points of combat damage. My second main phase was highlighted by the casting of the Cryptborn Horror who’s 9 +1/+1 counters were doubled by the ability of the Corpsejack. Unfortunately, my 18/18 Trampler was never allowed to swing as he was put back ontop of my library by my opponent’s Azorius Charm. Still though, my Golgari deck provided an unexpected Game 1 victory.
Game 2 and Game 3 of this match went as expected. My Golgari Swarm was slow and lacked needed removal. Tony’s Azorius Horde of Bounce and Detain proved to be too much control and I had no answers.
BETRAYING MY GOLGARI GUILD
Disgusted by my first round loss, I began to look at the Red Cards I had in my sideboard. I was ready to remove the Green from my deck and betray the GOLGARI Guild. I noticed that I had some decent removal that included 2 x Annihilating Fire, 1 x Electrickery, 2 x Explosive Impact, 1 x Rakdos Charm, and 1 x Auger Spree.
My creature count dropped to 8 to make room for all of the direct damage and removal. I also added 2 x Cremate as a nice little cantrip that allowed me to get to my land or the better cards in my deck faster. My shift to a Red/Black deck was complete and I entered Match 2 of the tournament as a member of the RAKDOS Guild. (Since the Pre-release tournament does not use decklists, my massive alteration to my main 40 card deck is backed by Wizard’s Limited Tournament Rule 7.2. I have listed Rule 7.2 at the end of this article for reference.)
RAKDOS vs RAKDOS
Match 2 vs Joe
My opponent’s Rakdos deck had Green added so that he could play Abrupt Decay and Vraska the Unseen. Unfortunately for him, his mana sources never seemed to work out right and my new deck creation overran him with Tenement Crasher, Perilous Shadow and an Unleashed Bloodfray Giant
RAKDOS vs AZORIUS
Match 3 vs Mary
My second match of the day versus Azorius. Fortunately for me, my opponent did not have the flood of Blue/White control cards that detained my Golgari deck in my first matchup. In both of these games, I shrugged off early castings of Cancel and attacks from Azorius Keyrune. This matchup quickly ended in my favor with my Rakdos Keyrune providing multiple attacks with my red direct damage support.
RAKDOS vs SELESNYA
Match 4 vs Mike
Even though I lost 1-2, my matchup versus Mike and his Selesnya deck proved to be my favorite of the day. All three of our games teeter-tottered back and forth with an explosive amount of great plays on both sides of the magic table. His deck contained 3 Trained Caracals that proved to give him just enough lifegain in the early game to outlast me in the two matchups I lost. In all three matchups he always casted at least two of his “Lifelink Kitties” while I would put Daggerdrome Imp into play.
Another huge factor in my losses was Mike’s ability to generate 8/8 Creatures. Mana seemed to flow quite nicely for him as I always had the threat of Grove of the Guardian, Risen Sanctuary or Slime Molding. What made matters worse was when he could Populate and produce a token creature of one of the 8/8 fatties. To compete against the fatties, I would need to attack or block with one of my lower powered creatures and then finish off the 8/8 with an Auger Spree, Annihilating Fire or Explosive Impact. Of course my favorite move of the day is I used Traitorous Instinct to steal one of his 8/8 Tokens and he had to block with the other 8/8 token he controlled, killing both creatures.
END OF THE DAY/MORNING
So By the end of the 4 round Return to Ravnica Prerelease at 5:30am, I was 2-2 and ready for some sleep. Earlier in the night I was quite disappointed in the “luck of the draw” of my sealed deck, but by the end of the tournament, I felt quite satisfied with the way that I played. I believe I may have made 1-2 mistakes all morning, but neither of which were game changing. As a casual magic player, I always feel great about a Magic tournament as long as I play very well – win or lose.
WIZARDS OF THE COAST RULING
LIMITED RULE 7.2 (Just for Reference)
Any drafted or opened cards not used in a player’s Limited deck function as his or her sideboard.
Players may request additional basic land cards for their sideboard. There are no restrictions on the number of
cards a player may exchange this way as long as the main deck contains at least forty cards. Cards do not need to
be exchanged on a one-for-one basis.
Players participating in Limited tournaments that do not use decklists may freely change the composition of their
decks between matches by exchanging cards from their deck for cards in their sideboard without being required to
return their deck to its original composition before their next match. The Head Judge or Tournament Organizer
must inform players if this option is not being used prior to the start of deckbuilding. This option is not available
at Competitive or Professional REL tournaments.