Hi all! Sorry we didn't have coverage from the Pre-release yesterday. The feature match area and live coverage is something we've heard good reports about from the Worldwake event but we simply didn't have the space this time. Due to the room we wanted being booked already we instead held the event in a slightly smaller room in the Leeds University Union. However, we've had a lot of new talent coming through recently so I took the precaution of simultaneously booking an extra room in case we had too many players.
We had too many players. Well, not too many to cope with, but this was the equal largest pre-release Leeds has held since records began. In terms of the DCI judge forums event report, we break down as the following:
Name of Tournament: Sat Leeds Prerelease Rise of Eldarazi
Details (Date, location, etc) Saturday 17th April University of Leeds
HJ = Me Floor Judges= Me, John Ingham, Jim Marlow Scorekeeper = Me
Number of players 48
Number of Side Events 2
There weren't any interesting rulings to give as far as I am aware; a lot of judging at prereleases tends to be reading the cards out loud to the players. The card Smite caused a little more trouble than other cards but it all otherwise went smoothly.
Perhaps due to my relative inexperience it always gets a bit hectic when we start running side-drafts. This is mostly because of trying to start a swiss round at the same time as starting a draft and making sure that everyone who wants to be dropped from the main event actually has been. We've got this down pretty smoothly now and I always use the side drafts as an opportunity to give one of the floor judges a bit more to do.
The winner of our main event after 6 rounds was Mr Rob Catton. It's shaping up to be a good year for him as he's already qualified for Nationals and will almost definitely be trying to show himself there. The side drafts were won by Colin Ward and Robertas Aluzas, two long-time Leeds players who always do well. I think it's a sign of a good format when the good players do well - less Variance = more skill. Unfortunately I don't have any deck lists for the winners as we never do deck registration at prereleases. If any of the winners would like to post decklists for anything in the comments I'm sure people would enjoy a quick read to help them figure out the format.
As an end note I will mention a draft a few of us did after the event (when very tired). It was unsanctioned so all a bit ad-hoc. I sat on the left of Mick Edwards so was mildly unhappy to open a Transcendent Master because Mick is renowned for playing White whatever the format. I got a second pick Heat Ray and took a third pick Growth Spasm to look at a GWr midrange-y deck. I then stumbled upon the slightly Theme Deck strategy of having 3 Aura Gnarlid, 2 Totem-Guide Hartebeest, 2 Guard Duty and 2 Snake Umbra. Not the most powerful of auras, but swinging in for 4 unblockable and drawing a card is pretty good in my book and with that much of the theme the strategy is pretty reliable. Rounding out my deck was a Kazandu Tuskcaller, a few 1 and 2 drops and 2 Prophetic Prism helping me to splash my 4 Heat Rays. Here was my final decklist:
1 Caravan Escort
1 Glory Seeker
1 Knight of Cliffhaven
2 Kor Line-Slinger
1 Tajuru Preserver
1 Kazandu Tuskcaller
1 Transcendent Master
3 Aura Gnarlid
2 Totem-Guide Hartebeest
2 Guard Duty
1 Prey's Vengeance
2 Prophetic Prism
2 Snake Umbra
4 Heat Ray
I lost the first round against Mick Edwards after drawing about 10-12 lands each game but he had lots of removal so I think a fairer fight might still have been lost. I then beat Chris Vincent and Robertas Aluzas using large unblockable Gnarlids. I think this strategy might be quite decent if you can get better auras (Guard Duty in particular was underwhelming in my beatdown deck - the idea was to prevent counterattacks and pump my Gnarlids but it didn't do it by enough).
Anyway, that's enough about my prerelease, how was yours? I'd love to hear a more detailed report from someone as when judging you don't really get to see the matches being played. We should be back next weekend with live coverage of our Release Event, so hope to see you then!