Sunday, April 18, 2010

RoE Prerelease Gleanings

So, I love this new set. It's such a welcoming change of pace from ZZZ drafts which ended in single digit turns. I went to the regional prerelease for LA and did 2 Sealeds, coming away with a few packs and more importantly a bunch of EDH rares that I needed.

Here's some tips on the new set, so you don't get blown out:

1. It really is that slow. You will see bombs on both sides of the board before the game is over, because everything is a bomb. Each Eldrazi obviously, but also every level up and every creature that can get Totem Armored. In draft, don't worry about picking bombs early so much, since there's so many. Focus on the other aspects, and the bombs will show up. You can expect to see Crushers go fairly late, since few people want 2-3 in their decks.

2. There's almost no good removal. If you're drafting and you see a solid removal spell like Corpsehatch, grab it. On the same note, you should realize that burn just doesn't cut it here. A one mana sorcery dealing 4 damage to creatures isn't helpful at all in this format. But where burn is terrible, bounce has become great. Not only does it make for awkward moments after they sacced 5 Eldrazi Spawn to cast something huge, but it also "kills" levellers and things with Totem Armor. When they've invested 15 mana or 3 enchantments into a creature, being able to knock it back to a puny 2/2 is very satisfying.

3. On a similar note, if you're running counterspells you should save them for the big spells. Don't bother countering their tiny level up guy, but when they have 6-7 lands you should probably keep some mana open.

4. The number after Annihilator makes a huge difference. I found that even though Hand of Emrakul can be cast more consistently, it just didn't have as big an effect on the board as Ulamog's Crusher, and the reason was the 1 vs 2. Having to sac 2 permanents every turn is game changing, especially when you're being hit in the face for 8. Watch out for that.

5. The levellers are all solid. Every one. And things that help levelling, like the one that reduces the costs of activated abilities, are solid too. There's the two basic deck archaetypes of the Bant leveller/auras and the Jund Spawn/ramp, and if you're missing key cards from one see if you can move into the other.

6. This may be an effect of people not used to the set at a prerelease, but I saw plenty of 3 color decks that did great. There's not too much fixing, but there's not so little that you have to lock into 2 colors every time.

On a last note, you should remember that the reminder note on Totem Armor is poorly worded. If you have 2 on one creature, you only have to destroy 1 each time the creature would die. Not both.

Anyways, I like this set. Will make EDH so much more fun.