This past weekend I was on vacation with my family for the annual Chrysler show in Carlisle, PA. Naturally, this meant that at midnight on Friday night, in the midst of a nice, quiet three-day weekend with my family, I was sleeving up a core set sealed pool so that I could find out what it was like to take on an oversized Garruk card. Special thanks to my parents and fiancee for putting up with my lack of sleep on Saturday so that I could bring you all this tournament report.

My Magic 2015 Prerelease Report

So this year I decided to play in the core set prerelease. I haven’t done this since the release of Ninth Edition. That’s six straight summers without attending the core set premiere. Now, you may be thinking that obviously this is because the core set is usually garbage and no one enjoys playing core set sealed. You’re only half right. Core sets are a lot of fun to play but they also are normally not very exciting. However, as someone who loves Magic and loves new sets, that’s not enough to keep me away.

What is enough to prevent me from attending has been family vacation. Every summer it never fails. My annual family trip coincides with the prerelease of the core set. This year was no different, but I decided to try to do both.

Unless you know me very well, and you likely don’t, I have another hobby after Magic. And after video games. And after table top games. And after ice hockey. Once you get through those you get to my next hobby: restoring muscle cars. My father has been doing this since he was a kid and I am a big enthusiast who wishes he had enough time to head home to New Jersey and help out his dad in the garage. Currently sitting in that garage, mid-restoration, is a 1972 Dodge Charger SE with a B5-blue exterior, a white interior, and a white vinyl top. It’s a sexy beast.

So this weekend my folks, my fiancee, and I headed out to Carlisle, PA for the annual Chrysler show to check out cars, find parts for the Charger, and also show off my dad’s 1969 Chrysler 300 convertible which, after my mom, my brother, and me, is the love of his life. However, I was really excited for Magic 2015 and wanted to get to the prerelease. The set spoiled looked like a lot of fun and I was intrigued by the experience of fighting the oversized Garruk. What’s a geek to do?

Naturally I signed up for a midnight prerelease in Camp Hill, PA, about 20 minutes east of Carlisle. At 11pm on Friday, after a full day of scouring the swap meet, checking out cars, getting dehydrated, and cruising around town, my fiancee and I drove out for a Magic tournament. She decided to nap in the car while I waded into unfamiliar territory. Fortunately for me, this local game store was very clean and full of lovely people. By 1am we had opened our pools, built some sealed decks, and fired off the first round.

Core set sealed is a very simple format. I’m not going to get into the details but basically you win by having more evasion creatures than your opponent, with the exception that you could have a nuts bomb or a ridiculous combo that trumps either of those things. I went for “Plan A” with three copies of this adorable little fella:

After that I just added a bunch of decent value creatures like Child of Night and Necrogen Scudder along with five or six removal spells. In round one my opponent was on Plan B: Bombs. They had these two fellas:


I was incredibly fortunate to have removal spells to answer them, or, much to my opponent’s chagrin, a main-decked Phyrexian Revoker. Without being able to tutor up massive dudes like Siege Wurm, my opponent never applied too much pressure. In round two my opponent had gone with Plan D: Dudes. Their dudes were of the black and green variety and were quite good. Unfortunately for them, they ended up mana flooded in game one and mana screwed in game two. That’s a recipe for disaster but with my curve of Child of Night into Necrogen Scudder into Amphin Pathmage, it was lights out.

In round three I played against Plan C: Combo. Here’s what my opponent had been gifted in their pool:


Oh right, and they had two of each of those. I managed to win game two of that round thanks to a perfect curve and some luck, but lost games two and three to what was essentially a turn 3 Tarmogoyf. Here’s how that works:

  • T1: Plains, Soulmender
  • T2: Plains, Sungrace Pegasus
  • T3: Ajani’s Pridemate, Radiant Fountain, attack with Pegasus, activate Soulmender

That’s a turn three 5/5 creature. Yikes. At 2-1 there were still two rounds to play. Finishing 4-1 would net me six packs but I wouldn’t get back to my hotel until 7am. I had to be up at 9am to go back to the car show. I decided that six packs wasn’t worth that kind of anguish and dropped at 2-1. My fiancee and I got back to our hotel at 4am, grabbed a few hours of sleep, and headed back to the show. It was all worth it because I was wide awake to see a 707 horsepower muscle car burnout its tires:

It’s the little things that make life worth living. Please share your prerelease experiences in the comments below. Past or present.

Pro Tour Update

Top 25 Update

Nothing changed this week because nothing interesting happens while the prereleases are going on. Check back next week when nothing will likely have happened again.

The Quick Hits

  • Wizards announced that they will be increasing the amount of money they pay to freelance artists [Gathering Magic]
  • On that note, Mike Linnemann reviews the artwork of Magic 2015 and justly complains about the painlands being denied new art [Gathering Magic]
  • Mana Deprived interviewed Magic Online director Worth Wollpert and they didn’t pull any punches [Mana Deprived]
  • Duels of the Planeswalkers is available on iPads which is a good idea if they want to kill their competition (namely MTGO) [Daily MTG]
  • If you are going to San Diego Comic Con you can score another sweet set of blacked-out planeswalker cards and a nerf axe [Magic Arcana]
  • If you’re not able to get to San Diego, you can get to your local Hot Topic and score a glow-in-the-dark version of Chandra [Magic Arcana]

Wallpaper of the Week

The third wallpaper from Magic 2015 honors the latest in a long line of Sliver lords. In fact, if you have all four Sliver lords in play at the same time, you would be the de facto king of the Slivers. I suspect this is amazing news for Commander players and not much else. We won’t know until Khans of Tarkir is spoiled further at SDCC for a couple weeks, but I suspect Slivers won’t be making a return to Standard. So, for now, feel free to complain whenever you open these cards in limited.

As far as the art goes, Sliver lord art is not very exciting. They all basically look like giant worm creatures from some kind of science fiction film. I wonder if Eldrazi are just a further evolved sort of Sliver…

Grade: C

The Week Ahead

It’s Magic 2015 release weekend which means another weekend of opening new packs but no high-level competitive Magic. Get to your LGS and pick up all the new Standard staples you need from M15 as it goes on sale Friday!

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

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