Yesterday’s Dark Ascension pre-release tournament was a lot of fun, but we got beaten about as soundly as you can manage in Magic. Draft tournaments (where you can’t pre-assemble a deck and must throw something together out of a handful of freshly opened packs) can be fickle. We didn’t get any spectacular cards, but we assembled a couple of decks we thought might hold up relatively well, and got repeatedly hammered, going down 0-3 in our matches. We tried to make a few tweaks and adjustments between matches, but nothing seemed to be working. Whether our decks were outright stalling or simply underachieving, they were consistently under-performing our opponents.
My biggest problem at the outset was time. Since I haven’t played Magic in so long, I wasn’t familiar with any of the new cards at all. Assembling a deck in 45 minutes out of cards you know is one thing, but having to read every single one before sorting the good from the bad is a major disadvantage. In the end, I glossed over several useful cards I should have used because I’d misread them, and trying to make adjustments between games is difficult as well due to time constraints. The other issue, as expected, was the team format. It made for a much slower game play, which significantly changes the usual deck-building strategy from sealed packs. I expected to do fairly poorly, especially against currently competitive players, but it was still pretty brutal.
In the end, at least we had fun. I miss playing Magic on a regular basis, but I don’t have the cash these days to drop on new cards as they’re released. Keeping up with the game involves a whole lot of buying new cards to keep current. If you’re doing it on a regular basis, picking up a few packs here and there, it’s not so bad but it still comes out to several hundred dollars a year. Cheaper than some hobbies, but not something I can see myself doing at this point.