Sometimes you can fall out of the cycle of Magic news, especially immediately after the holidays. If you're in this boat, or if you just regularly don't pay too much attention to spoilers, this article is for you. Here's the top eight things you should know about this weekend to help you get the slightest edge, despite your lack of being glued to spoilers:
1. There Are Not Cards with Morph in This Set
So all that memorizing you did for Khans of Tarkir is still live–if someone plays a morph creature against you, you don't have to worry about unknown cards.
2. There Will Be Face-Down Creatures That Don't Have Morph, Though
Manifest, one of the new mechanics for this set, will allow players to put the top cards of their libraries into play face-down as 2/2 creatures. If they are actually creature cards, their controllers may turn them face-up for their mana or morph costs. If they are lands or noncreature spells, they can't be turned face up, but they're not illegal as manifest creatures.
This means you need to keep an eye on face-down creatures and make sure ones that were morphed are distinct from those that were manifested. Make sure you're not inadvertently cheating anyone (or advertently, for that matter, but you wouldn't do that) and that no one is cheating you.
3. It Doesn't Matter What Clan or Color You Choose Anymore
With the randomized promos, there's not really a huge advantage to choosing the "best" clan. Some pools will be more playable than others, but at this point, you should just choose the colors you like best. This is coming from someone who always chose a prerelease pack based on what I saw as the best promo—I want to win at these things, and I will take the route that gives me the advantage. But I don't think that advantage is discernible anymore, so just play what you like.
4. You Can't Get Blown Out When You're Bolstering
Check out the reminder text: "Choose a creature with the least toughness among creatures you control and put X +1/+1 counters on it." This means that if your opponent kills your smallest creature in response to bolstering, your next-smallest creature will get the bonus. The only way you can get blown out is if your opponent kills your only creature. Don't let yourself lose an advantage because you didn't notice the lack of a targeting clause in this ability.
5. The Cards You Open Will Never Be Worth This Much Again (On Average)
If you don't have an extensive list of trade targets and stuff to get rid of, it's not a bad policy to be trading your Fate Reforged cards across the board for Khans of Tarkir cards you want or need. Sure, a few cards might go up, but the vast majority are going to go down, whereas Khans cards have had months to settle and are not as hyped at the moment.
6. That Doesn't Mean You Have to Trade or Sell Them Right Away
This is a primarily an MTG finance website, so we always try to help you maximize the buying power of the dollars you spend on our favorite hobby. You can also decide you're not going to worry about those trends and just keep cards that are going to go down in value. If you get your fun in Magic from playing with cards before everyone else, or even just as soon as possible, it's not a bad thing to pay a little more or lose some value to play with sweet new cards. It might not be as efficient, but we all have different goals and values in this game, and that's okay.
7. This Isn't a Wedge Set: There Aren't Three-Color Cards
So you should have a really good reason to be three or more colors after building your deck. Those reasons can range from incredible mana fixing to three Abzan rares from your Khans packs, but if you're looking to win the most matches, you're likely going to be the most consistent with a two-color deck, maybe with a splash. Don't default to assuming you're going to be three colors—in fact, I'll be planning not to be until it's clear I would be doing it wrong by playing less.
8. Have Fun
Prereleases are supposed to be fun, so do what you enjoy most–trade for value or cards you need, play tight and win a bunch of packs, or just kick back and laugh your way through some games of Magic with friendly people. Whatever you enjoy, go for it.