Next up, FNM. When I first got back into Magic last summer, I decided that Venser, the Sojourner, was the coolest thing ever. He was going for around $20 then, and I traded for a couple, but by the time I got started actually building decks with modern cards, I never got around to actually using him. From this, I hopefully learned a valuable lesson: first, design the deck, then acquire the cards, starting with the cheap ones. Don’t get the expensive ones just because they’re cool. But I had had thoughts of what evil things I could do with him in a deck percolating for a long time. I’d planned on using a bunch of Splicers, because flickering a splicer to get more golem tokens just doesn’t seem to have a down side. And it occurred to me that if I was doing that anyway, I could run 4 Shape Anews, with no actual artifact spells in the deck except one Blightsteel Colossus. I’d been actively trying to get pieces for the deck for a while; I finally decided that I just wanted to play the darn thing, even without some of the cards that I wanted, so I bought the Blightsteel from Dave and ran it. My goal was to actually win a game at FNM by cheating the colossus in, and I succeeded. I went 2-2 on the night and actually finished top half (I think I was 6th out of 14), and won a Dark Ascension booster. I will be tuning the deck up, adding a couple of cards from the new set and a couple that I wanted but hadn’t been able to get, and trying it again when I play Standard next.
Finally, the main event, the prerelease for Avacyn Restored. Dave likes to go crazy with his prerelease events, and when he’s throwing around so many door prizes, I want to be there! Wizards had a special, much-ballyhooed gimmick for this prerelease. The story line for the set is that the archangel Avacyn was imprisoned along with the archdemon Griselbrand in a monolith called the Helvault, and the main event for this set is that the Helvault got opened and let Avacyn out. So Wizards provided game stores with cardboard models of the Helvault, which would contain prizes for players in prerelease events, and they were supposed to be pretty good. I could only be there for one of the 3 events Dave ran (and to get to even the one, I had to be late to the Sutton’s annual housefilk). So I duly went home Friday night, after my modest success at FNM, and proceeded to toss and turn most of the night, and come in just about as bleary eyed as the crazy people who had just done the midnight-7 AM prerelease. I was excited, we had a cool new set, and I normally like playing sealed. I opened my 6 packs and my hopes were ground down; I didn’t get any of the hyped cards, I didn’t get anything that I thought qualified as a bomb, and I didn’t think any two of my colors were strong enough to play alone. I put together a 3 color red white and black mess with all the removal I’d cracked and some random creatures. I went 2-1-3, with both of my wins against people who were obviously not serious players, and one of my losses to someone who intimidated me with his attitude and comments about my slow play into making a possibly critical mistake. (Yeah, he probably had a better deck, and I won the first game because he drew badly. But if I really were stalling, the second game would gone to time, and 1-0-1 for a match win would have been a lot more satisfying than 1-2.) The people who’d done the midnight event, along with anyone who read the leaked info on the net, knew that there wasn’t really much of anything in the Helvault. Just some oversized cards of Griselbrand, Avacyn, and the other 3 mythic Angels, where everyone could pick one, some d20s, and some tokens. I did do fairly well in the door prize lottery -- a Worldwake intro pack, which included only the second Worldwake booster I’ve ever opened. It got a lot less valuable once I opened it -- the rare was Stirring Wildwood.