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Another Week Goes By...

It amazes me how things can change in a week.
In the past week:
Many of you graduated high school.
Many of you graduated college.
The Lakers made the NBA finals.
The Williams sisters lost in the same round of a tournament for the first time ever.
Oh, and the big news...
The DCI banned a card from the Standard (Type 2) constructed environment for the first time in nearly six years.  That in and of it itself is big news.  It shows that even with all the talent they have, things can sometimes get out of hand and slip through.  That's OK by me.  They're only human.
What doe sit mean for tournaments though?  Who knows.  What I do know is that you should get all the playing time in right now with your Skullclamps that you can.  Also, be aware that this card is just banned from Standard and from Mirrodin Block Constructed event.  It is completely legal to play with in Extended, 1.5, and Type 1.  So, don't be so quick to trade or sell away your Skullclamps.  There are still a lot of uses for them.  Also, casual players are unaffected by these bannings, like most of them.
There is so much to look at here with the new tournament environment.  I have to seriously say that I feel Darksteel was the best middle set of a block to come around in a long while.  However, I think Fifth Dawn is equally as good as the last set of the block.  Truth be told, it might end up being as good as Apocalypse was.  I know that most retailers should easily sell a lot of this set.  Why?
It has good casual player cards like:
Look at this thing.  I mean REALLY look at this thing.  It's very likely this might even show up in some tournament decks.  But I know a LOT of casual players are going to want this card.  Imagine playing against a deck that's packing Platinum Angel, Mindlsaver, AND Door to Nothingness.  That could get real annoying real fast.  I'm sure it's going to get done.  If nothing else, it will be damn interesting.
There are good serious tournament cards like:
People griped and moaned and complained about Blue not getting played.  Well, at the very least people will be willing to play Islands again.  Is this alone going to do it?  No, probably not.  But the truth is simply that blue got a big boost in this set.  Spell countering control players should have a field day when deck building now.  WotC is just doing their part to keep things balanced.
Cards to mess with your opponent:
There have been cards like this for years.  Remember how we were talking about all those Platinum angels and Mindslavers being played?  Well, here's a way to get back at your buddy if you don't like having to deal with those cards.  Just go get them out of his deck for him.  To add insult to injury, it goes right into play.  This is definitely a card that casual players should keep an eye on.
Cards that everyone will like:
There aren't a lot of bad things I can say about this card.  It's protection from both red and black which is great.  It lets you gain life when a creature comes into play.  This works well with white weenie decks.  It's also great with something along the line of a cycled Decree of Justice.  It's a cleric, so it fits a popular theme.  Unfortunately, it's only a 1/1.  For some reason, I don't see her small size stopping her from seeing the play.
There are even cards that break the rules:
Even as an uncommon you can expect to see this card selling for $3-6 with some regularity.  Both casual players and constructed players will be trying to play this card.  It has some potential to be deadly.  But, WotC giving us a card that breaks the deck construction rules is definitely interesting.  What is needed?  That's debatable.  Will it hurt anything?  Probably not.  Will it be fun to play? You bet.
There are even some interesting cards to build around such as:
Don't jump ahead of yourself here.  I'm not saying these all belong in the deck a deck together.  I'm just showing that there is a large variety of cards in this set that can be played or used in both casual play and serious tournaments.  The best part is that the cards in Fifth Dawn are interesting.  I like this set more than most WotC have made.  Just having the large variety of abilities is good for me.  There will be am emergence of new deck types I'm sure.  I love sets like this, because they favor the creative deck builder.  You can openly reward creative deck building in a tournament.  However, sets like this let players build decks to have fun with and still have the potential to win a tournament and showcase his talents.
But all that aside, I want you to notice something.  All boxes of product from Wizards of the Coast (WotC) will now have a second UPC on them.  It's usually a strange set of numbers and letters.  Also, the packs inside each have a new space provided for the on the individual wrappers for a special code.  The codes on he wrappers and the UPC on the box are directly linked to one another.
So what does this mean to you?  Well, a few things.  First of all, anyone caught selling product early can potentially have an issue on their hands.  WotC can now track the pack directly back to its source.  This is going to get some people in trouble, but it will definitely stop the early release of its materials.
More importantly though, it will help keep your local card stores around.  What many of you don't know is that to get the best price on booster boxes (which is only less than some online discounters by a couple of dollars) from WotC directly, you have to sign some paperwork that states the majority of your business comes from a brick & mortar store and not an online store.  Well, it's been obvious for some time now that many people selling product online don't even have a store front and are working solely from internet sales.  WotC wants to stop this.  They aren't getting the product form WotC...they are getting it from somewhere else.
I think this is a great move.  Let me say that I have no problem with people discounting.  People will discount.  It's just a way of business.  I just have to hope that most customers are willing to spend a couple of extra bucks to support their local playing place.  However, I do think that online discounters should have to play by the same rules as everyone else.  If they get their product at the normal prices, then someone should have to fess up.  Make everyone play by the same rules.  It not only adds integrity to the game, but also adds integrity to the reputation of the company.  I'm behind WotC 100% on his project and I hope that they bring many people down for this.  If you get product that is suspect or product that is sold early, save your proof of purchase and mail it to WotC.
Since I gave you a lot of cards to think over today, I'm not offering up a Card of the Week...I mean, come on...I'm only one man.  And I'm only a HUMAN man at that.
But, not wanting to disappoint my adoring public, I offer to you this Play of the Week.  This good play of the week comes from Chad:
So I went to the 5th Dawn Pre-release.  My showing wasn't that great. I
went 0-2 for the first wave and lost two drafts, but I did go 3-1 in the
last 4 round wave.

I heard about the following play over the course of the day.  I am not
sure who had it though, but it was during sealed deck play.  I really
wish I could have seen the losing player's face when it dropped:

So a guy drops a bringer of the white dawn on turn 8 or 9 with some
tricky 5 color action.  He allows his opponent to play, nothing
spectacular happens.  He starts his next turn and drops a mindslaver and
activates it.  He taps his  opponent out and generally messes with him
and then returns for his turn pulling the mindslaver from the graveyard
during his upkeep and repeating the process.  Not sure who won that wave
but I am sure this guy placed with prizes.
As a side note, I find it interesting that in some places these are called flights and in others they are called waves.  Around here, we are flight folks.
Don't forget that Fifth Dawn goes on sale tomorrow, Friday June 4th 2004.  Get your cards and start deck building.  I also want to remind you all that if you are in the area, we are having a $5,000 Qualifier this Saturday June 5th 2004 at The Game Closet in Waco, TX.  The event is $15 and start time is 12:00PM (noon!).  Feel free to e-mail me for further details. 

Well, that's it for me.
Until next time.
DeQuan Watson
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