Pre-release weekend, one of my favorite times of the year. You get to gather with good friends, sling spells, eat questionable food and drink enough sugar to put you in a coma once the day has finished. The Fall set is particularly more fun for myself since it always hovers around my birthday. Believing that 60 people came to play magic with you is awesome, even though no one really cares. But there is something that could make the weekend not enjoyable, losing terribly.
Here is my Primer to get you ready for this weekend! Luckily, things have gotten easier with this pre-release since Wizards has kindly given us a better chance to not get screwed by Lady Luck. She sleeps around way too much anyway. Thanks Guild Packs!
So you start with your 5 RTR boster packs and a lovely Guild Pack of your choosing. You will want to open your guild pack first, but don’t! Its going to skew you into thinking that this is the route you want to take with deck building. Open your other 5 packs first separating by color with the multi color guild cards between the colors they are.
White: Azorius: Blue: Izzet: Red: Rakdos: Black: Golgari: Green: Selesnya
Remember what you opened that looked really good and then open your Guild Pack and slam those colors down! Hopefully you will end up playing the Guild you chose.
Once laid out, you will be looking for particular cards that will make a certain color combination playable.
Azorious is the classic Blue/White flyers deck. You need a good amount of flyers, about 6 to 8, to have the deck work. The leaders of this group is Lyev Skyknight, the guildmage, and sunspire griffin. These three will be doing a ton of work. Arrest and the other removal are always solid, but there are enough guys that can defend well to make up for any lack of removal. The detain ability is what you are going to abuse in your deck. More likely than not, you will be detaining their only blocker in the air so you can get through. Don’t rush out your Azorius Arrester just because you can play him turn 2.
Voidwielder / Skyline Predator / Mizzium Skin /Inaction Injunction /Goblin Electromancer / Izzet Charm / Frostburn Weird / Annihilating Fire / Bloodfray Giant / Electrickery / Goblin Rally / Lobber Crew / Street Spasm
Izzet fills the role of a control deck. You will want many removal spells to fill your deck along with guys that can play defense well. There aren’t many good creatures for Izzet but the ones there, are solid like Goblin Electromancer. Your finishers will be the likes of Skyline Predator or any sweet fatty you open. So you are looking for a bunch of removal, big creatures to win the game with, and a few card drawing spells to help dig for your win conditions. Just make sure to be stingy with your removal as you clog the board with good defense creatures. Take the 2 damage in the air each turn when you have Explosive Impact in hand. You are going to need it for their Rare big fatty they opened. Also, Izzet looks like the guild that will splash a third color more than any other guild. Might need to do so in order to play a good big creature as your finisher.
Pretty much this deck is the beat down first and always. You want to slam as many creatures with Unleash into your deck as possible, probably around 8. If you picked Rakdos as your guild, you should be able to hit that threshold easily. This will be a pretty basic 18 creatures, 7 spells, 16 or 17 lands type deck. As long as your spells are mostly removal, you should be set. Just make sure to never keep slow hands. You will want to be playing a turn 2 guy if possible every game. Turn 3 is acceptable but rarely keep a hand where your first play isn’t until turn 4. Also, Pack Rat is absurd. That and Stab Wound will be your weird late game win conditions if you somehow run out of good creatures.
Golgari is a weird guild. It resembles Izzet as both want to get as much value out of their cards as possible. At least with Golgari you have more creatures that can finish games, thanks to the Scavenge ability. There aren’t a lot of good creatures with Scavenge, which makes it a bit awkward at times. Luckily, Scavenge isn’t going to be the focus of the deck like Populate or Unleash could be for their respectable guilds. Dreg Mangler is the best Golgari card followed by Stab Wound and Sluiceway Scorpion. As with Izzet, you will want to stall until the later turns to win. So good defenders like Towering Indrik will be key in your deck. I think this guild has some of the best commons to help get you to your Rare late game cards.
Archweaver / Axebane Guardian / Druid’s Deliverance / Slime Molding / Towering Indrik / Call of the Conclave / Centaur Healer / Selesnya Charm / Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage / Arrest / Concordia Pegasus / Eyes in the Skies
This color choice doesn’t have too many quality creatures for the early game outside of Centaur Healer and Call of the Conclave. But once you get past turn 4 you have two options with your deck. You can play big creatures and attempt to win that way or play every token making card possible. If you have multiple Call of the Conclave and Eyes in the Skies, then you are safe to Stop, Drop and Populate. I think that won’t happen too often, so you will more than likely go the fatty route. So cards like Towering Indrik and Axebane Guardian will help. I truthfully would only play Selesnya if I had multiple of these walls and centaur healers. Then you can end the game with any generic big creature or big token maker.
Now don’t be afraid to combine non guild colors to make your deck if need be. I could see black and blue working well together. I doubt it will be necessary since your guild pack should at least make that color combination more playable than any off guild choice. Hopefully you will open your Guild Leader and smash your opponents to smithereens. I hope this Primer helps give you an idea what all the guilds should be attempting to accomplish, so you know how to use the guild yourself and how to fight it. Best of luck this weekend!