One sold out tournament, six packs of cards, three mythic rares and two losses later, I’m happy to tell you that Alara Reborn is one very interesting set of cards. The all-multicolor format left newbies befuddled – but it left experienced players befuddled too, so it was a pretty level playing field.
Yes, I did actualy pull three mythic rares in my six packs: Uril, the Miststalker; Sarkhan Vol; and Sen Triplets. Sarkhan would have been incredibly powerful, except I never drew him in four rounds of play. The Triplets are pretty awesome too, but I didn’t put them in my deck (would have had to go five colors, and I didn’t have enough mana fixing to make that work).
Mana fixing: Cards used to make it easier to obtain the mana necessary to cast your spells; the act of using such cards in your deck. Examples include cards that let you search your library for lands or artifacts that generate certain mana colors.
Uril, on the other hand, was amazing. At one point I had him up to a 16/15 with Trample, and he was gaining Exalted abilities too. My opponent conceded. On the other hand, I lost a game with Uril as an untargetable 10/10 on the board.
Ultimately, I went 2-for-2, which seems to be my record in every Magic tournament lately, and I’m ok with that. Alara Reborn was the real star of the show – it had players talking like I hadn’t heard in a long time. How often do you hear someone at a limited format tournament say, “I think I have to go five color,” and then see a bunch of other players nod sagely in agreement?
Even with three packs of Shards of Alara thrown in, providing some mono-colored cards along with all the gold card fun, deck building was still an incredible challenge. Where Conflux sort of forced you into playing three colors with a knowing wink, Reborn practically dares you to play four. The thought of just playing two colors was pretty much ludicrous. If nothing else, you were bound to pull at least one really good three-color card (lke Uril).
So everyone spent a lot of time scratching their heads during the build period. “I can’t believe I’m choosing mana fixing over creature removal, but I have to!” “There’s no way I can play any less than four colors!” “With all the multicolor casting costs, they made all these cards really good.” For my part, I managed to stick with three colors, with a splash of black. When I asked aloud, “Should I splash black just for Terminate and a Jund Charm?” everyone at my table in unison said, “Yes!” And it turned out that a single swamp and a Grixis Panorama were enough to get the job done.
I’ve talked before about how much fun it is to buy some boosters and have a draft tournament with your friends. Alara Reborn might be the best set ever for this. It will seriously challenge your deck building and drafting skills, and itll be a ton of fun. Go split a box of cards with some buddies and draft away.