Friday night, my brother-in-law and I attended a Magic: the Gathering pre-release tournament for the new expansion, Dark Ascension. I hadn’t been to a Magic tournament since the M12 pre-release, and I was excited. We were forced to alter our plans when my brother discovered the tournament site had moved.

Originally, we intended to go to the most-of-the-day tournament on Saturday. He’s been to a few, and the one I went to before ran something like six hours, so we were expecting things to go off without a hitch. When he went by to sign us up, he found the part of the mall where the store was had been demolished. Remodeling.

The new site was a couple miles away, and the owners were waiting on a new business license to come through because their store was going to be moving to the adjacent city. They had different hours (you could say better or worse, depending on your perspective) that enabled them to run tournaments much earlier and later.

We figured on hitting up the midnight pre-release, with expectations for a low turnout given the new location and starting time. Then, about forty people attended, which is a pretty normal turnout for most of the store’s pre-release tournaments. Where we’d anticipated a run of maybe three rounds, it went a full six.

I got some pretty cool cards. I completely missed Innistrad, so I didn’t mind so much that we only got three booster packs from Dark Ascension and the other three were from the first set. I’d read a little bit about the new transform power, but I hadn’t ever seen it in action before. I think I got a transform creature in every pack.

Now, I’d woken up at six o’clock Friday for work, which meant I’d been awake for eighteen hours by the time we opened our booster packs and started assembling our decks. I have a faint recollection of the conversations that were going around the table as my brother and the other players were looking at the new cards. Very faint.

Knowing little to nothing about the cards from either expansion I was looking at, I went with my normal strategy of going for a low-cost, aggressive creature deck. I wanted creatures that could be played quickly for minimal amounts of mana, and that were good at attacking first, and defending second.

You don’t have to defend yourself from a dead opponent.

I chose to play with Red and Black (I rarely play Red, so that’s somewhat significant), since I recognized the most playable cards in those two colors the fastest. I actually wound up using three or four rare cards that I drew, and a mess of uncommon cards, which I think affords some sort of numerical advantage.

The deck worked out pretty well. How well, I’ll get to in a bit.