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Darksteel Pre Release Tips

1.22.04  Welcome back folks.  I'm glad you guys keep coming around to read my stuff.  Honestly, I'm glad you keep coming back to read all of our stuff.  The site has had an increasing number of hits over the past couple of weeks.  We are making a lot of changes.  The site owner bought some new servers so that everything is nice and smooth.  We are trying to become one giant comfy family around this place.
For those of you that are unaware, the Pojo site has some of the busiest message boards on the internet.  You owe it yourself to check them out.  As a matter of fact, if I am not mistaken, this weekend, the BRAND NEW forum boards on going up and they too will have their own dedicated server.  So go over there and chat it up.
Also, if I can line it a special treat, in the next few weeks, I am going to try and get an interview for my column.  I won't say with who.  That'll be a surprise.  I wouldn't want to get you hopes up and let you down if the deal falls through.  But let's not get all crazy looking into the future.  Let's get our mind straight on what we have going on here.
For some reason I think I want to take some pictures of my cats and post them on here.  You'd be amazed at how camera friendly my two cats are.  They are amazing.  But that's a later deal.
First of all, what a turn of events for the Super Bowl eh?  We all were looking at the Patriots being ridiculous going into the end of the season, but what the hell happened to the NFC?  It seems like a foregone conclusion, but we really can't count the Panthers out at this point.  Besides, the Super Bowl is still more than a week away.
This weekend we have the Royal Rumble for all of you wrestling fans.  The rumble itself is a huge who's who of today's wrestling superstars, so it should definitely be entertaining.
But there's another event, that's more important to the majority of you guys reading this: the Darksteel Prerelease.  I'll b honest with you.  I'm not a huge fan of prereleases if they aren't near you.  And by near I mean an hour or so drive away.  You spend a lot of time and money.  Now, some people just like sealed deck and seeing new cards and that's cool too.  For those people, this is definitely your event.
Recently, I've gotten a few e-mails about what people should expect when they go to one of these things.  I figured I would do my fellow gamer a favor by posting up a few facts to help you all be prepared for a fun day at your local prerelease.
First and foremost, eat some breakfast.  It's going to be a long day.  If you have to get up, drive, register for the event, wait for the event to start, play in the five rounds of tournament, the next time you can free yourself up to eat might seriously be near three or four int he afternoon.  It's much more fun to play with fuel in the tank. 
You might also want to bring all of your gaming essentials. Keep a pen handy and a small notepad or some paper close buy.  It's a good way to track life, take notes, or whatever else that you feel the need to do.  On thing that players forget, is that having an easily visible way to keep life total is actually in the DCI floor rules.  For some reason, players feel that they don't need to bring their own stuff sometimes and think that it should be required for them for some reason.
Please bring your DCI card or have your number ready.  If you don't have one yet, don't worry, they will get you taken care of at the event and get you one free of charge.  Having your number ready will help speed up the flow of the line.  Obviously this makes everyone happy.
If you don't want to be surprised, check out the Darksteel spoilers and the Darksteel FAQs online.  This will give you a better understanding of what the cards do and how some of them should be used.  It's not a huge deal, but it gives you a small leg up on the competition.  Every little bit can help.  Also, if you are paying attention, you can plan some strategies based on some of the cards you can anticipate your opponents having.
Fortunately, there are now site dedicated to carrying all of this information.  Way back when, I used to have some foreign friends that would attend their PR events and would send a copy of the spoiler to me via e-mail.  My friends and I would observe the lists on the car ride to the event.  This gave us all a way to figure out some of the cards and strategies. 
Come on, let's be honest with ourselves here.  Even looking at the spoilers won't guarantee us victory.  There's nothing that replaces good ol' raw talent.  There's still a bit of luck to opening sealed decks.  And on top of that, you just may not be able to identify the great cards in the set.
I still remember at the Tempest prerelease picking up SEVEN Tradewind Rider, NINE Cursed Scroll, and a ton of Propagandas.  My logic on Tradewind Rider was that if Time elemental was good, this guy had to be better.  Cursed Scroll, I really had no real reason, it looked cool, and the ability was fun.  Propaganda was funny, because we played it where both players had to pay, regardless of who was being attacked.  I figured that card was so wacky that it had to be worth something.  Lucky for me, it all worked out.  You gotta love prereleases where the average player doesn't know what half the cards do.
There's a lot to do usually at a prerelease other than just play the main event.  Of course you can play in the other flights, but they will be the same format.  There are always booster drafts being held on the side. There is a team sealed event.   There are a even ton of people to trade with.
Which brings me to my next point.  Feel free to bring a well stocked trade binder.  People are looking for all kinds at these events.  If nothing else, you can sell cards to the dealers on hand.  For some people, it is one of three large events they attend each year (and the other two are likely PRs as well).  Leave yourself some options.  Be willing to make some deals to get what you want.  Just make sure to keep track of your stuff.  Keep it in your backpack.  Put an identifiable marker on your stuff.  There will be so many people and so many cards, that it would be a shame for you to pointlessly lose your cards.
Well, I hope those facts help you out on your prerelease experience this weekend.  I know they helped me when I played in them.  Now I just set up a booth and do sales.
Everyone that hasn't check the Pro Tour schedule really should.  There is another set of team sealed qualfier this season. .
OK, I took some time to think about a good alternative game of the week.  I wanted to go with a board game for a change of pace, so my choice was easy.  This week's game is Settlers of Catan.  It's not an overly strategic game.  Every person gets to effect things the other players do.  You build villages and make trades to try and race to ten points.  Everything you make or do has certain number of points assigned to them.  It's fast pace and had two expansions.  It's a huge fan favorite among Magic players.  If you haven't played it, I definitely recommend that you check it out.  An average game only take about 20-30 minutes to play.
My strategy tip of the week is simple...concentrate.  People are always worried about the crowds around them.  They are worried about making one liners.  They are worried about trying to be entertaining.  They are worried about what song is playing on their headphones.  Don't worry about this other stuff.  Pay attention and play your game.  If you have to, practice with these distractions around you.  This will make them less of an issue at tournament time, because you will be used to them all being there.  This is another thing that seems rather simple, but people don't think about.
My card of the week this week is Tradewind Rider.  This card is so much fun.  He combos well with Armageddon and things like Intruder Alarm.  This card can swing the game.  It's a decent blocker.  It flies.  It's only four mana.  There weren't many things that were bad about this card.  I also find it humorous that the potential in this card was overlooked for the first few weeks of its existence.  Let this be a lesson to you all going to the prerelease this weekend.  Think about all of a cards uses before just writing the card off.
Well, I'm sorry this is a little shorter than usual this week.  Things are getting a little late here and I have some stuff I have to finish.  I'm in the middle of trying to get a house.  Which by the way, if any of you have any good house buying tips, know a good laon officer, or have someone that can hook me up with a cheap mortgage loan, it would be great!  Feel free to drop me a line with assistance.  Getting a home is a long, interesting adventure.  It is also very exhausting.
Until next time,
DeQuan Watson
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