Everything Old Is New Again

Posted in Feature on July 22, 2005

By Brian Rogers

Every couple of years, Wizards of the Coast likes to shake up the Magic: The Gathering® world and bring some of our favorite cards back for a second look. When the new core set comes out, each of us finds something that brings back memories of when we first started playing the Magic card game. When Eighth Edition came out, I found some of the cards that I used to play when I was new to the game, like Rukh Egg, Fungusaur, and one of my all time favorites, Royal Assassin. Seeing this card made me think of sitting around my friend’s kitchen table in high school and using an Icy Manipulator to tap the big monsters my friends would play and then stabbing them in the back with the Assassin’s dagger. On July 29, you have a chance to find some of your favorite cards from the past in a booster pack again.

Ninth Edition, the newest core set for Magic: The Gathering, will be released with a weekend-long celebration that will have players everywhere coming out to play with some of the best cards from the history of the game. This new core set features cards from the first Magic expansion ever, Arabian Nights, to some of the newest cards released in the Kamigawa™ block. No matter when you started playing, you will find some of the first cards you ever got to play with in this new base set.

Stores everywhere have a chance to participate in a release event for Ninth Edition on July 30 and 31. You can contact your local store to see if it will be hosting a release tournament for Ninth Edition, or find out what locations will be holding these events by checking out the Wizards of the Coast website.

The first 32 attendees at each of these release events will receive a special Ninth Edition release event card, just like the ones you could get for playing in the release events for Betrayers of Kamigawa™ or Saviors of Kamigawa™. There will also be special Ninth Edition life counters available as prizes for the top three event winners and one additional to be given out as a door prize. Tournament organizer will also be offering additional Ninth Edition booster packs as prizes. Furthermore, if you frequent a store that will be holding an official release tournament and you bring a friend who does not normally play there, you and your friend will both get a Serra Angel deck box (while supplies last, so show up early!).

Each player who participates in one of the release tournaments will either receive five booster packs of Ninth Edition, which will be used to build a deck to play in the Sealed Deck tournament, or three boosters to use in a Booster Draft. Either way, your deck must be at least 40 cards, and as with any Limited tournament, you can include as many basic lands as you need. Any cards you don’t use to build your deck can be used as a sideboard for games 2 and 3 of your match. However, all of the cards you get to build you deck with are yours to keep! Once you find a store near you that is holding a release event for Ninth Edition, you can ask them about entry fees, which should not exceed $20, and prizes for the tournaments, as these may vary between locations.

If you are new to playing in Sealed Deck or Limited style tournaments, here are a few key points to remember when you are building your deck:

  • First, it is generally best to keep your deck as small as possible. By keeping your deck close to 40 cards, you increase the chances of drawing your best cards. Also, your deck becomes more consistent and you will have a better idea what your typical draws will look like. You are more likely to get good opening hands, and your deck’s mana base will be spread more evenly.
  • Second, try to use a variety of different casting costs in your deck. While it may be cool to have a bunch of really high-cost creatures in your deck, there is a good chance that a player with a faster deck can deal 20 damage to you before you get your big creatures into play.
  • Next, use cards that can destroy creatures. There are a lot of really cool creatures in the new core set, so your opponent is sure to have some of them. If you have any cards that can help you to deal with his or her creatures, you had best play them.
  • Finally, try to limit your deck to only two or three different colors. It is almost impossible to build a 40-card deck that is one color with only five booster packs, but a two-color deck is not hard to come up with. You probably only want to put 16 to 18 mana-making cards in your deck, so trying to fit four or five different colors in will make your deck slower and may cause you to lose games where you have winning cards in your hand just because you can’t play them because you don’t have the right kind of land in play. Using cards that help you get multiple colors of mana will help you to get the right color mana to play your spells, but using too many different colors can really constrict your deck’s performance.

Playing in a Limited environment is a lot different than playing with Constructed decks. Creatures are generally much more important in Limited play, and there is considerably more interaction between players during the combat phase. Using instants during combat and other combat tricks will help you to win many of your games. Also, creatures with evasion abilities, abilities like flying, fear, or landwalk, are much more valuable as they allow you to sidestep your opponent’s defenses. In Limited play, you never know what cards your opponent may have in his or her deck, so you always have to be prepared for anything.

Ninth Edition is certain to shake up the Magic world. Some staple cards that we have all depended on for years may not be around any longer. There are sure to be countless cards that will help to bring back memories of past victories and agonizing defeats. Check with stores in your area to find out where you will be able to play in one of these release events. The special release events on July 30 and 31 are the first chance to see what old favorites have come back to play again. You might just find some of your favorite cards in a booster pack once again!

Brian started playing Magic in spring 1994 (when you could still buy Antiquities boosters!) After becoming a DCI Judge in 1999, he has judged numerous Grand Prix, PTQs, local events, and even a couple of Pro Tours. He joined the Wizards of the Coast Delegate program in June 2004 and in what free time he has left after judging, delegating, and playing will be a contributing writer for the MPR newsletter.

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