Prerelease Time Again

Well, not quite, but soon enough. Less than a month actually.

Since we don’t know much about what’s going to be in Born of the Gods, I’m just going to say something about Prerelease event deckbuilding and playstyle in general. Previously I’ve written about my Theros Prerelease experience here.

First, these days, you know what people are going to be playing, at least somewhat. The value of this information might differ from set to set, but sometimes it can be quite valuable.

For example, in Gatecrash, you knew each guild would have its own bomb rare in the prerelease kit. However, they were very different from each other and would require different approaches. Foundry Champion would easily crush you, but if you take trades as often as possible, you can keep the board fairly uncluttered and thus mitigate Champions strenghts. Consuming Aberration might be best fought with a completely different approach, where you don’t trade to keep it from getting truly big, although that probably doesn’t matter that often. Fathom Mage isn’t a fatty, so it changes the equation quite a bit.

In Theros, you knew all players had access to at least one gamebreaking fatty and there wasn’t much removal that could get rid of it available. On the other hand, I had two Portent of Betrayals in my pool. This is a card I wouldn’t be too happy to put in the main most of the time, but in this instance, where I knew everyone would be playing Ember Swallower, Celestial Archon, Shipbreaker Kraken, Abhorrent Overlord, or Anthousa, Setessan Hero in their deck. I wouldn’t mind borrowing one of those for the turn. Especially the Archon, if it was bestowed on something.

Also, since they had the bomb, they would be willing to go high with their curve, meaning the Portent became even more powerful with even more targets. Since most of the time the cards you’ll automatically get are fatties, this is generally a pretty good approach, actually.

This also means, you should emphasize removing big creatures more than normal, although there might not be much room for this. You might leave your Vanquish the Foul in the sideboard normally, you probably should play it in main in a prerelease environment.

Remember that in a prerelease no one actually knows what will be good. Of course there are some cards which are easy to figure out, but no one was playing Griptide. Since then it has become pretty much first pickable card and has won me plenty of games, sometimes by taking care of the obnoxiously huge heroic creature, that monstrous creature that is about to trigger, or simply making their manascrew even worse. Once or twice I’ve even saved my own bomb creatures with it, although obviously that’s not really the way you want to use it.

Its very hard to evaluate cards without actually seeing them in action, so do rely on your instinct on these. You do have earlier experiences which help a lot. Lightning Strike is still going to be good, even if you don’t know exactly how good.

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