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Wilds of Eldraine Prerelease Primer

August 28, 2023
Gavin Verhey

Who's up for a little fairy tale?

Wilds of Eldraine plunges us right back into a fairy-tale setting, full of references to stories you know and love, with everything from tricky faeries to sturdy trolls ... and, yes, of course, a goose hydra.

And no matter which fairy tale in Wilds of Eldraine is your favorite, Prerelease is the perfect time to come and check it all out!

What's Prerelease, you ask?

Well, Prereleases are some of my favorite Magic events anywhere, perfect for newcomers and seasoned veterans alike. They're the celebration of a new set, and Wilds of Eldraine has its Prerelease starting on September 1!

First up, if you want to learn how to play Magic, I recommend some of these resources:

Additionally, if you're looking for a store to play in, I always recommend our handy store locator tool. Just enter your location, and it'll show any stores near you:

Once you've found a spot, be sure to contact them about preregistering. Prereleases are popular events, and you'll want to make sure you have a seat at the table!

Now, if you prefer to hear about some of this in a video, I have a companion video to this article you can check out over on Good Morning Magic:

But what makes a Prerelease so awesome? And what can you expect out of one? Let's take a look!

Into the Woods

There's nothing like handling fresh cards from a new set, and that's exactly what you get to do at a Prerelease. Everyone's on equal footing: nobody has these cards before the Prerelease, and it's your first chance to explore the set and see how they all work together.

The energy in the room during Prerelease is amazing: relaxed and fun as people open their cards, celebrate the cool things they've found, and discover cool combinations for the very first time.

One of the really great things about the Prerelease is that it's a great environment for helping you through your first event. Even if you're brand new, people will be there in the store to support you and help you have a fantastic experience. From newcomers to aged veterans, everyone comes together for Prerelease! The set is new, people are chatting about the flavor and story (which, if you haven't been reading, you can find here!), and everyone is just there to have fun.

So, do you need to bring a deck from home? Nope! For Prerelease, you will play a format called Sealed Deck. It's straightforward: open the six Wilds of Eldraine Draft Boosters from your Prerelease Pack and build a deck with the contents. It really is all about the new set and what's inside. If you want to, you can look over everything in advance, from the commons to the rares, to build the best deck you can. (Check out all the cards beforehand in our Wilds of Eldraine Card Image Gallery.)

How exactly does this work out? Let me walk you through it.

Your Fate Is Sealed

When you sit down on Prerelease day, you're going to get handed a Wilds of Eldraine Prerelease Pack.

While there are many things in here, like a spindown life counter for tracking your life total and a fun little insert with some information and tips, the most important are these six Draft Boosters:

Open them all and check out your new stack of cards. There will also be a foil-stamped rare or mythic rare card inside that you can play—make sure to pull that one out.

Okay, boosters open? Well, you're ready to build a deck!

But where do you even start?

First thing's first, you should know what you're trying to do. In Sealed Deck, you only need 40 cards, not 60 or 100. You can get as many additional basic lands as you want from the store or your collection.

A good rule of thumb is to play 17 lands. So, all things said and done, you're only looking to play about 23 nonland cards from the cards you open. That's your goal: identify the 23 cards to play.

Okay, sounds a bit easier. How do you go about picking those cards?

Try sorting your cards by color first. Make eight piles: one for each color, one for any multicolor cards, one for colorless cards, and one for lands. As you're going through, you'll have a chance to read the cards and see what interests you.

You'll want to whittle your choices down to two colors. You can sometimes "splash" a third, playing two colors as your base and a couple powerful cards or additional costs of another color, but I'd really focus on the two colors you want here. You can select them in any ways you want—maybe you just like those colors—but here are three things to keep an eye out for:

  • Any strong rares in those colors that you're excited to play
  • A lot of removal cards (Cards which destroy or otherwise deal with your opponent's creatures.)
  • Evasion (Most games of Sealed Deck are won with flying creatures or hard-to-block cards.)

Additionally, another huge element to look out for are good synergies and multicolor cards. Every two-color pairing in Wilds of Eldraine has a theme, and knowing what those are can clue you in to which colors to play. These are detailed in an insert on the top of every Draft Booster display, but here it is for easy reference:

  • Blue-White Fliers Tempo – Control the flow of combat by tapping your opponent's creatures and taking to the sky with fliers.
  • White-Black Bargain Midrange – Make use of the Role and bargain mechanics and take advantage of your permanents going to the graveyard.
  • Blue-Black Faeries Control – Build an army of flying Faeries and support them with tricky spells and removal to win the long game.
  • Blue-Red Spells Matter – Go aggressive or be more controlling with a flurry of bewitching instants and sorceries to keep your opponents off-balance.
  • Red-Black Rat Swarm – Create a massive army of Rat tokens to swarm past your opponent. Be aggressive and take advantage of cards that reward your creatures dying in combat.
  • Black-Green Food Midrange – Creature removal and life gain will help you stave off your opponent's attacks until you're able to command the board with big creatures and Food rewards.
  • Red-Green Powerful Monsters – Call forth what lurks in the forest of Eldraine, summoning high-powered creatures or enhancing your smaller creatures with Roles and combat tricks.
  • Red-White Celebration Aggro – Enhance your creatures with Roles and take advantage of the celebration mechanic with aggressive low-mana creatures and spells.
  • Green-White Enchanted Creatures – Gather an army of creatures and get bonuses for enchanting them with Roles and other Auras, then go all out when you have the upper hand.
  • Blue-Green Ramp – Use defensive creatures and spells to buy time while you build up your lands. Reward yourself for casting spells that cost five mana or more as you dominate the late game.

Once you've chosen your colors, it's important to think about your mana curve. This helps to ensure that you have creatures and spells to cast at every turn. If everything costs six mana, you're going to be way behind on playing creatures. If everything costs two mana, you're going to get outclassed in the late game.

Here's how to check your mana curve. First, lay your creatures out in mana-value order from left to right. So, all creatures that cost one mana, then all creatures that cost two, and so on. Only lay out noncreatures here if they're cards you are planning to play as soon as you have that much mana—for example, you might play an Equipment on turn two, so that counts as a two-drop, but you're probably not playing a removal spell on turn two.

For Limited in general—and this is just a guideline—I'd look to play something like this:

  • 1 mana: 0–2 cards
  • 2 mana: 4–6 cards
  • 3 mana: 3–5 cards
  • 4 mana: 2–4 cards
  • 5 mana 1–3 cards
  • 6+ mana: 0–2 cards

Once you have those figured out, go ahead and add in your noncreature spells. You will probably want to play all your removal spells to deal with your opponents' creatures. Beyond that, it's nice to have ways to pump up your creatures at instant speed and ways to draw cards. But you can season to taste depending on what you think might work well in your deck.

And there you have it! When you're finished, you should have a 40-card deck. You can play more than 40 cards, but I would strongly advise against it: every card you play beyond 40 just worsens the odds of drawing your best cards.

So, that's how you build a sealed deck. But what are the mechanics you can expect? Let me run you through them.

Mechanics of Wilds of Eldraine

Wilds of Eldraine has some new mechanics, like Roles and bargain, as well as the return of the fan-favorite Adventure mechanic! To learn more about all the mechanics and details on how they work, check out the Wilds of Eldraine mechanics article.

Create your Own Story!

Wilds of Eldraine Prerelease is just around the corner, from September 1–7. Check in with your local game store, look over the Wilds of Eldraine Card Image Gallery, and get ready to tell your own tale—whatever that may be!

Oh, and one more thing—you can preorder booster displays, Commander decks, and other Wilds of Eldraine products for pickup at the Prerelease as well. So, if you want to have everything you're going to need for your trip into the wilds, you can bring Wilds of Eldraine home—just be sure to talk with your local store about grabbing one.

I hope this helped you on your Prerelease journey. And, as always, if you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube—I always appreciate hearing what people have to say.

Enjoy the set and have fun!

Instagram: GavinVerhey
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