Another pre-release! I was talking the other day with a friend who plays at my store about pre-releases and the hype surrounding them. As he put it: “it’s like FNM, but with everything”. Well, it’s kind of true. You have a bunch of people who love to play Magic coming together to celebrate a new set and play against each other. Wizards have long decided that this is the way to gain more popularity in an ever increasing “twitch” era that seems to swallow up the entire gaming world. You go to the shop, where you make new friends, talk about different strategies and deck building options. It all sounds pretty on paper, but then there’s Ingolstadt 🙂 A city of fabled renown in the Legacy format. However, most people tell me that that shouldn’t be a reason why you don’t participate in the pre-release, just because you mainly play Legacy. In fact, my personal opinion about the format changed drastically after organizing 3 events already. I am extremely impressed with the levels of complexity that arise in this format. Also competing for very sought-after cards like Force of Will, gets the juices flowing pretty fast when you’re trying to make the Top 8 cut.
But this is about pre-releases and pre-releases are supposed to be fun and just ever so slightly competitive. You still want to win something after getting to the top table, but at the same time you know that it’s just as good playing versus a friend at the last tables and just laugh at each other’s concoctions that didn’t really hit the mark this time around. I heard about how other shops run pre-releases or drafts, with each participant being guaranteed prizes just for participating. That’s definitely one way of getting participants, but isn’t that just inflating sells? Where’s the spirit of it all? Where’s that urge to become better? To reach a higher level than you reached last time. If you know for a fact that you are guaranteed your prizes no matter your result, won’t that deter you from ever trying to become better? Would this be a better way, let’s say for beginners though? That might be the case since you get your bonus of 2 boosters no matter how hard you failed.
The honest truth is that Magic is all about taking chances. Will you play that Supreme Verdict now, or should you just hold it for another turn and hope you get even more value? Will you pay 2 life, draw two and be in range of a bolt, but maybe, just maybe you draw an out that prolongs the game? It’s all about that slight adrenaline rush you get when you know your next draw could seal the deal and move you up the ranks. It’s all about knowing that you could either win or lose upon looking at your next card. I love that feeling. It’s what makes me want to keep playing. I love getting that jolt inside me and feel my breath getting slower just before I draw the card that could save or kill me. And for that reason I also like being rewarded if I played well. I don’t just want two boosters if I played like total trash. I would actually feel insulted. I would have done nothing to earn those boosters, just, as my friend put it, “exist”. “Well, thank you for participating, and now that you played super bad but you got 2 boosters regardless of that, we hope you come back and buy more”. Dude, this is all about gaming. This is about challenging your friends and yourself to see who’s got more chops this time around. You get hit by a mulligan to four and curse all existing gods in alphabetical order, but then you draw that sweeper on turn 5 and you’re right back into the game. Would you do that if you knew you would already get everything just served to you for “existing” in that event? You would probably just scoop up and say “gg”, move on and blame it all on bad draws. I don’t think you would grind your teeth and hope for the best.
What am I getting at though…Wanna play for fun the game that you like? Go to a pre-release! There are enough places where you can choose from. If you get there, make sure you leave a comment about how it was and what you would personally like to improve in that event. Also if you have a different perspective on anything that I just wrote about, you are more than welcome to make your point online or just visit me at the shop and let’s have a Spezi 😛
See you in the Arena!
Next article: A tale of work, shop and games. Games Workshop partnership explained in detail.