GRN Prerelease Report: Game Grid Lehi

It’s that wonderful time of year, midnight prerelease! It’s the best opportunity to crack open new packs, build sweet decks, and regret the whole experience by 9 AM when the caffeine runs out. But that’s not enough to stop me from coming back again! I chose to play Boros as my guild of choice, largely because Boros is one of my favorite guilds in Ravnica. Let’s get to it!

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One of the curious things about having to choose your colors beforehand is sometimes you may choose a 2 color combination and then end up playing a completely different suite of cards. Sam from Rhystic Studies chose the Izzet guild and ended up with a Sultai deck at the pre-prerelease. However, immediately upon opening up my Guild Kit, I knew exactly what I was going to be playing. Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice was one of my highest reviewed cards for Cube, and seeing it as my promo was a welcome sight.

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I opened up the rest of my pool and saw that I was pulling a lot of powerful removal spells in my colors. 2 Lava Coils and 2 Conclave Tribunal was very exciting to see, and was a very solid reason to stay in the Boros colors. Only opening up one Skyknight Legionnaire was disappointing, but one is better than none. Overall, while my removal may be fantastic, the creature base is a little weak. Despite this shortcoming, I still feel that I have a fantastic deck and am super excited to play it!

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Round 1 Selesnya: 1-2

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Game 1 up against Selesnya. I lead off with a decent start, but he is able to start convoking out big creatures that can wall my entire board. Eventually, I die to a Siege Wurm.

Game 2 I get a great opener where I can mentor multiple creatures a turn and can make them all bigger than anything he has. I cast a bunch of removal spells to allow for more mentor combat steps and eventually just kill him with a board of 3/3’s.

I mulled my initial hand of 2 plains, to get a grip of 6 with 2 plains as well. This hand had Aurelia in it, so I decided to gamble and keep it. I drew a plains and a Boros Locket on time and cast it getting ready for a turn 4 Aurelia. Then my opponent cast their promo card Knight of Autumn and blew up my locket stranding me on white mana. I didn’t get a red source until turn 7 and by then it was too late. Well played opponent, well played.

I decided to cut Flight of Equenauts from the deck and put in a land. I was never able to cast it when I had it, and even though the 4/5 body is great, casting it was simply too difficult.

Round 2 Dimir/Naya: 0-2

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I started off with a very aggressive opening, and forced my opponent to make a lot of trades. I got him down to 2 life and was left with a 2/2 token. Any removal would have taken them out. I draw a land and pass. He does nothing on his turn, and I draw another land and pass. Eventually, he bounces my token, and I draw 12 out of 17 lands in my deck. He slowly regains control and kills me. Back to 16 lands, this time with another 1 drop.

I start with a few lands in my opener and then proceed to draw more lands. I have a lot of removal, but he ends up drawing more spells than I do and takes over the game. Going to 16 lands doesn’t help much when you draw 10 of them. I discovered that having no mana sinks in my deck is a big liability.

Game 3 we played for fun, out of pity for me and I proceed to draw only 4 lands and completely overwhelm him with speed and removal. I had a sweet play where I cast a turn 3 Wojek Bodyguard, and then turn 4 cast Sworn Companions, and then tapped everything for a convoked Conclave Tribunal. That destroyed any hope he had of winning. As it turns out, when I draw the right half of my deck it’s pretty good.

Round 3 Abzan: 2-0

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Game 1 I started with an opening hand that had a Mountain, Plains, and Aurelia. Snap keep. I draw a few more lands and cast Aurelia turn 4. It gets pacified real quick, but it’s ability to give other creatures +2/+0 really carried me to victory. I ended that game with 36 life and losing almost nothing.

Next game I have the same combo of Wojek Bodyguard, Sworn Companions, and Conclave Tribunal. I lead on a Wojek which does almost nothing, only to follow up with both cards in the same turn. My opponent wasn’t able to recover from the tempo and I sealed the deal.

Round 4 Boros: 2-0

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In this game, I was able to cast an early Aurelia, and my opponent had no removal to kill her. I accumulated a lot of value off of her, and in one turn I was able to get 2 different mentor triggers thanks to moving Aurelia’s +2/+0 around. I really like the design around Aurelia, and how she is a bomb that has actual decision making attached to her. Easy victory here.

In this game, I started with quite a few lands and drew into more lands. Fortunately, my opponent did not have a very aggressive start and was only beating in with 1/1’s. At one point I was starting to turn the corner, and they cast an Intervention and put me down to 3 life. It was tense, but I was eventually able to keep on crashing through with Swathcutter Giant until I finally secured the win.

Round 5 Sultai: 2-0

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This game had one of the most brutal curves I have done so far. Fresh-Faced Recruit, into Skyknight Legionnaire into Aurelia, and then 2 kill spells. There was never a chance for good blocks for my opponent, and the Boros were able to commit swift justice.

Game 2 ended a bit anti-climatically. She had to mull down to 4 cards in hand, and although she got to surveil a lot, my aggressive cards didn’t give her a lot of time to rebuild.

Final thoughts

I feel like my deck had the potential to go 5-0. I made a gamble in match 1 that cost me, and match 2 was just the bad side of variance. My deck changed a lot through the course of the tournament, until I settled on 16 lands, and a few more one drops. Once I settled on the final version of my deck, however, I steamrolled my next few opponents. The amount of removal I had backed up by aggressive creatures meant that nobody could take a turn off against me.

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Guilds of Ravnica is an incredibly fun set. The tension between the extreme durdle Sultai decks and the fast and brutal Boros decks makes it so you have to prepare for everything. Mentor is a fantastic mechanic, probably my favorite in the set, and lead to a lot of great decision making over the course of all of my games. Surveil is sweet, and could let people dig themselves out of really bad opening hands. If you let the Golgari player play for too long, Undergrowth can really start making massive swings to turn the game back around in their favor. Jump-Start is more or less Flashback, which is still one of the best mechanics of all time, and Convoke felt great as always.

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This is just the back half of the store!

 

Game Grid Lehi was my store of choice this weekend, and I was shocked to see just how many people had shown up. 177 players for the Guilds of Ravnica Midnight Prerelease, makes this the biggest Magic event Utah has seen since 2014! Their brand new store had plenty of space for everybody, and the event ran smoothly with hardly any issues the entire night. I felt like I was at a Grand Prix, except  much more casual and with more of a focus on having fun than winning. It was a fantastic experience, and I would like to thank Game Grid Lehi for providing for my entry so that I could come and experience it. I would like to thank you all for reading, and I hope you have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!