I haven’t been able to meet friends outside of the house since Arrow was born for any length of time. Two children require twice as much work as one, and even with work being limited to camps, there hasn’t been time to go to the card shop to play. There is also less time for me to just go to the shop in the hope that games will be available. I play specific formats, usually with a large time and monetary commitment for fun play, so if I’m going to play, things need to be worked out in advance and the stars align before I’ll be able to show up for games. I was lucky enough to negotiate a partial release from my house, in exchange for cleaning up and going grocery store.

My wife said that since I hadn’t been anywhere for the entire winter break except work, she’d try to let me go to the Gatecrash Pre-release since my phone was getting messages from lots of people asking if I was going to show up. The last pre-release I attended I did very well and got second place, so while I wasn’t as invested in the current format (couldn’t practice a lot online or memorize the spoilers), I really would have liked to return.

It was nice to see some friends I haven’t seen for a month. Some of them are leaving the country soon, or are working at different places, and it was nice to catch up with them. We were all excited about playing this new format, and all of us had specific cards we were looking for opening. Luckily for me my “wanted” cards were limited to specific cards that weren’t high on anyone’s radar, so I wasn’t in competition with lots of other people if they were available.

My pool of cards had two of the most valuable cards in the set (yay!), and I was able to cobble together a deck that put up a fight in every round but ended up putting me in the middle of the pack overall. I was able to recoup more money on cards (at their current value) than what I paid to get the cards, which one of the Korean players pointed out, “Doesn’t matter your outcome, you already won.” Heh.

I left shortly after the game finished because I knew my wife would be having a hard time with both kids. I ended up meeting a friend I hadn’t seen in a month on the way home who gave me a gift for Arrow, then did a little more grocery shopping before I returned. It was good to get out of the house, but I don’t think it will be something possible without some huge aid or unusual circumstances. It was nice to hang out with friends, and the cards and the game were somewhat secondary to all of that.