Friday, April 26, 23:50
I am sitting in Gunslinger Games, packing up my stuff and getting ready for a sweet prerelease event that starts at midnight. I am wearing my Gruul pin and eagerly waiting the chance to play some sweet sweet bizarro-land sealed deck.
Saturday, April 27, 00:00
My sealed pool is presented – Gruul, just as I requested. I flip it over – Rakdos, just as I desired. “Dragon’s Maze Pre-Release Players, you may open your pool and begin building!” This is like Christmas morning, when your folks hand you the first present and they want you to kick off this year’s present exchange. I excitedly tear open my nifty little box and greedily begin going through my two guild packs, then my 4 packs of Dragon’s Maze.
Saturday, April 27, 00:25
Sealed build time is ended. I have my deck assembled in front of me, Aggro Jund. My curve stops at 4, I have a nice suite of Bloodrush creatures to ruin combat math and close the game out quickly.
Saturday, April 27, 03:00
I receive my first loss. I am now tired, at 3-1 overall. There are still two more rounds of swiss and I can still make the top 8.
Saturday, April 27, 04:00
My second loss puts me at 3-2. I have to win the next round to get prize.
Saturday, April 27, 05:00
I win! I scrape into number 8 after getting paired up and winning. We agree to split the prize payout and go home, like reasonable people. Oh wait no, this is Andrew Couture who is writing this. Reason has no place at Pre-Release Weekend. I grab Trey Filbeck, and 4 others, and we head to Denny’s for some much needed caffeine and bacon.
Saturday, April 27, 06:00
We finally settle into Denny’s and we have our coffee and our food is on the way, time to do the thing that we came here to do. Team Draft with the new format. We crack out our draft sets, old favorites of Gatecrash and Return to Ravnica together for the first time, and the beautiful gold color of the Dragon’s Maze packs completing the family. I comment on how good they look in their primary colored foil wrappings. We tear open the first pack.
Saturday, April 27, 08:00
I have defeated my first opponent after a long and grinding match 2-1.
Saturday, April 27, 09:00
My team is victorious! We split up the rares opened by the table, I end up with some random cards and an Abrupt Decay. The next Pre-Release starts at noon. Time to occupy ourselves in the mean-time. We decide to head over to Wal-Mart and play the Wal-Mart Game. I had never heard of this game before, and I learned that apparently, everyone goes into Wal-Mart, each player looks around for the most obscure item(s) in the store that come to less than 5 dollars before tax. They then buy that item, and meet up again in the parking lot. They vote on who bought the most ridiculous item(s), and that person wins.
Saturday, April 27, 9:30
We meet up in the parking lot again. I found 5 sticks of 5′ bamboo for 5.25. I am really proud of myself, but I know that I have already lost because I ran into Paul in Wal-Mart and selecting my items. Paul is the person with experience in this game, our teacher. He informs me that he already knows what he is doing, but needs to find a few more items to complete his ensemble, since he is way under the $5 mark. I offer my assistance. He leads me over to the cards. I think that he has found some unholy excuse for a greeting card and then some gag-gifts or something. Nope, he presents me a My Condolences card and then heads across the aisle to his next purchase. Wire hangers. My stomach sinks, I know that I have already lost, so I lead him over to the pharmacy section so that he can pick up gauze and Vaseline. I still have my 5 sticks of bamboo. Paul wins no contest with his home baby-away kit. He then has to return all this garbage to the store.
Saturday, April 27, 10:30
The store opens in 30 minutes, we spent the last hour driving around and picking up Red Bulls. Bring it.
Saturday, April 27, 12:00
I open my next packs and begin the second pre-release of the weekend.
Saturday, April 27, 12:25
Deck building ends, I have an American midrange deck that is very powerful.
Saturday, April 27, 12:30
I get the bye. Time to watch some Magic.
Saturday, April 27, 14:30
My opponent has successfully played slow enough to draw the round. I am 1-1.
Saturday, April 27, 16:30
I am undefeated in the last round of swiss. I decide to play for standings in the top 8. I win after I make a mistake in game 1 that I end up getting a takesies-backsies on since it was a pre-release and I had never cast the card before. Voices were raised and judges were called. My opponent was furious. I had my last Red Bull an hour ago, and I can feel myself slipping. He mulligans to 5 game 2 and we play the match in silence. He dies on turn 6 after getting stuck on lands. It is awkward and sad and I am still mad at him for being a jerk and mad at myself for making the mistake in the first place.
Saturday, April 27, 17:30
After not splitting the top 8, I beat my first opponent.
Saturday, April 27, 18:30
I beat my second top 8 opponent, as did the guy from the last round of swiss. We are paired in the finals, and we decide to split. I would normally have played this out, but I didn’t want to interact with this gentleman for another 45 minutes so, I left the store to get some margaritas and tex-mex. Before I left, I signed up for the last pre-release of the day. At this point, I am exhausted and only running on adrenaline. I also want to complete my set of pins. I select hardmode- Dimir. This guild is so bad that its almost impossible to construct a playable deck if you get the wrong secret ally. Trey Filbeck, who has had a similar amount of sleep, decides to join me.
Saturday, April 27, 19:30
Two 1.50 margaritas, a plate of nachos, and two Dr. Peppers later, I am feeling much better. I get my hardmode packs, and turn them over to reveal… Golgari. I have the worst possible pairings. This should be quick, and brutal. Hardmode activated. Trey has also flipped over his packs to reveal Golgari. I am so sorry.
Saturday, April 27, 20:00
I have my deck. It is 4 colors and absolutely unplayable. Behold, the list of misery.
Haunter of Nightveil
Opal Lake Gatekeepers
Ubul Sar Gatekeepers
Call of the Nightwing
Sluiceway Scorpion (MVP)
Blood Baron of Vizkopa
Teysa, Envoy of Orzhov
Some variety of basic lands.
April 27, 21:00
My opponent is a new player and assembles a UR deck full of defenders and countermagic. He doesn’t really do anything, then I randomly mill away his Dragonshift. He loses in 2. I am 1-0.
April 27, 22:00
I have no memory of this match. I won it. 2-0. Trey and I are both 2-0 with similar piles of garbage. What is happening? The store owner has put a bounty on Trey’s and my head. Any player who defeats us gets a bonus pack. I don’t know why this happened, but whatever.
April 27, 23:00
I get paired against Albert Huang, a good friend of mine, and in three very grinding games, I manage to defeat him. I only took the match because he was mana-screwed game 1, but unfortunately, that is Magic. I am 3-0 now. Trey lost his match, putting him at 2:1. The fact that we are the only players in the room playing Dimir means that the two of us finish the race through the Dragon’s Maze anyway.
April 28, 01:00
I have no memory of this match. I am now 4-0 and Trey is 3-1.
April 28, 02:00
I defeat a player who had a very strange pool with very powerful cards. I had the exact cards that I needed when I needed them and managed to take it in three. It was easily one of the hardest matches of Magic I have ever played, but I have gone undefeated in swiss, Hardmode Achieved. We agree to split the t8 because I am no longer able to play in any sense of rationality.
April 28, 02:30
I have dropped Trey off and put my laundry in the wash. I pass out. I have a tournament Sunday at 12:00.
That 26 hour period was awesome and I loved almost every minute of it. I have the best friends I could have asked for.