Beginner Planeswalker Guide: Playing in a Prerelease!January 10, 2019
This is an ongoing series of Magic articles aimed at welcoming people into Magic: The Gathering! Today I am going to explain what a prerelease is and how to prepare to play in one.
A prerelease is the very first chance to play the newest Magic set! This happens one week before the release of the set and all prerelease events run the Sealed format. The set that comes out on January 25 (with prerelease events Jan 19-20) is called Ravnica Allegiance.
When you arrive at the store, you should be able to register at the counter. It’s also a very good idea to call ahead and pre-register or preregister online if that is an option because sometimes stores run out of available prerelease packs. I recommend bringing a playmat, card sleeves, dice, and a way to keep track of life totals with pen and paper. Everything else will be provided for you. You will also likely change seats every round, so make sure you can easily move your items from place to place.
Each player will get a prerelease pack at the start of the event to build a deck with. This will include five booster packs from Ravnica Allegiance and one seeded booster pack – filled with cards specific to your guild of choice. Once the judge or tournament organizer says you can open your packs, it’s time to see what your pool has in store for you and to build your 40-card-deck for the night. They will have basic lands for you to use.
In this set, you will need to select a guild. Ravnica is all about ten guilds, each that combines two Magic colors. You can think of this as your Hogwarts or Game of Thrones House only in the Magic world. Here are the ten guilds and a brief description of each one. Important note: this set only has the first 5 guilds available to chose from, the other 5 were featured in the last set.
In this set:
- Azorius: White/Blue – The Azorius Senate is all about following the rule of the law. They believe that society needs a strict structure in order to maintain stability.
- Rakdos: Black/Red – The Cult of Rakdos is the party guild obsessed with sadistic pleasure. They believe that death is an art and life is meant to be enjoyed.
- Gruul: Red/Green – The Gruul Clan is focused on living primitively in nature. They believe that civilization should be destroyed.
- Orzhov: White/Black – The Orzhov Syndicate is a group that combines religion with total control over finances. They believe wealth is power.
- Simic: Green/Blue – This is my guild! The Simic Combine is dedicated to preserving nature and testing the boundaries of evolution. They believe that in order to thrive, you must adapt to change.
From the last set:
- Dimir: Blue/Black – House Dimir is all about being secretive.
- Selesnya: Green/White – The Selesnya Conclave is dedicated to nature and balance. They believe that the greater good always comes before individuality.
- Izzet: Blue/Red – The Izzet League is full of mad scientists. They live for impulsive experiments.
- Golgari: Green/Black – The Golgari Swarm embrace the fact that death is a part of life. They believe in the power of regrowth within the life cycle.
- Boros: Red/White – The Boros Legion is sworn to providing justice. They believe that militaristic force is required for peace.
You can choose a guild based on colors you like to play, the guild you relate to the most or the mechanics you are the most interested in trying. There is no wrong answer. Whatever you end up playing, just enjoy yourself and try to learn something new. Prereleases are meant to be very low key and beginner friendly.
Here are some other articles in this series that you might find helpful before your first prerelease:
If you are looking for a store to play at a prerelease in your area, check out this resource.
Join me next week if you are interested in my deep dive into the new mechanics featured in this set. If you want to read ahead or have an extra week to study up on the cards, you can see them here.
I wish you all the very best of luck! I’d love to hear your prerelease stories on Twitter.