Prereleases for new Magic: the Gathering sets are awesome and the Khans of Tarkir did not let me down. Khans of Tarkir is centered around five clans or houses on the plane (or realm/planet) of Tarkir. Each clan contains cards of three of the colors of magic, which together are referred to as ‘wedges.’ Because Wizards of the Coast puts so much effort into the design and development of each set, the clans have a unique identity, feel, mechanic, and play style.
Wizards even put a personality quiz on their website testing which of the clan you would belong to. Turns out that I was aligned with the Abzan clan, the white, black, and green guild, who are centered on trust, duty, and family, focusing on the dragon aspect of endurance. Perfect.
Side Note 1: my 6-year-old son took the same quiz and was also Abzan. He was excited to have an identity in the game that daddy plays and to have the same identity as his father was great for us both. Suddenly he was excited about the game and it became more than just dozens of stacks of cards on the computer desk.
Before starting the tournament, each player chooses a clan and receives a clan box containing a special “seeded” pack with cards in your clan and colors. Also in the box are 5 other booster packs, a d20, a pin with the clan’s logo, a clan description card, a goal card, and a sticker. On top of that, the store I play at provides pizza and card sleeves. In my estimation, that is real value.
Side Note 2: Shout out to Game Grid in North Ogden, UT for running a great tournament. The owner, Jamie, is a gamer’s gamer, playing along side everyone else. He cares more about his players than he does about making a few extra bucks. All of the players there are friendly and helpful. I did not observe any negative treatment of any other players. Great job!
So, I chose Abzan and opened my special Abzan box and found Anafenza, the Abzan Kahn (or clan leader) waiting for me in all her foiled, date-stamped glory. I opened the other 5 packs and found some other great rares, though only one of them made it into my deck because the others were in the wrong colors. I made an adequate Abzan deck and shuffled up.
I got beat the first two rounds, unfortunately, but managed to win the last three rounds. Abzan has the ability to be down to 4 or 5 life and then swing with huge lifelink creatures and suddenly be at 25 life. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t do better, but I got two prize packs. In one of the packs was another Anafenza, so I was pretty content.
Overall, it was a great event and fun. I love how Magic can create an identity for players to relate to and experience. The players can embrace or reject the theme as with any game, but for me, this is what makes Prereleases great. The three-color combination of white, black, green now has a name and an identity. I love how playing in those colors will carry those through this block and for the next several years. Go Abzan!