In the aftermath of the latest block released from the hive mind of Wizards of the Coast comes the much anticipated next set in the Theros block; Born of the Gods. As with any release (also touched on previously by us here), there comes the standard scramble and good times of a pre-release. Personally, I haven’t played Magic: The Gathering for some time now but I always try and attend the pre-release events because they’re the most relaxed, fun, and exuberant events. Not to mention getting to catch up with friends as well as meet the new faces these pre-releases tend to draw out of the woodwork (including my handsome self). But I digress! On to the cardboard!
I joined in the madness at my not-so-local-but-home-away-from-home game store at Gauntlet in Brisbane’s Bayside alongside other keen tabletop gamers. The store was packed, the air-con was blowing and the tables were numbered and ready. It was going to be a good day. Now, having not been on the Wizards pulse for some time, I really had no idea which colour pre-release pack I should choose so I just picked the one off the top of the pile – black. However, the greatest thing about pre-release events are that, particularly if you haven’t been scouring every last Magic-related webpage for spoilers, no one really has any idea what kind of deck they’re going to build. It’s simply luck of the draw.
Nyxborn battling it out!
From my lucky dip pack I was obliged on large to play a black-heavy deck but was also granted enough viable green cards to make up my 40-card challenger. The heroes of my deck were the black-standard control cards including Claim of Erebos, Archetype of Finality, and Weight of the Underworld, the one with the completely boss art which truly shines in the foil version. The Bestow mechanic was frequented in my deck, among many others, but the new mechanics, Inspired and Tribute, didn’t make an appearance unfortunately. I did get to see it in action throughout the day which really put some players in sticky situations with the many heads of the Nessian Wilds Ravager Hydra.
Matt putting on a brave face – stressed!
These two new mechanics fit perfectly into the story and feel of the Theros block alongside Bestow, Devotion, Heroic, and the crowd favourite, Scry. It gives the player a sense of being a God, a higher being, granting powers to their creatures and forcing their opponents to make the sacrificial tribute to your benevolent self. I really hope Wizards are paying the R&D team that put these together in this block well and expect many more in the future.
The day played out with wails of demise and roars of triumph as the skilled deck builders and strategists rose to the top of the pantheon to duel it out. In the end Guy walked away with the top spot and the loot associated with it. Unfortunately for Guy, he was merely playing proxy for another Gauntlet local who was unable to make it which means the spoils also go with it. Tough break! However, all participants walked away happy with at least one booster with most people pulling a God or Brimaz, King of Oreskos, or even the extremely silly Chromanticore. With cards like these as well as the Theros set, the game looks like it’s going to be pretty darn fun. I, myself, am even feeling the pinch of wanting to play again. Goodbye wallet.
Guy – the winning proxy!
All in all, the day was great. It was exactly what I had expected and then some. I really believe the quality of players improves or degrades the quality of play and the general atmosphere. If you’re in the area and keen to play some board games, card games, roll some dice, or crunch some plastic warriors under metal foot then I highly recommend you make the trip to Gauntlet. You may even run into the resident Magic Judge Barnet and Magic Heckler Cohen who will make your day both knowledgeable and full of laughs.
Heckler Cohen and Judge Barnet being professional.
That’s it from this semi-retired Magic player. Keep up to date with all of ATGN’s happenings and appearances via the Facebook page and the website.