Date: April 25th 2009

Location: The Hilton Metropole

Event: Pre-release

Type: Alara Reborn Pre-release

Attending: [2] Me and Chris


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

I met Chris at the hotel at around 10am, and by the time Chris had come, I had already traded away a small pile of cards for £45 in cash plus the Divine vs Demonic deck and a new card folder.

They needed 5 or so people to finish off the start of flight 3, and luckily I put myself and Chris down before he came as other wise we would have been waiting for another 30 people or so to arrive as things where looking a little sparse at that time - possibly due to the football pitch sized room we were in.

The flight is called, and off we go to our seats.....

My Card Pool

Opening the Shards Tournament box and 3 Alara boosters, I was very pleased with my card pool, and very confused at the same time as my cards spread across the colours equally except black. I did crack the Dragon Broodmother as a Rare in one pack, and with things like the Mage Slayer and Colossal Might (+4/+2 Trample for 2 mana) in meant that Red and Green should definitely be seen.

My good luck continued as I even cracked the blue Planeswalker (which I did not use), along with plenty of mana sources and some nice removal in the shape of a Naya Charm, Branching Bolt, Souls Fire etc.

Round 1

Game 1

A poor start and one I should have binned hand wise - I need to do this more often. I am confident that I always use enough mana sources, and had a hand of nice mana but off colour creatures.

Thinking that I could draw into the mana I needed for them was a mistake, and quite soon I was smashed. Which was a very long drawn out process as although my opponent hadn't the best start either, it was better than mine and I suffered slowly.

Game 2

The second game was better for me, and also my opponent as he had some nice removal out to rid me of the creatures I cast. I did get a Retaliator Griffin with a Shield of Righteous down, followed by the Mage Slayer on the same creature but drew nothing but land to back it up.

I got a few beats in with it, removed a few threats on his side, and whittled his life down. sadly, he recovered far better and I needed to top deck a Colossal Might ftw which never happened.

As usual, I dropped on my first loss to booster draft instead. My mates always ask me why I do this, as I could go on and win the next few games and I am sure I probably would, but I like to see the new cards, cracking the packs and getting as many as I can. I never lose a game on purpose though simply to draft.

I like to aim for a pre-release and two boosters, which normally takes me from 8:30 to 6pm, we did not start until 10:30, so I was behind schedule if anything.

Taking a quick look through my card pool, I felt that I would have been very hard pushed to drop to 3 colours as it would have weakened my overall cards while obviously allowing better mana control - but I felt my mana base was solid.

I just can't help playing the shiney new cards :p

Booster Draft 1

19 Mana sources including 3 posts

9 Spells: 2x Colossal Might, 2 x Breath of Malfegor, Blightning, Behemoth Sledge, Terminate, Thought Hemorrhage

13 Creatures: 6 bears with assorted Vigalence, Haste, Exalted.

Another four colour deck, this time splashing Black to play removal and direct damage.


Game 1

Another dogs breakfast of a game, and my notes say nothing other than "..playing same colours, but I am buggered on red mana."

I hit him for 3 damage with Blightning, and lost the game.

Game 2

I did manage to get a few damage in over a few rounds, but took far greater damage in return, and soon was very dead.

So where did this draft go wrong?

I looked through this as I wrote my notes later in the week after the draft and I fished a few opening hands and could not see anything that stood out as being very wrong. I asked myself about the 4th colour, Black - could I have dropped it? With 2 x Breath of malfgor, Thought Hemorrhage, Terminate, Blightning....I dont think so, do you?

Booster Draft 2

17 Mana sources including 1 Post.

7 Spells: 2 x Crystallization, 2 x Shield of the Righteous, Captured Sunlight, Reborn hope, Sarkhan Vol.

16 Creatures: 4 x Winged Coatl, 2 x Bant Sureblade plus others

Another bodged draft for me I think. I started looking at colours and Shards then hit Reborn and get confused when it drops to Ravnica style guilds, meaning I end up drafting 4 colours again.

It doesnt help when the majority of the people round the table are discussing picks and what order they would take them in, and which cards are better to draft over others. I do like it when I have better players as I tend to pick things up for future reference, but my table was packed with people I knew where going to spank me hard.

So how did I go wrong? My opening pack of Shards was Sarkhan Vol (yes really!) and I did my best to stick to red/green knowing that I could go the route of the Naya Shard in RGW as Reborn has a few very nice GW and RG cards.

This soon fell apart as I was quickly cut out of Naya, but noticed that Bant (uWG) was available, so started taking those. As we moved to Reborn, this seemed to be a better idea, as I grabbed not one but four pieces of psudo removal in the Winged Coatl. Add this to the Jenara I opened and a couple of Crystallization's, and I thought I had a good deck.

Due to the fact that I had taken my time before being pushed into Bant, I was a little low on cards and used two of the land cycling cards to take me to 40. I think the land cycling cards did help me out in the end - in both cases helping restore mana or fixing that colour I needed.

Game 1

Exactly how I would have liked it to go, my hand consisted of nice mana, a few early creatures and Sarkhan.

Sarkhan comes down on turn 4 or 5 and my opponent rightly attacks it, only to walk into a Coatl. He drops another creature, attacks in the air, and walks into another one.

I get Sarkhan to his ultimate, drop my Dragons, get Sarkhan from the graveyard again with Reborn, cast him and haste my five hasted 5/5 Dragons.

Now thats how you win a game......!

Game 2

I muligan to six, and dont like what I have and then proceed to take a beating as my opponent drops a lifelink Rhox that I cannot get rid of. I lose with my opponent at 29 life!

Game 3

Nothing written, and I didnt even hit my opponent - ah this was the game I sat with green cards in hand and no green mana, probably holding a Vol again. I got a post down ready to do something that would help, and he neutralised the post. It was all over from then on, and I died a horrible death.

Not a bad day in the end, although I did take a beating in all three matches, I sold off a loads of cards to pay for everything, bought a sketch of a Hippie from xxxxxxx, and ended up with some very nice cards for once. Too bad I didnt do anything with them!



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