With the pre-release looming ahead it is important to take some time to plan ahead for the tournament. Whether you are attending to win, or to just have fun, it is a good idea to know what you are getting yourself into. So let’s talk a bit about preparing for a pre-release.
Know Your Enemy:
The first objective when getting ready for a tournament is to know what you’re dealing with. With standard tournaments you have a little bit more of an idea what you’re getting into because you’ve played the cards before, so with a pre-release you’ve got to pay a bit more attention. Listen to the gossip, look up the cards, look up the archetypes for the set, understand the colors, and really just pay attention.
Study the Spoilers:
Studying? This isn’t school, you don’t have to look ahead, but Magic the Gathering happens to put out spoilers of all their sets and you can bet they’ve given you previews of at least most of the useful cards. These spoilers are invaluable when planning out your pre-release deck. The first step is to know which rares and mythics you should be prepared to play around and then look at cards that may compliment those cards. You don’t have to study, but why not?
Be Prepared for Anything:
You may get the cards you want, and you may not. Therefore it is imperative that you know several different builds in order to be ready for whatever may come. Know what the mechanics of the set are based around, what colors seem to be the strongest, and what combos are available. The more prepared you are for different scenarios, the better your final tournament deck will be and the more fun will be had by all.
Choose You’re Method:
There are several ways to look at opening cards. First you can base everything on your first really good card. This is useful in that you know right away what colors you need to gravitate towards. However this is a very narrow view, and you may not have the cards necessary to support these heavy hitters. If you use this method make sure you have enough good commons and uncommons in that color to support.
Know the Color Combos:
Usually each color combination within the sets are geared towards a certain effect or mechanic. Therefore you should know what they are geared to beforehand so you can be on the lookout for it. The game designers know what they are doing, and they build colors very specifically to balance out colors; therefore it’s a good idea to know what you want to achieve with each color and how.
Listen to The General Public:
Generally there are one or two colors that are favored by players, you may just go along with this because mostly people can tell what is going to work. But be careful about just going with the flow. Sometimes you can go with a color combo that may be less powerful but because the tournament isn’t saturated with it, you can do better. That being said that isn’t always the case. Be very aware of what other people are playing, writing, and saying about the set because it will tell you whether deviating is worth it, or if you are better off sticking with the popular choices.
Last but not least, have fun. This may sound cliche, but magic is primarily a source of a fun social atmosphere. Be prepared to learn if you are new, and to teach and be patient if you are an experienced player. But together it makes up the standard pre-release atmosphere that most players have come to enjoy.