Wizards of the Coast has a series of pre-release events for the upcoming Return to Ravnica set for Magic the Gathering. I was originally planning on going to a midnight event at Sentry Box but I was far too sick with a cold to go on Friday and their Saturday event was also booked. Happily I was able to find some space at the two Sunday pre-release events at Revolution Games.
The format for the event was new for WotC where each player picked one of the five Guilds that are being represented in this first release and they got a boxed set for the Guild with six Return to Ravnica boosters and a special Guild Pack of cards specifically for that Guild. This, in theory, would allow players to build 40 card decks that matched the colours and focus of each Guild. In reality it was a little less effective than I think WotC would have liked but certainly not anything that would have ruined the event. Certainly more experienced players were able to overcome bad card pools. I played a game against a young woman, Haley IIRC, who took the cards from a Blue/White Azorius deck and created a very effective Black/Red Rakdos deck. It certainly beat the heck out of me.
At both events I got a set of cards that I thought were less than optimal. For the noon event I picked Rakdos and got a set of cards that did not contain any Guild Mages, Guild Leaders or even the 1/1 Rakdos creatures. I was rather limited for creature choices and was lucky to have two of the Izzet Blue/Red hybrid creatures that I could use. I eventually had to splash some Green into my deck to get another creature. Ultimately I went 1-1-3 in the first event and that had much to do with my rather poor deck building skills. I rectified the problems in my deck after some fairly bad beats and then did better in my last set of games.
Despite being a bit sick, and nearly hoarse because of a sore throat, I stayed for the second event and picked Selesnya for my second Guild. This was based primarily on seeing how well the Selesnya decks did at the first event. My card pool for the second event was better but not great. Still no Guild Mage and no Guild Leader. I did get a Selesyna Charm and that did swing a few games for me. My second deck was better. Slower, but better and I did manage to go 2-0-3 for the evening. The last match was against a fellow named Erik who had a Red/Black Rakdos deck. Sometimes the Swiss Pairing system really does work well and Erik and I were very well matched. He won the first game, I pulled a victory in the second game by grinding him down with creatures and then the last game fell to Erik quickly as I was mana deprived and really unable to cast a spell. I was a bit disappointed to have the game end like that but mostly because I was looking forward to another challenging match against him.
Over the course of nine hours I played 22 games of Magic, got some new cards, met some fun gamers and found a place close by that regularly runs Magic events. Quite a successful day of gaming.