So, I went to an M12 Pre-Release Tournament yesterday. It used a sealed format in which each player received four “booster packs” of fifteen cards each (totaling sixty cards), and roughly thirty minutes to build decks. Depending on where you play, Land cards may be provided. I brought my own for convenience.

I went to the tournament with my future brother-in-law (five weeks now! I’m getting all jittery, woo!), and we both won four out of six rounds. I ranked eighth overall and somehow ranked ahead of him even though we won the same number of games. Perhaps because I won the first three rounds (I think he lost his third round?), and therefore I defeated opponents who were ranked higher? I don’t know the system.

I got incredibly lucky in the cards I drew. Though I probably could have played with almost any combination of cards that I received across colors, the black and white cards I got had favored evasion abilities (Flying, or otherwise unblockable via Protection). I also drew a number of “buff” enchantments, so I could play small creatures, and buff them to be more formidable. And still unblockable.

That’s my usual style of play, so I was quite lucky, actually, to receive cards that I easily understood how to use. I also picked up a couple copies of Pacifism, which prevents the enchanted creature from being able to attack or block (facilitating evasion). The couple games I lost had creature removal or used the exact same strategy that I did. The final round was nearly a mirror-match, and I lost 1-2.

My primary strategy relied on either of the following combinations: Child of Night + Spirit Mantle or Tormented Soul + Dark Favor. I had Divine Favor that I could slap on a creature when I needed blockers, plus Pride Guardian that could function as a wall. My mid-game creatures were Serra Angel and the Bloodlord of Vaasgoth I got — in addition to the promotional copy we received for participating in the tournament. :)

Most of my opponents were chatty, laid-back people. With the exception of one opponent (which, out of six, really isn’t such a terrible thing) I felt nervous but never worse than mildly put-out. Despite being a fairly intense person myself, I fall apart when confronted by aggressively competitive players.

All in all, I had fun, and I would totally do it again. I’m not going to go out of my way to join the tournament scene, but I really enjoyed the atmosphere — even if it smelled a bit funky, like a locker room. I’ll go to the next one, schedule permitting.