Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Amonkhet Prereleases

To kickstart my attempt at collecting Amonkhet, I decided to attend the first prereleases I'd been to in a year.

I haven't really played much Magic in the past couple of years. I haven't really felt like playing the themes in Standard. I did a little bit of playing before GP Manchester and played the Oath of Gatewatch prerelease simply because I was visiting a friend. I also played the occasional Modern FNM.

So, i guess the question is; How did it go?


I could tell it had been a while once I had opened my boosters. It feels like very little in the set is "vanilla" which means every card needs to be read and evaluated. Even though I had paid some attention in Spoiler Season, this felt quite daunting. So I rapidly settled on something that had caught my eye.

I had opened this card in foil, alongside a suite of Black Zombies, White Zombies, some removal, both on-colour Monuments and Embalmer's Tools. This lead me to disregard the other colours, although 2 of my on-colour split cards had Green Aftermath halves.

I struggled to cut the deck down though. Ended up running 47 cards.

1 x Fan Bearer
1 x Sacred Cat
1 x Time To Reflect
1 x Festering Mummy
1 x Embalmer's Tools
1 x Trial of Ambition
2 x Doomed Dissenter
1 x Destined to Lead
1 x Impeccable Timing
1 x Prepare to Fight
1 x In Oketra's Name
1 x Glory-Bound Initiate
1 x Anointer Priest
1 x Binding Mummy
1 x Bontu's Monument
1 x Oketra's Monument
1 x Those Who Serve
1 x Unwavering Initiate
1 x Cartouche Of Ambition
1 x Cursed Minotaur
1 x Lord Of The Accursed
1 x Painful Lesson
1 x Wander In Death
1 x Wasteland Scorpion
1 x Sparring Mummy
1 x Final Reward
1 x Painted Bluffs
1 x Sunscorched Desert
1 x Forest
7 x Swamp
9 x Plains

The result? A mess. The deck (and my pool) had no real bombs. I was relying on the Zombie synergies, and often had to try and mill an opponent out with the Embalmer's Tools. I probably should have cut down to 40 cards and had a tighter deck.

I did learn a few things though.
Glory-Bound Initiate is pretty good, but it's size gets out-stripped pretty easily.
The Monuments look good, but rely on your ability to cast creature spells afterwards. Between running two and facing a few throughout the day, I felt they were more trap than good card. Maybe a more reliable deck would get better use out of them, but I didn't event feel bad facing them.
Aftermath cards seem really good. It was worth splashing the Green mana for both Fight and Lead. Destined, then Lead on a Wasteland Scorpion did a pretty good job of sweeping one opponents board. Attacking with the Glory-Bound Initiate, Exerting and then casting Prepare after blocks killed one creature and gained me 6 life, then Fight post-combat killed another creature and gained me 6 more life at the cost of the Initiate.

All in all, I had fun but didn't do very well. I did feel that I had learnt lessons that would be useful on the Sunday.


Ready for a go again on the Sunday, my first booster showed me this guy

Followed shortly by this lady

Interesting. Two bombs, both in the same colour. Question was, can the rest of the pool support these two, or would I be forced to abandon them for other cards?

1 x Ruthless Sniper
1 x Horror Of The Broken Lands
3 x Wasteland Scorpion
1 x Liliana, Death's Majesty
2 x Soulstinger
1 x Cursed Minotaur
1 x Watchers Of The Dead
2 x Final Reward
1 x Cartouche Of Ambition
2 x Trial Of Ambition
1 x Archfiend Of Ifnir
1 x Nest Of Scarabs
1 x Splendid Agony
2 x Painful Lesson
1 x Scarab Feast
1 x Supernatural Stamina
1 x Destined to Lead
1 x Cradle Of The Accursed
1 x Grasping Dunes
1 x Evolving Wilds
1 x Painted Bluffs
1 x Forest
12 x Swamp

How did it do?

Fantastically. Went undefeated with this deck. It had a mix of Cycling Synergies and -1/-1 Counter Synergies.

With enough Cycling in the deck, Ruthless Sniper lives up to his name, even allowing me to shrink a Seraph Of The Suns down to 1/1 the turn it entered the battlefield.
Similarly, the Archfiend is as good as it looks. It is truly a Bomb.
Destined to Lead was still worth the Green Splash.
Trial, followed by Cartouche is as good as Wizards intended.
Nest Of Scarabs isn't optional, which is awkward when you have been enchanted by Trespasser's Curse. Careful play saw me through though.
The utility lands are really useful
Only drew Liliana twice. First time I had 9 cards left in deck, so used her to reanimate something and won the game before deck size became a problem. Second time, I was so far ahead it wasn't worth casting her. My opponent was mana screwed and I was a couple of turns from winning, so all she would have done is made my opponent feel bad.

I'm loving the set. Really enjoyed playing the Sealed, even when I was losing. I can't wait to see what the Hour of Devastation brings.

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