Lately I’ve been looking for alternative (read: cheap) ways to play Magic Online without having to pay $14 to draft and lose the first round. There are several player-run events on MTGO (called PREs) that offer cheap fun and good, quality Magic. Wizards is kind enough to allow players to run their own tournaments as long as the entry fee is “fair,” and hosts space on their forums for advertising and discussion. Events take place in the MTGO casual play rooms, and there is almost always something going on.
One rising PRE is called SilverBlack. It’s basically a slight upgrade from Pauper (only commons allowed in decks), where decks can consist only of commons and uncommon cards. SilverBlack comes in both Modern and Standard flavors, although the Modern version is more popular. Currently all cards are legal in SilverBlack Standard, and there is a banned list for Modern (mostly the obvious cards – Bloodbraid Elf, the artifact lands, Sensei’s Divining Top, etc.)
Tournaments are organized through Gatherling.com, a simple website that makes it easy for players to find events, register decks, and track results. The site is also a great source for online Pauper and Heirloom (commons, uncommons, and super-cheap rares) tournaments.
Most tournaments are free to enter, and prizes are frequently awarded, depending on whether the events are sponsored. So far I’ve mostly seen store bot credit and foils/promos awarded. But the more popular the events become, the better the prizes will certainly be.
I built a few decks and tried my luck at the weekly Saturday night (10pm Eastern) SilverBlack Standard Event, going 2-1 with a Selesnya Aggro build. I taped my matches (using the MTGO Beta Client, so peep that out as well) and posted them on YouTube so you can see how they went. Add me on MTGO (badmagicplayer), build some SilverBlack Standard decks, and let’s have a good time!