Last week I attended a pre-release party for the first time. It was a little frustrating at first because I was getting stomped. Luckily, a more advanced player took pity on me and gave me a few tips on how to build a deck for tournament play and by the end of the night, I was having a lot more fun. All in all, I didn't come in last so I was a happy-ish camper.
The new guilds are pretty interesting for this set:
- Gruul - Red/Green - Keyword: "Bloodrush" - Cards with Bloodrush can be discarded for their Bloodrush cost in order to bolster an attacking creature with a beneficial effect until end of turn.
- Simic - Blue/Green - Keyword: "Evolve" - If a creature with Evolve is on the battlefield when another creature with a higher power or toughness comes into play under its owner's control, the creature with Evolve gets a +1/+1 counter.
- Dimir - Black/Blue - Keyword: "Cipher" - When you cast a spell with Cipher, you may exile it upon resolution and 'encode' the spell effect onto a creature you control on the battlefield. Then, whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player, its controller may cast a copy of the encoded card without paying its mana cost.
- Boros - Red/White - Keyword: "Battalion" - When a creature with Battalion attacks with at least two other creatures, the effect on the Battalion creature triggers.
- Orzhov - White/Black - Keyword: "Extort" - If a creature with Extort is on the battlefield, upon casting a spell, you may pay the Extort cost (either one White or Black mana). Each of your opponents will lose 1 life and you gain the total amount of life lost by all opponents. Each instance of Extort may only be paid for once.
I played Gruul at the tournament and while it was fun to play, I should have chosen something else because Bloodrush is pretty similar to the Golgari Scavenge, which was my main deck for Return to Ravnica. Now that I have a whole box of boosters, I think I'll build a Simic or Dimir deck. The Simic creatures are pretty cool (there's one that's a half hammerhead shark half spider thing) and Dimir's Cipher can be pretty awesomely sneaky. Orzhov was a fairly sneaky play style as well, since Extort seems to do so little damage. You don't really notice how much damage your opponent has done until it's too late. The only clan I wasn't particularly interested in was Boros, although it seemed to do really well in the tournament. Maybe I'm just not all that interested in having mostly human creatures.