Eldritch Moon is the latest Magic: the Gathering set, and the prerelease is this weekend: July 16-17. Head to your local game store for a chance to play with the newest cards a week early.
Prereleases are my favorite kind of Magic event. They’re fun for beginners and veterans alike. The format allows players to give each other advice during deckbuilding and make changes to their decks between rounds. I’ve played at a bunch of stores and people have always been friendly and fairly relaxed – until you end up in the finals and there are a dozen packs on the line. They’re usually friendly even then, if perhaps a little less relaxed.
Essentially, you sign up at a store and pay around $30 for a sealed box that contains 6 booster packs (4 Eldritch Moon and 2 Shadows Over Innistrad) and a spin-down life-counter die. You’ll use these cards and lands from the store’s land station to build a deck of at least 40 cards, and you’ll be paired against others who have done the same. Everything you need to play is provided, though you may want to bring your own card sleeves or buy a set at the store – just in case you open something valuable.
Want to see all this in action, and get a feel for what the new set will be like to play? If you’ve got a few hours to spare I recommend watching Loading Ready Run’s Pre-Prerelease from last weekend. I wrote about the one they did for Shadows Over Innistrad, and this one was similarly awesome. Loading Ready Run is a group of Canadian comedians and streamers, and they invite members of the Magic community to their studio in Victoria to play a small prerelease. Marshal Sutcliffe and Gaby Spartz both build their decks on camera near the start of the video, and their techniques could be very helpful to anyone who isn’t already an expert.
If you’re interested in playing, I recommend giving stores a call first: arriving only to learn that they’re sold out can be a major disappointment. Many stores will allow you to sign up in advance, though some require you pre-pay if you want to reserve your spot. Most stores run several prereleases over the weekend, some running as many as five – one at midnight (right as the clock ticks over from Friday to Saturday) and morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Times vary from store to store, and the event locator will provide details for stores near you.
How much preparation you do is up to you. I used to always go in blind, but recently I’ve gotten into the habit of glancing at the cards at least a little. Everything’s been spoiled by now, so you can check out the full set on Wizard’s site. If you want to be super serious you can listen to all five hours of the Limited Resources Podcast commons and uncommons set review that came out yesterday.
All of that’s really not necessary, though. Even when I arrived with no knowledge of any of the cards in the set I had a lot of fun – sometimes I even won.
I’m already signed up for a few tourneys this weekend, and I’m really excited. I watched the Pre-Prerelease last weekend and this set looks very cool.