You guys. I am experiencing one of the seven deadly sins. Right now. It’s called pride. And it’s all up inside me.
Recently, I took part in the Dragon’s Maze prerelease at my local game store. (Side note: I have only just learned that the phrase “local game store” can be abbreviated to “LGS,” which, to me, looks like a bunch of letters you put after all the last names on a law office sign. But anyway.) It’s a great LGS. Dare I say the best LGS in the world? I dare. Check out this sign they have on the way in the door:
And guess what? At the Dragon’s Maze prerelease, I took third place! (That’s where the pride comes in.) I was pretty excited. As a fairly new player, that kind of finish is something I don’t expect — it’s the kind of thing I merely dream of. It’s also particularly fitting for me. The first draft I ever played in, I took third. I barely knew what I was doing. I played my spells before combat. I almost punted in my last game. My nervous hands were sweatier than a fat man in a catsuit.
This time around, I can say with confidence: I did not punt and I played my spells when I should have. But yes — my hands were still sweaty. I was still just as nervous as my first draft. And maybe that’s part of the reason why this game is so great. I still get just as worked up about playing in the finals now…as I ever did.
Another parallel from my first draft: I played Rakdos. Yes, the rumors are true: the demon cult is my one true love. It combines everything I love about Magic. Quick, strong bashing, right out of the gate. It’s amazing I’m not a wrestler. Or a masseuse. I work in television and actively avoid confrontation. This world sure is a funny place. But I digress.
I’m happy Rakdos and I got to be reunited again. It was like running across a field of flowers into the arms of a giant, scary man holding a bunch of bloody knives. So romantic!
Alright: to the good stuff! Check out the deck I built out of my sealed pool. Sorry if the photo is a little blurry – hopefully you can get the gist of it.
I was pretty nervous going into the build because I knew this time around I wouldn’t have any help. At the Gatecrash prerelease, Ben helped me build my deck. We were playing with about 100 other players, so there was hardly any chance we’d end up playing each other. However, this time around, with only about 25 players – playing each other was a real possibility. (And, in fact, it happened – the first round!) So I was on my own. Gulp.
But, in the end, I was pretty happy with what I made. Luckily, I managed to open a couple of bombs in Exava, Rakdos Bloodwitch and Desecration Demon. My secret ally was Dimir – which I was initially unhappy about – but came to love after it provided me with some very nice black removal. I ended up splashing green for Gruul War Chant because my deck was very aggressive and that card is straight bonkers. I also ended up siding in Putrefy for another green splash. Another fantastic card.
I read a lot online about how Rakdos wasn’t going to be a great guild at the prerelease because it would be too fast and would peter out too soon. However, I think that fact really ended up being my *advantage.* Also, I think having two 4-drop bombs is what really catapulted me over the top — since most other players’ bombs were at the six or seven-drop slot.
Another quick observation: I really enjoyed playing with Weapon Surge and Fatal Fumes. Fun, cheap tricks in a land of expensive removal.
My toughest matchup was against Selesnya — which had a lovely Voice of Resurgence. But, in the end, I did pretty great — ending at 3-1, after mana troubles in the finals.
I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: it’s *so* important as a learner to take a moment to evaluate how far you’ve come as a player. If you’re having tough games in real life or online, remember that — maybe even just a few months ago — you wouldn’t have noticed some of the mistakes you might be making. I believe that realizing that you’ve made an error is just as important as not doing it the next time. Sure, I placed third at my first ever draft — and third again in this event — but the growth I can see in my play and abilities to build a good deck is HUGE.
I hope you all had a fabulous time at your respective prereleases, too! Remember: if it’s not unleashed, it’s probably a quiche. …. what?