This past weekend was an absolute blast. I had a weekend-long physical game design master class at NYU (which was awesome!). The class left me just enough time to attend the Saturday evening premier prerelease at Twenty Sided Store.

Aside #1: Premium Prerelease

I was skeptical of a ‘premium’ prerelease. I don’t care for any of the VIP offerings at Grands Prix (save the sleep in special, which is still a silly thing to pay for) and know that price barriers are, by nature, exclusionary. I was afraid that it would be a bad experience. Thankfully, my fear was unsubstantiated; the extra room in the store (attendance was capped at substantially below the store’s capacity) made a pleasant experience of the hot scrum that a prerelease anywhere in New York normally is. The giveaways were worth far more than the extra $15 entry fee, which was a nice bonus. And, most importantly, players were great! People were nice, the event ran smoothly, and the crowd was exceptionally diverse (there were lots of new faces and plenty of non-white, non-male people, which is good for the community). It was one of the best prereleases I’ve been to in a long time. The only thing I wished is that more of my friends had been there.

Jace, Vryns Prodigy

I chose to prerelease with Jace, the least popular Planeswalker/color choice at Twenty Sided. I generally enjoy preleasing with the color that’s unpopular or perceived as weak; I like the challenge and I like being proven wrong. My blue did not disappoint the crowd. It had a lot of cards, but most of them were do-nothing spells and unexciting creatures. It could fill out a deck, but it wouldn’t do anything well.

Aside #2: Seeded Boosters

I’m very happy with the change to seeded boosters. Instead of having a seeded booster pack replace one of your six packs, you instead get an additional (half size) booster. You still get a boost to your desired color, but you’re also getting to experience building the same kind of Sealed pool you’d build at a Grand Prix (rather than the particularly bizarre mix seen in the Fate Reforged prerelease). Also, I love the continuation of the random prerelease rares from Khans prerelease – it was pretty miserable in Return to Ravnica and Theros prereleases when everyone had a Ember Swallower or Hypersonic Dragon.

Might of the Masses

Looking at my other colors, I saw that I had Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen, two copies of Sylvan Messenger, and a Shaman of the Pack, alongside a fair number of elves of varying quality. I wasn’t certain how powerful that deck was, but Dwynen + two Messengers meant I had a reasonable chance of finding my elf lord each game, and all those cheap creatures would play well with 2x Might of the Masses. Here’s what I built:


This deck was excellent. I was underwhelmed by it during deckbuilding, but in practice, it was consistent and could kill on turn five with a decent draw. Kothoped, Soul Hoarder was one of my weaker cards, surprisingly, since I never wanted to get to six mana. I went 8-0 in games, losing only in practice games against Sean Morse (who had Languish on turn 4 almost every game, and would/could/did return it to his hand with Possessed Skaab to destroy my replenished forces).

Thornbow Archer dramatically overperformed. Mardu Shadowspear and Pulse Tracker aren’t good Magic cards (though they have their places in extremely aggressive decks). I expected this comparable elf to be comparable. Turns out, when you have even small elf synergies, an aggressive deck, and Might of the Masses, they become upgradable turn one 2/2s for one, which is quite good. I would not draft them highly, but I’d certainly be happy to wheel them in a dedicated Elf aggro deck.

Grave Titan

Over the course of the prerelease, few people seemed to be losing to any one Magic card (though Languish, Tragic Arrogance, Archangel of Tithes, and Gideon’s Phalanx proved quite strong). Magic Origins lacks the multitude of insane, relatively splashable creatures typically seen in (cycles in) core sets; in other words, there are no Titans or Souls. Grave Titan, Thundermaw Hellkite, and Soul of Theros (along with their ilk) were generally miserable to play against and Sealed often devolved into a question of who opened the most mythics. Origins looks both far more aggressive and less bomb-heavy, which should make for a very different, and potentially very fun, Limited format.

And that’s about it. One tournament is only good for so many impressions or experiences. I look forward to drafting Origins this week and having much more to share with you.

As always, thanks for reading.

—Zachary Barash

Zachary Barash has been playing Magic on and off since 1994. He loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). He’s a proud Cube owner, improviser, and game designer. He has an obsession with Indian food that borders on being unhealthy.

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