Winner,winner,chicken dinner

It’s pre-release weekend in the world of MtG for the next set in the Ixalan block, Rivals of Ixalan. Which means it’s time to milk those addicts for lots of money as they throw money at store owners just so they can have early access (by a week) to the cards in the new set. For store owners this weekend and next weekend is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel, and time to rake in some much needed cash.

Naturally I’ve been waiting for this set to be released because it gives me more dinosaurs to work with, with the dinosaur commander deck I want to build. So having to wait a week less to get my hands on those sweet sweet cards isn’t a chance I’m going to pass up.

So yesterday I was booked into the morning pre-release event at my FLGS The Hobbit Hole. £22 (Early bird booking price instead of £25 on the day) for the pre-release kit, some games of MtG, and 2 participation booster packs, a bargain.

Justin had decided to join me at the pre-release the night before, so we travelled together to The Hobbit Hole. It felt like we were representing Fenland Gamers at the pre-release.

Just after 11am, after giving any late arrivals a chance to show up, everyone got their pre-release kits, and opened them. I’ll go over the pulls later in the post. But as both of us were going through our 6 booster packs in our pre-release kits, from one of the other tables one person was getting really lucky. In the 4 boosters from Rivals of Ixalan that they opened they got 4 elder dinosaurs. Plus the promo card they got was the legendary creature Sphinx. That sure was an awesome box to get. However I was happy with my pulls, I got some of the cards on my hit list that I wanted.

After opening the boosters, it’s time to build a deck to play with. Justin and I built our 30 card decks. I was going red/black pirate, with one or two vampires. Luckily just before we were meant to start playing I checked the deck size. They were meant to be 40 cards!!!! Doh! We had just got in the habit of 30 card decks for our league. I’d forgotten this format was 40. We had seconds to throw in 10 more cards. Something that was easier for me than Justin I think. Mainly because I had pirate cards I thought I could fit in, and now could.

My first round match up I won the first game. I even went to my sideboard and fetched a copy of Aquatic Incursion to cast using Mastermind’s Acquisition. This gave me a couple of chump blocking 1/1 merfolk tokens to use. I lost the second game. I got my opponent down to about 14 health, and my plan was to turn the creature they’d been pumping up to a 9/9 against them. However I was short 1 mountain to do that and was killed first. Our third and final game I won easily and quickly. I’d won round one 2-1. Wow I was chuffed. I believe Justin also had won his match up too 2-1. Would we meet in the next round?

Sadly we wouldn’t. I was paired up against Kar-Fai for the second round. This was our first time playing each other at MtG, but not our first time on opposite sides of the table at a tournament. Previously Kar-Fai and I had faced off against each other playing Netrunner (Which he did attempt to tempt me back into playing). I don’t think I’d beaten Kar-Fai at Netrunner. Would I beat him in MtG?

It soon became obvious during our first game that this was literally a mirror match up of decks. I think the main difference was Kar-Fai was using more artefacts/vehicles than me. While I had a little bit more removal. I was also playing less land. In my deck I had a total of 12 land, plus the Traveler’s Amulet. As long as I had a land and the amulet in my starting hand I was golden! Mainly because I could fetch a second land if my next card drawn wasn’t a land, or I could use it to go fetch a land I needed, like a second swamp or mountain.

It was my removal, and the Mastermind’s Acquisition that gave me the edge I think. I won our first game. The second game was close I was down to 3 health before making my comeback and winning the game. The Mastermind’s Acquisition allowed me to look for a solution at the crucial moment to turn the tide in my favour. I’d won the round 2-0. Revenge for the Netrunner defeats finally, and I’d only had to change games to do it!

We had time to spare so Far-Kai and I played a friendly game. This time it was my deck against a second deck that he had also built from his cards pulled. It was a close game, but in the edge his merfolks were victorious.

I was a bit gobsmacked I’d won 2 rounds now. I was feeling a little pressure, and a little apprehensive about the third and final round match up. Surely this would be pitching me against a much better MtG player than me. I’d been lucky so far.

The third and final round. I had the fast start this deck was capable of (and to be fair the one I played most games, as was Kar-Fai) with Fanatical Firebrand. I played an early Dark Inquiry that allowed me to remove Tetzimoc, Primal Death. I wasn’t going to have that putting out pray counters and clear my battlefield when it came out. The rest of the first game went to plan and I won. Game 2, I was within striking distance of winning when those damn pray counters tagged two of my creatures. Unluckily for my opponent having 1 creature out against 4, wasn’t going to give them enough time to even things up a little by bringing out that Tetzimoc. My next turn I swung in with everything, I had, pumped up one of my creatures so that it made no difference which one was blocked, I’d do a killing blow. I’d won 2-0, and quickly too.

Oh my god I’d won my 3 rounds, and only taken 1 loss. Ok I’m going to finish high. The question now was how high? As John read out the final positions, as we got closer to the top I wasn’t mentioned. Ok, I’m top 3. Cool. Not third, not second. WOW!!! I’d won. Out of a field of 16 players, over 3 rounds I was first. This is the first time I’d won an event. Bloody typical though it was an event with nothing on the line like store champ, or prizes for winning. But hey a win is a win.

Because this was a pre-release event everyone got participation boosters at the end. There was 1 pack for playing the first round, then a second pack for playing all three rounds. Everyone got these at the end. So in reality we were all winners!

Justin and I had a really great time at this pre-release. This is what MtG is all about not that other rubbish that’s been happening online. At the moment WotC have made a move in the right direction over the background checks for judges. The jury for me is still out on the one sided biased handling of bullying/harassment online. But they bought themselves a little grace time with me, with that announcement on Friday.

Here are the stats for the day. I went 3-0 (2-1,2-0,2-0) on the rounds, that’s a 6-1 win/loss record. However I did lose a friendly game between Kar-Fai and myself after I won our round 2 match up. So technically that win loss record with the friendly game is 6-2.

So I’m sure you are curious about the deck I built.

Deck list

Counts : 40 main

Creatures:17
1 Daring Buccaneer
1 Fanatical Firebrand
1 Grasping Scoundrel
1 Vicious Conquistador
1 Desperate Castaways
1 Dinosaur Hunter
1 Dusk Legion Zealot
1 Gleaming Barrier
1 Goblin Trailblazer
1 Storm Fleet Swashbuckler
1 Fathom Fleet Boarder
1 Forerunner of the Coalition
1 Swaggering Corsair
1 Brazen Buccaneers
1 Brazen Freebooter
1 Fathom Fleet Cutthroat
1 Ravenous Chupacabra

Spells:11
1 March of the Drowned
1 Mutiny
1 Prying Blade
1 Traveler’s Amulet
1 Buccaneer’s Bravado
1 Arterial Flow
1 Dark Inquiry
1 Hijack
1 Impale
1 Mastermind’s Acquisition
1 Pirate’s Pillage

Lands:12
5 Mountain
7 Swamp

My sideboard naturally for this type of event was all the other cards I pulled. Which is too many to list here. However here are…

My highlights from cards pulled

These are the foils I pulled. The Ravenous Chupacabra was a really useful card yesterday to be able to play.

Before the pre-release apart from elder dinosaurs I had ear marked some cards I hoped I’d pull. These are the ones below from that list that I pulled.


These following ones are cards that weren’t on my radar, but I’m pretty glad I pulled them.


So that was my Rivals of Ixalan pre-release event at The Hobbit Hole. A great days entertainment playing MtG and getting new cards.

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