Welcome back, or welcome for the first time to limitedmagic.com. Today’s article I am going to try and help prepare you for the Theros pre-release. New sets are an exciting time, especially when it is rotation. Pre-releases help add to excitement because recently, WOTC has been doing really cool things with them.
If you haven’t ever been to a pre-release, I would definitely recommend going to one because they are a ton of fun. At a pre-release, you play Sealed Deck format. Sealed Deck is where you are given a pool of cards with which to build your deck. Then you play a tournament with your new cards! In a regular Sealed Deck tournament, you are given 6 booster packs.
For this pre-release event it is slightly different. You are given 5 Theros booster packs, like what you can buy at a store, plus you also receive a 6th pack that is seeded, which means that the pack can have very specific color contents, but is a random assortment and made specifically for the pre-release. These are to help the pre-release be more fun because you get more cards in your chosen color that should help your deck. You choose which color you want to play, and you will be given a seeded pack with this color. You also will receive 1 of 5 promo art cards, Celestial Archon, Shipbreaker Kraken, Abhorrent Overlord, Ember Swallower, or Anthousa, Setessan Hero, you can play this card in your deck. However, you are not restricted to just this color, you can play as many as you would like to play or as few (or not even play that color at all). I would recommend sticking to 2 colors though, especially if this is your first time. For those that aren’t used to Sealed or Limited Magic in general, I’ll give you a walk through:
You are to build a deck of at least but not limited to, 40 cards with lands included. It is recommended to stay as close to 40 as you can. If you have a hard time deciding what to play or take out, ask another player, they will probably be glad to help you out. In a deck of 40, you should be playing 17-18 lands for maximum effectiveness (and fun!). You want to try and balance your deck out with creature spells and non-creature spells. Being able to get rid of your opponent’s creatures is very important, so try to play removal like Hero’s Downfall or Divine Verdict in your deck.
Try not to play overly specific of cards in your deck, like Dark Betrayal. Keep situational cards in your “sideboard” and bring them in for games when you know that your opponent is playing. Try not to use your removal on cheap creatures that aren’t threatening. Removal is important in dealing with your opponent’s bombs. Another important aspect of Limited is balancing your creatures. You always want to play the best ones that you can, but sometimes you have to cut cards from your deck in order to get it closer to 40. Keep this in mind: You want a good number of 1-5 converted mana cost(cmc) creatures in your deck because they do most of the work for you. The cherry on top of your limited deck will be your bombs, they are your best cards (usually creatures but also Planeswalkers or other powerful permanents) that win you the game faster and are hard for your opponent to deal with. Don’t play too many because they are often higher costed and are more liable to get stuck in your hand when you can’t cast them.
At tournaments, this pre-release included, you will be playing multiple people determined by the person running the tournament (the TO, or Tournament Organizer) and their computer. Each match that you play against someone should be best 2 out of 3, the first person to win 2 games against the other wins the match! If you do well enough, at the end of the day, you should get prizes. Everybody loves prizes! A final thought on this: You should bring or buy some sleeves to play with on your deck. It helps keep your new cards in better condition, they are easier to shuffle, and sometimes they even look cool. The shop will probably provide lands to players so at the end of the tournament remember to give your land back to the shop! Also, trading your new cards is allowed BUT you cannot use cards in your deck that you did not open yourself. If you are unfamiliar with the new cards, then ask someone trustworthy if it’s a good trade or what the cards are worth. You can also just look it up online if you have a smart phone. Finally, it is best if you have paper and pen to keep track of both player’s life totals. If you have dice, great! However it is not recommend that you use dice for life totals, but you are likely to need dice for your game.
At this pre-release, there is another special thing going on called the Hero’s Path. Based on your color, or if you want to be cool, you choose a path and that determines your color. The paths are Honor (white), Wisdom (blue), Ambition (black), Battle (red), or Might (green). Each Hero Card has a specific ability on it that are like Magic abilities, but these are not actual Magic cards. You do not put them in your deck and you do not play in a regular tournament. The Hero cards are for battling the Challenge Deck. The Challenge Deck is a specific deck made to function with a specific set of rules. This is a side event from the regular tournament. Your goal, by yourself or with other people, is to defeat the Challenge Deck (like you are battling against a monster of Theros). When you play it, you start the game with your Hero Card in play, and the specific rules for using Hero Cards will be given to you at the pre-release. The other cool thing about the Hero’s Path is that there will be a set of new cards on Release Day, as well as Game Day. This will happen for the other sets of Theros block, Born of the Gods and Journey Into Nyx.
That will wrap up my pre-release primer for Theros. Hopefully I helped you understand this pre-release better, as well as Limited Magic playing in general (for those of you who aren’t experienced). If you have any questions for me you can leave a comment here, send me an email email@example.com, or hit me up on Twitter @keithcodyj.
If this didn’t quench your thirst for knowledge, click this link to the Wizards of the Coast website for even more information on Theros and how the different mechanics work and play.
For the FAQ on the Hero’s Path, click on this link.