Ixalan: Pre-release retrospective

Ok, so the ‘magic’ bit in ‘Peddler of Magic’ is starting to become linked to MTG, which s fine. I’m pretty much tapped out for miniatures besides the DG stuff (termies, tallyman, slug tank, marines) and to support the FLGS I’m going to keep on with MTG. $35 for a prerelease, then $10-20 per draft/event is decent enough, plus prize boosters is more than enough incentive.

Jace and Vraska sitting in a tree…

Anyhow, on to the Ixalan prerelease retrospective. Ixalan is a set that is pure, unadulterated awesome. The set contains dinosaurs, which brings out the six year old in all of us- who didn’t have a set of 3d dinosaur pages and glasses when they were a kid? See also: Godzilla, Jurassic Park, your local history museum, etc. It’s a tribal set, which means there’s ‘factions’ aka tribals. Last time I had anything to do with these was back in lorwyn/shadowmoor, which was highschool. Regardless, Ixalan’s tribals are: Spanish Conquistador Vampires (black/white), Aztec dinosaur riders + dinosaurs (red/white/green), Aztec Merfolk (green/blue) and PIRATES (red/blue/black). This is not counting the fact that Ixalan is set in a tropical archipelago-plus-mainland setting with 3 of the tribes trying to find a lost city and one (with fishy motives) trying to prevent said city from being found.

Having felt pretty lukewarm about Hour of Devastation, I’ve been excited for Ixalan since I saw promo art. Plus the pirates and dinosaurs were a major draw. I hit up the Sunday morning prerelease as I can’t make the Saturday usually (was off sick on Friday as I was and still am Virus Boy).

Lifelink, uh, finds a way

My prelease pack’s 6 boosters gave me a shi-ttonne of vampires (no plz, just no. Ick.) but also a foil mythic rare in the pirate tribal! I went the full three colour tribal with pirates as I wanted to run red/blue pirates this block, but the three colours is awesome. My pre-release promo was the transformable blue enchantment –> land, “Search for Azcanto” which suited my card pulls decently as I had many discard abilities or creature retrieval spells. Overall my deck had to lean into control as I had a whopping 10 creatures in a 40 card deck, six of which were pirates (yarrr matey, yarrr). The other creatures were an elemental (flying stuff is important), a ship which boosted pirates +1/+0, a bat (also flying) and a trilobite. I fucking love trilobites. They were and still are my absolute favourite fossil/extinct critter since ever. Yes I am excited for this set but hey, it ticks all the boxes plus treasure tokens are sweet.

I henceforth became Captain No-beard and set sail into the 4 round maelstrom. My first round I lost 1-2 as I fought some damn ass punk vampires with merfolk. Just couldn’t get my creatures out/lifelink kept me at bay. Nevertheless, I had fun and 3 match rounds are good.

Round two saw me win 2-0 against some dinosaurs- the raid mechanic is helpful to me as I keep forgetting about after combat, there’s main phase 2: electric boogaloo. Learning what’s called ‘tempo’ is something new to me, but I felt that I was playing better than I normally do.

Round 3 was much the same- there’s a red enchantment which forces your opponent to attack you each turn if able with at least one creature. It also generates treasure tokens to add some ramp. When you have spells to get your creatures back from the dead, you can play aggressive with that by trading pieces only to resurrect your dudes (Davey Jone’s Revolving Door). Won 2-1 against dinosaurs again. They hit hard, but when you can boost pirates and loot, pillage and plunder, it’s good. One of my creatures raid effect states that ‘if a creature attacked this turn, etc etc deal 2 damage to creature or player’. This helped me win this round as I almost lost in round 3, my opponent was on 2 life and summoning said pirate onto the field sealed my victory.

Round 4 was again versing dinosaurs, I lost 1-2 but damnit I had fun. My win came down to tempo/control as my last 2 life was about to be hit with a 3-damage to target player spell, but I had a counter! Huzzah for not tapping mana out! Suffice to say I came about 6th, but man, both boosters were prize boosters, not pity boosters.I learned a great deal about control/tempo as timing is everything- reading abilities helped a great deal/I’m getting “better” at MTG.

All in all, I’m psyched for the drafting events and the block in general. It feels less ‘world at stake’ or ‘massive crisis’ the previous 3 blocks have been. Just a buncha people trying to find and pillage a lost city. Gonna save up for a booster box/go halves in on, I just love this set. 😀

-Pete, aka Captain No-Beard (for the duration of the Ixalan block)



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