Magic the Gathering; Born of the Gods’ Pre-release

February 1st, 2014
Legend Comics and Coffee
Omaha, Ne


I’ve never felt as much of a part of a group than I do with the Friday Night Magic players at Legend Comics and Coffee in Omaha, Nebraska. I had always considered Magic Players to be the elite of the “Nerd Class,” but being a part of Team Legend is an honor. As competative as the atmosphere can be during FNM; win, lose or draw, we all have a great time swapping stories and deck building ideas while trying to best each other on the battlefield.
A typical Friday night at Legend finds around 30 players in the game room, but tonight was a pre-release event and the usual number of FNM players nearly doubled. FNM started at the normal time but there was a heightened sense of urgency that could be felt throughout the entire room. Tonight’s tournament felt more casual. So many new players and players that we’d not seen for months were at tonight’s event. Between matches, players would catch each other up on their latest strategies and compare notes on with Born of the Gods cards they hoped to pull at midnight. It was great hearing people talk about the mechanics of their current decks and how they would build on to it with the BNG release. There was lots of talk about the Inspire and Tribute mechanics of the new cards and how those would play into current decks. The favored BNG color seemed to be Blue.
Too bad my mind was on Born of the Gods and not the 3rd match I was playing. Somehow I forgot that my Mistcutter Hydra has protection from Blue and let my opponent clear the board with a Supreme Verdict. I also let slip the stack order of instant speed spells and got taken out by an Aetherling …. twice … Live and learn.
As the clock closed in on the Witching Hour, so did our opportunity to be amongst the first to play with Born of the Gods. As the final player registered, 131 spots would be needed for tonight’s event and it would encompass every square foot of the shop plus portions of the resteraunt next door.It was great to look around the room and see so many people who shared my love for the game that had recently celebrated it’s 20th anniversary. When I started playing in 1993, the game was geared more towards the high school aged players. Tonight’s event found a wide age range of players. Wizards of the Coast found a game that could hold the attention of the group of 12 year olds who play FNM every other week, and let us thirty-somethings feel like we’re kids again when we crack open a pack.
Nothing, however, compairs to opening a pre-release box. Finding a new Heroic card to add to Planeswalker Points, or seeing the new set’s packs next to the event dice. It was nerd Christmas at Legend Comics and Coffee. I always found it fascinating to watch players build decks. Each person has their own unique way of sorting cards and opening packs. Some go straight to the end of the pack for the rare card. Some, like one of the players next to me, would read each card in order and place them in a deck or no-deck pile. Running a Black/Green Golgari deck, I choose Black as my pre-release deck. Each color had it’s own Heroic card, 3 packs of Theros, 2 packs of Born of the Gods and pre-release seeded pack with a rare card with alternate artwork. Black’s Heroic card was The Tyrant and it’s rare was the Eater of Hope. The Eater of Hope is a 5BB Demon with flying. It’s mechanic trigger when you sacrifice creatures. I’m not big of sacrificing my own creatures, so I put him in my Maybe pile.
I wasted no time tearing into my seeded pack. I was impressed with what I’d seen online and was eager to put that knowledge to good use in tonight’s event. Maybe I’d even win a round. Out of the six packs I opened, I got some great pulls. A Hammer of Purphoros, Thoughtseize, 2 Asphyxiates, Drown In Sorrow. Not bad since I was planning on running mono-black. I changed my mind after opening the seeded pack and pulling Mogis, God of Slaughter. Black/Red really isn’t my favorite to play, but I could make it work. The second BNG pack I opened had a Phenex, God of Deception. I made the unwise and greedy choice to run Black/Blue/Red. It seemed like a good idea. I ran tri-colored during Theros and did pretty well. But that was Theros. Even with the low casting cost creatures and spells, I wasn’t able to pull enough mana to cause any serious damage. My first opponent managed to beat me down both rounds by having Xenagos, God of Revels on the battlefield and several minotaurs. The second match didn’t go any better. A tri-colored deck, with only a partially thought out theme, did horribly against a mono-white deck.
This being only my 3rd pre-release event, I’m sure I’ll do much better for the Nyx pre-release. Finger’s crossed.


Here’s the 40 card deck I recklessly built:

Unknown Shores x1
Swamp x6
Island x5
Mountain x5
Guardian of Meletis x1
Evanescent Intellect x1
Nullify x1 (foil)
Annul x1
Aqueous Form x1
Kragma Butcher x2
Impetupuous Sunchaser x1
Deathbellow Raider x1
Spark Jolt x1
Asphyxiate x2
Viper’s Kiss x1
Necrobite x1
Drown in Sorrow x1
Thoughtseize x1
Felhide Brawler x1
Servant of Tymaret x1
Spiteful Returned x1
Balful Eidolon x1
Ragemonger x1
Mogis, God of Slaughter x1
Phenax, God of Deception x1


Seeing that I had the most Minotaur creature cards, I decided to add them. It helped to have the Ragemonger, knowing that having it on the battelfield meant that my Minotaur would cost RB less to play. I added the Aqueous Form for the Spiteful Returned, knowing that I could enchant the creature and cause an addition 2 damage each time I attacked if my opponant didn’t kill the creature. I tried to keep the casting costs low but added enough permenants to boost my devotion for the two Gods. It seemed like a well enough plan, but I should have stuck with either black/blue or black/red, not all three. Drown in Sorrow was added in case I came across anyone with token generators and I knew the Asphyxiate would be put to good use. I’m a fan of the “Kill Decks” and, being the type of controll deck I usually run, I had hoped I’d be on familiar ground. Even though I didn’t win any matches during the pre-release, I had a blast talking to the other players and finding out what treasures they’d pulled.
Sadly though, I couldn’t find anyone who pulled a Kiora, the Crashing Waves or Brimaz, King of Oreskos. But it is a three day event and there’s always a chance for me to pull another foil planeswalker during a pre-release.
Overall, I really enjoy the Tribute and Inspired mechanics of the Born of the Gods set. Tribute forces your opponent to make a tough choice while casting a creature, while Inspire makes you decide whether or not you’ll just let your creatures sit on the battlefield or put them to good use. The Multi-colored Gods of BNG are a huge advantage whether or not your devotion to their specific colors are met. That was why I threw both Gods into my deck. Even with the high devotion cost of seven, their powers can be devistating when you get them onto the battlefield.
My opinion? Magic the Gathering is getting better and better with each set released. The game has gotten much more user friendly than when I started playing but also gives you the chance to build a more challenging deck at the same time.
I do have a few predictions though. I predict the Blue/Red God will be Keranos. And the next block will be based on Egyptian mythology.
Good luck on the battlefield, Planeswalkers. May the card be forever in your favor.