Throne of Eldraine (ELD) is coming to card stores this weekend in the form of a Magic: the Gathering pre-release event.
Each time a new set is released, players get an early chance to play with the cards and have fun in a casual event geared toward everyone. Here’s everything you need to know if you want to excel this weekend.
What is pre-release weekend?
Pre-release events are a series of tournaments held in card stores throughout the world where Magic players get to compete in Sealed-format events using new cards. Playing in pre-release events often comes with other benefits, including Magic Arena codes, special foil-stamped cards, and opportunities to purchase set boxes.
Sealed events usually last three to four hours and involve players making a 40-card deck out of six 15-card booster packs. Then, they compete in a round robin-style tournament, being matched against players with their same record. Stores usually award prizes—often an additional pack from the new set for each win—and some even give out other rewards, like new playmats and card sleeves.
For Throne of Eldraine, pre-release kits come with:
- Six Throne of Eldraine booster packs (15 cards each).
- A random stamped rare or mythic rare from the set.
- A “spindown” dice to use as a life tracker (the numbers are in order form 20 to one).
How to build a Sealed deck
With your six packs (and bonus rare/mythic) in hand, your goal is to make the best 40-card deck possible. For a detailed walkthrough of the Sealed deckbuilding process, you can check out this guide by Wizards. Here’s what your deck should look like:
- 17 lands—a mixture of basics and any useful land from your card pool.
- Around 15 creatures with a consistent curve of mana costs (see the graphic below).
- Around eight other spells that either interrupt your opponent’s gameplan (removal or discard) or bolster your own (card draw, combat tricks, etc.).
In terms of what kind of deck you should build, take a close look at the overall draft archetypes and any multicolored cards in your pool that can support these archetypes. These are some of the most powerful cards in the set.
Here’s a quick rundown of the archetypes:
- White-Blue: Artifacts and Enchantments
- White-Black: Midrange Knights
- White-Red: Aggro Knights
- White-Green: Adventures
- Blue-Black: Graveyard
- Blue-Red: Draw two
- Blue-Green: Ramp
- Black-Red: Equipment Knights
- Black-Green: Food
- Red-Green: Non-humans
Of course, you’ll also want to make sure you have enough good commons and uncommons to support that archetype before going all in.
Tips and tricks
Do you want to make your pre-release weekend even better? Here are some pro tips to get through the event without skipping a beat:
- Bring a snack and something to drink. Pre-release events typically run three rounds and three to four hours long. Most shops sell food and drinks, but it’s always cheaper and healthier to pack your own.
- Bring sleeves and other dice to use as counters. This will make playing the game easier. Sleeves help with shuffling, and tracking +1/+1 counters and planeswalker loyalty is a pain without a physical reminder.
- Sealed games tend to go longer than draft. Board stalls are more frequent and the power level of cards tends to be a little higher. Plan accordingly by leaning slightly higher toward evasive creatures (such as those with flying) and potentially choosing to draw a card first rather than play first.
- Look out for “alternate art” card variants. Throne of Eldraine has many exclusive card variants, including borderless planeswalkers, extended art frames, and “storybook-style” adventures. These are bound to be collector’s items and could even give you a net profit on the weekend.