Hypersonic Dragon, Art by Dan Scott
I must confess that, as much as I adore the setting and dynamics of Ravnica, I missed the block the first time around. I picked up Magic: the Gathering for the second time just as Time Spiral was debuting, after a long hiatus from the game stemming from the events leading to my breakdown. If I knew then what I know now… ah, but it’s water under the bridge. The future is brighter than the past, and the future is the Return to Ravnica.
I committed myself to representing Izzet all weekend long, and not just because their promotional card is a lovely alternate art foil of [mtg_card]Hypersonic Dragon[/mtg_card]. Which we could actually use, in deviance from the normal sealed rules. I was looking forward to what amounted to a Magic marathon, especially because the last couple work weeks have been so grueling. So it began at my friendly local gaming store, Cyborg One, with…
Friday Night, Midnight
After a long day of work and a less than stellar showing at Friday Night Magic, I prepared myself for the first pre-release event. Upon opening the box, I found my packs were leaning towards the new mechanic Izzet introduces in the set, Overload. Each card with Overload can be cast for that increased cost, which allows you to switch the word “target” on the card with the word “each”. The highlights were [mtg_card]Mizzium Mortars[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Cyclonic Rift[/mtg_card], and [mtg_card]Teleportal[/mtg_card]. Two [mtg_card]Goblin Electromancer[/mtg_card]s made those spells very inexpensive, even on Overload. The main card from the guild pack, however, was [mtg_card]Mercurial Chemister[/mtg_card], a somewhat beefy scientist that allowed me to draw cards with relative impunity.
However, it was difficult to strike the right balance with the deck, and all of the big spells supporting rushes towards the win only ever broke even for me. Still, a record of 2-2 is nothing to sneeze at, and I did get a couple new prize packs.
Saturday Afternoon, Noon
With the guild box at this event, I found myself splashing into Azorius. Two of my big rare pulls, [mtg_card]Righteous Authority[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Detention Sphere[/mtg_card], seemed extremely helpful in maintaining control of the battleground. Considering my largest bomb was the intimidating [mtg_card]Utvara Hellkite[/mtg_card], I wanted to make certain I would see the turn in which the big guy hit the table. More often than not, however, I didn’t need him. As good as his synergy was with the aforementioned Hypersonic Dragon, most of the work was done by a [mtg_card]Stealer of Secrets[/mtg_card], usually enchanted with [mtg_card]Pursuit of Flight[/mtg_card]. Multiple Detain effects (Detain shuts a creature down for a turn) and other removal made fliers even more difficult to stop. At one point, I had a Stealer with Pursuit, [mtg_card]Knightly Valor[/mtg_card], and Righteous Authority enchanting her. This sort of thing saw me placing second overall in the event, with a record of 3-0-1. I split my prizes between packs and store credit, and opened a [mtg_card]Blood Crypt[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Vraska the Unseen[/mtg_card], and [mtg_card]Epic Experiment[/mtg_card] among others.
Sunday Afternoon, 2 p.m.
Sundays during these weekends are different. Cyborg One runs Two-Headed Giant events, and with this pre-release, each team got two guild boxes to start with. I paired up with Jay Treat, mastermind of Wizard’s Familiar, to make the most of the event. He chose Selesnya while I continued to participate in these things FOR SCIENCE! He opened a [mtg_card]Grove of the Guardian[/mtg_card] to go with the one he had as a promotional foil, while I opened an [mtg_card]Armada Wurm[/mtg_card]. I also opened a second [mtg_card]Hypersonic Dragon[/mtg_card], and we began to formulate our plan. In essence, it fell to me to manage the early game, holding off aggression with [mtg_card]Frostburn Weird[/mtg_card]s and removal like [mtg_card]Street Spasm[/mtg_card] while he made preparations for his large token creatures. Once he had at least one out, he would Populate them as much as possible, generating additional tokens as part of several instant-speed spells, such as creating flying creatures with [mtg_card]Eyes in the Skies[/mtg_card] or making his creatures indestructible with [mtg_card]Rootborn Defenses[/mtg_card]. We felt prepared for just about anything.
Our first game ended with a rules dispute, and while technically the win was ours, after all of the back and forth we offered our opponents a draw, rather than just cackling all the way to the winner’s circle. After that, though, all of our wins were legitimate, though some were a bit narrow. At one point, I had a Hypersonic Dragon on the field, and he had two Bird tokens and a Guardian token. While the Guardian did not fly, there was a [mtg_card]Rogue’s Passage[/mtg_card] available, which meant that, since our opponents had no way to block flying creatures, we could damage them with impunity. And with that mix of creatures, with every attack we were devastating their life total.
We placed first in the event. It may be the biggest prize pool I’ve ever won in Magic. I couldn’t have done it without such an exemplary partner.
With a very comfortable amount of store credit to my name, and after several good trades, I am now in a position to roar back into constructed Magic events. My Legacy deck is nearly complete, I have two Standard decks to finish, and I have a couple ideas for the Modern format. But that is a post for another time.