A PreRelease Primer
Well it's time to drink some coffee and chug some Rockstars because tonight at midnight is the Oath of the Gatewatch prerelease. Four times a year we get the excitement of opening up packs of magic cards a whole week before they are available for sale anywhere else and it's always a weekend packed with fun. This set will be no exception, with two new Planeswalkers, an eldrazi titan and a few cards that are certain to make a solid impact on not only standard, but also modern there is no reason to skip out on this set. However, this set also brings to the table a few oddities such as colorless mana getting it's own symbol and the new mechanics that are suggesting more two-headed giant play. Two-headed giant being a game type where a team of two players share a life total of thirty and take on an opposing team. With so much new stuff we may as well dive right into the thick of it.
Starting out there are a multitude of awesome new cards that you can try to pick up this weekend for your collection. It could be one of the twelve new mythic rares in the set or maybe one of the uncommon cards that are currently over a few dollars, but there is also a set of cards within Oath of the Gatewatch to watch out for. Now if you had already played during Battle for Zendikar than you already know that there is a set of cards known as Zendikar Expeditions. These high value cards are foil full art re-prints of some of the most powerful lands in magic, and the second half of that set is in Oath of the Gatewatch, and they didn't pull any punches. With cards such as Wasteland and all of the filter lands make sure you keep an extra vigilant eye out for these cards in your packs. Now you are more than able to put the cards into your sealed pool and use them, but just remember than all the ones out of this set are not standard legal so after the sealed tournament make sure they don't find their way into a standard Friday night magic deck - oh and don't forget a sleeve.
Sticking with the sealed tournament rulings one odd case in this set is that we are presented with a "new" mana that is available to be used . I emphasize the new about this since colorless mana has really been around since alpha but we have never had a need to specifically use colorless mana instead of colored before. Now when colorless mana is produced or required you will see the new diamond symbol to let you know what you're getting. Generic mana, or mana that is able to be payed for with any type of mana is still going to be represented with numbers. The other important detail that is going to need to be remembered going into these prereleases is about the Wastes card themselves. Although they are a basic land, you still can not add it from outside your sealed pool. Since the Wastes land (Not Wasteland) takes up a common slot in the Oath of the Gatewatch set you are only able to add to your sealed deck any of the wastes mana that you open with the pack pool. However, most people have found from testing that about five different ways to add colorless mana into your deck is usually enough in a sealed scenario. If there are more questions about this when you come to any of the releases feel free to ask away.
The other big difference in this prerelease is that the McCook and Kearney locations of our store will have two-headed giant tournaments on both Saturday and Sunday at six PM. The set has added in the surge and the support mechanic which greatly helps players who enjoy the format and wanted a little extra power for their team. Surge is there to allow you to play a spell for cheaper or maybe even a little extra effect if you or a teammate have already cast a spell during the turn. Whereas the support mechanic allows you to put counters onto any creatures onto the battlefield including your partner. There are still a multitude of complicated rulings having to do with the two-headed giant format, but have no worries both locations will have judges ready to answer any of your questions. Plus we have Google!
To finish, I strongly suggest all of you to try and make it out to at least one of the tournaments this weekend, and if you enjoy it, play in the others as well! Don't worry about pack value, it is there and you get it, instead just realize how awesome it is to be able to play with these cards before anyone else. To enjoy the friends you have made playing this great, intricate, and well made game and talk about all the coming strategies for the new standard. So pack the trade binders, get ready to binge on Snickers and Pepsi, or Voltage Mountain Dew if your name is Kevin, and show up to the store. I look forward to seeing everyone and remember to share this to all your buddies to make this one of our best prereleases yet!