"Playground Hobby Cafe Ixalan PR Event: Looking for Dinos , Finding Pirates."
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.MD
To anyone who has read any of my articles this month it was quite clear what I wanted to get out of this Pre-release. Dinos! and lots of them! But if there is anything that I learned in all of the PR's that I have attended , it is to expect the unexpected.
I have been reading on all the things I can do about dinos ever since the spoilers came out but lo and behold all the ones that I got were all too few and was spread over all the colors that playing made them was absolutely not viable.
My PR card was the awesome Vraska's Contempt and so I said if I got a lot more of these cards then I might play Dimir. So I opened my packs and got a Walk the Plank and Contract Killing. My latter packs would give me 3 copies of Cancel and 2 copies Mark of the Vampire. So I had to look at the tribe that would take advantage of this most. Pirates.
Daring Saboteur , Fell Flagship and Search for Azcanta made their appearances.A pair of the new "Mesmeric fiend" in Kitesail Freebooter as well and single Duress.
I was feeling more like in my element as the cards kept on coming. Beside me was Aki who opened a mythic PR kit that had rares and mythics in each pack! He also had Gishath as his PR card! I had no time to be envious though as I was looking at the cards that was dealt to me and felt a certain excitement. In front of me was my friend Cesar from Medschool and he too was going the pirate route. Argh me mateys!
A few test plays with Aki revealed certain weaknesses of my 40 card deck , mainly it had the habit of dying to Boros Dinos that kept on coming. I wanted to see dinos , I just didn't want them to be snapping at my head. I encouraged Aki that despite the temptation to use all of the mythics at his disposal not to push it and stick with colors that he can support. I am glad he listened as I would observe his progress over the 4 round PR.
Round 1 - Azorius Dino Control vs Dimir Pirates.
I encountered a new player and he kept asking me questions if he can do certain things and his unfamiliarity with some of the cards in the set showed because he admitted that he started playing with an EDH deck. Although through out the game he would pressure me enough for those 2 games , I sense that the guy would be a lot better the next time we met.
He was frustrated with the 3 Cancels that I had because I was able to foil his plans. I was so happy for Search for Azcantan in this round as it appeared twice and I was able to dig through my deck for answers.
Result: Dimir Pirates in 2 games. 1-0
Round 2 - Merfolks vs. Dimir Pirates
It was Roger and me this time and I was in trouble. The tribal might of the merfolk would be seen here. Surviving through my removals and counters.
I also drew walk the plank which the merfolk would just flip the finger to as they can basically swim away when you make them walk the plank.
Sensing defeat I just turned to asking Roger about card prices in the shop which was still better than the other shops that were neared to me in Eton. Plus they had 2 full binder of EDH staples that I wanted to raid. Sigh. Another time.
I shook hands with Roger who would eventually got 4-0 here and earn the shirt!
Result: Merfolk flipping me their middle flippers - 1-1
Round 3 - The Smiling One vs. Dimir Pirates.
I have to apologize my opponents as I do not really remember his deck. What I remember was that in Game 1 I was able to cast a Kitesail Freeboter curve to a One with the Wind and then to Mark of the Vampire which gave me a 5/6 flying Life linker and the game was over pretty much after that.
I still had bad memories facing Mark of the Vampire in a previous PR. Sleepy and annoyed at how strong it was back then. I learned from that though and would not pass this up as this was what a deck like mine needed. I can take as much damage as I want early but make up for it with a big creature like this in the end game.
I was able to control game 2 as well.
Result: Shoke hands with Smiling One. Dimir Pirates 2-1.
Round 4 - Boss round! Naya Gishath vs. Dimir Pirates.
If I keep on mentioned Kitesail Freeboter it is because this card has saved me a lot of times in the Pre release. And when I cast it to discover that my opponent can actually cast a massive Gishath on me I was so lucky to know about it but I felt kind of doomed. I had to see it through though and having identical 2-1 records only one of us would be 3-1 by the end of the round.
This time around no Search for Azcatan for me. Instead it was Opt that would allow me to save the game. I got hold of one of my Cancels and held on to it as my opponent curved into the Gishath. I breathed a sigh of relied when I was able to say no to the giant monster. I think my opponent was taken aback by this because I assume he used Gishath for his two wins. It was another workhorse of mine , Dire Fleet Interloper that did that trick as I was able kill his creatures with my removal efficiently.
Game 2 and a Duress showed me that Gishath was still coming for me. All my opponent was missing was a Forest and I would be in big trouble. I drew a Cancel. I waited as he knew that I would have the Cancel in my hand but he risked it after a few turns and I was still able to say no. Twice in the round. I can only be as lucky.
I was able to win with an unblocked Daring Saboteur with the Fell Flagship out as my opponent clogged his side his side of the battlefield with blockers.I had to kiss this card as I would not have won otherwise.
Result: Gishath Naya Dinos 2-2 , Dimir Pirates 3-1.
This was my best record in a PR for awhile and this really made my weekend. Working almost 16 hours a day and acquiring losing streaks in EDH games built up a lot of frustration and stress but at least today I can revel in my pirate victory.
Congratulations Playground Hobby Cafe for another successful PR event. I am looking forward to the next ones where we can just see familiar places in comfortable , well maintained surroundings. Even Plague Lords love playing in Finer places.