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June 10, 2011


Ertai’s Lament’s One-Year Anniversary Giveaway Extravaganza

by Dredd77

On 03 June, 2010, Ertai’s Lament launched with about as little fanfare as one might imagine for what was a simple labour of love. With the Duels of the Planeswalkers decks just released, we used them as a jumping-off point with a review- quite primitive by today’s site standards- of the Liliana Vess deck, Eyes of Shadow. We pledged then that we would release a new review every 48 hours, and challenged ourselves to maintain that same pace for an entire year. With our analytical review of Time Spiral’s Fun with Fungus, I’m proud to say we succeeded. Though beset by events ranging from my monthlong bout with pneumonia (I don’t recommend it) to the birth of our son Liam (which I do recommend), we’ve managed at the very least to have something new to read every other day. Again, a labour of love.

When we began Lament, we had no idea that there was a ‘Precon Community’ out there looking for a place all their own. To be sure, precon decks had varying degrees of online coverage on the main sites of Magic, but until now it didn’t seem they had a place devoted to them alone. While we’re glad that we were able to create that place, it would be an empty house without the readers and commentators who fill article after article with thoughts, reflects, insights, and, yes… the occasional correction. We are grateful to you all!

Last September as we celebrating Lament’s three-month anniversary, we had a tremendous giveaway sponsored by our outstanding local gaming store, Moonlite Comics of Frankfort, Kentucky. It is a truth that without their enthusiastic support for us and this site, we would have had a much rougher go of things, and for that we are deeply thankful. All the moreso now that they’ve stepped up yet again and sponsored our One-Year Anniversary Giveaway Extravaganza, because extravagant is precisely what this is!

For one thing, we’ll be selecting nine winners, which means that anyone entering has a good chance of winning. And wait until you see our prizes! With Commander season right around the corner, a format well known for an appreciation of foils and promo cards- the timing couldn’t be better!

The Prizes

We have a New Phyrexia Intro Pack (Devouring Skies) to give away. We also have a pile of promo cards. We’ve taken the pile and sorted it into eight roughly equal bundles (except for one, which is even more), based on pricing at Star City Games. Here they are:

  • Black Sun’s Zenith (Mirrodin Besieged Game Day full art foil), Maul Splicer (WPN foil), Vault Skirge (WPN foil), Lord of Shatterskull Pass (Rise of the Eldrazi release foil), Gruul Guildmage (Guildpact release foil), Plague Myr (WPN foil)
  • Fling (WPN foil), Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle (Zendikar release foil), Dimir Guildmage (Ravnica reelase foil), Thopter Assembly (Mirrodin Besieged Release), Golem’s Heart (WPN foil), Sprouting Thrinax (WPN foil)
  • Joraga Warcaller (Worldwake release foil), Earwig Squad (Morningtide release foil), Sylvan Ranger (WPN foil), Steel Hellkite (Scars of Mirrodin release foil), Knight of New Alara (Alara Reborn release foil), Plague Stinger (WPN foil), Master’s Call (WPN foil), Curse of Wizardry (WPN foil)
  • Obelisk of Alara (Conflux release foil), Glissa, the Traitor (Mirrodin Besieged prerelease foil), Plague Stinger (WPN foil), Syphon Mind (WPN foil), Storm Entity (Future Sight release foil)
  • Memoricide (Scars of Mirrodin full box promo), Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle (Zendikar release foil), Ancient Hellkite (Magic 2011 release foil), Treasure Mage (Mirrodin Besieged Game Day full art), Skinrender (WPN foil)
  • Sheoldred, Whispering One (New Phyrexia prerelease foil), Kor Duelist (WPN foil), Fling (WPN foil)
  • Sheoldred, Whispering One (New Phyrexia prerelease foil), Ant Queen (Magic 2010 release foil), Gruul Guildmage (Guildpact release foil), Sudden Shock (Time Spiral release foil), Treasure Mage (Mirrodin Besieged Game Day full art), Genju of the Spires (Arena foil)
  • Hero of Bladehold (Mirrodin Besieged prerelease foil), Hedge Troll (Planar Chaos release), Woolly Thoctar (WPN foil), Sylvan Ranger (WPN foil)

So How Do I Enter?

That’s the easy part! There are two ways to enter, and you may do both for a total of two chances to win!

1. Retweet the contest announcement tweet I’ll be sending out announcing the One-Year Anniversary Giveaway Extravaganza

2. In the spirit of nostalgia, comment on this post and share some of your Ertai’s Lament/precon deck memories with us. Was there a review you read here you particularly enjoyed? Is there a precon deck that’s had a special place in your heart? Wax a little nostalgic- it doesn’t have to be the Great American Novel in length (unless you feel moved by the spirit), but give us a little insight into what’s stood out for you as a member of Magic’s  Precon Community.

As an added thank-you to those who have spent part of the journey along with us this past year, we’ll also be awarding a third chance to win for all of our current Twitter followers and weblog subscribers, as of the publishing of this piece. If you’re reading this and you’re not already a follower or subscriber, it’s too late for this chance- but worry not, there are still the other two!

We’ll be keeping the contest open for the next week, and it will close on the break of Sunday, 19 June. Winners for each prize will be determined at random, and randomly awarded (you won’t know what prize you’re getting until it arrives and you get to open it- think of it as a surprise present!).
Our thanks again to the members of the Precon Community for making it what it is, and best luck to everyone!
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49 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jun 10 2011

    Actually, I really enjoyed your review of Knights Vs. Dragons. I wasn’t all that excited about the deck set, but your review pushed me over the top. I purchased the set and have had MANY great games with them.

    Initially I felt like the Knights were way overpowered against the dragons. but you showed me how even they were.

    Great times!
    Thanks and happy anniversary!

  2. Ben (aka Panahinuva)
    Jun 10 2011

    I remember, back when the site first started, I commented on EVERYTHING. Everything that came up, because it was cool. Also there was a contest that I won, but I’m pretty sure that came later. Anyway, I sort of regret that my commenting has fallen off of late. These reviews are so much fun to read and the playtests are often rather exciting!

    I remember my friends and I arrived five hours early for the M11 prerelease by mistake, so we decided to buy some intro packs and do some free dueling for the pack and the promo card. Then we decided it would be cool to turn it into a tournament (since we had so much extra time and they were M10 intro packs) and each cashed in for three packs of whatever we wanted or an intro pack from another set. This was a while ago, so I can’t remember what I put into the pot, but I definitely remember calling on my memory of the Ertai’s Lament reviews and deciding to go with the blue intro pack based on that. And I won the tournament, the Conundrum Sphinx proving as crushingly powerful as I had anticipated and allowing me to run away with several games. I got quite a large quantity of stuff and made a small shrine to Ertai’s lament in the corner of my room using a couple of intro pack boxes. I brought it along with me to college, where it ended up getting destroyed when the kitchen across from our room flooded and my side of the room got soaked. So yeah, I’d say that’s the biggest thing Ertai’s Lament has ever done for me.

    I fully intend to keep commenting as much as I can in the future, especially if such tasty contests keep coming along!

  3. Ben
    Jun 10 2011

    Congratulation on your success guys.

    I’ve been reading your site for about 8 months now, your intro deck reviews are all a tremendous help to me as my roommate and I only play with intro decks against each other. Your reviews have saved me from many bad decisions on possible new intro decks.

    Looking forward to your reviews of the next set!

    By the way, you guys should totally play/review 4-5 games with each deck, I’d love to read even more games.



    • Jun 14 2011

      Thanks for the suggestion, Ben! Although we’d like to play more as well, time and space constraints have kept us fairly limited. We’ve found the “magic number” of words per article to keep interest is about 1250-1750, and three games has us squarely within it- not to mention the challenge of playtesting around our 8-month-old!

  4. Cain Galt
    Jun 10 2011

    Ertai’s Lament has been a great resource to help me decide which intro packs I want first. A couple of times I’ve actually been standing in the store and pulled up the latest reviews to see the detailed descriptions/reviews of the intro packs available.

    Lament has also helped me hone my deckbuilding skills a bit more, by showing what works and what doesn’t out of precon decks. The detailed game descriptions have also helped firm up my strategy some.

    All in all, I love this site. It’s on my Google Reader subscription, and about half the things I “star” are Ertai’s Lament articles.

  5. Jun 10 2011

    I started reading the site awhile ago, probably towards the end of the Zendikar block. I think one of my favorite reviews is for the Rise of the Vampires deck. This deck was one of the first that I bought upon my reentry into MTG and watching the deck kick some tail in the game play section was a real treat.

    Since then, I’ve used your site to help inform my buying decisions and steer me away from some less respectable decks. Your site also gets me psyched for some decks I might otherwise have skipped, like Knights vs. Dragons, which didn’t really appeal to me at first. The meddlings are great too. It’s always nice to have a resource to make budget changes to a deck that make it more effective when your cash is tied up elsewhere, like in a house and a baby. 🙂

    I don’t know if this would count as a pre-con, but perhaps if you’re light on material one day, you’d consider waging war with the decks you can build from the DBTK. All of the cards save those in the boosters are set in stone. The only thing that differs are the semi-random packs but even those are standardized. I wouldn’t think you’d have to do all of them. Just buying a kit and running through some could be fun and work as the next step between precons and building your own.

    Great site. I look forward to your reviews constantly.

  6. Diennea
    Jun 10 2011

    I have read your articles for a long time, maybe from the beginning, I don’t remember. I usually buy precons to build on them, I love them as a base for my future decks. Your site not only helped me to chose wich deck to work on, but also gave me a lot of input and tips. I also love the discussion following an article. The meddling and whispers articles are my favourites.
    My best memory is one of my first comment…a discussion about the various pingers available to red. A strange question, but the reply was very serious and helped me a lot with the deck I was building at the time.
    So, Happy birthday Ertai’s Lament!

  7. Varo
    Jun 10 2011

    Happy anniversary EL!

    For a long time, i thought i was some kind of strange MtG fan, because i loved precons, from tournament packs to booster packs to choose, i would always buy precons. Every place i read about theme decks, people said that they were only good for beginners, people that already owned a basic collection should buy boosters, fat packs or tournament decks ( just a bunch of boosters in a theme deck box imo ).

    So when i discovered this site, i was greatly surprised to see that really existed a precon community! In this site, they’d not only review the decks, but also playtest them, and i love to read other’s matches, you can learn so much from them.

    I would also love to have 4-5 games each deck review, but that could be a LOT of work for Jay & Co, so i’d prefer to have a review every 2 days as now.

    Keep up the good work everyone!

    PD: My favourite precon review is the Time Spiral’s Fun with Fungus by far, i didn’t know where the thallids came from before the set!

  8. IUPUI_Guy
    Jun 10 2011

    Being fairly new to Magic, I really enjoyed and appreciated your coverage of the Deckmasters: Garfield vs. Finkle. It was great learning some of the history of old school Magic, its creator, and one of the first great standout players of Magic.
    I’ve also enjoyed the various Ertai’s Meddling, as it give good insight and examples of taking a Precon and making changes to improve the deck and make it fit your style.
    Congrats a great first year, and here’s to many, many more!

  9. Hireling
    Jun 10 2011

    I stopped playing Magic right after Alliances came out. I got caught up in Legend of the Five Rings for a few years, and then Warlord after that. Then quite a few years passed where I played table top miniatures games instead of CCGs. I found my way back to Magic last year just before the release of Scars of Mirrodin. I was in my local comic book shop and something about the M11 decks caught my eye. I picked up Power of Prophecy and Stampeded of Beasts. Now all I had to do was find some other players! I had fun playing a few games and meeting new people, but my competitive streak reared its ugly head once again. I began searching the internet for an economical way to tweak these precons into something more consistent (and nastier). This site was one of the first search results I turned up.

    The Power of Prophecy and Stampede of Beasts meddlings were soon to follow. I was able to put together a couple of really effective decks and enjoy the game some more. I soon became a regular commentator on Ertai’s Lament and even though I’ve strayed into competitive play (Standard) and EDH, I still love precons and keep coming back for more reviews and meddlings. Thanks to everyone at Ertai’s Lament for continuing to contribute to this segment of the player base.


  10. Lia
    Jun 10 2011

    You’ve only been here a year? Well, congratulations for your success, and I hope you continue further with the project.

    I’m relatively new to this site, having only stumbled upon it while trying to decide if I should buy some of the New Phyrexia precons. I’m not an avid precon buyer, but that doesn’t mean they don’t tempt me, and, as a determining factor as to which ones I should buy, I usually run a few tests myself. What I find interesting is that my mileage from deck to deck varies in nearly radical ways. For example, in my tests of PvC, Phyrexia lost all five games. Another example, again using duel decks, was KvD – the Dragons never won. Similarly lopsided was my testing of Life for Death against Ravaging Swarm (not a pairing you did); I simply could not manage to get Life to pull out from under the poison/proliferate pairing.

    Ages ago, I did much the same thing you are doing, though I was younger and couldn’t afford to keep it up. As a result, I have all of the Tempest precons, I think two of the Stronghold ones, and one of the Exodus ones. I even waged my own mini-tournaments, though I have long forgotten the results.

    Regardless, thank you for creating the courteous, informative, and friendly environment you have for a year, and best of wishes in continuing.

  11. Justin Rigdon
    Jun 10 2011

    It’s a big achievement to reach that one year mark, especially in this day of internet websites. I have been reading since the early beginning and really enjoy your articles. Ertai’s Meddling has always been my favorite. It nice to know how to take a precon deck and make changes in order to make it more competitive or just personalized!

    Keep up the great work!

  12. Montesque
    Jun 10 2011

    I just discovered the site in this past week, but already it’s become my #1 stop for Magic stuff, because I love the intro decks.

    I’m a poor college student, so the intro decks are the best way for me to get lots of cards at a time, and so you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover a site dedicated to reviewing them and testing them. Plus, the themes inherent to many of them really appeal to me in a flavor sense (something you guys also do very well in mentioning)

    So I guess my best memory (other than reviewing Feast of Flesh, which was my first intro deck since I got back into the game) is finding the site in the first place, as it’s literally everything I’ve been looking for in a MTG site.

    Thanks y’all, and good work.

  13. Jun 10 2011

    Well, lets see here. First of all, I joined this site right at the beginning of Zendikar reviews, when you were first reviewing The Adventurers, and I loved it. Because I was a new player at the time (started around M11) I loved the preconstructed decks and occasionally I’ll splurge on them.

    How did I find this site? I bought the White/Black preconstructed deck Blades of Victory (my second ever precon, since long deconstructed) and I was looking for a review on it since I love reviews on products I buy. So I went to Google and I found this neat site called Ertai’s Lament. Then I read your review and I kept coming back. 🙂

    For good memories, there was the one time during the first Preconstructed Deck Championships that Eldrazi Arisen (my first ever preconstructed deck!) won, so I cheered and celebrated. Another good time was when I won that Scars of Mirrodin Meddling contest, so I liked that too.

    Keep up the great work, Jay. You’ve been a great part of why I continue to play Magic. Your blog was the second Magic-related site I visited (after DailyMTG) and I found most of the other Magic sites out there by your “Ertai’s Lament also recommends…” sidebar (and I found out about the other big magic sites by Mananation’s “This Week In Magic”). So I applaud you. Keep on going!

  14. Koga305
    Jun 10 2011

    I don’t comment a lot here (unless it’s for a contest like this one) but I’ve been reading your site since December 2010. I had no idea until this post that it had only been around a year.
    I discovered Ertai’s Lament when I was deciding whether to buy Elspeth vs Tezzeret, and I was looking for reviews. I found and read yours, and then decided to read the M11 reviews wordpress linked me to. I got hooked pretty fast! Like another poster said, this is my second favorite Magic site after DailyMTG.
    My first ever precon was Izzet Gizmometry. You haven’t reviewed it yet, but I’m curious to see that, because it was a blast to play! I would counter everything, burn my opponent out, then swing in for the win with Wee Dragonauts. Then I bought Elvish Predation and used it to build a casually competitive Elf deck, which I still consider my “best” deck. I got Elspeth vs Tezzeret and taught a bunch of people how to play with it. Recently I got Path of Blight based on your review and had a blast with it as well. So thank you Ertai’s Lament!

    • Jun 10 2011

      Haha, Izzet Gizmometry. I love that deck. I think it’s not very good (Dimir Intrigues bad) but that deck has a lot of shocking wins – for example, this deck came back and won the game with one life.

      • Koga305
        Jun 10 2011

        Yeah. It’s a lot more fun when your opponents don’t know how to play true aggro, though… the counterburn “intimidation factor” keeps them in check.

  15. LavaBull
    Jun 10 2011

    I have only just recently discovered Ertaislament, but as a person that got into magic because of the xbox game, i can appreciate going over all the pre-cons. I still remember the piece of advice my friend gave me for my first game, “Just play the green one, it’s the easiest.”

  16. Icehawk
    Jun 10 2011

    It’s been a year? Wow. Congrats! I must say Wizard has gotten quite a bit of money from me thanks to you. Would have never bought PvC, which I love, and a few other products without the reviews I’ve read here.

    Here’s to another year!

  17. Jun 10 2011

    It’s hard to believe it’s just been one year. I got my start in Magic with Time Spiral, and I found the theme decks ideal starting points for deck building. Time Spiral is now considered a “difficult” set for new players, but I really liked the sense of a larger world waiting to be discovered, and the timeshifting gimmick was a great way to discover concepts like the color pie and color identities. It was also a crash course in all these keywords that made opening earlier precons easier. I started extending my collection back in time, starting with the fat packs and adding in the precons as I went. It’s a lot more expensive to do that now, so I’m glad I got started when I did.

    I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Future Sight’s Rebels Unite, because it was the theme deck I got at my first prerelease, and I ruled the casual tables with it. I loved the full art Blade of the Sixth Pride, and generally all the wackiness that was the set.

    Just an idea for the championships: what about crowdsourcing it? We could arrange for readers to play casual matches on MTGO using the precons under review, and aggregate the results here. It is often hard to find a game using only the cards in a precon on MTGO, so this would be a nice way to get some more use out of it (hint: it’s much cheaper if you buy the cards individually from a bot!).

    • Jun 14 2011

      Interesting idea! Although our experience with MODO is somewhat limited, it’s something we might well look into. It might be hard to coordinate, but could be pretty fun to see. Or even just a “sanctioned tournament” using precons only with a prize of some sort, not unlike what Gavin Verhey is doing on MODO with Overextended.

  18. Jun 10 2011

    Back when Time Spiral had been out for about a month, a friend of mine forgot to bring his Standard deck to FNM. Only eight people showed up, and so after everyone kept badgering him to play, he bought Fun with Fungus and entered the tournament. The saporlings did good work that night(soil), and in the end he emerged 2-1 amidst a field of Boros and Teachings.

  19. Jun 10 2011

    The PreCon decks that hold a special place in my heart are the Liliana vs. Garruk, because those decks; 1.) got me back into Magic after a 12-year absence, and 2.) suckered my fiancee (soon to be wife) into the same world. We stayed up until 3 am playing with those decks, trying to figure out all of the new mechanics and just had a blast.

    In those days, we bought lots of PreCons, including the 40-card Alara Block ones, and I’d say that for the first two weeks, we were hopping on the computer every other turn: “Does an exalted creature pump itself? What is cycling and why in the World would I do that? etc.”

    Seeing all the new cards and how the interacted with one another really piqued my interest in the new State of Magic, and well, some of those cards are still our favorites: Fleshbag Marauder aka “Meatbag” and Basking Rootwalla.

    That was 2009, and we’re still playing Magic, and still going strong. Even here in Korea, where we live right now as English teachers, we’ve found a group of expat players, current and old, who get together every Sunday night.

    I can say with certainty that if the decks hadn’t been built so well and with a new player in mind (include a few vanillas here and there), things might not be this peachy-keen. Thanks WotC and thanks for making this website. I’ll surely be digging through the archives.

  20. metaknightmare
    Jun 10 2011

    Enjoyed most, huh… Can’t really narrow it down, but mostly time spiral stuff :). That was the big block when I was on my break (along with lorwyn/shadowmoor), and getting a look back is always nice. What really got me interested here at first was nostaligia as well, since it reminded me of the days when JMS wrote for the mothership with his constructing preconstructed segments, which I loved. Flashback to that, with more modern decks, was awesome. Keep it up!

  21. Jars
    Jun 10 2011

    As a 100% kitchen-table player, I’ve been a big fan and follower of EL ever since The Mana Pool mentioned you, even though i haven’t commented much. I’ve read every review and playtest.. but my favorite is most definitely The Mad Machinist’s Mashup, partially because I suggested it (haha), and partly because it (and the Ertai’s Meddling segment in general) showcased the different ways to evolve and develop decks to be more fun and more entertaining — which, as we all know, is why we all play our beloved game Magic the Gathering 🙂

  22. troacctid
    Jun 11 2011

    This seems as good a place as any to tell the story of my first deck, which was a preconstructed deck. Any guesses which? Anyone? Anyone? Who am I kidding, I’m about to write it anyway.

    I started out with Onslaught‘s “Devastation” deck. That’s the one with the beasts. Lots of smashy beaters in there. My brother had “Ivory Doom” so we played those two against each other a lot. I won most of the games at first until he figured out how to play the control effectively. Then it got harder. I do have some stories, but maybe I should save them for when you review those decks. I remember Battlefield Medic and Doubtless One and Cabal Archon being quite good for the clerics, and Krosan Groundshaker and Snarling Undorak being good for breaking creature stalls, especially in combination.

  23. El Taco
    Jun 11 2011

    Man, I wish I’d been aware of you guys before I got back into MTG. Deadspread was my first intro pack since Sacrificial BAM! In the Mirrodin days, and a simple quick browse would’ve told me it wasn’t a good one. Since then I’ve enjoyed the reviews, the nostalgia, and the overall quality of writing. Keep it up!

  24. web8970
    Jun 11 2011

    My most remarkable Moment with Ertai’s Lament was actually the very first visit. It was not quite a year ago when I was wondering which of the M11 precons to purchase (I did not want all of them) and looking for meanigful reviews. Alas, apart from variances of Wizards’ promotional instructions, there was little to find in this field. Even the communities I used to browse were much more eager discussing the latest twists on tournament play than casual precons.

    Well … that was until I came across Ertai’s site. Careful evaluation of single cards and overall deck concepts along even with first experience in playtesting … everything I was looking for thoroughly compiled on one site. After reading through the M11 critiques I ended up with a pack of prophecy and – thanks to the thoughts found on the site – victorious on the kitchen table.

    Another help on a crucial decision was the one with the latest planeswalker Duel Decks which I shared with a fried. After consulting Ertai, I knew that I would get along with Elspeth much better than with her metal-manipulating counterpart and well … those were glorious moments.

    So my thanks go out to the Kirkman family, the ones dealing with keeping up the site, constantly raising the quality and last but not least sticking to that tight schedule with great ambition.

    Greetings from over here!

  25. Jon
    Jun 11 2011

    I remember I first found your site, It took me a moment to realize it was about precons. When I figured that out, I was excited, because I loved the old Building on a Budget articles about precons.

    I think my favorite deck that you’ve reviewed was Primordial Jund. Jund holds a lot of nostalgia for me. My first precon (Jund Appetite for war) was a Jund deck, and as a beginner, I loved devour and giant dragons, and now, as a more experienced player, I love some of the awesome competitive creatures (bloodbraid elf, sprouting thrinax, Broodmate Dragon) and, guess what, the huge dragons.

    I remember being excited when you reviewed this deck, because It was one of my favorite precons. When I was newer, even though our game store had singles, they didnt have a Flameblast Dragon. When I saw Flameblast Dragon, I KNEW I had to play it. The easiest way for me to get one was the intro pacj, which I finally fou d at another store. I remeber being happy because I also got a Mycoloth, a cheaper, possibly better version of my old favorite, Verdant Force.

    I mashed it with my Jund Appetite for war deck (or at least, the mess I had modded it into) and that ecentually became my extended Jund deck. And even if the deck is fajrly competitive now, I still have flameblast dragon in the deck. Three copies in fact.

    I’m really glad I found your site, a d I’ve enjoyed reading the posts. The playtests are probably my favorites, and some of them (Primordial Jund, Precon Championships) have had me at the edge of my seat. I’ve enjoyed winning one of these generous giveaways (and I LOVE the Beyond the Grave Theme Deck) I smiled when I found that you guys included a handwritten note (which I still have)

    If I could make a request. I would love to see you review Jund Appetite for War and the rest of the Conflux bunch. Being my first intro pack, and a contender in the precon championships, I would love to see what you guys think of it.

    Anyway, thanks for being so generous in doing these giveaways, and for providing a place for us “precon geeks” to gather.


    • Jun 14 2011

      Hi Jon-

      Conflux is on the map. Our review process is now that we’ll begin with the first set in a block and go from there. Since Shards of Alara was covered not all that long ago, it may be a little while yet but it’s definitely in the crosshairs!

  26. Rob
    Jun 11 2011

    I’ve been a fan of precons for a while now, and I found it always a challenge to find the best one in a set then use it against my friends constructed decks. It really teaches you to make the most of each and every card, including ones that outright suck. That takes real skill.

    I currently own three decks, and guess what? It’s the top 3 rated decks in that article you wrote. Mirromancy, Life for Death, and ravaging swarm. They are a blast to play against each other.

    happy 1 year anniversary!!!

  27. Morganraid
    Jun 12 2011

    I found this site about 6 months ago when looking for precon reviews. Duels of the Planeswalkers got me reinterested in the card game after they sent out vouchers for those 30 card common packs. (I got two White, a Blue, and a Green). I gave my wife one white and one green pack and off we went. Now we buy all of the Duel Decks (I am only missing EvG arrgh!) and wage war at the kitchen table. Thanks fo some great reading and helping to get me back into Magic.

  28. Werekill
    Jun 12 2011

    I’ve only known of this site since the Mirrodin Beseiged Event Deck reviews, but I’ve been loving every article since then.

    Good job making it through year 1!

  29. Jun 13 2011

    I still remember my first precon: Tempest’s Deep Freeze. I remember going into the game store having only a very passing knowledge of Magic – I’d played with friends and with the Microprose game, but not much else. Fortunately, I knew enough about Magic to know that blue was the best color, because that’s what I asked for – whichever the blue deck was. I played Precognition in almost every deck I made for a while, even though it was kind of terrible. And Avenging Angel! I loved that card. The art was just fantastic, and it even won me a good couple games. If you ever made it back that far, I’d love to see a review on the Tempest decks. (I eventually wound up with Deep Freeze and The Swarm. Even though it turns out Aluren held its value a whole lot better than Avenging Angel, I still gotta love Deep Freeze.)

  30. Jun 13 2011

    Big congrats on One-Year Anniversary !!

    I heard the site mentioned a couple times on the eh team podcast so I decided to check it out. What really drew me in was the precon championship series. Me and my buddies though about doing that at one time but it never happened.

    Was really cool to see that played out with details about each game and evaluations of the decks.

    Huge thanks to all you do for the community and all the giveaways. Here’s to hoping we get to celebrate another year!

  31. Jun 13 2011

    I recently found this site, and am currently going through the archives in a blaze. What was most immediately noticeable to me was the top-notch quality of writing here as well as the fast speed by which content is published on this site. A big thanks goes to all of you for creating such a great site!

    As for favorite moments, I definitely enjoyed your review of Phyrexia vs the Coalition and Knights vs Dragons. However, my absolute favorite articles are undoubtedly your reviews of the classic Mirrodin theme decks, namely Sacrificial Bam and Little Bashers. Those were some of the first cards I ever bought, and to read about them again brings back a sense of nostalgia for a simpler time when I didn’t have to worry about mana curves or optimal builds and just bashed with little metal men.

    • Jun 14 2011

      Isn’t nostalgia a funny thing? I have similar memories of when I first played many years ago, and the sense of wonderment you had when you didn’t know how many or what cards were in a set, and every booster was pure discovery. I tried an experiment where I avoided all spoiler talk for Scars of Mirrodin, and it wasn’t the same- nor a very good idea. I actually penned a piece on it over at QS if you’re hard up for something to read on the topic. 😀

      Thanks for the comment, and glad you found us!

  32. Jon S
    Jun 14 2011

    With the information you have been able to pass along on the recon decks I have to admit to being very excited to see the Zendikar blocks and the scars of mirrodin Blocks reviewed. I look at the precon decks as a jumping off point to trying to become competitive in the game venue I play and value the insight that you give both in deck break downs and in the play. I can honestly say as a result I have picked up a couple of precons that I had not planned on getting. To me that makes this blog a success and I hope you continue to excel in the next year! Congrats on a successful first year.

  33. Jun 14 2011

    Happy Anniversary 😀

    I only got into Magic when Scars of Mirrodin came out. I had no idea what went where, how things worked, and how to build a deck. My fondest memory of Ertais Lament was when you did a Whispers of the Muse on my Vampire deck.

    It’s my fondest because it also taught me how to build a deck properly. You were the first to comment and you explained how many lands to put in and what affects the amount of lands you put in. I never had that explained to me before. So that knowledge lent itself to me building my own Myr deck which has been a tremendous success with my friends (and my nephew, who I’m teaching).

    Furthermore, I use your website as a starting point into buying Intro decks. It also helps me to see if I would enjoy playing it. For example, in your review of ‘Life for Death’ You said how fun it was and how good the mechanic of Phyrexian Mana was. This caused me to buy Life for Death as my first New Phyrexia intro. I hope Wizards truly appreciate what you do.

    • Jun 14 2011

      I have to say, when a new set comes out and we get a care package in the mail from Wizards with a complimentary theme deck and some boosters, we definitely feel appreciated! Glad we were able to help you on the path of deckbuilding, and thrilled to hear you’ve been having some success!

  34. Jun 14 2011

    I cannot believe you’ve been at this for an entire year – seems like only yesterday :-). Absolutely amazing. Thanks for everything you add to the community as a whole (I’m especially impressed with the Twitter presence). You are well deserving of the praise I see above me in the comments section already. Well done, and here’s to many more anniversary celebrations to come!

  35. Jun 14 2011

    Congrats on making it through a year. I have seen this site several times in passing, but I have loved reading your precon championships. It seems like a really fun way to compare the different decks that are out there.

  36. Tony
    Jun 15 2011

    Started following this site back when the ’09 – ’10 pre-con championship started. Was thrilled to find out someone else out there had some passion for precons

    Deck that holds a special place in my heart would probably be “Master Blaster” from Darksteel. Back in the day’s we would play star magic where theres 5 players representing 1 color trying to take out the 2 enemy colors… well, this little precon got to represent red since no one in my playgroup carried around a strait red deck. It always preformed magnificently.

    As for the articles in this site I really enjoyed the “Garfield VS Finkel” Sadly I didn’t even remember this existed. That being said… I visited a friends house and he showed me his Portal 3 kingdoms precons AND his world championship box that had like 12 decks in it! which makes me wonder…

    Will Ertai cover the championship decks?

    Also congratulations for the anniversary. I know you can get all of these little buggers playtested and reveiwed.

  37. Aaro
    Jun 18 2011

    I think the first time I came here was probably 5, 6 months ago, and I visit nearly every day now. After a 15-year absence from the game, my bro-in-law found my cards at my mom’s house around Christmas time and got me hooked again.

    In that gap of time, I’d forgotten just about everything about the game, which meant I was basically starting from scratch. So, like I do with any purchase, I started doing research into the game and how to get back into it. Along the way I found this site, and it’s been an invaluable tool. Countless times I’ve stood in front of racks filled with precons at Target or a game shop, and before I buy anything, I check this site on my phone to see your review. If it’s good, I buy without hesitation. If it’s iffy… well, sometimes I still buy it. 😛 But I really do value having such a good source on precons, and Magic in general (just reading the playtests has made me a better player!), so I just want to say thanks, great job on the writing, and keep up the good work!

  38. errtu
    Jun 18 2011

    I’ve come across EL because i wanted to buy a new precon deck (Tez vs Els) and before i spend my hard-earned money, i wanted to read some reviews about it. Hopefully they would all say it was a very cool duel deck because looking at the deck lists i certainly thought so.

    Since i play most of the games against my wife, who prefers either white or green or a combination of these, i was hoping all reviews i found would confirm my hopes.

    Reading the review on EL not only was i enthusiastic about buying the duel deck, i was also curious to read more articles here since i really like the style. I’ve subscribed to the main page and even though my life has become a little busier (with a promotion @ work and a baby @ home) i still read (almost) every article posted here.

    It’s nice that this comment will count for participating in the contest, but i like it more that readers are being given an opportunity to express their feelings about EL. Jay & co, please keep up this excellent site. If you ever run into troubles, i’m sure you’ve built up a fairly sized community already who will be more than happy to help you out. Although i rather wish that this will never be necessary.

    In short: thanks 🙂

  39. Chris
    Jun 20 2011

    So who won???

  40. Jul 8 2011

    Congratz on your 1-year anni.
    Please keep the posts coming as I do rather enjoy them.
    One post did stand out for me in particular – it was the Precon Library post with all the nerd p0rn images – awesome collection.
    ~CopySix, MTG Realm


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