How I set up my board.
I keep my library and graveyard on the right (if a card gets exiled I put it next to my graveyard, facing down). I keep the lands stacked according to their type and name. I draw with my right hand and I hold my hand with my left. I keep enchantments and artifacts over my lands but under my “creature line”.
How do you guys set up your boards?
It’s National Tabletop Day!
Get out those card games or board games and ruin friendships over a silly game.
Beginner’s Guide to Prereleases
So you’re headed to your first Prelease this weekend? Don’t be scared!
Most prereleases are Sealed format rather than Draft, which is much more welcoming to new players. (Check with your local shop to be sure on the format.)
Whereas in Draft you have to pick exactly which cards to keep and which to pass, which can be difficult if you haven’t done it before, in Sealed you are handed six sealed booster packs and you get to keep everything inside.
Pick A Guild
If you haven’t already, you’ll be asked to pick a guild. (This is something special for Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash, not something that happens at every prerelease.) A guild is a two-color combination that represents a faction in the story.
The five guilds you can pick from for Gatecrash are Gruul (red-green), Orzhov (black-white), Boros (red-white), Dimir (blue-black) and Simic (blue-green).
Which guild you pick matters only for this: One of your booster packs in your Sealed will only have cards from that guild in it, meaning you’ll probably have slightly more good stuff for a deck in those colors when everything is said and done.
You’ll also get a cool 20-sided die in your guild colors, and a promo card in your guild colors. (Usually you can’t play your prerelease promo card in your deck, but for Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash you can this time.)
In either case, you’ll be asked to make a deck out of the cards you end up with (plus whatever basic lands you need, provided by the store). The deck has to be at least 40 cards, and I advise not going too far over 40 since each additional card makes it less likely you’ll draw your best cards when you need them.
Out of your 40 cards, somewhere between 16-18 lands is usually ideal. My advice is to go with 17 any time you’re not sure. The safest number of colors to build is two, but since Gatecrash is a multicolor themed set you should be able to build three colors without much trouble. (You’ll inevitably see some people going four or even five colors, but this is pretty risky.)
The best way to make sure you have the right number of lands of each color is to count up how many symbols of each color are in the mana costs of cards in your deck, then make sure your lands are close to that ratio. (For example, if you have 5 black cards, 9 white cards and 10 red cards in your deck, you may want to run 3-4 Swamps, 6-7 Plains and 6-7 Mountains.)
Check with your shop to be sure, but most places will do some number of “Swiss” rounds, which means sort-of-random pairings where you keep getting paired with people who have similar records to yours. After the Swiss there may or be not be an elimination bracket for the people with the Top 8 best records, with the winner(s) getting some form of prize support. Again, you should check with your store to see how they do it.
This is the most important part. Prereleases usually have a large turnout of newer players, so don’t feel awkward if it takes you a long time to build your deck or figure out which plays to make. The purpose of the event is to give everybody a chance to play with the cards for the first time. So relax and enjoy yourself!