The 2011-2012 Preconstructed Deck Championships
Ahh, Autumn. That lovely season transitioning us from the highs of Summer to the frigid lows of Winter, Autumn has a great many charms all its own. Temperate days and evenings with cool, crisp breezes. The leaves of the trees begin to turn from green to reds and yellows, soon to be blanketing the ground. Night gently descends a little sooner each day. The sounds of planeswalkers battling with eldritch wizardry and terrifying creatures.
That’s right, it’s time for the Preconstructed Deck Championships once more, an Autumnal treat as delightful and enjoyable as hot spiced cider and pumpkin pie. Although we have the competition twice a year, since the latter competition involves all the new decks we’ve seen over the past year there’s a particular intrigue about it. This season’s looks to be no different, with decks from Innistrad, Dark Ascension, and Avacyn Restored taking part. They’ll be going up against Duel Decks from Ajani, Nicol Bolas, Venser, and Koth- all four themed around a planeswalker, since this was the year Wizards announced their Duel Decks switch-up (with the planeswalker decks in the Spring and factional decks in the Fall). Joining them are the decks of Magic 2012, as well as the fleet of Commander offerings. Serving as the joker of the deck will be the final entry of the ill-fated Premium Deck Series line, Graveborn.
In the end, only one deck can be champion, and this will certainly prove a tough field. Past winners Endless March (2005-07), Dead Ahead (2008-09), Eldrazi Arisen (2009-10), and Duel Decks: Elspeth (2010-2011) all stand ready to welcome another paragon into this most elite of all precon clubs, but many questions remain unanswered. Will another Intro Pack deck be able to rise to glory despite its humble origins in true Cinderella fashion? Will this be the season that the potent and mighty Event Decks find themselves ensconced in the hall of glory? Can Graveborn- last of its species- etch its name high on the wall as it dies, proclaiming for all time that we were here… we existed! Or instead will the Commander decks overcome their dreadful handicaps and avenge the defeats of the Planechase and Archenemy decks before it? Only time will tell.
Indeed, the Commander decks have their work cut out for them in the competition, since moreso than any other competitor this is a format ill-suited to their design. As with previous multiplayer releases, no special rules will be implemented or observed- they rise or fall as a regular deck. That means no Command Zone and no Commander, just a simple deck of 100 cards.
It must also be pointed out that this is the second time we’ve had an overcrowded field, with more decks than there are slots available. We floated the idea of using paper versions of the Duels of the Planeswalker decks to expand the field, but in the Thoughtsieze poll this idea was voted “too much of a good thing.” Instead, we’ve implemented the same strategy as before- the worst-performing decks (as determined by their review score) don’t get invited to the big dance. Perhaps in that sense, you might look at the review process as the “qualifying rounds,” since you don’t tune in to the World Cup and get to see every nation play (and the way Scotland is performing right now…*sigh*).
After pruning the field, we’re then left with thirty-two decks, to be randomly seeded. Ladies and gentlemen, Damen und Herren, here is your 2011-12 Championships field!
The Prediction League
For the past two Championships, we’ve seen tremendous interest in the Prediction League and this season will be no exception! Each week readers will have the chance to put up their picks, March Madness style, for that week’s matches, with glory and prizes on the line at the end!
For those new to the site, here’s how it works:
In the week leading up to each weekend’s championship article, we’ll post the upcoming matchups and call for predictions for each match. Each person that participates will get 1 point for each match they correctly predict the winner of. Points will be earned for the duration of the event, and the reader with the most correct picks (most points) at the end of the Championship will be the winner! We’ll keep track of the points, and routinely post them for everyone to see on a ‘leaderboard.’ In the event of a tie (two or more readers with the same amount of points), the winner will be determined at random.
As before, each Championship article will go up on either Saturday or Sunday (whichever day we don’t post a regular deck review). The call for predictions for that week will go up about four days before the results are posted, giving everyone plenty of time to get their predictions in. If you didn’t participate in our last Championship but would like to see how the League works in action, take a look!
As for prizes, the winner of the competition will have their choice from one of the following:
Prize Package A: “Returning to Ravnica”
A pair of Return to Ravnica Intro Packs, plus a draft set (3) of sealed RTR boosters.
Prize Package B: “Let’s Duel”
A copy of each Duel Decks release that took part in the competition (Ajani vs Nicol Bolas PLUS Venser vs Koth)
Prize Package C: “Cashing Out”
Ten Return to Ravnica sealed boosters.
Prize Package D: “Oooh, Shiny”
A copy of Premium Deck Series: Graveborn
Prize Package E: “Past and Present”
A copy of all three Dissension decks, giving you the first decks built around the Azorius, Rakdos, and Simic guilds… plus a Return to Ravnica Intro Pack.
So sharpen up your Number Two pencils and get ready for some exciting Preconstructed action! Just as the winner’s circle is a small, elite, and prestigious club, so is the Prediction League Winners! Both Icehawk and Gobias have claimed prediction glory in the past. Will they return to make it a double, or will we be crowning a new winner at the end of the Championships? Only time will tell!
We’ll be back in a few days with a post calling for your first round of predictions for Games 1-4 in the Rosewater Conference/Nagle Division. We’ll see you then!