Magic: The Gathering – Lord Of The Rings Tales Of Middle Earth Pre-release Event
I attended this event at my local game store Firestorm Games in Cardiff, and I wanted to share my thoughts on the event and the new set with you.
First, let me give you an overview of the event. When I arrived, I purchased my pre-release kit, which contained a Spindown die, six Draft booster packs, a Cardboard Art insert and a promo booster pack. Then, I sat down to open my booster packs and build my deck.
There is always something special about opening booster packs that gets me excited to play, and the Promo cards this set were a Full art Foil Wizards Rocket (That we couldn’t play with but it’s in my draft pool) and A Fangorn, Tree Shepherd that works really well with Treefolk decks.
I was excited to see all the awesome art in this set, I really wanted to build around a green treefolk deck especially when I saw my Promo card for this event. In the first hour we were to build a 40 card deck from these cards , with advice being to have 17 lands and 23 non-lands of which 15 should be creatures.
Having learned my lesson from the last Pre-release event I built a much more standard style deck, using a mono-black (mostly) strategy I built around the Troll of Khazad-dûm and Grond, the Gatebreaker. Wanting to get some Amass on the board I took only one of the two Dunland Crebain in my deck, something that I later regretted. I also added in Old Man Willow, Denethor, Ruling Steward and Revive the Shire, all needing mana that my Mono-black manapool couldn’t make. To play around this I took Shire Scarecrow for mana filtering and Great Hall of the Citadel as a backup.
Once I had built my deck, it was time to start playing. This event ran a four round Swiss-style tournament, with each round consisting of a best of three match, and I had a lot of fun competing against other players. Dealing with the oddity of the Ring Tempts you mechanic was really interesting and I can’t wait to get it into commander games.
In my first round I came up against a Blue/Green deck built around making the most of the Scry mechanic, with each multiple creatures able to check the top card of the deck and decide to push it to the bottom of the deck. I struggled getting my creatures out and keeping them out in the first game, but I swung back in the second game bringing that round to a tiebreaker. Unfortunately I couldn’t draw anything but mana in game 3 and I lost that round 2-1.
In the Second round I was paired up against a Black/White deck that played heavily into Amassing Armies of Orcs. This was my most fun round of the day as all three rounds we played went right down to the wire, my ability to get Grond, the Gatebreaker out and Oath of the Grey Host’s ability to make flying tokens helped me take the games to the wire. When the dust settled I ended up losing 2-1, making my day so far two wins and four losses.
Round Three was into a Green/Black deck that focused on the ring Tempting to mill me out. Round 1 was handily won when I managed to get a early Haunt of the Dead Marshes out and kept rolling through my opponent’s lack of mana. Game Two was a close tie but I ended up losing with only six life between us, my opponent got a troll out before I could and steamrolled my board. Game three was a experience, with Sméagol, Helpful Guide landing on the board turn 3 my opponent managed to mill out all my cards in six short turns. Although I tried to hammer them down they managed to mill me out.
Round 4 found me with a Pass round and I was awarded a win (my opponent had to leave early)
At the end of the tournament, prizes were awarded based on how well players did. Fortunately my 8th place position with 6 points performed well enough to get a Lord of the Rings Set Booster.
In conclusion, I had a great time at the pre-release event . The event was well-organized and provided a fun and competitive environment for players to test out the new cards. (And the on-site café was a great place to grab a pizza during the event). I highly recommend attending pre-release events if you’re a Magic the Gathering player, as they are a great way to meet other players, test out new strategies, and have fun playing the game.
Let me know in the comments if what you would have drafted out of my pool and what synergies would have gifted me the top place in the tournament!