Date: January 2009

Location: Royal National Hotel

Event: Pre-release

Type: Conflux Pre-release

Attending: [2+2] Keith and I started at 11, followed by Chris and Mike at around 4pm.


For information on specific cards, check the lists for the sets here: Shards of Alara, Conflux

Me and Keith got here around 11am as I was able to be at the tournament all day and had a previous nights drinking to try and recover from the previous night.

I had a fist full of cards to sell so that I could get as much games in as possible, as well as needing card folders for Shards and Conflux. I had a little list of cards that I was interested in, but nothing that couldnt wait.

Artists attending where Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai [link to Magic cards drawn by the pair], and more of their artwork is on their website. They had some supurb sketches and original drawings to sell and later in the day I had a sketch of Incinerate done on my new folder. Of the original drawings they had, there was a supurbly drawn Druid (and an amazing Dwarf Fighter), which at £40 was out of my price range but with some Stuart buttery banter, I commisioned a £10 sketch of a £40 drawing.

Which turned out fan-bloody-tastic. Good old Tenpast the Druid now has a picture of himself as a Human, along with the Troll I bought from Wayne Reynolds..

My Card Pool

Our sealed pool was a Tournament pack of Shards of Alara, along with 3 Conflux boosters. After normal registration and frantic ticking of boxes, it was time to settle down and go through the task of selecting colours. It was obvious early on that Black and Blue for me where not to be used as both colours selection was rather poor to say the least.


My paltry blue card tally was just 9! with one flyer and in Black I had no removal at all out of 11 cards.

So it seemed I could follow the Naya shard (Red Green White) nicely, especially as I had the Cliffrunner Behemoth and plenty of zoo type creatures. I even had some nice removal in the shape of Martial Coup - Wrath + 5 soldiers for 7 mana which is not too shabby.

My deck had a few mana fixers including the mana for creatures land Ancient Ziggurat and the Armillary Sphere (Sac for 2 basic lands). I also had some direct damage with Exploding Borders (search for a land then do damage by domain) and others.

Round 1

The first game started off very well and I soon ramped up mana with Steward of Valeron (2/2 vigalence and tap for green) as well as the very Naya Knotvine Mystic (pay 1 for RGW) straight into a Mosstodon (5/3 possible trampler). This was empowered with a Asha's Favour (Flying, First strike, Vigalence) to end the game quickly.

Game two went the same way, lots of quick creatures to get early beats in and having fat as defense. He gained life at some point to help him for another round or two, but I still ended the match with 20 life intact.

Result: 2-0 Win

Round 2

I started very poorly, mulliganning to 6 and still not a good starting hand compared to my previous games. My Opp had a very nice start while I continued to draw nothing to help. I paused for a lengthy time at one point with a bad board position and 12 life and wondered whether to conceed - better than to carry on and show cards that had not been played yet that may help me in the other games. I played on, but only for one more turn before conceeding.

The next game was far better. We both started well, and my opp was a good player and I had one of the best magic games for a while, with both of us trading equally with no mistakes made on either side.

I had the upper hand at one point before I walked into Gleam of Resistance (+1/+2 to all creatures and untap them) and when he had the advantage I drew removal and burn to get rid of his creatures. I finally manage to swing things back to my side, and win with just 6 life left.

Game three starts and again we both have very good opening hands. He is hitting more often but with less damageing creatures while my large lads come down to equal the damage race. With his Scepter of Dominance (white Icy manipulator) holding one of my large lads down every turn or one of his smaller creatures chump blocking things are at a stale mate and we both draw cards furiously trying to get the advantage.

I then get to the mana I need and after a mass attack to try and get a few points of damage through, wrath the board with Martial Coup and leave 7 soldiers in its wake. I made a mistake at this point, taking mana over from the attack stage as I had originally created 8 soldiers - my opp pointed this out next turn, so I dropped one and took mana burn for one.

I attack with all but 2 soldiers, he taps one with Scepter and attacks with a couple of cretaures. I am holding a Qasali Ambusher (2/3 flash creature if you have a plains and forest) in hand as reserve and he attacks with 2 creatures. I block one with the soldier and the one that will do fatal damage is blocked with my Qasali Ambusher - but he is also holding triksy and removes my Ambusher before it is assigned as a blocker to get the damage in to win. A brilliant brilliant game and hope he did well in the rest if the tournament.

Result: 2-1 Loss.

As usual with Pre-releases, I drop when I get a loss to go Booster Drafting.....

Booster Draft 1

1st Picked the excellent Blightling and was rewarded with another in the first pack that was passed to me. I followed this up with some solid removal and DD.

I was not aware that Conflux held the excellent Shambling Remains (4/3 cant block for 3 mana with Unearth) and so quickly took that and another that passed by. Add in some +2/+2 enchantments and a load of Infectious Horrors (2/2 that opps lose 2 life when they attack) and we are good to go...

I Did have some Blue cards to possible use the Grixis (R/u/B) shard but ended up dropping all colours bar black and red.


Round 1

I sped out with a Blightling and Executioners capsule and then dropped a couple of Infectious Horrors enchated with +2/+2. Opponent had no creatures lasting any length of time, and I ended the first game with 20 life still intact.

For game 2 again I was quick with removal and just kept my Shambling Remains protected as I enchanted it with 2 Manical Rages (+2/+2 ench creature cant block). He chumped furiously to an 8/7 creature and I took a small amount of beats before I won through.

2-0 Win.

Round 2

My Opponent dropped to 5 cards and still was not happy, and liked it even less when I smashed face with burn and creatures before he even got going.

For the second game my opponent got a far better start while I started off ok, but then drew nothing but laaaaand. He powered through my defenses, and I hardly touched him at all.

Game three was pretty optimal for me. I drew the exact amount of land I needed and with burn and creatures had killed him on turn 5.

2-1 Win.

Round 3

Let down by opening hand and followed by land draught to lose the first game, followed by the skillful playing and a nice Esper deck to make me lose the second. Spanked 2 nil and my opponent made a comment that he had heard my deck was fast enough to kill on turn 5. It would have been nice to show him, but oh well.

2-0 Loss, came 2nd overall and won 3 boosters.


The day continues on the next page >>>



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