Hello, everyone!  I hope everyone is well; we’re in the middle of a serious cold spell up here in New England, so I’m sitting here huddled up to my pellet stove, listening to The Clash’s Greatest Hits and trying to type on my iPad with winter gloves on.  If this article starts to devolve into some really strange spell corrections, you’ll know why. 
Anyway, let’s talk Prerelease for a minute-
Prerelease Plans
Gatecrash is finally upon us.  True to my word, I’ve already changed up my plans for this weekend.  I’m still on for going Orzhov on Sunday, but I’ve decided that I want to start things off with a bang, so I’m preregistered for Saturday with Gruul, fully planning on banking on as many decent bloodrush cards as I can and splashing Boros for the removal and aggressive beaters. 
I’d love to hear what you guys and girls are planning on doing.  I’ve been having some discussions with my close friend and transplanted Southern gentleman Chad, who is convinced that a Dimir-based mill deck is possible with this carpool.  I call BS based on the aggressive creature strategies that will be coming from just about every other guild.  Also, I’ve given up on Simic, despite my promise not to.  It just seems like a big pile of underwhelming mid-range creatures and inferior support spells.  Am I missing something here?
Hit up the ‘comments’ section to talk me into an 11th hour switch.
Gatecrash Goodies

It’s that bittersweet time of year where EDH players are blessed with an infusion of new cards with which to flood their current decks and inspire them to build around new generals, while simultaneously being cursed with…well, all the same things.  I have a love-hate relationship with new expansions, mostly because my deck lists are nearly airtight as it is, and it’s almost physically painful to take cards out.
Still, I thought it would be cool to kill two birds with one stone here.  I’m going to talk about the cards I’m planning on trying to bring home with me from the Prerelease this weekend, and as a bonus, I’m also introducing my two new decks.  Let’s dig right in…
Akroma – Angels Tribal

Angels looks to pick up a few goodies this time around.  Skirmisher looks to be a solid addition to the mix; since the deck is so single-minded about attacking, it’s important to get value from onboard effects anywhere I can.  The fact that her ability is an ‘at the beginning of each combat’ trigger instead of a ‘when this creature attacks’ one is really solid.  Giving the team a vigilance buff for an attack and a first strike one on defense seems well worth the investment.
I’m sure everyone is already mentally slotting the various Primordials into their decks as we speak, and they’re sure to be hot commodities in this format.  Angels can use the extra removal, and for some reason (specifically, my unabashed love for Blazing Archon), certain creature types get a pass in this deck.  Avatars are on the list.
Skullbriar – General Aggro

Going in : Crypt Ghast

Honestly, this is a solid ‘maybe’.  The utter lack of cards that put +1/+1 counters on creatures in this set for these colors means it is likely this deck stays untouched.  Still, the one thing it does enjoy are mana doublers, so this is a possibility.  A little life gain here and there never hurt either.
Sigarda – G/W Enchantress

Going in : Blind Obedience

This is probably a good time for the Lesson Of The Day– The color identity of ‘extort’ cards is not affected by the hybrid mana symbol in the rules text, because parenthetical reminder text doesn’t count for purposes of figuring out what color a card really is for EDH purposes. 
Blind Obedience is the only real pickup for is deck, but it may be a strong one.  It provides a little insurance against the token decks that are heavy in my metagame that all run red for haste enablers.  Sorry about the Sol Rings, guys…
Niv-Mizzet 2.0 – Instants and Sorceries Matter

Going in : Nothing?

This is looking to be a cheap shopping trip for me.  (What am I missing here?)
Momir Vig – The Metagame Breaker

This deck is under the knife as it is, with red already being stripped out, and an upcoming project to develop it in the works per your requests.  For now, I know that the deck still lacks a solid finisher, and the utility that PrimeTime 2.0 provides might be a solid shot in the arm.  Of course, my EDH senses are tingling on this one, and I’m already fearing a world where this thing is snap-included in every green deck from here on out.  We’ll see how it turns out.
Evolution is going to be on a trial basis as well.  Since this deck has no real issue figuring out ways to play things at instant speed, and since Fact or Fiction rarely ever draws more than three cards anyway, this might be a nice upgrade for one extra mana. 
It’s worth noting that I’m toying with Diluvian Primordial as well here, but I’m not totally sure that the effect is worth it.  Spelltwine seems like the top end of the necessary spread when it comes to this type of effect, and in all honesty, I’m likely to have better targets in my own graveyard than my opponents’ yards anyway.
Karador – The Creature Toolbox

Going in : good lord…where to start?

Karador is my new three-color flagship deck.  The color combination is really about as perfect as it can get for my personal preferences, and it’s a great yin to the yang of my Niv-Mizzet deck- opposite colors, and opposite focus on opposite card types. 
Since we’re talking a nod to reanimation, Sepulchral Primordial is a likely shoe-in.  (The other two Primordials likely fit as well, but I want to try to avoid over-saturation in my deck stable, so we’ll try to steer clear for now.
I’m tossing around a build based on Aluren and Cloudstone Curio, so Immortal Servitude might be a solid fit.  Mass reanimation for relatively low cost seems like a great way to go if I can keep the bulk of the casting costs low enough to get reasonable value from this card.
I don’t think Merciless Eviction is a better option than Austere Command for EDH, but it is the type of card that usually suckers me in, and this is the only deck I have that runs the color combination.  I may have to find some space for a trial run with this one.
Treasury Thrull is a slam-dunk.  Repeatable creature-based recursion like this is just what the deck wants.  In fact, this might be my favorite card of the set so far.
Again, this is a brand new deck, so it hasn’t even seen play yet.  There are a few other options that might see play (Giant Adephage comes to mind), but I don’t want to reinvent the wheel before I’ve had a chance to take it for a ride first.
Memnarch – Artifact Tribal/ Bulls-eye

Going in : Glaring Spotlight

Okay…this is the other thing that came out of my recent workshop session with my collection of decks.  As previously threatened, Slobad is now gone.  I decided that I needed some added resiliency to flyers, and there were just too many great blue-identity artifacts lying around. 
The result is an ‘artifacts tribal’ deck.  At current time, there isn’t a single card in the deck other than basic Islands that doesn’t contain the word ‘artifact’ somewhere on it.  Furthermore, I’ve built the deck twice over already – once as a mono-blue artifact aggro deck, and once as a crazy Karn-esque artifact toolbox build.  I’ll try both before deciding which is going to stay. 
So…why Memnarch?  It’s a confluence of things.  In the first place, no one plays him in my local metagame, so there’s the exclusivity angle.  I recognize that this is because Memnarch typically sucks on all levels in a casual environment, so I fully expect to take some serious focus-beatings as a result. 
From there, Memnarch is the only real option for a blue artifact general.  I’ve had an Arcum Daggson deck, and the truth is that Memnarch is probably hated less than that guy is.  I don’t want to go there again.
Finally, it’s the ‘ nuclear threat, nuclear answer’ thing.  Memnarch is an ace in the hole when it comes to other players amassing a crazy board position (enchantress and artifact-based Darksteel Forge decks come to mind here), and Memnarch can pick those things apart to crack a game back open when needed.  It also runs the chance that it will scare other players into taking it easy with bomb-tactic threats of their own.  In reality, I’ll rarely take this route, but it’s a nice potential deterrent. 
Glaring Spotlight is a great fit for the deck.  It slides right into the Trinket Mage package, and will allow Memnarch access to anything in the game save true untargetable cards and shroud.  In a pinch, it also opens up a sweet unblockable alpha-strike situation, so be prepared to eat a giant helping of Colossus of Sardia to the face.  You’ve been warned.
The Thespian’s Stage conundrum

God, do I hate this card. 
It’s everything that everyone is saying it is.  It goes in everything, and that’s kind of a bummer.  This is partially because I dislike the name and the art with all of my heart, and partially because I’m not at all a fan of Wizards of the Coast pumping out cards that further serve to homogenize the format.  If this thing doesn’t show up in over 80% of all EDH decks going forward, I’ll be floored.
But at least it isn’t a Primordial.  Which raises another point…
A Note To Leave You With

‘Plant.’ – A card clearly designed and included in a set with no other goal other than to feed a certain format or demographic. 
The Primordials are great examples of ‘EDH plants’ in my opinion.  What this phenomenon does to the format, and whether or not it’s a good thing is a topic for another time.  While we wait, though:
What cards do you identify as clear ‘plants’?

You know what to do.
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I hope you all enjoy your weekends, and I hope every one of you who hits up a Prerelease has a fantastic time.  For those of you following GDC on Twitter and Facebook, Mr. P and I will try to share our experiences in pictures and words as the weekend unfolds. 
See you next week-

—>Cass