Stuart's MTG Page, or more accurately entitled, "Why am I so bad at sealed deck tournaments?" - Read on to see the painful mistakes or just plain bad luck I have....

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Saviours Pre-Release

Date: May 05

Location: Royal National Hotel, London, organised by The Games Club.

Event: Saviours Pre release

Type: Sealed Kamigawa Deck (One Champions Deck and 3x Saviours Boosters)

Attending: Me, Rob, Chris, Keith, Mike & Brad.

We all got to the hotel just after 9, totally knackered after foolishly walking up 175 stairs at Russel Square Tube station. After registering and looking at the card traders, we waited to be called for our 'flight'.

A flight is a collection of 32 players, which breaks up the amount of people within the games, making it run quicker I presume. I think it helped - things did go smoother. We where in a large room, and you just moved from one side of the room to the other when you where called and the names posted.

Somehow while we where being registered, Keith managed to get himself into Flight 1, while the rest of us where all in Flight 3, so when the names where called we took our seats. In front of us was a little doggie bag containing the Champions Deck and 3 Saviours boosters, along with a checksheet (one set on each side) a pencil and scoresheet - all it lacked was 4 coloured crayons and a black and white picture of bears carrying balloons.

Once annouced, we opened the cards we had started to go through the cards. Knowing now that the person sitting opposite me wasnt going to be my first opponent, it was easy to lay out all the cards and then quickly mark them down on the sheet. We also had a longer time to get the decks built - 45 minutes this time.

- the deck

I had an average selection of cards (my rares where mostly poor though), and the new set looked nice as well, as I got a few of he cards that I remembered from the unofficial lists that I had found prior to the event. Of all the colours I had, there was no 'bomb' cards (a card that makes you play that card solely on the basis of one card - the red Champions dragon for example.) So as usual it was now time to cull some cards.

White - This colour went first, having a nice selection of smaller creatures with 1, 2 and 3 casting costs, including the new Saviours white knight and the Pale Curtain samurai - but I ended up with loads of spells and also 2 of the uncommon Saviours 0/2 Inner chamber guards - pointless in a sealed enviroment and wasted 2 of my uncommon slots. The one thing in its favour was the life giving Hoden, and so I held on to that for a while.

Green - Again, a nice few little creatures, nothing to make the whole colour worthwhile as a whole though. The one card that kept its interest was Bounteous Kirin, the best rare I got, which for 5cc for a 4/4 flier gave me life everytime I played a spirit or arcane. I had thoughts about my last sealed deck though, and so left a 7 casting cost creature out of the equation.

Blue - I was seriously thinking of blue before I had arrived for the counter spell type cards as some of the Epic spells looked a bit nasty (having seen nearly all of the cards in spoiler mode). My selection of blue had a nice selection of fliers and card manipulation, but more mid game higher casting cost cards. In amongst the Saviours cards I had Kami of the Crescent moon, who is a Howling mine creature enabling everyone to draw an extra card. Card avantage in sealed is highly important in Sealed, so I was not going to help my opponent if I could help it.

Red - Red again came up trumps for me, giving me a good selection of cards in which it execels - damage, walkers, haste. I also had a Hoden, and some not to bad creatures including a Brutal Deciever that had done so well for me last time. What it also had was Feral Lightning - the closest to a bomb card I had and it made me smile - a sorcery that gives you 3 mini Ball Lightnings.

Black - Again a colour with a good representation of its strengths. One spirit flier that gave Fear when a spirit was cast, discard cards, and also cards that followed the new 'hold the cards in your hand' mechanic. I had 2 rats that would become 4/3 Fear creatures, and also I had 2 copies of Death of a Thousand Stings, little drain life cards that come back to your hand if you had more cards than your opponent.

Artefacts - Only 2, a Saviours Ivory Tower, which fitted nicely in with the red and black cards I had that needed me to have 7 cards in hand, and a Hatchery thing that needed loads of mana to get going and so binned.

I went Red and Black, with a splash of white for the Hoden - being able to gain 4 life and deal 2 damage each turn was a good bonus. The deck had Fear, landwalking, flying, direct damage - much better than my last effort, and multiple ways to win, as well as recover life.

Land - 18

Creatures - 12

dd

My Card of the day

Plains x 3
Swamp x 6
Mountain x 9

Brutal deceiver
Battle Mad Ronin
Sokenzan Bruiser
Ghost Lit Raider
Akki Underling
ZoZu the Punisher
Kami of Fires Roar
Kami of Empty Graves
Deathmask Nezumi x 2
Ashen Skin Zubera
Kami of the Waning Moon

Spells - 10

Hoden of Cleansing Fire
Hoden of Infinate Rage
Rally the Horde
Rend Spirit
Death of a thousand stings x 2
Feral Lightning
Waking Nightmare
Barrel Down Sokenzan
Art: Ivory Crane Netsuke

Deck Stats: 40 Cards
Colours: Red/Black with a splash of White

- the games

Game One

Played, and lost 2-1. I lost the first – but it was really close at 3 life to each of us. I made a stupid mistake and overlooked the channel ability that was on my direct damage creature – I could have killed his enchanted creature that was 4/4 by dong 4 damage to it with the Sweep ability, and would have continued to ping him to death with my single hoden.

I won the second – he was mana screwed, I had a few creatures out, and then played the killer ZoZu, I only had 5 mana and a few creatures, he had 2 mana and no creatures, so everytime he wanted a land, he took 2 damage from Zuzo, and I carried on attacking.

The last game I was slightly mana screwed, with no black mana and only 4 mountains by turn 7, and he also had better tempo, and so won.

Feral Lightning helped win the one game for me, as well as the mountain-walker, both of them appearing 2 out of the three games.

Round One - Lost - Opponent came 23rd

Game Two

Played Chris, one of the people I came with - once again I play one of my mates at a tournament. We had all looked at each others decks after the first round, and I knew he had the scary dragon artefact equipment (allowing a 5/5 dragon spirit to come into play, which luckily never came up for the first 2 games.

The first game went very well for me – I had a Hoden out early as well as the Ghost Lit Raider (direct damage creature) within 4 turns, and it only took as long as it did to kill him as Chris had a creature that had extra defence based on cards in hand - a large wall infact. All his other creatures where quickly killed off and I pinged him and mountain walked him to win the first game.

I didn't have the tempo for the second game, and then managed to get into a better poition as I now had 2 of the rats that are bigger when seven cards in hand, as well as activate them. Mid way through the game, Chris was at 8 life, I was at 10, and I thought next turn I thought he would be dead as 2 x 4/3 fear creatures would be attacking. He attacked with his creatures, I let them through as they would do 6 damage, and he dropped an instant boosting them to deal 10 damage, killing me.

For the third game, things went better for me, despite the fact that Chris managed to get the dragon equipment out. I had a few things to get rid of the damage and survive a few extra turns - chump blocking with my flier, was holding a barrel down the mountain, and hadnt drawn the rend spirit yet either. Then I drew the Feral lightning, had the mana to cast it, and the game was over. Won 2-1.

Round Two - Won - Opponent came 27th.

Game Three

Played and lost 2-0. The first game was close, He was at 6, I was at 3 – but he had a creature that assigned its own blockers, and so cleared out my damage dealing creature and he won. The second game went the same way – better creature tempo, the blocker assigner came out again, and it was over, but again it was close, we where both at 3 life before he killed me.

My opponent was also someone I had played last tournament (and lost against him then) maybe next time its my turn to win?

I left the game at this point, as I wanted to play the booster draft, and with 3 points out of 9, there was no way I could get into the top slots that awarded booster cards - you needed to get 9-12 points to win anything, meaning 3 wins out of 4 minimum. Dropping out, I picked up my pre release card (as shown above). For reference, 9+ points won 6 boosters, and 12 points = 12 boosters.

Round Three - Lost - Opponent came 9th

- hindsight

This was a better tournament for me, I played better, and thought I made a better selection cardwise. The card that defeated me in the last round in both games I found out I had one as well and totally overlooked it, but I still think red and black where stronger overall.

The White Hoden never came out once in all the 8 games, it never showed up in my hand, but I always had white mana ready, so three plains for a single mana splash card seemed about right. Also anytime I was slow on mana was never down to me having white land instead of red or black. The artefact also never saw play, but I had it in hand once or twice and no reason to cast it, and I also never saw Rally the Horde - which was definatly an end game card.

I could have dropped white and a couple of other cards and splashed green for mana acceleration - but this may have gone slightly wrong, how ironic would it be not to get a splash colour that helps get the mana you want? Overall though, I think I was ok - I never really got hampered by the cards I had drawn or as mentioned by the wrong land in play.

Card sleeves - This time where 'Summer Blue' a colour that many people sported.

My result - I came 24th in our Flight (3pts, lost other matches) or in laymans terms, rubbish.

Other Results - Brad 20th (3pts); Keith 21st [in his flight] (3 pts); Chris 27th (3pts); Michael 29th (1pt); Robert 32nd (0 pts)

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Magic the Gathering images used without permission, design by me.