Events · Friday Night Magic · LGS · MTG · Story · Wizards of the Coast

A Fight to the Finish at FNM: Unfinity vs the Warhammer 40K Precons

When Tom and I walk into our LGS, we’re immediately at a crossroads. (I use the word ‘walk’ very loosely. Due to a freak nacho-related accident involving an R.V and a dark road, I’m currently hobbling around in an air-cast with a broken foot.) Two rows of long white plastic church tables are set up at opposite ends of the store.

At the first table, Mr. Best and his friends slam down high powered cEDH staples and talk about which new 40k Commander deck has the most value in it once disassembled. 

The other table hosts a gaggle of children and their mothers. The children continuously run up to the store owner, Jack, and ask if it’s time to draft Unfinity yet.

However, there is also a third table. A round table in the middle invites players who don’t quite know where they fit to take a seat and wait for further enlightenment. Make no mistake, Tom and I want nothing to do with Unfinity. In fact, after the announcement that some of the cards were made Commander legal, we decided to avidly hate everything about the latest unset. Especially stickers.

However, we don’t really want to sit down with the competitive players either. This table has already purchased their 40k decks and are in the process of dismantling them.

“I thought it was supposed to be a pre-con event,” I say to Tom. “Not an immediately-rip-apart-the-deck” event.

He shrugs. “Yeah, I thought so too.”

To each their own though.

Mr. Alela joins us at the round table with a giant box of Unfinity and an even bigger smile plastered over his face. His shirt reads “I don’t have OCD, I have CDO (in alphabetical order, as it should be).” He also has the white, blue, and black Forces of the Imperium deck sitting at the ready. I’m not quite sure how he intends to do both events, but I suppose he’s ready for whichever way the wind blows.

The Necron Dynasties and Ruinous Power Precons.

I pick up the blue, black, and red Ruinous Powers deck and Tom takes the black Necron Dynasties. We’re trying to get the store owner, Jack, to purchase Tyrannid Swarm so that we’ll have all four in our play group, but he isn’t budging. Besides, he has his hands full with two events scheduled at the same time and an unruly group of Magic players swarming around him, making purchases, and demanding answers to their questions.

Mr. Alela’s Christmas-Came-Early wrappers being discarded everywhere.

A child runs up and asks Jack to explain the Devil Kenevil card and he’s whisked away to Unfinity land. We hear Jack playing a video and explaining how to ‘jump’ the card from the edge of the table to make it fly over other cards in order to gain counters. I make eye contact with the child’s mother who is looking as content as a mother hen watching her child light up over the silly unset cards and their unconventional mechanics.

Meanwhile, Mr. Alela is giggling to himself as green and purple wrappers go flying over my purse (and very threatening-and-scary Ruinous Powers deck) in direct opposition to the mantra emanating from his OCD/CDO shirt. I can’t help but feel like the Grinch at the end of the story when his heart grows three sizes. The pure childlike excitement is contagious and even though I still don’t want anything to do with the product myself, I can appreciate the joy that it’s bringing to those around me.

After a certain amount of time has passed, it’s clear that Jack doesn’t have enough people to run both events. The high powered Commander players have finished completing the upgrades to their existing decks and have already launched into games. The Unfinity children have gotten bored and the adults who were interested in the product simply walked into the store, purchased boxes, and fled the premises.

I feel bad.

It feels anti-climactic.

I wanted to rejoice in Unfinity being a massive failure, but instead, all I feel is remorse for the mother hen packing up her child’s cards and telling him that it’s time to go. The other two kids are being loaded up into mini-vans and promised McDonald’s for a late dinner. Mr. Alela tucks away his Unfinity cards and prepares for a game of Commander with us.

In the end, we had three people play the new 40K precons and Mr. Vega joined us with his pirate deck. He stated that he wants one of the decks, but has to wait until his next payday. There’s no denying that the first Universes Beyond precon set is a massive hit when it comes to quality. The decks are well put together and fun to play even for those who are completely unfamiliar with the Warhammer universe. Mr. Vega and Mr. Alela are both excited to spout off lore about the cards we play and my deck centered around something called “The Warp” is absolutely kicking off.

When I try to foil Mr. Alela’s plan for galactic domination, he takes me out of the game in one of the sickest burns I’ve experienced in a Magic game to date:

(I’m still laughing about it today.)

Tom’s Necron deck is undoubtedly the most powerful of the bunch and we have to keep him from taking over with his army of Egyptian zombie skeleton robots the entire time. I can see this becoming one of his all time favourite decks.

The Warhammer 40K pre-cons were an absolute blast and I look forward to playing Ruinous Powers at least another three or four times before I upgrade it. Jack ordered 48 decks and at the end of the launch, he only has 8 left. We live in a fairly small town so this is impressive.

My heart goes out to those who were genuinely excited for Unfinity. If the launch dates and card legality had been handled differently, it looks like it could have been a really fun experience. It’s hard to fully enjoy the massive success of the new pre-cons without taking into account the disappointment experienced by other community members of our LGS. Hoping they find other ways to enjoy the latest (and likely to be the last) unset.

If anything, the experience has taught me to try not to be such a Grinch about other people’s fun.

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