27 Jan 2011

Pre-pare for the Pre-release

With the Mirrodin Besieged pre-release being held on Sunday 30th by Gambit Games, I thought I’d write a short article about the format and general advice for the day.

A pre-release is a fun and exciting day for all players. Opening boosters from a new set, building your own deck and then duelling others, is a good way to learn and develop your magic experience.

A pre-release also evens the playing field by allowing players of all skill levels to engage in fairer games. The nature of the tournament prevents decks with four Primeval Titans or Jace, the Mind Sculptor from dominating and intimidating less experienced players.

For those of you who are new to this experience, the following information will apply to the Mirrodin Besieged pre-release:

Players will have to choose between two factions: The Mirrans, the natives of Mirrodin who are fighting to defend their plane, or the Phyrexians, a ruthless enemy that seeks to ‘purify’ all life by removing it of flesh.

Once players have chosen their faction they will receive a foil alternate art promo card; Hero of Bladehold for the Mirrans and Glissa, the Traitor for the Phyrexians.

Along with the promo cards, players will be given 3 Scars of Mirrodin boosters and 3 faction aligned Mirrodin Besieged boosters.

From the cards opened in these boosters a deck with a minimum of 40 cards must be constructed. The promo card you receive cannot be used in your pre-release deck.

If playing with a 40 card deck you should be aiming to have approximately 16 lands in order for your faction to stand a chance in the upcoming battles.

Ideally, a 40 card deck should then contain 16 creatures and 8 other spells but, due to the nature of the format, this may not be possible.

Normally a pre-release deck would be constructed using two colours. This is due to the amount of cards you have to build with. However, with Mirrodin being artefact heavy it may be possible to build a mono-colour deck as artefacts generally require no particular colour of mana in their casting cost.

The big question, however, is who to side with? There are many reasons that can determine which faction to play as. Whether it be the concept of good versus evil, colour alignment, mechanics or the choice of cards available.

The link below will take you to the visual spoiler to see what cards are available.


Mirrodin Besieged will see the return of Imprint, Infect, Metalcraft and Proliferate from Scars, of which most people should be familiar with. With the outbreak of war, however, both Mirrans and Phyrexians have adopted new tactics in an attempt to win this momentous struggle.

In terms of colour, the Mirrans are aligned predominantly with White and Red and so favour a more aggressive strategy.

The main mechanic for the Mirrans is Metalcraft which gives a creature or spell a bonus provided you control 3 or more artefacts. If you open a lot of cards with this mechanic, make sure your deck has enough artefacts to make the most out of your spells.

With the Mirrans now fully aware that an invasion has begun they charge into the fray with the new battle cry mechanic. Battle cry features on White and Red cards as these are the primary colours of Mirrodin.

Whenever a creature with battle cry attacks, other attacking creatures get +1 +0 until end of turn. This mechanic is good in aggro decks as it increases the rate of damage dealt and puts more pressure on your opponent in the early game. The downside is that it doesn’t increase toughness so you may lose creatures in the process of dealing extra damage.

In Scars of Mirrodin, the Phyrexians were mainly situated on Black or Green cards with a couple of blue cards for support. However, the Phyrexian ichor has now spread to White and even two Red cards bear the Phyrexian watermark.

The main weapon for Phyrexia is Infect. A creature with infect deals damage in the form of -1-1 counters to creatures and poison counters to players. If a player has ten or more poison counters, they lose. And if that wasn’t enough, the proliferate mechanic can speed up this process. When you proliferate you choose any number of permanents or players with counters on them then add one of the chosen counter.

A good tactic for Phyrexian players, would be to combine creatures with infect and spells that increase their power to speed up the infection. Spells that remove blockers are also good as this means your opponent becomes infected.

The Phyrexians, have also developed their own new, if somewhat twisted, tactics; poisoned and living weapon. Poisoned is a new mechanic that gives a creature a bonus provided your opponent has at least one poison counter.

Living weapon, on the other hand, gives your equipment an extra bonus by providing a creature which it automatically attaches to.

When an equipment spell with living weapon resolves, one of these is created:

What you do with this free creature is up to you but remember that by un-equipping the germ its toughness will become 0 and it will go to the graveyard then be exiled. (Unless, of course there is something else providing it with at least 1 toughness)

I hope this article has provided those of you attending the pre-release with some hints and tips for deck construction. Ultimately, however, it all rests with what you open on the day.

John of Team Gambit

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