Looking back on the latest Pre-Release

Dragons and dragons and more dragons. Actually quite a lot of people were somewhat frustrated at the lack of dragons they opened in their sealed packs. This was supposed to be the dragon set of all sets. Judging by the spoilers, one would think that every booster pack would contain a dragon. It wasn’t the case for some people, but I believe that it was also quite ok. I mean, too much dragons would create an immediate deck that would rule the meta. Having access to dragons in all colors, one would just pick the best ones and mash them into a “This is a good card” deck, also known as Jund in its various incarnations. This is not to say that other strategies would be rendered useless, just that dragons have been historically known to turn the tides of battles singlehandedly since the beginning of Magic.

Enough about that though. There is a more delicate subject that I want to tackle this time around. The 1v1 Pre-Release went smoothly and people enjoyed themselves. They got their chance at becoming the Tarkir Dragonfury master, but only just a few people succeeded. But even so, most people got at least one promo card. The issue comes at the 2 Headed Giant Pre-Release. As I mentioned in the previous article, I believe that Magic is a game of challenging yourself and your opponent to see who’s better. This means for me, that intentionally drawing is not a good option. While I do understand intentionally drawing to get into a top 8 or if it would be for some heavy amounts of cash (think in thousands of euros), I don’t get the idea for 10 and 8 boosters for 1st and 2nd place. 3rd place would get you 6 boosters, so the difference wouldn’t be that gigantic if you would end up there because of the hidden opponent’s match- win score that the Wizards Event Reporter (WER) calculates.

Where’s the problem though? 2 teams were at 9 pts each. The others had 6 or lower. This meant that if they drew, they would secure 1st and 2nd place no matter what. Why is that so bad? The guys played well enough to be able to get into that situation, therefor having the option of drawing. Correct. In this particular scenario though, the decision was made when one team was on the verge of losing, bribing the winning team with the idea: “if we draw, we let you have the first place prizes even if the software says we are first”. I had a bad feeling about it, but I also didn’t want to create an unpleasant tournament for everyone there by disqualifying both teams. I wanted to find out though if what I did was right, so I called up a Level 2 judge and described what happened. In his words: “if the teams would have agreed to draw and split the prizes everything would be fine, however in this case team A and B exchanged prizes therefor making it clear that team A was bribing team B to ensure the second place finish”. In the end, my decision wasn’t the right one, “by the book”. Maybe I should have done it, since the two teams were essentially robbing the next best placed team of a chance at second place.

“So you’re now posting this to make the two teams feel bad?”. No. Of course not. This article serves the purpose of perhaps making some people think twice if a few boosters is actually worth it when you draw intentionally. Mathematically, having more boosters gives you a higher percentage of drawing better cards. That’s logical. But you can as easily draw nothing in a full display and then there’s the kid with golden hands who buys one booster and gets that foil Ugin. Twice (true story by the way). Think about it. Are you not playing for the fun of the game? Cause dude, in case you want to get “value” out of your boosters, then you shouldn’t be playing Magic in the first place.

But let’s not end with a tone like that. I am happy that people enjoyed themselves at the events. It was fun to see more people wanting to participate and it felt good knowing that more players want to help strengthen the community. I also have nothing against any of the two teams. My best hope is that they don’t take this personally and simply understand it objectively.

What do you think? Did I make the right choice? Should I have done something? Comment or just talk to me at the shop.


See you in the Arena! 🙂



I know I promised the article about Games Workshop, but this had to be written after the Pre-Release events. Next article will be this week before the Legacy event.

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