Dragon’s Maze Pre-release: The Odds are Stacked In your Favor . . . sometimes

I have been to two pre-releases today already. One was at the midnight pre-release at Hobby Saloon in Osu Kannon, Nagoya, and the other was at Amenity Dream in Osu Kannon, Nagoya at 1 pm Saturday afternoon. There were ups and downs, but overall I had a good time. I figured out some good combos, as well as what cards you should totally stay away from. Once I’ve posted about the pre-release, I’ll be continuing my “Play to your Weaknesses” article, so be sure to visit TheJapanHobbyist.com one more time before you head to bed on Saturday.

The Golgari Guild

The Golgari Guild

Midnight Release: Golgari/Simic BUG

  • 1 Vorel of the Hull Clade
  • 1 Maze Glider
  • 1 Wind Drake
  • 1 Leyline Phantom
  • 1 Slitherhead
  • 1 Simic Charm
  • 1 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
  • 1 Deadbridge Chant
  • 1 Rot Farm Skeleton
  • 1 Give//Take
  • 1 Stab Wound
  • 1 Murmuring Phantasm
  • 1 Renegade Krasis
  • 1 Ivy Lane Denizen
  • 1 Thrashing Mossdog
  • 1 Battering Krasis
  • 1 Shambleshark
  • 1 Prophetic Prism
  • 1 Crocanura
  • 1 Daggerdrome Imp
  • 1 Sewer Shambler
  • 1 Terrus Wurm
  • 1 Trestle Troll
  • 1 Golgari Guildgate
  • 1 Simic Guildgate
  • 6 Forest
  • 4 Island
  • 5 Swamp

My deck was unreal. It had tons of power, and amazing resiliency. Although I didn’t pull a lot of money cards, my Golgari deck had great synergy with it’s ally, Simic. I was able to put out creatures almost every turn, and the curve ensured that those creatures with evolve kept getting bigger. I think Golgari is one of, if not THE best guild to use in sealed. They have quite a few creatures with regenerate, and those that don’t have scavenge which let you strengthen your forces later on in the game.

Pins and Needles

Pins and Needles

I went 2-0-1 in 3 rounds at this pre-release. I was really impressed with Vorel of the Hull Clade. With all the counters floating around from scavenging and evolve, he can quickly turn one creature with evasion into a win condition. Playing him with a card like Ral Zarek can let you ultimate your planeswalker a lot faster than you normally could, and I think he’ll see more play in Planeswalker control decks in the future. Ivy Lane Denizen also pulled its weight a lot in this deck as well. Being able to spread the counters around and then add another counter to everybody with Renegade Krasis was pretty sick.

Another combo that was really fun to use was Deadbridge Chant and Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord. The enchantment puts 10 cards into the graveyard when you play it (which could be dangerous if you opponent’s goal is to mill you), and each upkeep you get to return one random card to your hand or to the battlefield (if it’s a creature). Having 10 cards put into the graveyard in one turn makes Jarad absolutely huge and able to block or dish out some pain, and you also don’t have to worry about sacrificing creatures to make your opponent lose life with his ability because there is a good chance that the Chant will bring it back. Bottom line, this deck had a great long game and was able to win by attrition by attacking and blocking freely without worrying about having a creature on the battlefield. I urge you to try out Golgari in sealed if you get the chance.

Saturday afternoon Pre-release: Gruul/Izzet RUG

  • 1 Maze Glider
  • 1 Battering Krasis
  • 1 Maze Behemoth
  • 1 Renegade Krasis
  • 2 Saruli Gatekeepers
  • 1 Thrashing Mossdog
  • 1 Beetleform Mage
  • 1 Blast of Genius
  • 1 Krasis Incubation
  • 1 Varolz, The Scar-Striped
  • 1 Zhur-Taa Druid
  • 1 Far//Away
  • 1 Give//Take
  • 1 Izzet Cluestone
  • 1 Rakdos Cluestone
  • 1 Borborygmos Enraged
  • 1 Izzet Charm
  • 1 Mizzium Mortars
  • 1 Pit Fight
  • 1 Ivy Lane Denizen
  • 1 Disciple of the Old Ways
  • 1 Hover Barrier
  • 2 Izzet Guildgate
  • 3 Island
  • 2 Gruul Guildgate
  • 2 Mountain
  • 1 Rakdos Guildgate
  • 1 Swamp
  • 6 Forest

I was really let down with Gruul. My ally color was Izzet, and the two guilds just DID NOT work well together. Aside from a Mizzium Mortars, I pulled no other removal which was really strange. My cards tended to skew towards Izzet, which means I also lacked any big bombs to win the game with. I went 3-2 with this deck, but only because my 3rd round opponent felt bad for me and gave me a win. I was just incredibly frustrated with my card pool, and the mana was really touchy in RUG. This was the first time I used the Cluestones and they ended up not being as bad as I thought. They helped me to smooth out my mana problems, and the occasional card draw was also nice. 

The Ral Deal - Ral Zarek

The (foil) Ral Deal – Ral Zarek

I ended up having to splash black in this deck for cards like Far//Away which made getting the right mana all the more difficult. Borborygmos never had a chance to attack, and Izzet Charm also seemed kind of worthless in this format as well. The card that really overperformed for me was Beetleform Mage. Most of my opponents didn’t have any blockers in the air, so the Mage usually hit for 4 damage each turn. If I got out out on turn 3, my opponent got into trouble fast. Having more Guildgates in my colors also helped this deck fix its mana, and they also activated the Saruli Gatekeepers to gain 7 life when they entered the battlefield. 

I also liked Battering Krasis a lot. Alongside the Mage, the Krasis was my main form of attack thanks to his trample pushing damage through. For the most part my creatures were underwhelming and they had trouble later on in the game, but if you were patient and built up your forces they could hold their own against others. 

What I learned

I learned that Golgari and Simic are pretty good decks, as well as BGW Orzhov/Selesnya and Jund (BGR). I was really disappointed in Izzet and Azorius though, and feel like there is too much junk in red to sort through it easily. Tomorrow I’ll be playing Selesnya (instead of Rakdos like my original plan). The cards seem better, especially Trostani’s summoner and Voice of Resurgence. 

I know I said I’d be working on the next “Play to you Weaknesses” really soon and have it posted asap, but after a midnight release and only 4 hours of sleep my eyelids  are getting heavy. I’m going to have to go to sleep and wake up early for the next pre-release on Sunday, but any time before then and afterwards, I’ll be working on the next two guilds!

Thanks for reading and look for another new article tomorrow!