In case you didn’t know, tonight is a full moon. A superstitious time when devilish spirits are most active, when beasts are most violent and werewolves transform and when people fall prey to inexplicable bouts of madness. Quite the perfect setting for the Shadows Over Innistrad Pro Tour as it gets underway in Madrid, Spain. As the most influential and famous Magic players in the world gather and play in the silver glow, I’ll help keep you up to date on the action.
Leave it to the Pros:
Now, if you’re new to the Pro Tour experience or have only recently started playing and unsure of what all the buzz is about, there’s lots of places to get you caught up. A very good place to start is the Pro Tour FAQ on Magic’s official site. It’ll catch you up on what exactly the event is, how participants got there, what prizes there are and the schedule for the next few days. Once you’re all caught up on the basics, here’s a little video preview of the event and what popular cards and combos are expected to turn the tides of a game and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat:
And if you want even more of an idea of what to expect along with a full list of the most popular decks and why they are so popular, here’s yet another preview article.
Then, once you’ve familiarized yourself with what the pros are using and how all those tricky combos work you should finally be ready to jump into the main event. The entire event will be streaming live on Twitch all weekend at twitch.tv/magic. Or you can head on over to the official Pro Tour HQ. They’ve got everything you could possibly need to enjoy the proceedings with links to Twitch, Facebook and Twitter as well as standings and an archive of clips from important plays throughout the day.
The Constructed Standard (decks the pros made with their own time and money) are always fun to watch just to see what’s most powerful in the new meta. These will be the decks and counter-decks you’ll be most likely to see at Friday Night Magic events going forward and the most powerful combinations of cards in the game right now. Seeing as everyone has been talking about the new Standard rotation since Innistrad’s release, it’ll be interesting to finally see it in action.
What I always find the most fun to watch, however, are the booster drafts. In this format, players open a booster pack, pick one card from it and then pass it to the next drafter. This continues until all the cards are taken. Then, from that, they have to build a deck based on the cards they chose. You have to be aware of what everyone around you is drafting, because if two people are trying to build a similar deck, they can steal the card you need. Taking the most powerful card isn’t always the best option either, because if the colors you use or strategy is spread too thin it will always hurt you.
It’s always interesting to see how people react when they’re not given the ideal cards and are forced into a bad situation. What kind of deck do you make when you only have a few really powerful cards? What do you do when you’re faced with two cards you need, but have to risk someone choosing the other? These are all questions the players have to struggle with and it always makes for a good variety of decks and decisions which makes the event fun to watch. I hope you enjoy watching Planeswalkers! Who knows what dark surprises will be revealed in the light of the full moon.
Behind the Scenes:
We’ve spent a lot over the past few weeks discussing everything there is about Innistrad, but have you ever wondered what goes into actually making a new Magic set? Well recently on Twitter, Mark Rosewater (the head designer for Shadows Over Innistrad) asked Magic fans to post some questions about just that-the inner mechanics of making a new set what type of work goes into doing so. You can find his answers to the most common questions in the articles below. An interesting read that offers a unique perspective on the new set:
Then of course, there’s the hours and hours of play testing. Fine tuning certain cards and mechanics to get everything just right. Not every card is as you see it on release. Would you believe me if I said Thing in the Ice used to be a 0/3 with hexproof or Avacyn didn’t give herself indestructable? These are just some of the types of changes that can happen and here are the people responsible.
Celebrity Name Game:
With all the exciting pro tour stuff going on, several celebrities have been crawling out of the woodwork, showing their support of Magic: The Gathering. I thought I’d end this week with a glimpse into the glamorous Hollywood side of Magic. Next time you have someone scoff at your enjoyment of Magic, flash some of these guys to show them just how wrong they are:
Key and Peele
That’s all for now Planeswalkers! Have an excellent weekend and thanks for reading!