Geeked-In 3: My First MtG Pre-Release

Geeked-In 3: My First MtG Pre-Release

Welcome back, to the third installment of Geeked-In, the (semi) weekly blog post where I simply geek out over whatever I feel like.   The week, we shall depart from the real of video games, and TV series, and go old school.  I’m talking good old fashion card games.  Magic The Gathering to be more exact.  As this weekend I participated in my very first Pre-Release tournament.

Now to touch briefly, Magic the Gathering Is a card game, played between people using old fashion cards.  Something that is somewhat dying in the age of digital media.  The goal is simple (in most cases), you must defeat your opponent, mostly by taking down his life total to 0.  There are other win conditions, but to keep it simple, that is it.

Now a pre-release is a sealed event, which means each player gets six packs of unopened cards, and makes a 40 card deck out of them.  Normal decks start at 60, however because of the limited number of packs, this number is reduced in order to make it fair.  Pre-release events usually take place the weekend before the release of the new set of cards. In this case, the new set Battle for Zendikar releases next weekend.


Now going into this, I have never played in any sort of organized, or any sort of legal tournament. This was my first.  My friends have been playing off and on for the past few years, so this was a step outside of my comfort zone.  Now, like everything in any sort of organized play, I was really afraid of going up against some rules lawyer that only cares if I did not line my cards up properly. But to my surprise, and what I figured would happen with my experience with video game tournaments, would be that the majority of people were extremely nice.  One guy went through the trouble of helping refine my friends deck with him after he swept him in about 30 seconds.

Now upon getting to the event, my friend and I quickly figured out we had an hour to make our decks, which we honestly could have spent two hours doing it. It was not easy to grab random packs and start creating a deck. But we managed to do it.

Now quickly summarizing my experience, I ran into a rules lawyer in the first round of the tournament.  Though he let up a bit when I told him I was new to the tournament scene.  He was still a real jerk about it.  The second round I ended up against my friend, and the third was a rather cool guy, who got extremely lucky with his cards and had three amazing cards that wrecked faces.   After losing 5/6 games I played that night, the same with my friend, we decided to call it a night and head home.


Now, from my first time experience, I would offer some advice for newer players… Spend time learning the cards that you pull from the packs.  I did not do this, and ended up having mostly support cards, and not enough damage to actually damage my opponents.   This is my biggest complaint from the night, that I did not spend enough time digging deep into my cards.  I had a few very large cards from the new set, but not enough energy to get them out.

Second, go with friends, it makes it so much better.  I went with one friend due to the fact that a bunch of others were otherwise engaged.  It makes it so much more enjoyable.

Thirdly, just have fun.  That’s what it all comes down to really, having fun.  That is why we game.

I had a blast at my first pre-release for Magic, and hopefully will have more to come.  I ended up getting a few decent cards, though my friend got one that is currently valued at $200.

David Bahle

Former competitive Halo Coach, and former Microsoft Fan Boy. He is also a self proclaimed Star Wars Guru. He can be reached either on twitter at @OhMyApollo or [email protected]