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Gatecrash Prerelease Event Report – By A. Thomas

I spent way to long trying to get the Orzhov guild box opened, but when I finally did, I started by opening my guild pack. I was happy to open a Crypt Ghast and the guildmage for my guild. My other five packs yielded two playable rares (Undercity Plague and High Priest of Penance) and three unplayables (including two copies of Biovisionary – what are the odds). My first swing at the deck splashed blue for Hands of Binding and a Dimir Keyrune, but after one quick exhibition game with a friend, it was clear that my deck did not want to play tempo. I cut the blue and added back in a few white cards that I wanted to play anyway. That made my mana way better and put me into a solid two-prong game plan: stall the board and extort, and fly overhead if possible. I stuck with that plan all day.


Round 1: Orzhov mirror (sort of)


My round one opponent had an Orzhov guild kit in tow, but in our two games I only saw one black spell. It looked like he went white/blue with a black splash. It didn’t work out too well for him. Game One I played solitaire while he looked for black mana. He never found one and spent the game with a full grip of cards, never casting a single one. In Game Two, he managed a Cloudfin Raptor and a Syndic of Tithes while my board had four or five creatures on it. I misplayed when I decided to cast Devour Flesh instead of my Treasury Thrull. The Thrull would have triggered my Court Street Denizen, allowing me to tap down his Raptor and swing for the win. Instead, I gave him another turn, and he cast Merciless Eviction, exiling all my creatures. It took a few more turns to reduce his life to zero, but my misplay made me realize just how many decisions Orzhov makes you think about. (1-0)


Round 2: Orzhov mirror (ugh.)


I left Round One having no idea if my deck was any good because my Round One opponent cast a total of three spells across two games. I sat down across from another guy piloting Orzhov (again with blue, but this time it was just a splash for Totally Lost). Game One went as you might expect an Orzhov mirror to go. It lasted about twenty-five minutes, and our life totals kept bouncing up and down on the strength of Extort. At one point we had the same four creatures (with the exception of my Knight of Obligation to his Syndic of Tithes). The Knight’s vigilance was particularly effective during that game, allowing me to swing when he couldn’t. I finally was able to Extort for five in one turn and that finished him off.


Game Two was faster. I had sided out Devour Flesh (in favor of Purge the Profane) because Devour Flesh was doing nothing against another Orzhov player (I left it out for the other two rounds, as well). On turn four of Game Two, I cast Purge the Profane, and my opponent all but scooped – having to throw away his fifth land and Knight Watch. I was up two cards at this point (he had also mulled to six), so I decided I needed to be the Beatdown before he could Extort his way to another stall. I cast a bunch of flyers and took chunks out of his life total and the game ended. (2-0)


Round 3: Boros


This was my toughest match of the day. In Game One, he attacked me down to four life, and I never really stabilized. I was able to hold off his Foundry Champion just long enough to pull out the victory. Here’s how it went down. He rapidly established a board presence with three creatures, including Boros Reckoner and chipped away at my life total. I almost threw away my Executioner’s Swing early, but I’m glad I saved it for the Reckoner, since it kills the creature withouth the Reckoner dealing damage back. He dropped Assemble the Legion about halfway through the game, and I thought I was done. Then I looked at Angelic Edict again and realized it can exile enchantments. Phew.


Still, I was in a rough spot. Then he misplayed – sort of. (At the time, he didn’t know I had Undercity Plague in my hand). He dropped Foundry Champion and dealt three damage to my 1/3 Vizkopa Confessor. If he had known what my next turn was going to be, he would have killed my Assault Griffin instead. On my turn I cast Undercity Plague, encoded it onto my Griffin and attacked. My opponent was forced to dome me with his Boros Charm so he didn’t have to discard it. On the next turn, he attacked with Foundry Champion. I knew I had to keep alive both my Guildmage and Griffin to have any chance of winning, so I took a calculated risk and chose not to block. He pumped the Champion but had no Bloodrush to finish me off (pretty much any of the Bloodrushers would have done it). Phew again. Next turn I attacked with the Griffin, and activated both abilities of the Guildmage. That attack made him lose seven life – three from the Griffin, one from Undercity Plague, and three from the Guildmage’s second ability. Luckily, that turn I had also drawn another creature to chump the Champion. He attacked again, I chumped, and then I repeated the Griffin-Guildmage sequence for lethal. That was a close game.


In Game Two, I curved out perfectly with Extort creatures, and he was never in it. The play of the game happened when I blocked his animated Boros Keyrune early on because I suspected had a Bloodrush card in his hand (which would have been a ten point attack; he did and used it to save his Keyrune). (3-0)


Round 4: Boros


These were two quick games, in which my opponent was stuck on three mana in both. In Game One I got out my Crypt Ghast (first time all tournament). That guy is good. With him out, I was able to cast my Treasury Thrull AND Extort four times off the resulting triggers. Kingpin’s Pet did most of the heavy lifting during the matchup, as I got both of them out in both games. (4-0)


Lessons learned about playing Orzhov


In my eight games (plus a few more on the side between rounds), I discovered just how patient the Orzhov player has to be. In order to get maximum effect out of Extort you might find yourself playing spells out of the normal sequence. On several occasions, I made sure I had the extra mana to Extort, which meant keeping back three-drops and playing them on turn five if I could afford to. I also found that I often played my creature during my first main phase in order to Extort before combat (in case my Extort creature got killed). Playing against Boros, it was necessary to trade early so Battalion was tougher to trigger. If they waited until they had three creatures to attack (likely turn four), then I usually had my defenses in place – Basilica Guards stalls about as good as any. To win with Orzhov you have to be patient, know when to trade, and know when to tap out to Extort as opposed to representing Smite with an open white (which I found I didn’t do as much as I thought I would). If you can make it to the late game piloting Orzhov, you are far and away favored. So try to manage the game till you get there.


The pre-release was great fun. Thanks to the guys at Battleground for organizing another excellent tournament.




2 Orzhov Guildgate

8 Plains

7 Swamp


1 Treasury Thrull

1 Cartel Aristocrat

1 High Priest of Penance

1 Knight of Obligation

1 Court Street Denizen

1 Vizkopa Guildmage

1 Vizkopa Confessor

1 Gateway Shade

1 Basilica Screecher

1 Crypt Ghast

2 Kingpin’s Pet

2 Basilica Guards

2 Assault Griffin


1 Beckon Apparition

1 Angelic Edit

1 Executioner’s Swing

1 Smite

1 Undercity Plague

1 Purge the Profane

1 Aerial Maneuver


Posted in Blog, Featured Post, Magic: The Gathering | 2 Comments »

Difficult Terrain: Telling Tales: Tips for the Watcher



Sam Pearson of Battleground Plainville has written another fine article on the Difficult Terrain blog. This time, he puts the focus on game mastering tips for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game. Noticing that there was very little in the way of suggestions for people seeking advice on how to be a better Watcher (the name given to Marvel Roleplaying GMs), he set out to do the hard work himself. 

For those of you interested in the game, you can pick up a copy at either Battleground location. It was one of last year’s best selling RPGs and we highly recommend you give it a try.


Also, don’t forget to read the other great articles on the Difficult Terrain blog and like them on Facebook.


Posted in Blog, Featured Post, Role-Playing Games | No Comments »

Abington New Location Opens January 1st

Due to some unexpected delays, combined with a desire to avoid relocation so close to the holidays, Battleground Abington will be opening its new location on Tuesday, January 1st, 2013. It also seems a little wiser to open the store on the first day of a new year. Although we will be open for business, and hope that you’ll make the time to come down and check us out, expect that there will still be some work going on during that first week. Unlike opening a brand new store, moving a store presents some interesting challenges. Our plans are to keep the old location up and running until December 30th, at which point we’ll close the store and begin the major task of relocating our enormous inventory and all of our store fixtures and supplies. Volunteers are definitely welcome to come down and lend us a hand!


After we’ve moved in and the dust settles, we’ll announce our Grand Opening Party which will consist of a veritable three ring circus of gaming (or ten or twelve ring more likely), food & beverages, and TONS of prizes and giveaways!


The space is coming along quite nicely, and several Abington alumni have been instrumental in the construction of the new store. I’d like to thank Chad Kelble, Shaun “Earl” Macrae, Rich Curtin, and Andrew Kelble for lending us their expertise and skill. I really don’t know what I would have done without their dedication and craftsmanship!


If anyone is available and interested in volunteering to help us move on December 30 and December 31, send me an e-mail at and let me know your availability.


We’re almost at the finish line… or I guess, I should say, the starting line! See you there!








Posted in Blog, Featured Post, Store Related | 8 Comments »

Black Friday Weekend / Relocation Sale in Abington!

If you haven’t heard already, the Abington store is moving, so it’s time to clean house! Join us on Black Friday, and all weekend long, for our blow-out moving sale. We’ll be offering some giant savings on a large selection of items. We’ll also be making lots of older stock available at crazy-good deals. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to pick up some gaming supplies for yourself or as holiday gifts.


There will be discounts as high as 80% off!


The 24th is also Small Business Saturday, so be sure to stop by and support your local gaming store!


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Battleground Abington is Moving!

The word has been slowly spreading and I’d like to officially confirm that Battleground Games & Hobbies’ Abington store will be moving to a much bigger and better location in approximately one month! We’ve been at our current spot for 10 years and the community there has really outgrown our present walls.



The new location is conveniently located only 0.3 miles from our old one; about a 30 second drive south on Route 18, still in Abington. The new store is considerably larger at 2,200 square feet and will give us tremendous freedom in creating a truly awesome gaming space for all Battleground customers. Additionally, the 25′ high ceilings will offer an openness that is virtually unknown in game stores.



It has always been our goal to try to provide a gaming environment that raises the bar for the community and I’m excited that this new location is going to provide opportunities for us to take this vision to the extreme. It’s our intent to create not just a game store but a gaming entertainment facility. We have a lot of plans on how to achieve this, beyond just a huge new location, and we’ll be revealing them over the next month as the store comes together.



We hope all of you will come along with us for the ride as Battleground takes this next big step on its journey. We’re so happy to have met so many great people over this past decade and we can’t wait to see where the next 10 years will take us!


Stay tuned…



Posted in Blog, Featured Post, Store Related | 4 Comments »

Wil Wheaton Plays Last Night on Earth

Check out Wil Wheaton’s latest video on Guests Felicia Day, Riki Lindhome, and Kate Micucci join him to play Last Night on Earth, a zombie themed board game from Flying Frog Productions. This game has long been a favorite among Battleground regulars and it’s available at both the Abington and Plainville locations.


There are also a good number of expansions that you can add to the main game to enhance your experience after you’ve played through the main game a few times. The game is for 2 – 6 players and lasts for about 90 minutes. Suggested ages are for 12 and up. It was originally published in 2007.


Last Night on Earth is a survival horror board game that pits small-town heroes head-to-head against a limitless horde of zombies. Players can play as the hero team or as the zombies. A modular board randomly determines the layout of the town at the start of each game and there are several different scenarios to play, making the replay value of the game very high. It’s fast paced with easy to learn rules that allow you to jump right into the action, while strategic depth and strong cooperative play keep the game interesting. The artwork for the game is photographic to help produce a horror movie feel. It also comes with a CD soundtrack of original music.


This is a great Halloween party game!



Posted in Blog, Board Games, Featured Post | No Comments »

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