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Journey into Nyx Prerelease Primer

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Elspeth Tirel, knight errant, sun's champion, and all-around awesome Planeswalker, led the humans of Theros to a great victory over Mogis's trampling horde of minotaurs. Her reward?

Banishment.

Exile.

But Elspeth is a hero, and a great one at that, so when the sun god Heliod called upon her, she answered...


Resoundingly.

The call for heroes has gone out. Will you join Elspeth and travel to Nyx? Will you, this weekend, Forge a Godslayer to kill a god?

 

The Prerelease Experience

Deicide | Art by Jason Chan

A Prerelease is your first chance to play with cards from a new set (in this case, Journey into Nyx!). In this section, I'll walk you through the basics of attending one. (If you've been to Prereleases before, feel free to skip down to The Hero's Path.) At a Prerelease, players of all play levels mingle in a friendly, low-stress environment. So let's go through what to do and expect.

First, find a store. Hopefully, one is near you! Once you've done that, contact the store and find out if it does preregistration. If it does, preregister. Prerelease events across the globe have been selling out for a while now, so it behooves you to preregister if your store allows!

On the day of the Prerelease, make sure to pack some essentials with you:

  • Water and snacks. Fuel up; play better!
  • Cards. People bring decks to play and cards to trade at Prereleases, so make sure to bring yours as well!
  • Sleeves. Protect your cards from sticky tables and spilled drinks!
  • Accoutrements. Dice, tokens, paper, pencils—that sort of thing. Bring something to track counters, creatures, and life totals. Yes, your store will have a lot of these things, but it's always better to be prepared.

All that might seem obvious, but don't be That Person, always borrowing supplies from others.

Seeded Deck

The main event at a Prerelease is the Seeded Deck tournament, a version of Sealed Deck. Like the Theros and Born of the Gods Prereleases before it, the Journey into Nyx Prerelease will feature seeded packs. We'll come back to that, but the important thing to know is that your Prerelease Pack's seeded pack will help you play the color you want to play—it's still not a guarantee, though.

Seeded Deck is based on Sealed Deck, a kind of Magic (known, along with drafting, as "Limited") where you build a deck out of cards you open at that particular Prerelease. In the case of the Journey into Nyx Prerelease, that is one seeded pack and five booster packs (two Journey into Nyx, one Born of the Gods, and two Theros). You open up all those packs and that becomes your pool, from which you build your deck. The basic guidelines and advice for building a seeded deck are:

  • At least forty cards. You can play more, but you can't play less. (Playing forty exactly makes your deck more consistent, but some people point out that adding an extra land for forty-one cards helps your mana percentages. Which way you go is up to you!)
  • Twenty-three spells and seventeen lands. Of those twenty-three spells, you want sixteen or seventeen creatures, with the balance in removal or support spells.
  • Two colors. Stick to two colors no matter what! Okay, "no matter what" doesn't really apply to Magic. If you have enough playable cards in one color you can go monocolored, but because every color in Magic has its weaknesses, adding a second color helps you shore up where your deck might struggle. Adding a third, fourth, or fifth color challenges your deck's mana base, though, leading to inconsistencies. On the other hand, if you get enough Temples, go for it! Sometimes, playing Five-Color Good Stuff is the right (or at least most fun) strategy.

Two-Headed Giant

Some stores also support a version of Seeded Deck called Two-Headed Giant (often abbreviated "2HG"), where two players team up against other pairs of players. Each pair gets two Prerelease Packs (they don't have to be the same ones, even!) from which the players build their decks. Your tournament organizer can tell you more about 2HG if your store supports it.

Open Dueling

Play with more Journey into Nyx cards by getting involved in Open Dueling. In this side event, you get an Intro Pack and use it to do battle against others participating in Open Dueling, including those playing in the main tournament who are between rounds! This is a great way to learn more about Magic if you're new to the game, and for experienced players it's also an excellent way to teach newer players or help them get better. Also? It's just a lot of fun.

 

The Hero's Path

Godsend | Art by Daniel Ljunggren

(Quick Aside. One of the hardest parts of writing these primers is not getting completely distracted by the new set's gorgeous art. End Aside.)

Once again, Experience Designer Dave Guskin and his team came up with a really cool play experience for us. And, I mean, check out what it's called:

Forge a Godslayer

The Journey into Nyx Prerelease presents Quest #7 along the Hero's Path, "Forge a Godslayer." This one is a little involved, so let's walk through it.

First, you have to choose how you want you want forge the weapon. You have five choices, which correspond (not coincidentally) with the five colors in Magic. Here is a handy chart to provide you with an overview:

Forge Color Hero Card Promo Card
Forged in Glory White Spear of the General Dawnbringer Charioteers
Forged in Intellect Blue Cloak of the Philosopher Scourge of Fleets
Forged in Tyranny Black Lash of the Tyrant Doomwake Giant
Forged in War Red Axe of the Warmonger Spawn of Thraxes
Forged in Pursuit Green Bow of the Hunter Heroes' Bane

Once you choose how you want to craft your weapon, you will be provided a Prerelease Pack that looks like this:


Here's a quick list of what you will get in your Prerelease Pack:

  • 2 Journey into Nyx booster packs
  • 1 Born of the Gods booster packs
  • 2 Theros booster packs
  • 1 seeded booster pack
  • 1 promo card
  • 1 Forge a Godslayer activity card
  • 1 Spindown™ life counter
  • 1 welcome letter
  • 1 Hero Card

Your Prerelease Pack is full of neat content, but for right now I'm going to focus on the Hero Card, since it is central to the "Forge a Godslayer" event. That said, your Hero Card isn't played at the Prerelease; it's for the Journey into Nyx Game Day event, which happens May 24–25, 2014.

As an example, let's look at Lash of the Tyrant (because black is the best my favorite color):


If you've seen other Hero Cards, you'll note that this one is a little different. First, it's an Equipment (which Dave Guskin talks about in his Hero's Path FAQ). Second, while it has a pretty neat ability, there's an unusual space between the type line and the first line of text for that neat ability. Here's why:

In your Prerelease Pack, you will also receive a Forge a Godslayer activity card with three spaces on it for component stickers. A component sticker is a... well, sticker... that you get after each match (the winner of the match gets first pick from among three, then the loser gets to pick one of the two remaining).


Combine three component stickers in specific ways to create one of seven different enhancements, then hand in your activity card to your tournament organizer to receive the corresponding enhancement sticker. Then you take that sticker and put it on your Hero Card in the blank space as a new permanent ability.

Congratulations! You have created your god-slaying weapon!

Okay, I've covered the Hero Card and the Forge a Godslayer activity card, and the booster packs are self-explanatory. Your welcome letter and Spindown™ life counter are color-coordinated with your Prerelease Pack, as are your promo card and seeded booster pack. I'll talk about that last one in a mo, but for now let me show you what your choices look like, so you have a better sense of what you want to pick:

If your weapon is Forged in Glory (white), you get:


If your weapon is Forged in Intellect (blue), you get:


If your weapon is Forged in Tyranny (black), you get:


If your weapon is Forged in War (red), you get:


If your weapon is Forged in Pursuit (green), you get:


You can play your promo card in your deck at the Prerelease, which should help you play the color you picked for your Prerelease Pack. And speaking of helping you play that color, your seeded pack contains a selection of Journey into Nyx cards weighted toward the chosen color. So, for example, if you pick Forged in Tyranny (black), you will get a seeded pack with mostly (but not exclusively) black cards in it, all from Journey into Nyx, including one rare. Oh but wait! That rare can actually be a mythic rare God card that shares the color you picked (but no other mythic rare).

Final note for your Prerelease Pack: You are not in any way required to choose the color for Journey into Nyx that corresponds to your path(s) or destiny(s) for Theros or Born of the Gods (if you went to either or both of those Prereleases).

 

Mechanics of Journey into Nyx

Solidarity of Heroes | Art by Eric Deschamps

Once again, helpful editor and steward of Uncharted Realms, Kelly Digges, has provided us with an overview of the mechanics of Journey into Nyx. Each section here provides a link to the appropriate mechanic in the "Mechanics of Journey into Nyx" article, in case you want to know more.

Constellation: Enchantments with constellation abilities represent the divine constellations that fill the night sky of Theros.An enchantment's constellation ability triggers every time it or another enchantment enters the battlefield under your control. For more details, see the constellation section of the "Mechanics of Journey into Nyx" article.


Strive: As you cast a spell with strive, you can choose any number of targets, paying an additional cost for each target beyond the first. For more details, see the strive section of the "Mechanics of Journey into Nyx" article.


Bestow: A creature with bestow gives you the option to cast it as an Aura that enchants a creature, granting that creature its power, toughness, and abilities. For more details, see the bestow section of the "Mechanics of Journey into Nyx" article.


Heroic: A creature with a heroic ability gives you powerful benefits every time you cast a spell that targets it. For more details, see the heroic section of the "Mechanics of Journey into Nyx" article.


Scry: Scry is a keyword action that always has a number associated with it. To scry, look at that many cards from the top of your library, put as many of them as you want on the bottom of your library, and leave the rest on top in any order you choose. For more details, see the scry section of the "Mechanics of Journey into Nyx" article.


Monstrosity: A creature with monstrosity lets you pay a one-time cost to grant it greater power and toughness, sometimes with additional abilities and effects. For more details, see the monstrosity section of the "Mechanics of Journey into Nyx" article.


Gods: Each God in Journey into Nyx is two colors and manifests as a creature if your devotion to its two colors is high enough. Your devotion to two colors is the total number of mana symbols of those colors among the mana costs of permanents you control. For more details, see the Gods section of the "Mechanics of Journey into Nyx" article.


Begin Your Journey!

I hope this primer has helped you ready yourself for the Journey into Nyx Prerelease. Remember to preregister if your store allows it!

We are always looking for ways to improve the primers, so if there is anything you particularly like or dislike, please feel free to send me an email (at the link below) or tweet at me. It's hard to balance the primer to be helpful for both new and experienced players, so let us know how we're doing!




Speaking of the article and "us," although I am the lone author, putting together a Prerelease Primer is definitely a group effort that reaches all across the building's fourth (brand, organized play, web, legal, sales) and third (R&D) floors. I couldn't do it without everyone's help, so... thanks teams! :)

And to bring this back around to the "you," if you've read this far and want to delve even deeper, there's a lot of advice out there on how to build great sealed decks and on playing Limited Magic in general. Here are some of my favorite advice articles about Limited from DailyMTG:

Good luck; have fun!

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