Building our Battle for Zendikar sealed decks.
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This coming weekend, on September 26 and 27, thousands of gaming shops around the world will host prerelease tournaments for the upcoming Magic: the Gathering expansion, Battle for Zendikar (BFZ). Today, partly for journalistic reasons and partly to satisfy my own deeply nerdy tendencies, I invited Wizards of the Coast to Ars Technica HQ to play a few rounds of BFZ. If you're uncertain about going to a prerelease event, or you just want a bit more information about what a prerelease event entails, read on for our experiences of playing prerelease Battle for Zendikar. (Spoiler: It's really, really good.)
I should preface this story by saying I'm a bit of a Magic newbie; I played quite a lot when I was a teenager, but only got back into it earlier this year after a 15-year hiatus. I'm still learning my way around many of the new Magic mechanics, and I have limited experience with non-kitchen-table formats, such as booster draft or sealed deck.
Fortunately, the Battle for Zendikar Prerelease Pack is quite newbie-friendly. In it, there are six booster packs, a spin-down life counter, and a handy little pamphlet that tells you how to build a decent deck. I've never played the sealed deck format before, so I simply followed the printed instructions. I was a little anxious about choosing the right colours, and building a deck with a somewhat sane mana curve, but apparently it was enough to just follow the instructions: after our little play session had concluded, the Wizards employee said my deck was pretty solid.