I have survived another Magic: The Gathering (MTG) pre-release, and this one was with a better record than my last attempt at a pre-release (with Innistrad), where I did not win a single match. In the pre-release for Dark Ascension, I came out with a record of 2 wins and 2 losses.
This time around, FrankieG, SpecialK, and Jarvo joined me. Everyone, except Jarvo, had a great time. Jarvo did not like the competitive nature of the event - but then again, this game and this type of way of playing it is not for everyone. He will be now sticking to either casual playing, or not playing at all. I hope he keeps playing. Strangely enough, FrankieG, SpecialK, and Jarvo all had 1 win each - and it was their first event of this nature. I would have thought any win would have been a good outcome for the event.
The format of the Dark Ascension pre-release was a sealed format. People competing in the event get 3 booster packs of Innistrad, and 3 booster packs of Dark Ascension. I believe the intention of this is to make it a more even game, as Dark Ascension's pool is small, but I did not find this to be a problem.
My strategy for the evening was creating two decks. I had a red / green deck based on werewolves and getting them to transform, and a blue / white deck that had many creatures that had flying. Both decks also has a splash of black for creature removal - something which is important in this type of format. My strategy was to start with the werewolves deck (which appeared initially to be the stronger deck), and switch to the flying creatures deck if I was beaten in the first game of a match up by a significant amount. Both matches I lost were to red / black decks, and it was not by much.
Once again, the event was hosted by the team at Games Laboratory in their new store in the Galleria Centre, corner of Bourke Street and Elizabeth Street, in Melbourne. I can truly say I enjoyed myself, and I look forward to the upcoming products and the next releases of this game.