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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Feb 07 2013 11:44am
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Gatecrash Prerelease Survival Guide

The Gatecrash Prerelease will happen online this weekend. Here’s what you need to know to succeed.
The Prerelease events begin Friday, February 8, at 10:00am PDT.    They will continue through Monday morning at 10:00am. After that, the general release events begin.
The prerelease mirrors the paper prerelease in most respects. You choose one of five guilds: Boros, Orzhov, Dimir, Simic or Gruul. You will receive a sealed pool made up of 5 regular Gatecrash boosters, plus a guild-specific booster. The guild-specific booster will include a gate of the appropriate type, plus 14 cards that are part of that guild. The guild pack will also include a foil card specific to the guild. They are:
The Guild packs include everything the paper packs did, except a spin-down life counter and a letter from your guild leader. The letters were pretty predictable, although the Gruul letter was cute. Here it is:
Now that you have seen the letter, you have everything the paper players had. Time to play. You do have to choose a guild, but the guilds are pretty well balanced. None of the prerelease cards are significantly more valuable, and all of the guilds have a roughly equal chance of winning. In the one prerelease I played, I played Simic, because it was the most underplayed. I went 3-1, beating Boros twice, and lost my one match more to mana flood and color screw than to anything else. In the events I judged, I saw pretty much every guild winning and losing. Choose a guild based on preference – they are pretty balanced. 
To play online, you need to purchase a “Guild Mark” from the store for $5, then use it and 20 TIX to enter the event.  Just buy the guild marks you are sure you will need: they are not tradable, and are only usable in the prerelease events. After 10am on Monday, any leftover Guild Marks turn into pumpkins you cannot get rid of. 
To help you know what to expect, and to help you choose your guilds, here’s a brief look at the guild mechanics. 

To get you up to speed, I take a look at all of the removal and combat tricks commonly (and uncommonly) available in the format. This should give you a decent idea of what you may want to play around. It is obviously not complete – I skip the rares and mythics, since the odds are you will not see those particular cards – but you can expect to face the commons and uncommons.  

To close out the videos, I want to talk about some special cases. I cover some mistakes I saw people make repeatedly at the prerelease, discuss the value of some cards given the set and mechanics, and remember fondly a cool play from my prerelease. Enjoy. 

Hopefully, this advice will help you play around the common pitfalls, or at least know enough to say “of, yeah – should have seen that coming.”  Nothing teaches you like experiencing the error, but avoiding the error in the first place can win more packs. Either way, good luck. 
In conclusion, here are the money cards in the set, at least according to SCG. 

There you have it – a basic overview of everything you will need to know to have a successful prerelease experience. I hope this helps you to have a successful prerelease experience (unless, of course, you are playing me.)

See you in the release event queues. 
“one million words” on MTGO


FYI, Boros Reckoner is up to by KaraZorEl at Thu, 02/07/2013 - 13:15
KaraZorEl's picture

FYI, Boros Reckoner is up to 13 in paper. Not sure if he'll follow that online.

The biggest factor for me in the prerelease was respecting the curve. You need to curve out at 4. You want a lot of 2 and 3 drops. Gruul is going to bloodrush you constantly, which means you always need board presence. You can only get away with a higher curve if you pulled a ton of removal.

In my opinion, Boros is the the best guild to play with. They have the most bombs and you can splash very easily. Dimir and Simic require other guilds to work, unless you draw their mythics.

Thanks Pete! by dave78pdx at Thu, 02/07/2013 - 14:34
dave78pdx's picture

Great work as always!

Now I guess I have to... by athariel at Fri, 02/08/2013 - 03:47
athariel's picture

After the offline Prerelease I didn't plan to play the online one. But after reading your great article I feel this itch...

Love the videos! by mtgotraders at Fri, 02/08/2013 - 10:20
mtgotraders's picture
Great job as always Pete! I especially love the videos.