The best opening I got for this article is to start singing “A Whole New Worldwake” like I’m Aladdin, since Rosewater stole the Wham! reference I was planning on making. I guess there’s some relevance to “We Are The Worldwake;” did Rosewater use that when he introduced the design team? No? I guess I should be happy that all the good puns aren’t gone by now.
I spent Saturday up in Denver, playing in Front Range Magic’s excellent Worldwake prerelease. I come out and crow about how good these “big” prereleases are every four months or so, and this one was no exception, as they pulled out all the stops to make this small-set release a memorable occasion. Worldwake Lead Designer Ken Nagle was on hand to gunsling, as was resident babyface Pro (and new Denver resident) Conley Woods. And the turnout was IMMENSE – easily more people than usually can fit in the room that FRM books for PTQs; they had to steal tables from the gunslingers (as well as artist Vincent Proce, on hand to sign copies of Day of Judgment and his Zendikar lands) just to be able to start the first two pods, and they had to move the 2-Headed Giant portion of the show across the hall into a second room. They eventually fired a third Sealed pod early in the afternoon, and a bunch of drafts as well – gotta be happy when your turnout is about double what you expected.
But let’s do this thing chronologically …
(Some times fabricated to protect the innocent.)
6:57am : … man that is a brutal start time. And not fabricated. I had set up to meet up with my cohorts for the trip up to Denver between 7:15 and 7:30 to give ourselves the best chance at getting into the first pod, so I set my alarm for 6:30. What I failed to realize is that my iPhone has a “day” option as part of the alarm, and all my alarms are set to only go off on weekdays. Which, barring the Pre-Release and other Magic tournaments, is completely correct. Thankfully, the cat, knowing that I need to be out the door no later than 7 o’clock, pounces on my bladder at 6:57. She’s a good cat, but not so good at telling time yet. There’s only one clock in the house she can see, and sometimes she gets the little hand confused with the big hand. So I leap into the shower, inform the cohorts that I am running late, and throw everything into the VUE and take off for the middle of town.
7:35am : I pick up the cohorts. Along for the ride this morning are: Doran aficionado Randy Tempelaar (who might play Doran in Extended, from what I hear); Warp World co-conspirator Brian Naujoks; Sweet Hair Guy from GP Denver, Uriah Oxford; and the newest (and probably corniest) member of our troupe, and probably the only fan of Moonhold that I will ever meet, Nathan Groves. We pack three people into the back of the VUE, throw the gear in the trunk, and set out to find breakfast. Our usual stopping point is Jack-in-the-Box, mostly for those hash browns that are a cross somewhere between McDonalds and Burger King. (Seriously, folks, I know that the LAST thing I need to be advising Magic players on is the choice of fast food breakfast choices.) We instead go for Chick-Fil-A, where I get a chicken biscuit that makes me swear that we will never abandon Jack-in-the-Box in future tournaments. Sorry, JB.
8:45am : Conversation in the car on the ride up is varied; since it’s not a PTQ, there’s no strategy talk at all, no sideboards to be built. Eventually the conversation winds around to how this column needs a new name. Nathan has been inserting Moonhold into the conversation whenever possible, so it’s no surprise he suggests “Frugal Moonhold,” but we all mis-hear it as “Frugal Moogle.” Yeah, that’s not what we’re naming the column. But we had a good laugh.
9:15am : We arrive at the prestigious and glamorous American Inn to find … a mass of humanity. The line to sign up for Sealed deck flights wraps from the scorekeeper’s table in the northwest corner of the room, down the western wall, around the entire room, and back up the eastern wall where the dealer tables are set up. There are, in a word, a LOT of people here. Now, I know that attendance has been rising in most cases, but this is a huge jump in numbers from M10 — I wasn’t here for Zendikar, so I can’t say how they compare to that. We endure the line and get signed up into the second flight.
9:40am : Guesstimating time now, because I know the next entry is accurate thanks to twitter, so this must be about the time we start building our Sealed decks. I have a smattering of red and black removal (a Burst Lightning here, a Hideous End there) but absolutely no support – which means I’m either going two-colors-splash to squeeze in a piece of removal, or I’m abandoning the removal and just building the fattest deck in two colors that I possible can. The decision is made somewhat easier by noting that three of my bomb rares are in the same color pair: Gigantiform, Marshall’s Anthem, and Novablast Wurm. So … I’m green/white, with only the Wurm and a random Arrow Volley Trap to be my removal. I just gotta hope to keep presenting more questions than my opponent has answers.
10:14am : My first twitter update: “1-0 in Denver on the backs of beasts” when I drop turn-5 Bestial Menace and just attack attack ATTTAAAAACK. I wonder how good it would be in Extended to, say, make an Elf on T1, play Muraganda Petroglyphs on T3, and Bestial Menace on T4, making 12 power worth of creatures. Sadly, the answer is, “probably not good enough.”
12:00pm : We head down to Large Marge’s, a cheesesteak joint that is owned and operated by Philadelphia natives, meaning it’s about as close as you’re going to get to an authentic Philly cheesesteak as you can get this side of the Mississippi. They make the pretzels! They carry birch beer and Tastycakes! Ooh, that reminds me, I have a Tastycakes in the backseat that I never ate from this weekend. I’m 2-0 at this point, and hesitant to eat (because, for some reason, it seems like I always lose the round after we eat – blood being diverted from the brain, or something) – but it’s just a Prerelease, right?
1:15pm : Nope, I lose. I’m still happy I ate though. Anyone who’s met me can tell you I am not the kind of guy who misses a meal. Also, it’s about this time that I start hearing rumblings that Ken Nagle, upon being beaten at the gunslinging table, is starting to refuse to give out packs. I believe one reported retort was, “I’m not hear to increase your net worth.” I thought Ken Nagle was supposed to be proud of his baby? Giving away packs is kinda the whole point of gunslinging, isn’t it? Seems Ken Nagle, champion of griefer d-bags everywhere, does not like being beaten by griefer generals in EDH. That’s been my experience with every griefer, ever – that man do they hate it when you turn that BS around on them. My advice: if you can’t stand the griefer heat, stay out of the business of making griefer cards. And if you can’t stand giving out packs for free, stay off of the gunslinging tables.
2:29pm : I win round four, and then beat Conley Woods at the gunslinging table using the only tool at my disposal – my bomby Sealed deck. To be fair, I just got to my bombs first. Gigantiform plays very nicely with all the multikicker cards in Worldwake, which let your 8/8 retain all those juicy +1/+1 counters. I attacked a number of times over the course of the day with a 10/10 flying Apex Hawks. It’s also great on a Plant token. I then stood by as my Erayo EDH deck also won a pack in the hands of Rick Ashby. Rick flipped Erayo with Arcane Lab and locked Conley out of playing spells for the rest of the game, but Conley’s deck was designed to win by milling, and he still had a path to victory, although it escapes me now what it was — but there were enough large creatures flying over on Rick’s side to quickly end the game. Rick got a Celestial Colonnade out of his pack. I got a rock.
3:03pm : 4-1 and the proud new owner of an Admonition Angel card box!
5:25pm : I’m in a triple-Worldwake draft. I first-pick Novablast Wurm, but am really cut off from green and white immediately thereafter, so I switch into black as I start getting decent removal like a second-pick Smother. (Turns out that the gent to my right also first-picked a Novablast Wurm!) In pack two, I keep getting shipped Horizon Drakes like 3/1 flyers for 3 are going out of style, so I’m firmly blue/black, and I win the first two rounds before splitting in the finals. Nathan, on my left, opened a Jace and made his draft entry fee back in one pick. I got a rock.
6:30pm : Headed back to the Springs. What a day. Uriah had taken up a small cardboard card box to get drawn on, and Vincent Proce did an awesome job putting the pyramid Zendikar tree onto it with a big “EDH” on the pyramid. Awesome! And it seems like everyone else opened or traded for things that they wanted. Avengers of Zendikar, mostly, from what I heard. Thanks again to Front Range Magic for an awesome event!
Most of my pack winnings had rocks in them too. Good thing that Admonition Angel card box is still around to pick up my spirits! I hope you all had a great time at your Pre-Releases, whether they were big and well-attended, or just around the corner from your house. Next week — Worldwake staples that even budget players should start trying to pick up.
Until next time…
dave dot massive at gmail and davemassive on facebook and twitter