Gearing up for Avacyn Restored

Posted in Limited Information on April 25, 2012

By Steve Sadin

The Avacyn Restored Prerelease is this weekend, and I'm hoping to Outwit, Aggravate, and Demolish my opponents (actually, I'd far prefer to have fun and pull off some cool tricks with Ghostly Flicker, but that doesn't roll off the tongue anywhere near as well). And while the Prerelease will be the first opportunity for you to play with the new cards, you can already see every card in the set at the Avacyn Restored Card Image Gallery.

Promo card for Avacyn Restored Prerelease

So if you haven't already studied the set backwards and forwards, now would be a great time to check it out so you can know what to expect this weekend.

Is this your first Prerelease?

Tim Willoughby has some valuable tips and crucial information in his Prerelease Primer (an absolute must-read article if this is your first Prerelease—or if you're looking for a quick summary of what to expect this weekend).

Open the Helvault, April 28th and 29th

If you've already read Tim's article, then some of these points are going to be redundant, but they're important enough that I'm willing to bring them up again.

Make sure to call ahead and preregister for the Prerelease!

If you want to play this weekend and you haven't already preregistered for an event, make sure to call ahead as soon as possible, to make sure there's a spot for you.

Avacyn Restored is a standalone Limited set

While Avacyn Restored is a part of the Innistrad block, which is particularly relevant for Constructed formats, it is a standalone set for Limited. That means you're going to open three Avacyn Restored packs when you Booster Draft and six Avacyn Restored packs when you're playing Sealed Deck.

Play forty cards!

You are going to open up six Avacyn Restored booster packs, from which you need to build a forty-card (minimum) deck.

It's the Prerelease, so you might feel an urge to play with every interesting card that you open, then add a bunch of lands and start shuffling.

Pillar of Flame | Art by Karl Kopinski

Don't do that!

You should build a forty-card deck, as that will maximize the chances you draw the right lands and be able to find your best cards in a timely manner.

If you want to try playing with more of your cards, you can swap a bunch of things around while you're sideboarding. But you shouldn't just put them all into your main deck and hope things work out.

Play two colors or two colors with a light third-color splash.

It might be tempting to play all of your best cards in three—or even four—colors, but if you do that you're going to end up losing a lot of your games because of mana problems.

Are there exceptions to this rule? Definitely. But unless you have something like two copies of Abundant Growth and a Vessel of Endless Rest, you should do yourself a favor and stick to two colors.

Play 17–18 lands.

Even if you're playing an "aggressive deck" that's full of two- and three-mana creatures, it's probably going to be in your best interest to play seventeen lands.

Don't main deck any one-mana 1/1s, or 1/2s unless they do something extremely good for you.

Aggressive creatures, like Kruin Striker, can do fantastic things in Limited. If you have enough quick creatures backed up by pump spells like Joint Assault, dedicated creature removal spells like Pillar of Flame, or bounce spells such as Into the Void, you are frequently going to be able to swing to victory before your opponents can get much of anything started.

But simply being cheap to cast doesn't make a creature worth playing.

While the tricky Nephalia Smuggler is sure to wreak havoc on many a game this weekend, Hunted Ghoul simply isn't good enough to main deck.

If you're playing any miracle cards, keep your hand and the first card you draw each turn completely separate from one another (until you know it isn't a miracle card).

If you have any miracle cards in your deck you need to be sure to keep your hand, and the first card you draw each turn, from touching each other until you've confirmed the card you're drawing doesn't have miracle (or that you don't want to cast it).

Even if you don't have any miracle cards in your deck, and you just want to trick your opponents into thinking you have a Terminus that will allow you to completely wipe the board, you should be careful to make a clear distinction between the card you are drawing and your hand.

Understanding soulbond

Whenever a creature with soulbond enters the battlefield, you can choose to pair it with another unpaired creature that you control.

Hanweir Lancer | Art by Steve Prescott

But you don't have to pair it immediately. Because whenever any creature enters the battlefield, if you have any unpaired soulbond creatures you may pair one of them with your new creature.

In fact, it will often be worth it for you to wait to pair your soulbond creatures until you find a very nice card for it to enter into a codependent relationship.

So if you start the game by playing a first-turn Wingcrafter, you might choose not to pair it with your second-turn Thraben Valiant, so your Wingcrafter can instead pair up with your third-turn Tandem Lookout (allowing you to start drawing a TON of extra cards).

If the creatures ever become unpaired, because one of them dies or leaves play (even momentarily), you will be able to pair your soulbond creature with the next creature that enters play.

When you're building your deck, and playing, this weekend, you should keep in mind that Cloudshift and Ghostly Flicker cause a creature to temporarily leave—and then re-enter—play. So if you have a Ghostly Flicker, you can pair any one of your soulbond creatures with any other creature you control at the drop of a hat.


Be careful not to include too many (or any) cards that require a specific set of circumstances for them to be relevant.

While four mana for a 5/5 creature is an absolute bargain in Limited, I would not main deck a Flowering Lumberknot unless I had at least ten creatures with soulbond. And even then, I would probably shy away from it.

Flowering Lumberknot | Art by Nic Klein


Well, there are a number of things conspiring against Flowering Lumberknot. Not only will there be a lot of situations where I won't have any soulbond creatures to pair it with or my opponent will have a removal spell to kill my soulbond creature (thus stranding my Flowering Lumberknot).

But even if I have a soulbond creature, and my opponent doesn't have a way to kill it, I'll have to be extremely conservative about attacking and blocking with the soulbond creature that I've paired with Flowering Lumberknot, lest it die in combat and leave my 5/5 unable to attack or block.

Similarly, I plan to shy away from cards like my preview card from last week, Homicidal Seclusion, unless I have a deck that is custom-built for it (e.g., a deck full of removal spells and only a handful of creatures—many of which have undying). While Homicidal Seclusion certainly has the potential to be the highest-impact card in any given game, the fact that it costs five mana and will often do nothing makes me unwilling to take a chance on it in most circumstances.

Make sure your deck has a plan

No matter what you end up playing this weekend, make sure you can envision a way that you're going to win.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight | Art by Jason Chan

  • Are you going to overrun your opponents with aggressive creatures and backbreaking tempo cards like Into the Void?
  • Are you going to stall out the game until you can take over with a bomb like Gisela, Blade of Goldnight?
  • Are you going to use an abundance of removal spells, like Barter in Blood, to attrition the game to a point where you win with whatever creatures you can find?
  • Are you going to play some big creatures like Vorstclaw and simply smash your opponents to death?
  • Are you going to evade your way to victory with cards like Gryff Vanguard and Seraph of Dawn?

Even if you have a plan, it might turn out that your deck doesn't function exactly the way you hoped it would. But that's okay. This is the Prerelease, the tournament where we begin our exploration of Avacyn Restored Limited.

But if you're building your deck and you can't see a clear route to victory, then you should probably go back to the drawing board and rebuild a deck with a plan.

Are there any cards you can't wait to play with?

Ghostly Flicker and Mist Raven are the two cards that are currently at the top of my list of Avacyn Restored cards I'm excited to play with.

I can't wait to save one of my creatures from a removal spell and bounce my opponent's biggest creature with Mist Raven, all thanks to a Ghostly Flicker.

What cards are you hoping to open this weekend?

Hop over to the forums to let me know!

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