Saturday, July 10, 2010

Magic Has Been Played

I recently talked about the possibility of attending a prerelease tournament for Magic: The Gathering's 2011 Core Set. This morning, I woke up at the crack of 6:30am and scampered off to the nearest tournament.

It was a good experience. There were 43 people in attendance, and all of them appeared to be in their upper-teens or older. Part of the reason I went to the earliest tournament was the logic that kids without driver's licenses were less likely to be present that early on a Saturday, but the afternoon tournament (I left right as it was starting) appeared to attract an older audience as well. This bodes well for my potential future participation.

What kind of sucked, however, was that due to the odd number of players, I was randomly chosen to sit out in the second round. This didn't bother me that much; someone had to sit out, after all. What did bother me, however, was in the third round when my opponent didn't show up. Out of four rounds, I only actually got to play in two.

Courtesy lesson: if you're going to leave a tournament early, tell the judges. This tournament was "official", so it apparently wasn't a simple matter of dropping that player and having me play whoever got the buy that round.

Of the rounds I did play, each round being best 2 out of 3 games, I lost one and won the other. I had a white/green deck with many low-cost creatures, some fliers and the occasional heavy-hitter. The most powerful card I had managed to get in my six boosters was the Baneslayer Angel, pictured above (image from the M:TG website). Is it just me, or is this card ridiculously overpowered? It flies, has first strike, you gain life equal to whatever damages it deals, demons and dragons can't touch it, it's 5/5, and it only costs five mana. The first game I won in the final round ended immediately after I played it due to my opponent forfeiting on the basis that he had no way of dealing with the monstrosity of an angel.

It's supposed to be a very rare card (what's known as a mythic rare), but I'm one of two people that got one. I know it's statistically possible, particularly with 258 packs being opened, but still. Someone not in the tournament got the 2010 version in a booster pack as well. Mythic rare my foot.

The conclusion I've reached from this is that it probably is worth my while to attend more tournaments. I don't want to go all out buying a bunch of cards, but I don't have to if my primary goal is to play and have fun.


  1. I wish I understood Magic so I could join in the coolness of that tale.

  2. Baneslayer is a bit overpowered. It's supposed to be. It's rare. And expensive.

    Take a look:

  3. To me, the Baneslayer is like the One Ring. It's overpowered, over-rare, and it's over-priced as a single to the point where it severely limits who can use it. It's the sort of thing that got me out of the game in the first place, but if I go back and play a constructed white deck? My precious will be in there ^^;

  4. I tried to get back into Magic this spring, as there are hundreds of players in the Seattle area as it's the home of WotC. Which was sweet for these release tournaments, but just playing with other people outside of sealed deck play was way too costly and I found myself becoming disenchanted with it again. I'm going to hang onto my old cards, but will start trying to pawn off the newer ones.

  5. Baneslayer Angel has earned number of nicknames, including Walletslayer Angel, Bankslayer Angel, and BS Angel.

    It's very powerful to be sure, but the basic idea behind the card is this:
    Until about 5 years ago, you pretty much didn't see big creatures at tournaments. The fact that your six mana creature still dies to Terror/Doom Blade just kept them out of competitive games. So WotC decided that big creatures are fun, and people should be able to use them at all levels of competition, and started making them much more powerful. Baneslayer is the most powerful to date, which is sort of the point. There's always going to be a best card for the cost, and they wanted to know what it would be and make it AWESOME.

  6. As a side note, there are no rules against you playing against other people for non-tournement matches. If your opponent shows up, you can just go play the person with the bye for fun, or wait until someone finishes their game and then challenges them. I'm generally starting random games between rounds throughout the entire tournament.

    Also, it's ridiculous that a 43 person tournament only had four rounds. Usually you run five rounds if you have 16+ people, and six rounds if you have 32+. Sorry you didn't get to play many games.

  7. Obsidian: Officially, all pre-release sealed deck events are four rounds and limited to 32 players per flight. Most TO's (tournament organizers) tend to mess around with the format a bit.

    Dan: If you decide to continue playing tournament Magic, stick to limited events like sealed deck or draft. Standard constructed, right now anyway, is way too expensive to play in. (Seriously, 4x Baneslayer, 4x Jace the Mindsculptor, etc. gets expensive after a while.)

  8. I would just start out with a speedy green deck. Likely to win? Maybe not, but there's more luck involved than anyone cares to admit, and a fast, inexpensive deck can still win the day. And if I'm wrong, the price of learning the hard way will only be $6 ^^;

  9. Just play for a bit and you'll understand the basics of Magic: the addiction.