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Interviews with the Crowd


Some of you may have noticed a lack of articles last Friday, namely mine. I apologize for the lack of content, but I had some matters to deal with that involved being stranded in Kentucky and having to ride a Greyhound home that kept me from my weekly duties. I will discuss everything next week as I spend some time covering my shop-crawling adventure I touched on two weeks ago.

This week, I have something far more important and relevant to the actual game of Magic to discuss: the prerelease! I hope you had a great time whether you opened a good pool, won some awesome prizes, or just had fun. I was trying to figure out just how to do this week’s article and keep it finance-oriented while at the same time not putting everyone to sleep, so I hope you walk away from this both entertained and informed!

I decided to interview a few different people for this week’s article to hear some opinions straight from the sources. I asked about everything from Sealed pools and experiences to opinions on what cards people think will see play and what they like most about the new set.

Jace Pennywise

Dark Impostor
The first fellow I was able to catch up with fancied himself a strong trader and seemed to be there less to play and more to scrounge up all the new cards from the causal players before they knew what hit them.

Me: So, did you open anything good in your pool today?

Jace Pennywise: Nah, nothing good. I did open some junk like this triple Dark Impostor and double Death Wind, but those aren’t worth squat. Managed to trade the guy next to me for his foil Cavern of Souls, though, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

Me: Sounds like your pool was insane; how did you do in the Sealed?

Jace Pennywise: I didn’t play; I was scouting for all the good cards in the room. Why would I waste my time playing when I could be making money? Need these cards to trade to the casual crowd this week so I can fund the next Grand Prix.

Me: So, if you didn’t play, and you came here just to trade, what was your favorite part of the night? Did you get your Helvault prizes?

Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded
Jace Pennywise: Like I said: I got that foil Cavern of Souls, and the kid just wanted this lame planeswalker Tibalt, so I dropped it on him before the thing tanks. I grabbed mine just because they were free; maybe some scrub will trade me their Terminus for this oversized crap and these tokens before that card skyrockets.

Me: Well, thanks for your time; sounds like you completely missed the point of the prerelease, but at least you had a good time. Anything in the new set you are trying to pick up before it rises in price?

Jace Pennywise: I’m not giving away my secrets; need to get all the Caverns and Conscripts I can before anyone figures out they are nuts. I also need to find some poor soul to dump these Temporal Mastery and Vexing Devils on . . . wanna trade?

Spike Mann

Well, considering how determined that guy was to get back to trading, I moved on to the next person, hoping he would perhaps have more insight into the prerelease and maybe a few more things to say about the format. After a few minutes of searching, I found a guy who had gathered a crowd. One of the nearby players was mixing him a drink while another was fanning him with a large leaf—this guy looked important, so I figured I would see what he had to say.

Geist of Saint Traft
Me: So, how did your evening go? Did you manage to open anything good or make any solid plays?

Spike Mann: Same as usual: Started X–0 and played some scrub last round who had a busted pool; managed to beat him because he played so bad. Par for the course. I don’t need a good pool—all you need is to be better than your opponent at these things. All of these prerelease events are just a good chance to get some free product. Every play I make is solid; I can’t think of one in particular that is better than the rest. It just comes to me, man; it’s a gift.

Me: Sounds like you had a good time anyway. What did you think of the Helvault? Did you open anything good tonight?

Spike Mann: I think those oversized pieces of cardboard are worthless, and no competitive players use spin downs; should have included some score pads. As for the tokens, I suppose at least the Angel is useful for when I am smashing my opponent next week at FNM with Geist of Saint Traft. Opened a couple of good cards, but it doesn’t really matter. I will just trade all of this crap to Pennywise for the play sets I need; that guy hooks me up!

Me: So what cards do you think will have an impact on the environment before rotation? How about after?

Zealous Conscripts
Spike Mann: I am pretty sure I will be tossing together R/G ramp since Cavern makes that deck insane. Zealous Conscripts is the tech in the mirror, but don’t tell anyone—it’s my secret; I don’t think anyone will see it coming. Outside of that, I could see Humans being a real aggro deck. Seems so fast, but I don’t know that it can handle a turn-four Titan, bro.

As for post-rotation, that is way too far away to think about. I have a whole PTQ season of grinding ahead of me and multiple Grand Prixes before that is even relevant, so why worry about what cards will be good next year, bro? If I had to take a guess, I imagine tap-out control will be a solid contender assuming it gets some form of Titanesque finisher, but with cards like Terminus and Dungeon Geists, it can certainly slow aggro down enough to play its game. Tamiyo seems like a solid compliment to that deck assuming we see a slower format, but I’ll worry about that when the time comes, bro.

For now, I am looking to buy back my Primeval Titans that I just sold and get another set of Inkmoth Nexus. Rotation is only five months away, so I better take every chance I get to play with the best cards in the format—ya know, bro?

Johnny and Timmy

Lunar Mystic
That interview went well—not sure if that guy had a few too many energy drinks or if he was on steroids, but once I got past his concubines and lisp, I was able to extract some solid information about what he thinks the format is shaping into. After fighting my way back out of the crowd, I saw a group of players sitting in the corner playing what looked like Commander. Considering how awesome this set has been for that format, I certainly wanted an interview with these guys.

Me: Hey, guys, so how do you feel about the new Sealed format? Any new cards you are excited to sling in your Commander decks? Certainly seems like an awesome set for that format.

Johnny Quick: This set is amazing, I am going to buy a whole box. Hopefully I can open a Temporal Mastery; that card looks broken in my Niv Mizzet no-one-at-the-table-but-me-is-enjoying-this deck. Misthollow Griffin and Food Chain should fit nicely into my Momir Vig deck—who needs Emrakul when you can tutor and cast everything in your deck! Lunar Mystic is going to be broken wide open . . . if only I could find some sort of combo for it . . . 

Me: So, it seems you like combo; how about for Standard? Any idea what you will be looking to play?

Johnny Quick: Griselbrand and Necrotic Ooze should be amazing if I can find the right shell. Not sure what I am going to use all of the cards I draw for yet, but I am sure there is something to do. The fact that you still get a 7/7 lifelink if you manage to keep Griselbrand around is just icing on the cake—that is, of course, assuming you don’t just kill your poor opponent that turn.

Exquisite Blood
Me: Anyone else excited for anything from the new set?

Timmy Prodigal: I really like Cavern of Souls since it makes my Golem deck super-powered! I can cast Solemn Simulacrums versus Spike and no longer have to worry about him cheating with his counterspells. It’s also nice to have the mana of any color in case I don’t hit my other dual land in the deck. I opened one in the prerelease, and Pennywise really wants it, but I won’t trade it to him—unless maybe he gets me my play set of Exquisite Blood. It goes so well in my Sanguine Bond deck that I have to have them!

Me: What do you guys think about the Sealed format in Avacyn Restored; how about the Helvault?

Johnny Quick: The format was way too slow for me; I felt like there were far too few ways to do anything but attack your opponent, and that’s not fun. The Helvault was pretty cool, but I was disappointed when they finally opened it and we saw what was inside. I can always use more dice, so that was cool, but I don’t play any decks that use the tokens, and the oversize card I just gave to my friend here.

Timmy Prodigal: I like the format a lot—there are some awesome Angels and Demons that I really want to collect, and the flavor of the set is amazing. I love that the set really adds a lot to our Commander decks, but I don’t play Sealed other than for the prerelease, so that doesn’t matter to me as much. The Helvault was amazing; now I want to build a Commander deck for each of these generals since I won’t actually have to buy the expensive mythic versions now. Not only that, but I collect a spin-down from each set, so not having to buy a fat pack will save me some money that I can spend on all the new cards from the set. The tokens are cool, and I can use them with the Entreat the Angels I opened this weekend. I will probably put it in my Avacyn deck when I build one since that is where it makes the most sense.

Wrapping Up

The casual crowd seemed pretty happy overall, though not for the same reasons. The Helvault succeeded in stirring up some conversation if nothing else, and even those who walked away sorely disappointed with their pools at least had something. After talking to these people and more this past weekend, I found that the Commander crowd is very excited for this set. There are a variety of cards that will not only become new commanders, but also cards such as Exquisite Blood that complement already existing decks. The competitive crowd is keeping its sights on Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, Terminus, and Zealous Conscripts, while it seems everyone is looking for Caverns! I can’t wait to see how this set shapes up as far as prices, but much like Rise of the Eldrazi, I see this set being a hard one to keep in stock considering how much it has to offer to both casual and competitive alike.

That’s all I have this week. I hope you enjoyed my interviews, and if you don’t like this format, let me know—after all, it is for the readers. I hope everyone had a good time at the prerelease and walked away from the experience with what they wanted, whether that was prizes or just a good time with friends and new cards.

Join me next week as I talk more about the trip I just returned from and cover some of the new cards I expect to be major players in this month’s Pro Tour! Until then, let me know how your prerelease experience was—leave me a comment or a tweet. Let me know what you were happiest to open or trade for and what card you found most enjoyable or least enjoyable in Sealed. Have fun this weekend for any of you able to do release events, and for those of you not attending, enjoy your Restoration Angel promo at this week’s FNM.

Ryan Bushard


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