A Tale of My Journey Into Nyx

A collection of playmats on display at Super Games, Inc. featuring the minor Gods of the Theros pantheon.

A collection of playmats on display at Super Games, Inc. featuring the minor Gods of the Theros pantheon.

This past weekend, I participated in the Journey Into Nyx pre-release weekend at Super Games, Inc. in Roswell, Georgia. This was my second Limited event, the first being Dragon’s Maze last May. I want to share with you my experiences from the event, how I went about building my deck, the opponents I faced, some observations I made about Limited play, and the card synergies I discovered.

I chose the White “Forged in Glory” box, which contained three Theros boosters, one Born of the Gods booster, two Journey Into Nyx boosters, and a promo card of Dawnbringer Charioteers, one of the Rares in the new set. White was by far the most popular color choice, as the staff at Super Games told everyone that, unless they specifically signed up to play White, there were no other boxes to hand out in that color.

MTGJOU-forged-in-glory

The White “Forged in Glory” pre-release box.

As I opened each of the boosters and started sorting my cards by color, it quickly became obvious that Red was my weakest color (both in number and quality of cards), followed by Blue. I pulled a Hydra Broodmaster and several decent centaur cards for Green, but this the color I least enjoy playing, so I resisted the urge to go with the Broodmaster as a late game threat simply because I pulled one. Both White and Black shared a life gain/life loss synergy across several cards (Grim Guardian, Underworld Coinsmith, Fate Unraveler) and presented a few combos I could pull in both fast and slow games to drag my opponents into the abyss. These colors also had the best removal options (Lash of the Whip, Oppressive Rays, Nyx Infusion). I also chose my sole artifact, the Fleetfeather Sandals, to help with evasion.

My boosters had no powerful cards aside from the Broodmaster, no Gods, and no mana fixing whatsoever, but I was hopeful that my build would be fast enough (with low casting cost creatures) and tough enough to outwit and outlast competing decks.

Here’s how the first build shaped up.

Creatures (15)

MTGJOU-BW-build

My initial build for my Black/White Journey Into Nyx prerelease deck (click to view detail).

Artifacts (1)

Spells (8)

Lands (17)

I played three rounds at the Saturday evening pre-release: the first against Blue/White and the second and third against Green/White. I went 2-1 vs. the Blue/White player and 1-2 against each of the Green/White players.

The Blue/White player made excellent use of Hypnotic Siren and Siren of the Fanged Coast to Mind Control my creatures. Facing my own Dawnbringer Charioteers on the other side of the table was daunting, as was the double strike, flying Skyspear Cavalry from his ranks. I was able to fire off a few of my life gain/loss synergies and send in my evasive creatures to good effect, though one of my victories was a close shave.

Both of the Green/White players got the best of me with sheer force. The first had better defense (Lagonna-Band Trailblazer) and lifegain (Nylea’s Disciple), while the second had stronger, more powerful creatures (Pheres-Band Thunderhoof and Pheres-Band Tromper). Ravenous Leucrocota was a particular thorn in my side from both Green/White players due to its vigilance and ability to become Monstrous. The second player bestowed his with Spirespine, a potent combination I was unable to repel.

My last round was a “bye” … both I and my opponent were 1-2 at that point, and he didn’t see the point in playing if neither of us would net any prize boosters (bummer for me, as I just wanted to play it through). So, overall, I was 2-for-2 that night.

Some of the observations I had from the pre-release were:

  • I find it fascinating how cards you would never consider for competitive Constructed or Standard play, such as Lash of the Whip, become cherished and valuable plays in Limited. Lash came up a number of times and helped remove several key threats on the board. Oppressive Rays kept creatures with Monstrous from growing too fast, but was less reliable in the late game, when my opponents had plenty of mana to spare.
  • Limited really helps level the playing field. No single opponent is going to have a playset of Revoke Existence or Hero’s Downfall to dash your hopes, nor will they have reliable combat threats or counterspells to shut you down. There’s a lot of element of surprise, which is a pleasant change of pace.
  • The higher toughness of Grim Guardian, Nyx-Fleece Ram, and Fate Unraveler were amazing. I may not have had a lot of power on the board, but I was able to hold off bands of 2- and 3-power creatures due to them not being quite able to tip the balance in their favor. Nyx-Fleece Ram was a superstar every time I played it: a tough defender (without the “cannot attack” drawback) that gains life each turn was subtly impressive.
  • Returned Reveler, while cheap and having a decent toughness, hurt me just as much as it hurt my opponents. Had I been using a graveyard theme, perhaps with Green/Black, it would have been to my advantage, but without any reanimation spells, I ended up losing key lands or creatures whenever the Revelers bit the dust. These guys came up nearly every game I played; they turned out to be bad pennies, and I swapped them out for round three.
  • When I managed to get it going, Constellation was awesome. My key workhorses were Grim Guardian and Underworld Coinsmith. When both were on the board, I basically had a free Extort each time another enchantment came into play. Harvestguard Alseids‘ ability was somewhat useful, but I mostly included them for their 3 toughness and trigger for Constellation.
  • I only learned day-of that any of the other cards you opened can be used as your sideboard, and that you don’t need to restore your deck to its original state between rounds, as there are no decklists in Limited play. I could have been more aggressive and daring in swapping out cards between games. Instead, I made very few changes in order to better understand how my build functioned. I think that hurt me with the Green/White players, as I could have used more muscle to even the playing field.

Did you play in the pre-release? If so, what epic stories of mortals and deities did you help create? Are there specific cards and combos in Journey Into Nyx that you’re looking forward to shaping?

About brightmatrix

brightmatrix is a long-time casual gamer. His gaming journey has included Magic: the Gathering, the first, second, and fourth edition Dungeons & Dragons, and the first wave White Wolf games from the late 90s. If you are a denizen of the Twitterverse, you can read his posts on Magic, web development, puns, and other shenanigans at @brightmatrix.

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  1. […] the Journey Into Nyx prerelease, I constructed a black/white deck that predicted the type of build I’ll showcase below. I […]

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