Ill Met In Amonkhet!
A bunch of local friends of mine just got into “Magic: the Gathering “with the Amonkhet set, and they went with me to their first Booster Draft on Friday night. The draft was surprisingly busy, with a good pool of players…the best that I have seen at draft in a long time. We stayed until the event was over, and although I did well, I didn’t place. As one might assume from a very average draft performance, I fared very strongly in my initial rounds, and struggled more as the rounds went on.
Ultimately, I had a solid build, but not a fast build, and in later rounds suffered from simply not bringing out cards quickly enough as compared to my opponents. These things happen, and although I played well, sometimes you don’t do as well as other days.
My friends did okay…the good part is that they enjoyed themselves. Competitive Magic can often turn weirdly exclusionary, as I experienced in the fall, at a pre-release event that I actually did very well in. Unfortunately, the event was so full of the worst enthusiasts of the hobby that I was down on the game for months. I imagined what it would be like being new to the game, and running into that, and worried for my friends.
It turned out that I got the most adversarial player there, and in round one. He set down a playmat from Magic: The Gathering’s “Grand Prix” event, which literally JUST HAPPENED in Vegas. It’s part of the Pro Tour, and no joke in terms of solid, high level play.
That said…it didn’t take much to completely @#$%house that guy, and make him go whining to the judge more than once. I may not have done well by comparison for the Draft, coming in at around fifth out of sixteen…but I made damn sure that guy was at the BOTTOM of the bracket. Surprisingly unsportsmanlike, and I was pretty glad that I got to chew him up, instead of having him play one of my friends that were newer to the game.
Let’s be fair…I was also pretty happy to soundly defeat him. Like…no contest. In both cases, using a card called “Cruel Reality”, which although badly overcosted, I now LOVE. It’s just a mean card, which if you can bring out, simply removes anything that might be considered FUN directly from the game.
I’m thinking that they hand out those Grand Prix playmats like candy at Halloween, because much more casual players, later in the draft, gave me a much, much larger hassle.
More importantly, my friends really enjoyed the draft, which is key. I like playing Magic, and I was more than a little concerned that an “official” event could subtract anything that was likeable from the game, and make these new players HATE it. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and in fact one of them was going on and on about how they were “one card away” from turning the whole thing around. That rant made me oddly proud.
Today’s art, obviously, is about the draft. The weird ghost creature references last summer’s Innistrad sets, with their ghosts and horrors, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Mummies obviously reference the current Amonkhet block, which is also unexpectedly fun to play, with its massive number of white zombies, and other new mechanics. More on point is Cap’s attitude, which is more casual…it’s not like the conflicts in the venue matter all that much…she’s just there in some sort of flirty fun. Kind of the way I feel about booster drafts right now, without the drinking and the flirting.