So it finally happened.
After years of slinging spells and slamming my fists on the kitchen table I finally stepped into the world of Friday Night Magic. My Lady Fair and I decided that there was no better option for date night than to go play some Magic at The Sentry Box (our friendly local gaming store).
Both of us had little real competitive experience. I had played in the Dark Ascension pre-release (where I placed 28th out of 60 running a B/U splashing W deck that featured none other than Sorin, Lord of Innistrad). She was “fresh off the boat” so to speak, but we were each excited to see what the night would offer.
I had done lots of research into how to draft effectively and have always had a pretty keen understanding of Magic and many of its subtle nuances; so I felt ready for what was to be a great night of socializing and spell weaving. My Lady Fair on the other hand didn’t know quite what to expect and was understandably nervous, that was to change over the course of the evening though.
After registering we made our way upstairs to the mezzanine and patiently waited for packs to be passed and the deck crafting to begin. The place wasn’t overly crowded, just 34 participants; however the energy was through the roof. There’s something about cracking booster packs that makes us Planeswalkers boil over with enthusiasm.
I ended up on the final of four tables as my Lady Fair sat at table three. I was a bit nervous for her but had the utmost confidence that she would do fine. She is a budding Magic star in my humble opinion, she just needs a little seasoning.
The event organizer shouted to begin and the foil wrapping flew from the packs of Dark Ascension, the cards pulled free with a rabid hunger. We all threw the tokens and lands into the middle of the table and announced our double faced cards. Mine was Mondronen Shaman. Unsure of what I was going to draft I flipped through the cards rather quickly and came to the conclusion that the double faced card was my best option.
Pick one, pack one Mondronen Shaman.
I was handed the pack to my right and quickly scoured through it. Much to my surprise an Immerwolf was staring back at me. It was at that point that I had to make a decision, either stick to my original plan and draft only format friendly cards, or go all in on a dedicated Werewolf deck.
Mark Rosewater would be proud of the choice I made.
With an archetype and draft strategy now firmly in place I poured through the remaining packs looking for cards to compliment a strong Werewolf theme. I was extremely lucky and ended up with many of the key pieces I needed to give me a chance at making a strong showing. Moonmist, Full Moon’s Rise, Scorned Villager x2, Ulvenwald Mystics x2, Reckless Waif, and Young Wolf x2 to name but a few. These all played key roles in the coming games. I also drafted a few excellent tricks such as Naturalize, Crushing Vines, Ranger’s Guile and Hunger of the Howl Pack.
My biggest concern, which was supported by the events of my first match, was my lack of solid removal and effective ways to block pesky fliers. I just didn’t get passed any of those pieces. I had a couple burn spells like Harvest Pyre and Rolling Temblor but nothing that was overly effective.
My first opponent, Alex Burke, had drafted a U/W/R Humans and Spirits deck with a healthy dose of control and removal. His fliers are what did me in after a long and grueling three games. I managed to win the first of those three due to him being mana flooded. Then Karma came calling and the Mana started flooding me. I lost because of my inability to deal with his fliers effectively .
Although slightly frustrated about my overdraws of land I had a great experience playing Alex; and in loosing found more conviction to play tight and get some wins.
Round two saw me matched up against a rather large and jovial fellow from Salt Lake City named Latanoa Pikula. He was playing a B/R vampire heavy deck that used Burning Vengeance. I outraced him thanks to my Scorned Villagers in game one. Game two saw him swing heavy and beat me in the early stages. In game three we both had to mulligan down to four cards and I was lucky enough to get the draws and build my tempo faster than he could deal with, winning a decisive victory in the end.
Of all the games this was probably my favorite due to Latanoa’s great personality and the flavor of Vampires vs. Werewolves. That is not to say, however that all the games were not great in their own right.
Round three pitted me against Colton Hatch who was running a W heavy deck. The two games we played were close but my combat tricks and Immerwolf’s Intimidate ability proved to be slightly too much for him.
In the final round of the night I sat across from Bradley Morin who had a G/R/B deck with some real heavy hitters. I’d say that this was the closest of all the matches I played that night. The first game came down to me swinging with several heavy hitters for the win. And the Second game saw him outtempo me, drop an Orchard Spirit and get me down to two life before I top decked my Gnaw to the Bone and won with my massive 8/8 Ulvenwald Primordials.
All in all the night was a blast. I met some great players and had some incredible games. I was underwhelmed with the rares in my prize packs but the experience outweighed that slight disappointment. I went 3-1 (placing me 9th overall) and my Lady Fair went 2-2 (placing her 20th overall) a decent showing in my opinion.
We are both looking forward to next FNM ever so excitedly.