Hello everyone, welcome back! This past weekend I attended two pre-releases for Theros and had an awesome time. I documented the results from my first tournament. Blue was the obvious choice for me to go with because I believe blue to be the strongest color in the set in terms of limited; on top of that the promo you get is insanely good! Here’s the pool I opened:
Luckily my blue pool was great (with the assistance of the seeded pack). At first I tried to force white because I thought it was the correct pair. I spent so much time trying to fix it and make it work but I didn’t get anywhere. The creatures and abilities were not matching up, the Bestow and Heroic were not looking good and had very low flexibility. As much as I tried white just wouldn’t cooperate with my deck. Then I took a second look at my black which I had originally pushed to the side because I wanted to go white so badly. Black was quite good and could suit up my fliers with Bestow cards.
I kept Annul in the sideboard, you could argue that it belongs in the main deck, but you must have it in hand before they play the spell and have worthy targets available to hit. The on board kills are more versatile and dead in hand less often. However, I sided my Annuls in half the time anyways. If there were more than average number of enchantments or if they had a god, I would side them in.
Game 1: I kept with 3 swamps which I thought was fine because I had like 1 blue card, some black and Akroan Horse. Turned out he was on the aggressive deck plan. He put down a creature and then a powerup enchantment. He got an early lead but then on T4 I dropped my horse. It stabilized me by giving me blockers I needed to chump his big dude. I drew into bounce and then finally was able to put guys down. Started attacking him but he just played a burn spell targeting me over 3 turns.
Game 2: I started with the Returned Phalanx and stopped his early aggression. He started to drop more creatures and intended to attack through my defender. Then I Bestowed my Baleful Eidolon on my defender to make him reconsider. I played other guys to attack and block with, drew my opponent into some combat tricks, and drained him with big Merchant of Asphodels. Finished off with fliers.
Game 3: I mulled to 6 but managed a T2 Vaporkin and a T3 Vaporkin. My opponent was stuck on few lands and big spells. I believe he kept a bad hand hoping to get there. Then played my merchant. Opponent played Nylea but didn’t have many creatures. He also couldn’t draw mountains. I kind walked away easily with the win here.
Game 1: I kept a decent hand and my opponent turned out to be also on the aggro plan. I didn’t have my anti-aggressive cards early. Any of my creatures I did play (I grand total of 3) were killed by the Agent of the Fates.
Game 2: I didn’t take great notes for this game but it wasn’t super special. I played the tempo game like I’m supposed to do. I played fliers, bounced his dudes, drained his life, and pumped my fliers.
Game 3: This was a very slow and good game with a ton of back and forth. He’d get some damage in and then I’d drop a big Gray Merchant to gain it back while stabilizing to block. He’d burn my dudes out while I bounced his when he put an enchantment on them. I still haven’t drawn a flier this game. I’m down, so I knock my deck with my knuckles and rip a Shipbreaker Kraken off the top. I have to use it to trade with his monstrous Ogre that was a 6/6 (I can’t remember what it’s called). He still has a decent sized guy and an Insatiable Harpy. I knocked my deck and ripped my other Shipbreaker Kraken. At this point I’m at low life, and at 7 lands. My kraken holds back his ground guys but not the flier because he needs to block. For a few turns I don’t draw a land to activate Monstrous to win the game or any fliers to block his. He pecks me to death while on low life.
Game 1: She started off with Staunch-Hearted Warrior and then enchanted and pumped it, thus using it’s ability to make it swing really hard. I get out my Akroan Horse and use it chump and save my life. I stabilize because I didn’t waste a bunch of cards early on pumping my one guy and then I get out my Keepsake Gorgon. I have the mana next turn and I ping her guy with my Monstrous ability. However she has Gift of Immortality on it. It comes back but isn’t huge anymore. I have my Blood-Toll Harpy with Erebos’s Emissary and then Nighthowler Bestowed. I swung in with the harpy, which wasn’t blocked. I discarded 2 creatures to emissary’s ability which pumped from that and also fed my Nighthowler, which ended the game.
Game 2: She mulled to 5. I played my Baleful Eidolon un-bestowed so I could take early advantage of the open board. I Bestowed my emissary onto it. She played Nylea’s Disciple and put Gift of Immortality on it. I play my harpy, then both Gray Merchants of Asphodel. She can’t attack through and she is get pecked in the air. She tries to Bestow her guy with the Leafcrown Dryad but I have an Annul. This allowed me to swing with harpy for game.
Game 1: He was playing UBR, which was trying to be aggressive early. I stabilized and then drained him with merchants. I pumped up my fliers and walked away with the game.
Game 2: He plays a T3 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver which is absolutely insane. The only early drop I had was my Baleful Eidolon. That does not keep up with Ashiok’s +2. He managed to nail both my early drops and my lands off of each +2 for a few turns. I finally get some guys out and start to take the game back. I eventually get rid of Ashiok but it had already done so much damage. I get him to low life but he stabilizes and takes care of my guys on board with some pretty good top decks. I just draw lands because that was essentially all that was left in my deck, I get decked.
Game 3: Very similar to game 2, he gets an early Ashiok. However we were low on time and I realized that my attacks would be more vital if they went into him rather than Ashiok at first because my attacker that could get through was not big. I finally suit up a flier and take out Ashiok. I have minor control of the game but I’m low on cards. We’re very close on time and he is low on life. I can’t punch through anymore damage and every card I draw is land. So I lose.
Not worth reporting on; it was an easy win.
Game 1: I apologize for the rather bad notes I took this game. I used my merchants to come back and also take advantage after I stabilized. I bounced his enchanted dudes. I suited up my fliers with Bestow dudes.
Game 2: He beat me by his turn 5, I didn’t even get a turn 5. He had an insanely aggressive draw. T1 dude, T2 Purphoros’s Ordeal, T3 gave his guy pro color from my blocker, and it just got worse. I was dead before I could do anything.
Game 3: It was a very good game. He got out early Cavalry Pegusus with Akroan Hoplite. Didn’t have a flier so he got ahead early. He burned my non-fliers that were bigger than his dudes. I finally stabilized with a flier and then drew my gorgon. Used the ability to kill his hoplite. I used my merchant to gain the edge, then I suited up my flier with Bestow and walked away with the game.
My final score was 4-2. I felt like I did quite well with a mediocre pool, mostly losing to things out of my control.
The next day, I went to the same shop. My friend the TO said that it was possible to get Elspeth, Sun’s Champion in the seeded pack, which is probably the best card in limited. So I said “Point me to the one with Elspeth.” I grabbed that one and walked away. I sat down and my friend in white pulled Elspeth! Unbelievable! So I open my seeded pack, and guess what? No Elspeth. I did snag 2 of the promo Celestial Archon cards though. I checked with the TO about the pack error and after confirming with the table replied that it was all legit. He allowed me to play both because they were a part of my pool. So clearly I was going to definitely play white.
I opened my packs and the rest of my pool was absolutely insane. My first thought was “I should play five color good stuff.” Then the better player in me said, “Don’t be an idiot, play WU.” I get my deck sorted out after having to cut many playables from my 23. Big parts of the deck were good fliers like Vaporkin and Prescient Chimera, great Bestow creatures like Celestial Archon, bouncers like Sea God’s Revenge (of which I got 2) and Griptide. Combat tricks like Gods Willing, and a ton of Scry with Omenspeaker and Thassa, God of the Sea. Oh and my new favorite card Hundred-Handed One. I really enjoy putting Celestial Archon on this monster.
As expected, the deck performed quite well most of the day, aside from mulligans from too little or too much land. There was to be a top 8 at the end, where final prize was a box of Theros. We in the top 8 decided to draft the box and then redistribute the rest of the prize.
In the draft, I wanted to be in UG for some reason, maybe just to try it. I mostly wanted to make sure I was blue and let the rest of the cards decide for themselves where I would be. My first pack I opened the UG Temple. There was nothing too good in the pack, so I grabbed the land and went UG. Second pack I opened another UG Temple. However I passed it for Sea God’s Revenge because that card is stone cold insane. Throughout the packs I kept snatching up Griptides and Voyages End, I ended up with 2 Sea God’s Revenge and multiple Prescient Chimeras. I got quite a few Bestow guys, 2 of the Agent of Horizons. I misread one card and mistakenly grabbed 2 of it. I also got passed Master of Waves because he took a foil Spear of Heliod that was in his color. When the draft was done, I looked around and it turned out barely anyone went blue and that was why I got most of the best blue cards. I ended up making green be a splash because the blue needed to be heavier, especially if I wanted a good sized Master of Waves.
Round 1 opponent was on red splash black. I didn’t lose a game, Sea God’s Revenge and Griptide are really that good.
Round 2 my opponent was white splash green. It was pretty aggressive. He drafted 5 Cavalry Pegusus and a decent amount of humans. He got me game 1 while 2 and 3 he didn’t have as aggressive as starts, and I stabilized early. Sea God’s Revenge and Griptide are the MVP, as well as my Agent of Horizons getting through.
Round 3 never happened because we decided to split the top 2 prizes. We were friends and it was pretty awesome that he also made it.
All in all, a fantastic day. Blue is very much so the best color in the set as long as you play correctly and draft a good deck. In sealed, your deck is only as good as your pool and it really comes down to the player.
That marks the end of my pre-release report and I hope you enjoyed reading it. I really enjoyed playing this set, and think there is a lot more skill involved with this set than some think. Anyway, let me known what you thought with a comment or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @keithcodyj on Twitter. I hope everyone has a good week and go play some Theros limited!