I went for a 9th Edition release party last Sunday (July 31st 2005). I got six boosters for my RM50 entry fee, which of course, most of the players did. I was most unfortunate to get a set of cards that were extremely difficult to draft with, which was about the same position for my younger brother. The event was Sealed Deck, of course. One of the better players there was even stumped when they saw my brother's cards as to what to do with them. I, however, did get what people there would called me profusely lucky for: Loxodon Warhammer. I believe I won every match in which the Warhammer showed up, and I found it extremely broken in draft. Few people had removal for artifacts, so my Warhammer was godlike, allowing me to gain large amounts of life at little or no cost to me. To me, the experience I gained was absolutely priceless. In the first round, I faced an experienced drafter who obviously knew the ropes: he trounced my poorly drafted deck to win with an outright 2-0. The organiser was nice enough to allow us to rebuild our decks between rounds - so I did. I removed by blue cards - and replaced them with white ones. The mana curve when I used blue indicated that it was far too steep. I found myself being one of the few who drafted only two colours: and I found that I was probably the only idiot doing so. It then came to me that I should have drafted 3 colours, but my new deck remained as it was for the remainder of the game - I decided that my drafting skills were too low to draft three colours, since I was a newbie.
After both my brother and I lost in the first round, we faced each other - and I managed to play a Skyhunter Prowler enchanted with a Spirit Link and equipped it with my Loxodon Warhammer. What happened after that is obviously insanity, with me gaining 8 life every turn. My new green-white deck had the synergy that I had not earlier. I beat him 2-0.
With my now better record, I faced a people who drafted a similar deck, but he had Reclaims which I didn't, and splashed red for direct damage. I only won 1 game, and was defeated 2-1. The following round, I played a better player with my slightly better record. He played an obviously better deck. I lost the first game. When I fought the second round, I drew my Loxodon Warhammer and played a good Magic game: one I had not had for many years. The game lasted a long time. I was gaining life to sustain myself - and finally won. I was too exhausted from my long bouts, and I believe I was low on blood sugar (I hadn't eaten for about 14 hours). So I gave him the last game, I believed he would have won anyway. :D
I walked away with exactly what I expected: plus the unforgettable feeling you get when you play at a sealed deck. The experience of playing in a Limited environment was a lot of fun. I believe Limited is such as success thanks to the hardworking people at development for Wizards of the Coast. I find 9th Edition drafting to be a little quick for my taste, with most games ending pretty quickly. Control is difficult to play in this heavily speed environment, but I believe white is now a viable colour for control. The steeper mana curve for blue has made it real bad, but with that being said: good blue cards did see print: just that they are not quite as viable in Limited as they would be in well Constructed.
After 9th Edition, I believe I will slow down on my Magic spending. I do not see much benefit in spending money on Ravnica, since I won't be around to collect from the rest of the block, but I will not overlook good cards from Ravnica: I believe it will not disappoint as a good cards will come. I believe that going through two blocks is how it should always be when you enter or leave Magic. I entered in Urza Block, and left in 6th Edition. I believe that this time found, I will enter in Mirrodin and end at 9th Edition, probably grabbing a few good Ravnica cards on the way and leaving Magic until much later, when I decide to reenter again: likely in several years time. :D
Don't expect these articles to stop though. I will continue to explore funny decks for years, using Apprentice as my tool. Things will be fun for a long long time. ;) I hope that these endeavours will help me improve my skills to bring into the fun zone. :D