This weekend was the Mirrodin Besieged Pre-release. I hope everyone that reads that managed to make it to one had a great time, and got a hold of some awesome cards. I was fortunate (I suppose) to make it two separate events. My local shop ran two tournaments, one at midnight (That's early Saturday morning), then another Saturday afternoon. This is my report from my experiences.
I was disheartened and angered slightly when I was informed that I would not be able to choose which side I got to play. Despite all the promotional ads and all the writers on the Magic website saying that I was going to be able to pick if I wanted to be Phyrexia or Mirran. I was lucky to be sitting in the right place, and I was able to play as Phyrexia. The packs I opened didn't really offer very much for building a substantial deck, or at least at first glance. I opened my packs and was underwhelmed by my rares. My big bomb was a foil Carnifex Demon. I managed to put together a black control-ish, metalcraft type deck. I didn't have enough Infect creatures for the tried and true route of Phyrexia, but I thought that my deck still represented my side of the war appropriately.
Round 1—My opponent was somewhat new, or rather very rusty. We introduced ourselves, and shuffled up. I won the roll, of many to come, and drew my hand, which I kept. My opponent liked his hand and we started to play. We each started out rather well, but due to his lack of, or loss of, experience, I was able to win with overwhelming forces. Game 2 went similarly. I never really take advantage of people that are new, but after the first game I came to the conclusion that he had experience before hand, but was rusty. I took advantage and bluffed a few times without any accidents, and went on to win the game. 1-0.
Round 2—I think that is always going to be one or two people no matter where you go, either work or play, that you are going to find annoying. But that's just life I suppose. But every once in a while to meet that one person that is absolutely beyond all of your preconceived notions of what annoying people are, that your head spins. This round I faced this one person. Now we have met a few times before, in other FNM's and such, and due to my possible egotistical view of my playing skills, I always feel that I am the superior player. In fact, the only times that he has ever managed to beat me is simply luck. That's not my way of denying what happened, but that just seems to be the only way he wins. Each game started out well for each side, but because he was fortunate enough to open packs that contained the super charged combo of Myr Battlesphere and Myr Turbine, he was able to win. Now I did have answers in my deck that would have shut him down completely, but karma was against me I think for my negative attitude. 1-1.
Round 3—This time I was paired up against an opponent that I actually enjoy playing against. We seem to be each others nemesis', but in a good way. We each seem to have similar skills in deck building and play styles and I always fully enjoy playing against him. The first game we managed to lock each other up into a stalemate, which seemed to drag on forever. He eventually found his foil Tempered Steel and soon after managed to overwhelm me to take the game. The next one was locked down again pretty quickly, but he ended up drawing too many land, and I was able to snag the win. The last game however was almost a blowout. My opponent was mana screwed, and I proceeded to smash face. 2-1.
Round 4—Midnight pre-releases sure tale their toll after a while. The time will be about six in the morning when this round is over. Another opponent that seems to be on similar levels as I am. He was rocking a very stout Infect deck. But he seemed to be making some play mistakes that seemed rather silly. Fatigue maybe? Well either way, I was able to close this round down somewhat easily. I would have more details, but it's all kind of hazy from this point forward. 3-1.
Round 5—It's almost over. This is the last round of the night, thankfully. When things started we were all expecting 6 rounds, but people seemed to be dropping like flies, going home from exhaustion or frustration. The first game of this round started out well for me, but my opponent managed to stabilize forcing us into a stalemate. After a few turns I managed to drop my foil Carnifex Demon, and quickly finished him off. Game 2 didn't go well for my opponent because he was suffering from a mana flood. I worked hard to finish him off because I dislike it when my opponent suffers like that. I put him out of his misery, and was excited to be done for the night, or morning? 4-1
After the dust settled I was rather pleased with myself. My deck performed better than I had expected. I managed to place 5th over all for the night after tie-breakers and such were calculated. 5 of the top 8 were playing for the Phyrexians, which I was very happy to hear. All will be one.
I was 50/50 on my plans to come back for the next tourney. But, because of my performance during the last one, I decided that it might be worth it. I went home and got a few hours rest, and my body was still pumped with adrenaline. We sat down and I was debating if I wanted to try and play for Phyrexia again, or be a traitor and switch sides. I sat down on the same side of the table I sat last time and saw myself staring at three Phyrexia packs once again. This time I was much more excited about what I opened and quickly through together a very tremendous Infect strategy. I was even lucky enough to open a Hand of the Praetors and the biggest bomb of them all, Blightsteel Colossus!
Round 1—I was super excited about my deck. But that didn't matter after a few turns. My opponent was mana screwed each game and I easily won. I always find situations like this bittersweet, as I always enjoy a good match. Remember, winning is good, but winning fairly is better, for everyone. 1-0.
Round 2—Mirran or Phyrexian? Each side has formidable weapons, and good deck strategies. Battle Cry is especially brutal, but I was still confident that I could win. However, he overwhelmed me quickly even though my deck was performing optimally. Game 2 went more my way, but it was a fleeting victory. Game 3 went well for me, but I was unable to rally my forces at a critical juncture and my opponent won handily. You can't win them all, but Phyrexia never dies, for long anyways. 1-1
Round 3—I always stress that good sportsmanship is crucial to everything remaining civil and sane. This applies in everything, not just Magic. My opponent had decided to leave the shop, with notice or word, and I found myself sitting around twiddling my thumbs. I know that people are allowed to leave whenever they want, but informing the tournament organizers helps insure that people have matches to play. 2-1
Round 4—After suffering through the mind-numbing, excruciating waiting room-esque experience of the last round, I was ready and rearing to go. My opponent was friendly and we played good games. It was entertaining, and he managed to shut me down on a few plays with some rather surprising bluffs. I had completely underestimated him, and we each managed to win one game each. The last round my opponent was having trouble finding cards that he needed, and I walked away victorious. He also helped me out with another victory of sorts by trading me his Hero of Bladehold promo card, allowing me to complete my set. That's some shiny, shiny goodness right there. 3-1.
Round 5—The last round of the day pitted me against a someone with a similar deck. Mirror matches are almost always surprising, but misfortunes abounded in each game. I was mana screwed in the first one, and my opponent took advantage of my luck. The next two were more in my favor, and my opponent was having land issues, just like I had before. After the match was done, I extended my hand, but was rejected. My opponent was complaining that I only won because of his problems with his deck, and walked away. I always look at the game a of Magic as a game of skill and chance. I consider it to be about 50/50. Even the very best players in the world can fall prey to Lady Luck, for good or bad. But remaining good sports about it is always a sign of the best players. 4-1.
I was happy that I was able to represent the forces of Phyrexia well, placing 7th overall tonight, even with the exact same record as before. Lady Luck strikes again I suppose. But I was tired and went home after what seemed playing Magic for nearly 2 days. I hope all of you out there had good matches and experiences at your pre-release tournaments.
Now I would like to talk about what cards I saw that you might want to watch for in the near future. It seemed like Phyrexia was clearly better for limited formats, simply because Infect can be so fast and brutal. Having to only deal 10 damage, and with things like Proliferate and other cards, Phyrexia seems to have a good plan to overcome anything standing in their way. Now Mirran is packing some serious threats, but didn't seem to be able to pack as much of a punch very often. Game play wise, Mirran cards seem better suited towards constructed type decks.
Master's Call is a very good way of boosting your forces and will see play in some constructed decks. Being able to not only provide extra bodies, but also switching on Metalcraft mid-combat is very good.
Morbid Plunder is almost ridiculous at times. It helps keeps things moving in stalemates, and allows you to make good attacking and blocking decisions, without very much worry if your critters will survive. The jump to constructed might happen, but I think this will be a very strong card in future limited games.
Decimator Web is just bonkers. Being able to slowly whittle down everything that keeps an opponent alive just seems unfair at times. Now, the card is designed to take a tenth of each thing at a time. One poison counter, two damage, and six cards. Now depending on what else you have going, one of those will wear quicker than the other. Damage and milling seem to be the quickest ways to utilize this card, unless you are playing infect of course. But it's the milling aspect of this card that makes potentially hazardous for any opponent when you find it in limited, especially when you combine it with the next card down.
Shriekhorn, and the card from above, now make it possible to play a very interesting type of deck in limited or constructed. When combined with Grindclock, Screeching Silcaw, and The Sword of Body and Mind, it is now possible to play a milling type strategy in limited. Why does this matter? Because unless someone is wily or adventurous, everyone pretty much plays forty cards. That's twenty less than constructed! Not only are you getting rid of all of your opponents, you can also manage to completely shut them down. It may seem unlikely that you can grab all of the cards that I mentioned, but it can and more than likely will happen at some point, so keep your eyes open.
Piston Sledge is another almost unfair card. Coming into play already attached to something is nuts for an equipment like this. I know that Phyrexia now has the Living Weapon mechanic, and this seems like an attempt for Mirran to match that in some way. The reason why this is good, for either side, is that it saves mana. Traditional equipment requires that you cast it, and then pay some cost in order to actually use it. Taking out the last step speeds up things considerably.
One more card that I would like to mention as one my favorites isn't really a card per se, but I just wanted to mention how much I dig the Germ token card. Germ tokens are used with Living Weapon, and I always found myself in a giddy mood when I had a Germ on the battlefield. Well anyways thanks for reading, and remember...
All Will Be One.