It’s summer, the sun is (occasionally) shining, and the rain is nice and warm. This can mean only one thing: it’s nearly time for a core set!
The lack of set-specific mechanics and lore make core sets ideal for new or returning players to get into the game. Core Set 2020 is no different. Whether you’re a seasoned player or this is your first time, here’s my tips for how to get the most out of your weekend at your friendly local game store.
Read the Prerelease Primer
If you’re relatively new to the game or this is your first in-store prerelease event, the primer article released by Wizards of the Coast will give you a taste of what to expect. It covers what a sealed tournament is, what you can expect to get in terms of product and from the format, and some tips on how to build an effective sealed deck. It also provides you with a link to the full card gallery from the set, so you can have a look at what you want to open on the day!
You can read the Core Set 2020 Prerelease Primer here.
Read the Release Notes
Not necessarily a course of action recommended for brand new players, but if you’ve been playing for a while the set release notes are a useful took. They contain both the Comprehensive Rules in full for any new mechanics in a set as well as card-specific rulings and notes for interactions and questions that might come up in a game. They’re helpful for judges to ensure that they’ll be able to give a rundown on the set before events and answer questions when they come up, but they’re also useful for players to familiarise themselves with the cards and interactions before they start playing, which at the very least should help with your deckbuilding!
See the Core Set 2020 Release Notes here.
Use the time between rounds
Depending on how many rounds your prerelease event has, you’re going to spend a hefty chunk of time deckbuilding and playing Magic.
Time between rounds is crucial at a prerelease to make sure you get the full potential out of your day. Drink plenty of water. Make sure you’ve got something to eat if your store doesn’t sell food. Get some fresh air. If you feel like it, you can reassess your options based on how well you feel your deck works – at prerelease you can change your deck between rounds as much as you like. Some people build two sealed decks if they’ve got an absurdly good pool!
Familiarise yourself with the format
Even at the most casual events, it feels miserable to build a deck and lose every single game. Particularly if your deck isn’t fun to play.
You don’t have to be a limited expert to build the deck you want – with some minor preparation you can improve your chances of not having a miserable experience, even if you don’t feel like your sealed pool is particularly strong. Having a look over the set will allow you to familiarise yourself with the archetypes and interactions before you open your packs at the event.
In particular, look at the commons. The big splashy rares are what people are most excited to open, but you’re going to see more of the commons than anything else and they’ll make up a big chunk of the deck you’re playing.
The video below will give you a quick overview of Core Set 2020.
Bring a Friend!
If you have a friend who you think might enjoy the game, or you’ve been teaching someone to play over the kitchen table, a core set prerelease is the perfect environment to help them make the jump to in-store play. The sets are designed to be relatively vanilla in terms of mechanics and story, so they won’t be terribly intimidating. Some stores even run Two-Headed Giant prereleases, which are the ideal opportunity to introduce someone with little to no knowledge of the game. They can team up with you and learn the rules while playing!
Prereleases are just about as casual as a Magic tournament can possibly be. Generally prizes come second in a prerelease to simply opening up some new cards and playing some games. core Many people say that prereleases are their favourite events – people cosplay, hold prerelease parties, and treat it more like a social event than a Magic tournament. The atmosphere is great.
If you’re heading to your local game store this weekend, good luck – may your packs be full of powerful removal and tough creatures!