Down The Eldraine…

This weekend was Throne of Eldraine Pre-Release. It could have been better.

Saturday, my buddy and I went to a different game store than we usually do for the Pre-Release Tournament for Eldraine. I mentioned in a previous post that I was kind of down on the set, and also that I wanted to avoid certain kinds of play conflict. It seemed like going to this other venue would be the solution to at least one issue, so we made the journey to Turn Zero Games in Korea Town.

We played there once before, at the beginning of the summer, and met with some of my former students there. It was a good gaming experience, so we figured we would go back. The shop has a fantastic inventory and is very neatly organized, so those things are definitely good.

We definitely liked the way that “It’s Game Time” in Culver City runs a tournament infinitely better. At the organizational level, things are just tighter.

Everything started an hour late. The rounds match ups involved a huge amount of shouting and confusion. The staff seemed ill equipped to judge, and more or less uninterested in the event as a whole. My friend and I had a bunch of confusion about our DCI numbers, which were in their system. So…that made things a bit…not great.

My first opponent was a charming player, who has been playing since Fourth Edition, and really likes Commander as a format. He was a good player, and super friendly, and really improved things just by being there. We exchanged information, since my friend @#$%ing loves playing Commander, and is always looking for other gamers. All good.

The next rounds, though, I drew all of the Magic: The Gathering player stereotypes, in rapid succession. It made the games I played successively less pleasant to play, because there was exactly zero sportsmanship (gamesmanship?) present at the table. The players weren’t even all that good, they just were… unpleasant. I played one young lady who spent the whole first game pretending that she had never played Magic before, despite truly elegant shuffling technique. After her first loss, she became a typical “Spike” player, blazing through turns, scowling at the board, and maximizing every effect.

She was not a good loser, either.

The opponent pool went downhill from there, to all kinds of unpleasantness. The Arena player who doesn’t play with actual people in front of them, just on a computer. The local “Gamer In Crowd” that loudly tells all of their “insider jokes” over and over. My friend told me that I would prize out due to decent performance, but I asked that we leave before they got to it.

My buddy, being smarter, made sure to pick up his prize packs.

I was just so…put out by the unpleasantness of the day, that I wanted to beat feet as quickly as possible. Every day of the week, during school, I get to play a friendly table game of Magic. I really don’t have it in me to deal with people that are going to be different kinds of crummy, because I ultimately don’t have to. At least for the time being, that is.

It also means that I can honestly see opting out of Standard Drafts for this season…basically until January. A similar think happened with Kaladesh, a set that I was totally looking forward to. A negative gaming experience at the Pre-Release set me off the whole block. It was unfortunate.

Obviously, I could go to “It’s Game Time,” which is a few blocks away, and I’ve already said that I prefer the gaming experience and clientele there. That’s true, but honestly…there’s a couple of other unpleasant players there that I’d rather not sit down with. Hence the Turn Zero mission in the first place. In fairness, the Rre-Release for Kaladesh was at “It’s Game Time.”

Often, I find, Pre-Release events set me off of a set, or even the game, for a while. It’s probably a good idea to stop going to them, honestly.

The people in Panel One are the planeswalkers for the set, Rowan and Will Kenrith. They are twins, they are pretty cool cards, and they were initially introduced in Battlebond, which I liked. They did not, however, come out to help me at this event. In fact…I drew pretty much NONE of the cards that I was excited about in my Pre-Release pack, and that was an added bummer.

I wanted them to have a more cartoony, Disneyish feel because the set was intended to. So, there’s that.

Remember, True Believers….avoid unpleasantness.

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