Tips for Your First Magic: The Gathering Prerelease – Modern Horizons Edition


Magic The Gathering is such an amazing game. For many people, Prerelease is their first dip into the game. Prereleases are by far my favorite format for playing Magic. With this article,I hope to ease any anxieties you may have about going to your first event and let you know what you are in store for.


  • Register for the event early
  • Eat and sleep before the event
  • Buy card sleeves and sleeve up 15 lands of each color
  • Review the set and know the format
  • Show up early
  • Win more for more prizes
  • Keep playing more events at your LGS!

Modern Horizons:

This set truly something special so we have a special edition of Popped Off’s Prerelease Survival Guide. This set is a supplemental set so there are a few unique things to know:

  • All the cards are made for modern format, so you can’t use these in standard
  • The limited format may be sealed OR draft

Before the Event


Before you attend the event you’ll need to sign up! Prerelease events tend to be one of the biggest events at your local game store (LGS), so you’ll need to call them and ask about registering ahead of time. If you don’t know any LGS near you, head over to Wizards of the Coast’s website here: Once registered, some events will let you prepay over the phone. If you didn’t just remember to arrive early with your cash.

Plan Your Trip:

Since this is a bigger event, you’ll want to make sure you arrive to the LGS early. If you are driving make sure you have directions and plan around traffic. If you’re like me and metro to the event, make sure you check bus/train schedule so you know when you should arrive.

Get a Good Night Sleep:

I know you hear this before anything you do, but it is really important. You’ll want to be fully present during the event, so getting in your eight hours is crucial. I can’t tell you how many misplays I’ve made during drafts just because I was sleepy.


Since the event lasts 4-5 hours, you’ll want to make sure you get a good meal in before the event. Nothing is worse than trying to speed up a game because you want to run out for food between rounds. I’d also suggest bringing a snack bar with you to stave off any hunger you might have before the event ends.


Bring a bottle of water, being hydrated is very important.

Clean up:

There are going to be a lot of new players coming into these events. So please try to bring your best. Make sure you shower up and throw on some deodorant before getting to your shop.

(Pro Tip) Sleeve Some Lands Up:

While preparing for a limited event, I like to sleeve up 15 lands of each color, because you only run 17 lands total, and will most likely be in more than one color. This way after assembling my sealed deck, I can just slot in my own lands and save a bunch of time. Since the event is so packed, sometimes the LGS will run out of extra lands as well, so the backup always comes in clutch.

During the Event


Once you show up to your LGS, find the sign in the ion and make sure you are completely registered and they know you are there. Once you do you’ll want to find a spot to sit and just relax. Make some small talk and GET HYPED!

Event Start:

Now is the moment this has all been building up to. The event organizers will hand everyone three (3) booster packs for draft or six (6) booster packs for sealed. The Organizers will let you know to start. You’ll have 50 minutes to assemble a 40 card deck from the booster packs and any basic lands you need. The usual breakdown is 17 lands 23 spells.

(Pro Tip): Check out extra content like Limited Resources to get knowledge about the set, power level of cards, and archetypes to look for. Channel Fire also has a good early pick choice for the t.

Once building is over, you’ll begin matches. There will usually be around 3 rounds, but some stores run more. Each match is a best of 3, allowing you to sideboard in ANY card you got in your packs. You’ll get packs as rewards for win record! So the better your record, the more you’ll get.

After the Event

Once all the rounds end, the organizers will begin handing out prizes, congratulating the winners, and inform everyone on upcoming events.

Where do we go from here?:

If this was your first event I hope you enjoyed it! There are so many more opportunities to play Magic. If you liked the assembling a deck from packs I would suggest trying a draft. The rules are slightly different from sealed, but the playstyle is similar. If you want to get more competitive, you can look into standard. Best place to start for this is MTG: Arena, where you can try that out for free! Ask employees at your LGS what events they have coming up and what they suggest for newer players, they are there to help you and hype up this amazing game!

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