Editor’s note: this is going to be pretty generic since I’ll refer to this every time there’s a new pre-release. So if you’re reading this after the published date, you were searching for pre-releases.
I asked twitter if I should write about pre-releases in Magic. I wanted to know if people were interested about why you should go to pre-releases when not hearing it from paid WotC writers. After all, you’re expecting them to write and say “Go, please, it helps our business.” Shouldn’t you hear about it from someone not being paid by WotC?
There’s plenty of reasons to go to a pre-release. Again, I asked twitter why they go to these events. Am I phoning it in then? Am I just going to print their words and be done with it? Who are you, Mr. Questions?
Let’s get to their quotes:
I go to prerelease to play with the new cards, discuss them. I also always go to get annoyed by people that don’t read spoilers – @Daiches2
Cuz I love marathon MTG. My shop does a midnight prerelease at 12am, after FNM. Is caffeine a performance enhancing drug? – @brandonissavvy (Still not banned in Baseball so, no)
To get a head start on collecting needed cards and deck building. Also to learn neat interactions by doing. – @RobJelf
They’re relaxed like FNMs, but unlike FNMs not dominated by the 2-3 people who can afford every rare/mythic they need.
A lot of casual players come out of the woodwork, and you get to play with cards you’ve never played with before. – @brucerytel
I love Sealed with unknown set. Many of my playgroup practice a LOT and prere is a rare window where we have equal knowledge. – @gfraggle99
Not going to say no to a $15 promo card or 3! – @submityourdraft
greedy for the new cards… – @fatecreatr
The only time for even grounding. No one knows the set better than anyone else. I don’t have the time to play as much as others – @thephoenix5
It’s a really relaxed atmosphere, and it’s an easy way to learn about new card interaction. And the trading is fantastic! – @ArtosKincaid
Because Prerelease Events are like playing in buckets of pure, honest fun. – @the_stybs
Mainly prerelease promos and to trade for newer stuff before prices explode – @wheelsallen
Um… to see the new cards in the (cardboard) flesh for the first time! And to trade with folks not usually accessible. – @ouallada
I enjoy to play both limited and constructed competitively, prereleases are the 1st opportunity to get a glimpse at any shifts
Limited is about leveling the playing field (card-wise), prereleases take that to another level: nobody’s an expert on RoE
the prereleases also give you a real feel for what is playable for the release weekend where RoE is standard-legal. – @G3nGr3g
cuz its fun! – @JayBoosh
competition. 40 card decks are fun to play and sealed is SO good
who doesnt like opening packs of unreleased product?! A lot more people show up to prerelease events also – @asrayon
New cards, play magic all day in not super-competitive atmosphere (a change), lots of fun, and we go out drinking afterward! – @dangerawesome
For me Pre-releases are the closest I get to casual magic so it is recapturing some innocence. – @omccombeiro
Coz its a great way to get into a set before its been worked out. Everyone is on an even footing making it more fun – @grayseeroly
$25 for booster packs before they’re officially released. That and I’m trying to immerse myself in the nearby community.
And trying my hand at “competitive” Magic to boot. – @h2o_ohmalley
power trading before the prices sky-rocket on select cards. Also to enjoy new EDH material! – @BottsThoughts
For the shiny foil 15-drop? – @remikaly
All of these people answered but there was no one who said they had a bad experience. As you can see, there’s a common theme of reasons to a Pre-release: Everything’s new, it’s fun, it’s casual but still a little competitive, there’s great trading, and of course EDH. All of these are great reasons to go. And only one of these players is paid by WotC (@the_stybs), but he writes the Serious Fun articles so you know he actually means it.
If you live in a rural area and can only go to the local prerelease, please still go. However, the large pre-releases are where it’s at. It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend going to one. There, you get the opportunity to gunsling with WotC employees (Gunsling – to play against them using their own sealed or if you’re lucky, EDH decks), have artists drop by to sign and alter cards (or if you’re awesome enough, posters), and even meet other people who you’ve met online (either on twitter or on forums). GatheringMagic and I first met at the Zendikar pre-release (Reinhart and I were in the same flight) and again at the Worldwake one (and you know all about that). I met and sat next to Brian David-Marshall at the Worldwake one, getting him to sign a card for me.
Most of the time there’s going to be at least one dealer selling cards, but most likely several more trading. Not only can you trade with dealers (who try and get a lot of the new set so if you want any of those cards it would be best to go see them), you have a much larger trading pool in general. If you go to a larger pre-release, you’re not trading with the same people you see every FNM, but people from around the area and, if you play your cards right, most likely will have what you’re looking for.
If you’re lucky enough to go to a pre-release with an artist (or plural), you can get your cards signed and doodled by them, making it great pimpage for EDH (especially for a General). Most of the time they have artist proofs for sale (regular card face on the front but the back is blank so they’re not tournament legal but great for the artist to doodle on them), or even prints of card art they’ve done. If I ask them to sign or draw on something (a playmat, a card box, a binder, a poster), I’ll buy something from them to show my thanks. I’ve got all the art I’ve bought framed and hanging in my home office, which I’ll take a picture of all of it sometime (here’s one I took a while ago of the art above my home computer).
Not only will most large pre-releases have the common sealed play, they’ll also have drafts later in the afternoon, and 2HG, and even some other formats. If there’s a limited format you like, they will have it there. And, the best news, most likely you’ll run into several people who play EDH. And a set is legal as of the pre-release, so go ahead and stuff that bomb you opened into your EDH deck and find one or ten people to play against. Between rounds, or flights, I’m sure you’ll find people. It’s a great way to meet people.
If you’re a baseball fan (or really, any sports fan), you know that feeling of Opening Day: so much excitement, so much potential, everything will be good. Even if you don’t get a single bomb, I will tell you that going is a fun and well worth it. I’ve been to almost every pre-release since Darksteel (save Saviors when I couldn’t go, Coldsnap when I was out of town and Eventide which was a few weeks after I got married which somehow is more important) which happens to be a long time in Magic years. If I didn’t find the experience fun and well worth it, I would’ve stopped a long time ago. My wife knows that those days I get to go have my fun for a while and completely geek out.
A ton of stuff goes on during pre-releases, and I didn’t even mention even playing with the new cards (which I obviously love). With something for everybody who plays Magic, there should be no reason why you shouldn’t go if you have the opportunity. There have been plenty of articles written on pre-releases, but I just want to give the following advice if you’ve never been:
- Eat a big breakfast. Carry around an energy bar or two since sometimes there won’t be food or time near by.
- Bring sleeves for your decks.
- Be friendly. There’s no pressure to win everything. People are still getting used to the cards, take backs are pretty okay in this format.
- Bring your trade binder. Be sure to keep an eye on it, for obvious reasons.
- EDH it up. You’ll meet new people this way.
- Have fun. That’s the whole point of this event.
As always, I’ll be at the Seattle pre-release. If you’re on twitter, hit me up (@mtgcolorpie) and we can hang out. If you have any other advice, or want to add why you like going to pre-releases, comment down below.
Have a good time everyone.