MTGS Mini is the format that goes up on Friday night/early Saturday. MTGS Mini is a far more easygoing format. So sit back and relax while we relax... our standards. If this isn't your thing, take a break and we'll see you on Sunday night with Cranial Insertion!
(Editor's note: We don't normally run Minis on a Friday, but it's the day before the Prerelease, and we wanted as many people as possible to see this article. Also, Lorwyn cards are tagged in here, but the card tags probably won't work until Sunday or Monday. Check the Lorwyn spoiler in the meantime to see what these cards do.
10 Obvious (But Useful) Notes for the Prerelease.
- There are few mass removal spells in Lorwyn. The Austere Command, Thundercloud Shaman, Hurly Burly, Incendiary Command, and Cloud Thresher. That's three rares, one uncommon, and a common. Four of them have two colored mana or more in the cost. This is important, because it means that play that is normally bad, like overcommiting to the board, become good. Since most of it is damage based, you can toss fatties like a bouncer at Studio 54. (That is a tortured joke. But I can't get rid of it.) These cards' value should go way up in your estimation. This is not like Ravnica, which introduced the concept of mass removal that you might not play!. It is like Coldsnap, where any mass removal was a rare and precious flower.
- Hoarder's Greed (u), Fathom Drawl (R), Jace Beleren (R), Mulldrifter (C), Incendiary Command(R), Mourncaller (u), Sylvan Echoes(u), and Fallowsage (U). These are the cards that can get you more than two cards.
- Contrast that to number of cards which can generate two or more tokens: 23! If you are not doing something with your mana every turn, you will lose. This sort of environment lends itself to incredibly long stalemates that someone breaks with a bomb (Incarnation?) or some sort of long term reusable effect.
- Changelings are good. For instance, they are Giants: Elvish Handservant; Kithkin: Surge of Thoughtweft ; Goblins :Mad Auntie; and anything else you can imagine. A good player can have onboard interactions with Changelings that a less experienced player will not even know are options. Keep in mind that a board full of Changelings is also a board full of goats. (Goatnapper)
- Merrow Commerce, Drowner of Secrets, and Fallowsage can end a game in a hurry. Wizards likes to give most sets a milling option. Drowner and Jace are the way you burn through a library, and a great plan B for a sealed deck.
- It may seem obvious, but if you win a clash and they don't put the card on the bottom, find a way to clash again. And if you want them to draw the card on top, don't put your opponent in a situation where they can avoid it by clashing. If you are way ahead and only one card can save them then do not clash. Giving them a second chance or third chance when you don't have to is silly.
- The flip side of this is don't be afraid to use clash to smooth out your draws. When times are tight feel free to use clash cards to dig. Getting three cards deeper can be the difference between a miracle win and a run of the mill loss.
- The Harbingers will probably find your best tribal card or set up a winning clash. Even the green one is good in that situation. An 0/3 wall with a late game application is not a bad thing in a format focused on attacking. A Boggart Harbinger (2/1 for three) that also drags along a Shock can just win games. Also note that these are shuffle effects, which can undo all your clash stacking. If you have a Harbinger in color, you probably have something worth getting. So play them.
- At some point, a deck of almost certain long term resource advantage (LTRA) victory will run into a crappy deck. But this deck will open with a one-drop, a two-drop, a three-drop and then a four-drop. LTRA will play its way better four-drop. They will kill it. LTRA will be so far behind on tempo that it will just die. After the game LTRA will not sideboard, because the opponent clearly got lucky and all their cards are junk. The second game will be almost identical. LTRA will be upset that they got lucky twice. LTRA will probably ignore the fact that it could have cut a color after sideboarding so it could be safer from mana screw. Or LTRA could have added a couple cheap drops to help get an early blocker. LTRA could even drop out some cards that will do LTRA no good against a tempo deck (Land destruction, expensive discard, creatures that can't block). But the guy playing LTRA did not do that because he is a tool. You are not a tool. Use your sideboard.
- The other lesson from LTRA is that sometimes you don't have raw power, so you have to win on tempo. If you open up your pile and don't see a bunch of bombs, look for the weenies. Green and white have amazing cheap creatures and removal. Blue has weenies that are actually decent. Red has 2-power two-drops. And there are so many Grey Ogres that don't suck across all colors that you can make a tempo deck out of just about anything. A Prerelease is not a PTQ. You will be amazed at the number of times you beat a guy waiting for his fourth color, or waiting for his fifth land to play his handful of bombs. If your deck can't win on power, win on speed. (If it can do both . . . well, enjoy your box.)
- Have fun**.
(I am ignoring Chandra for the following reason: If she goes off you're dead. The creature killing is just salt in the wound.)
Only Greed and Mull can get you the two cards up front.
You need some additional source of advantage beyond cards, because getting ahead on draw spells is tough sledding
Sylvan Echoes gets special mention. Sure it's random, but there are around 25 clash cards, of which three (Sentry Oak, Springjack Knight, and Captivating Glance) are multiple clashers and fourteen (including Springjack) are commons.
Given that it happens every time you clash, whether it is initiated by you or your opponent, this card is great one drop. But it is a terrible late game card (unless you were stockpiling clash hoping to draw it). If you have the right deck (6+ clashers) play it. If you don't, then don't. *
*Tahn's math was more convincing than my gut feeling.
** We go to eleven.