The Devil in the Details – Avacyn has been Restored

So Avacyn has been restored to the Plane of Innistrad and she has brought a bright new horizon to my favorite format, Limited. Avacyn Restored is a limited format full of intricacies, powerful effects, and unexpected outcomes. I was excited to get my hands on some of the new cards and sling them in style at the Prerelease. This previous Saturday I had that privilege to participate in the Helvault prerelease at my favorite gaming destination, Amazing Discoveries.

Wizards of the Coast was featuring a promotion for the prerelease where each player would get an achievement card to fill out. Once a player had completed 10 of those achievements they would turn it in and break a seal on the Helvault. Once all the seals were broken the Helvault would be opened and the contents revealed and distributed among the attendees. The allure of free swag with no additional cost to participate was too good to pass up so I knew I had to participate in this event. Amazing Discoveries was also doing a promotion where if you had preregistered for the event you would get a free deck box and a mystery gold rush promo. The gold rush is akin to what Star City had done for Grand Prix Salt Lake City. Amazing Discoveries had a box of mystery promos, store coupons, and older powerful cards that each pregistered participant received one of at random. As icing on the cake, Monster Energy Drinks were also sponsoring the event which meant free Monster for everyone!

The tournament started at 2pm and I arrived to the store about 1:30pm and began talking to players about what they expected and hoped for. Players were excited to open powerful cards like Temporal Mastery, Tibalt, Tamiyo, and Cavern of Souls. There was much talk of Miracle cards and their interactions on the format. Players were divided on the power level of Soulbond with some claiming it as lame and others as overpowered. I was in the latter’s camp and was eagerly looking forward to pairing some creatures for battle. Just a few minutes before 2 the store started to bustle with the roar of about 70 players ready to do battle.

Soon thereafter, the seatings were posted and the players bustled to their assigned deck building stations. Resident Amazing Discoveries judge, Alex, ran through the normal announcements and pleasantries. Then product was given out to the players. I received a promo Glissa as my gold rush card and began to crack my packs. My pool was largely unexciting with my rares spread out across every color and no specific strategy screaming out to me. I ended up in a blue/white flying deck that had a heavy top end of 5 six drops and 1 seven. I played 13 creatures and 10 spells. I wasn’t very confident in my deck and figured it was about a 3-2 deck. I won’t get into too much detail as I don’t want this to turn into a tournament report. I ended up going 2-3 and a pack for my troubles. I played a lot of grindy long games or got blown out by Soulbond beatdown really quickly. Wolfir Silverheart is a serious beating, by the way.

I learned a lot about the format through my experience of the prerelease. The most important thing I learned is that no matter how solid you think your board presence is, your opponents can top deck a miracle card and swing the game back into their favor. Miracle cards all have effects that are undercosted when cast for the miracle cost and usually affect the board in a positive way for the caster. Miracles exist in every color except for Black. Miracles should always be played in sealed and almost always in draft. In sealed their effects are worth casting for the normal cost and back breaking for your opponent is cast for the miracle cost.

Removal is scarce in this format, lots of creatures fly, and curves tend to be top heavy. If you open any removal you should probably attempt to play it. Any removal is good removal. White and Green seem to be tied for the best colors in limited while Black is underpowered, shallow and almost unplayable without the perfect group of cards. Black misses out on both Miracles and Soulbond. Card evaluation has become even more important than previous limited formats like Innistrad/Dark Ascension as you cannot just fill out your curve and call it a day. There is great disparity between 1, 2, and 3 drops of each color and you want to make sure you play the right combinations. You don’t always want to play your 3/3 for 3 and 1/4 for 3 in the same deck. Building with a strategy in mind is the only way to be successful.

The elephant in the room all day was undisputedly Soulbond. This mechanic is extremely powerful in limited, essentially turning your creatures into reusable auras. Soulbond rewards you for playing a lot of creatures and keeping your board full. Soulbond creatures grant just about every creature ability and are spread across all the colors except for black. Soulbond is especially powerful in green, which is no surprise as green is the color known for being the most creature friendly. I highly recommend playing Soulbond creatures if you can do so.

I was indifferent with my deck but felt I had built the best one I could with my card pool. Sometimes you are susceptible to what you have. I experienced some crushing beats at the hands of Soulbond. Wolfir Silverheart is by far the best limited card in the set. The Helvault was cracked open during round 3 and everyone received some awesome double-sided angel/demon tokens, an Avacyn Restored spindown life counter, and an oversized promo. If you want to check out some pictures of the event or read some of the feature match coverage you can head on over to the Amazing Discoveries Tumblr page,, where Chris Zaborowski covered the events of the day. Special thanks go out to Chris for taking the time to cover the event.

I’d also like to thank Amazing Discoveries for putting on such a great event and being my home away from home. If you have never been to Amazing Discoveries I suggest you stop in sometime. They are located at 2410 E Broadway in Tucson just west of Tucson Boulevard on the Southside of the street.  Should you ever find yourself in Tucson you should definitely check it out. When you do stop in say hello to Dustin Ochoa, the owner, and let him know you heard about it from Jeffrey McCoy. They have a tournament every day of the week and feature multiple formats. If you need singles it’s the place to go.

If you have any questions or comments please post below. If you like this article then please click the like button. You can also email me [email protected] or follow me on twitter @fallfromhell. Thanks for reading.

Jeffrey McCoy