My first Magic prerelease

On Saturday, SSO, decaffeinated and I attended the Future Sight prerelease event. Coming about two weeks before the official release date for this expansion, the prerelease gave us a chance to try out some of the new cards in a sealed format.
Going in, I was thinking I’d play in both “flights” on Saturday — basically, a morning tournament and an afternoon/evening tournament.
We arrived in time for the 10am startup, having preregistered to avoid the lines (I really recommend doing this for any prerelease) and then sat around for a while as everything started up. With the addition of an hour to build decks, the first match of the first tournament wouldn’t actually start until noon.
The announcements just ahead of opening the new cards were entertaining. Normally, new mechanics in a set are explained by the announcer before people see the cards. This set features some 40-odd new mechanics, though, so the announcer just gave up on it and gave us the go ahead. Opening my packs, I gravitated toward a Blue/Black/Red build. Here are my cards spread out about halfway through the deckbuilding process:
My initial dilemma
Once gameplay started, things went reasonably smoothly, given the tournament’s size (perhaps seven hundred people). I liked all but one of my opponents, and the odd one out wasn’t a bad guy, just kind of annoying. Whereas SSO tried to play as many Future Sight cards as possible, I think I ended up leaning pretty heavily on my Time Spiral tournament pack. Still, the standout in my deck came from Future Sight, and helped me to my clearest wins of the day.
Shah and Shapeshifter, BFFs
I’ve added some more (blurry) pictures in the extended. The first tournament ended at something like 4 or 4:30 pm, so we collectively gave up on the idea of hitting the second tournament. The organizers said it would probably end at midnight, which is a bit much no matter what — and I was getting up early the next day.
This event drew people in from all over the Bay Area. When I asked my last opponent where he’d come from, he said, “Oh, not far. Novato.”
Novato to Santa Clara seems plenty far to me. It was really nice seeing the size of the greater Bay Area player pool — I wish I could meet more of these people on a regular basis, as I met a lot of cool folks at the event.
Overall, it was pretty fun, and for the next two weeks, I have the cachet of having my cache of cards when thousands of others have none.

The Future Sight prerelease (blurry because the lighting was poor)
The right-side player’s expression catches the generallly good-natured feel of the event. A prerelease tournament doesn’ t have big prizes, and people are there more to enjoy the experience of the new cards rather than anything else.
The Future Sight prerelease (blurry because the lighting was poor)
It was mostly guys, but there were more women there than I expected (the blurry individual fixing its hair is a woman).
The Future Sight prerelease (blurry because the lighting was poor)
My phone camera was not really up to the lighting in the exhibit room. Thus, the blur.