Eventide, the expansion block to Shadowmoor for Magic the Gathering is officially released later this week and as usual I imagine my gaming friends and I will be picking up a few random boosters.
Generally I don’t purchase boosters these days, preferring to buy individual cards from King of Cards locally, or ordering online from Star City Games or Card Kingdom (who accept PayPal btw). However there is certainly some appeal in blowing a few dollars occasionally and seeing if you get anything interesting. I also find random booster purchases occasionally guide your hand towards deck creation if you draw a particularly juicy Rare.
As boosters are usually opened in store and rifled through for decent cards, I was interested to see this recent article on the Magic site which describes the ‘Pack War’ concept. As a fairly new Magic player this is the first time I’d heard of Pack Wars, although it’s obviously not that new a Magic concept.
From the article: in Pack Wars you simply combine one fresh booster pack and three of each basic land (Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, Forest) and play that using normal Magic rules as a 30 card ‘mini-deck’. It also works best if you play blind by shuffling the opened booster into the lands without examining the cards.
My gaming mates and I have tried it a couple of times with various boosters and it works surprisingly well, although you do tend to get a little flooded with lands. However the Eventide block adds the new Retrace (video link) keyword to Magic which allows you to re-play certain cards from your graveyard by discarding a land card in your hand. Even as a Magic rookie it’s obvious that Retrace cards will go some ways towards addressing issues with Mana flood that occur to any Magic player occasionally, not to mention make the end game more interesting (and also increase the utility of creatures like Yixlid Jailer).
I suspect our regular Friday Magic gaming lunches will probably become Eventide ‘Pack War’ lunches for the next little while, at least until we collectively tire of purchasing boosters.