Last night Harry, CJ and myself headed out to Sydney to play a Shadows Over Innistrad Pre-release with Wizards of the Coast. We got a chance to build sealed pools and do battle with the new cards.
Here are our thoughts:
Matt: The set is very flavourful, and values synergy above pretty much everything else. Red seems like the colour to be in, with black and white probably being the best colours to pair with it. Green is also strong, but lacks the kind of bombs we may have grown used to recently. Blue in this set seems like a support colour at best, and underwhelming on average. Sure there’ll be times when it’s fine, such as in the UG Investigate deck, but otherwise I’d be happier fighting over the rest of the colour pie.
My pool was heavy in white and blue, but had some strong red cards, plus a Nahiri. I spent a good amount of time going through the blue cards, but they seemed pretty janky. In the end, I opted for straight white red, and was happy with where I found myself. I was able to put on a bit of pressure early, but more importantly was able to fight through some incredibly tough board states and stabilise (including side by side Nahiri and Arlinn Kord – twice!) if I fell behind.
Harry: After playing a few pre-releases, Shadows Over Innistrad feels like a really fun format to be playing in. The best part of building my deck was not worrying about what individual cards I got, but looking for the synergies and enablers. Red and White are your two best colours to build with, offering the best mix of enablers and high power cards. Watch for the cheap werewolves – they’ll steal games away from you with some quick pressure. The set seems slow and there isn’t crazy amounts of power, but it’s absolutely dripping with flavour.
CJ: My sealed pool leaned heavily towards base Red to begin with, so the build path into BR Madness/Vampires was an easy one to see. Where previous sets allowed you to build around a good card, Shadows Over Innistrad rewards choosing the correct archetype or keyword. Most colour combinations without Blue will work, with BR Madness being the strongest if your pool supports it. Even Jund (BRG) is possible to play with a little fixing. The set feels underpowered by itself, but the quality cards within will definitely shine upon rotation.
So there you have it, folks. I hope everyone enjoys their pre-release and pulls planeswalkers for days. What sort of archetype are you hoping for in your sealed pool? Got a particular card you’re hunting for for your next standard deck? Sound off in the comments!