One of the core mechanics of Magic: The Gathering is that they print series of cards, which cycle through their standard system. Usually, these new sets are spread out, so players aren’t constantly just out of luck with their decks if they’re playing standard.
But over the last year or so, Wizards of the Coast has really stepped up the pace on producing these sets, and has more of them still in standard rotation than ever.
They’ve had some pretty neat themes, too. So far this year, we’ve gotten vikings, anime magic school with specialized Japanese art—and as of a couple weeks ago, even D&D.
Right up until the release, I had no idea it was coming. Which isn’t terribly surprising, given how new I am to Magic. But as soon as Shane and I found out, we knew we’d have to hop on that train. After all, D&D was the first game we started playing together, even before we were officially dating.
So we picked up a pre-release pack, and set about opening up our new cards.
The printing issue
Before we even got our cards, Shane heard from one of his more heavily involved friends that there was a packing issue with the D&D set.
Let me clarify: There was an issue for the printers, but a massive bonus for players.
As it turns out, some of the pre-release packs came with a random chance that players could get what was quickly dubbed by the community as “god packs.” And it’s as cool as it sounds. Essentially, instead of the basic land that Wizards normally includes at the end of a pack, there was a chance of getting a box where all six booster packs would have really cool foil cards.
It was a totally random chance; we were lucky enough to get them for about half the packs we opened, but I know plenty of people who didn’t find even one. And on top of that, I’m not sure how widespread it was. To my knowledge, it never even made it onto social media aside from one video from our local shop.
In any case, it was pretty darn cool. So if you happen to get any of these packs, just know that there’s a chance of benefiting from some big-time whoops packing!
Experiencing D&D through the cards
As any seasoned D&D player can tell you, there are a few staples of the game. Obvious ones include dungeons (which are a turn-based mechanic for this release) and dragons (of which there are plenty for every colour!).
But less obvious ones are things like what Wizards turned into spells for this release.
I just about burst out laughing when I came across a particular green spell that I’m sure every DM in the entire world has said at some point: You Meet in a Tavern. Other notable favourites of mine were You Find the Villain’s Lair, You Come to a River, and You’re Ambushed on the Road.
I’m sure I’ve heard them all in one campaign or another, and it was just fun to see them come to life in this format (and to realize just how many tropes there really are).
Running a pre-release party
As part of the release, a few of Shane’s friends decided to host their own (legal now!) mini pre-release party at a game cafe near us. And I’ll be honest; I had little to no idea what that meant.
As I quickly learned, it means that you get a pre-release box, open it up, and then build a deck with about 40 cards from what you got and play everyone else at the table. So as you can imagine, it can lead to some pretty haphazard situations.
I was pretty lucky that my box was both a god pack and heavily themed toward black and blue, so building the deck was easy enough. But the execution left something to be desired; after all, I’ve never played black or blue in my life! Against tournament-level players, I didn’t stand an iceberg’s chance in hell. But it was fun all the same.
Now, as I’m learning more about what these cards do, I’ve been working on a concept for a dragon-themed deck using all our new dragon cards. It’ll take a while to complete, I think, but it will be a fun challenge!