Emrakul, the Promised End | Jaime Jones

How to Prepare for a Prerelease

One of the main ways I always prepare for a prerelease is getting to know the important commons in the set. I focus on combat tricks and removal since those are the cards that can really effect gameplay decisions the most and show up quite often. If you want to go more in depth and get familiar with all the cards of the set I suggest downloading the Magic Drafter app and start playing sealed and draft to learn the cards.

The great thing about this technique of prep is you only need to learn 21 cards! That’s way more approachable than 205.

Take a look

Watch Out For Blow Outs

Let’s look into each card that could be devastating if you aren’t expecting it. Essentially we’ll be focusing on instants.

Borrowed Grace is easy to understand. If you and your opponent have been passing turns with a board stall and they suddenly decide to attack, look for 3 or 5 open mana and block appropriately!

At 3 mana, Displace is a little expensive for a combat trick and can only surpised you in combat during blocking. Some really great plays come when you combine this with creatures that have enter the battlefield triggers. Be mindful if you’re attacking into 3 open mana and they’ve got cards like Enlightened Maniac or Guardian of Pilgrims.

Spontaneous Mutation is such a sweet enchantment. If your opponent has any sort of graveyard interaction then you should watch for this. Even just a single Laboratory Brute fuels Spontaneous Mutation. For only 1 mana you can lose your Somberwald Stag to a Laboratory Brute.

Borrowed Malevolence doesn’t carry the same weight as some cards, but it has the flexibility to kill small creatures at a great tempo advantage while also being a 3 mana combat trick for trading up. If you attack your Swift Spinner into their Sanitarium Skeleton then they get to eat your Swift Spinner or have the mana to put him right in their hand.

Weirded Vampire is pretty easy to play around as long as you’re looking at what mana they have open when they’re playing their Black Bear.

Borrowed Hostility is easily the best of the cycle allowing for a significant trade up in combat for 1 mana or having the option to eat your big but blocker.

Galvanic Bombardment is pretty easy to evaluate. Great by itself, better in large quantities, and kills efficiently.

Otherworldly Outburst is an outrageous card at common. You’ll likely be trading your 3 toughness creature with their Falkenrath Reaver and then they’ll not only be ahead on mana but they’ll be up a creature with a significant body that can block another 3 toughness creature you have!

Swift Spinner is also self explanatory. You attack with your Dawn Gryff and it gets eaten by Swift Spinner.

Waxing Moon is the reason it’s good to know the back side of the werewolf cards. Keep in mind the combat math you need to think through if they’ve got two mana open.

Woodcutter’s Grit is a classic combat trick coupled with creature protection. It can almost be thought of as a 2 mode card. Pretty much all your removal spells are blanked by either the +3/+3 side or the hexproof side. You’re likely only going to get blown out if you’re planning to double block and Borrowed Malevolence.

Why Prepare Like This?

These are the cards that can destroy your creatures or surprise you in combat. It helps to memorize the mana costs since your opponent will likely have these cards in their deck.

Good luck in your prep for the new set!

Happy playing.

A photo of Trent Ellingsen Trent Ellingsen

Trent Ellingsen is a casual magic player going to FNMs about once a month and at least one GP a year. He enjoys playing EDH and often organizes game nights with his wife at home often. His passion for Magic led him to create 5 Color Combo and the drafting simulator app.