I attended the Dragon's Maze pre-release at Eclectic Games in Reading and chose Golgari as my guild. Before the pre-release a lot of people were asking on twitter and facebook what guild to choose. The best advice that I saw was just go for your favourite guild or the guild you feel more comfortable playing.
I was tempted to do 2 pre-releases, however I decided against it due to money and time constraints. It was less tempting to do multiple Dragon's Maze pre-releases as the promo cards were the same no matter what guild you played. I did wonder why the promo card was a Maze's End when, as far as I know, you wouldn't get enough guildgates to actually use Maze's End as an alternative win con.
As the intro pack rares were the guild champions I would've preferred the promo to have been the guild champion for whichever guild you chose to play. I guess the argument against this is that some guild champions are better than others, especially in Limited.
Unlike Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash pre-release events I've been to the guild packs weren't on the tables when I arrived. Instead we had to wait until the pre-release started and then each guild was called up and each player chose their guild pack at random. As I chose Golgari I was hoping for either Gruul or Simic as my secret guild ally.
I was slightly disappointed when I flipped my guild pack over and saw my secret guild was Dimir, although it did occur to me that the unblockables/semi-unblockables in Dimir could come in handy, especially with Scavenge creatures.
Unfortunately when I opened my Dimir pack I found I didn't really have any good Dimir cards. My Golgari pack on the other hand seemed insanely good. I ended up getting 3 Dreg Manglers, 2 Sluiceway Scorpions and 2 Daggerdrome Imps. I never expected my guild pack to be that consistent. I had hoped to get a Deathrite Shaman as my rare, but I got an Underworld Connections instead.
In my Dragon's Maze boosters I opened quite a few good Gruul cards, including Ruric Thar, the Unbowed and ended up building a Jund Aggro deck.
2 x Daggerdrome Imp
1 x Kraul Warrior
1 x Riot Piker
3 x Dreg Mangler
1 x Feral Animist
3 x Rakdos Drake
1 x Rubblebelt Maaka
2 x Sluiceway Scorpion
1 x Thrashing Mossdog
1 x Ubul Sar Gatekeepers
1 x Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
1 x Armed // Dangerous
1 x Far // Away
1 x Morgue Burst
1 x Phytoburst
1 x Putrefy
1 x Stab Wound
1 x Golgari Guildgate
1 x Gruul Guildgate
1 x Rakdos Guildgate
1 x Transguild Promenade
5 x Forest
2 x Mountain
6 x Swamp
This is the final deck list, however originally I did have a Zhur-Taa Ancient, Contaminated Ground and 2 Sinister Possesions in the deck. I took all 5 cards out after the first round.
The problem I found with the Zhur-Taa Ancient is that it allowed my opponent to ramp as well. In the first game this allowed them to win by having enough mana to remove my creatures and cast Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts, despite having a Contaminated Ground on one of their lands. After the first game I realised that I don't actually need the mana acceleration as I don't really have anything to do with the extra mana, with the exception of maybe pumping Feral Animist if I had him on the battlefield..
The Contaminated Ground did wonders in the first game when I had it in my opening hand, but after playing a few other games I realised it became a dead card if drawn later on in the game.
Similarly the Sinister Possessions were handy to deter opponents from attacking with certain creatures, however in the faster aggro decks it didn't seem to matter as another creature took it's place and attacked. In mid-range/ramp decks with larger creatures the life loss didn't act as much of a deterrent. I didn't play against any control decks, but I can imagine they won't play that many creatures and the ones they did play they wouldn't bother attacking with.
To replace these cards I added some more removal to help my more aggressive creatures push through. After the second round, despite losing both rounds, I was happy with my deck. I seemed to be able to consistently get either Dreg Mangler or Rakdos Drake on turn 3 and start attacking. A lot of people I played against couldn't deal with the flying creatures. The flyers were made even better by scavenging counters on to them. The saving card in many games was Daggerdrome Imp as the life gain proved invaluable.
The deck did struggle against Selesnya populate decks, especially ones that contained Trostani's Summoner, as the army of tokens grew I found I couldn't push through and was forced to play defensively.
Due to the high number of Return to Ravnica cards I had in my deck it felt like I was playing Return to Ravnica sealed more than Dragon's Maze sealed. After the pre-release I reviewed my sealed pool and noticed that I did have enough good Selesnya cards (including a foil Advent of the Wurm and a couple Trostani's Summoners) to have splashed White instead of Red, however I felt more comfortable with the deck I had created.
Overall I went 2-2 and ended up coming 30th out of 50 players.
The Implicit Maze after round 2
Initially the Golgari weren't doing that well in the Implicit Maze, only moving one space after round 1 and two spaces after round 2. After round 3, however, the Golgari jumped a staggering 10 spaces and another 10 spaces after the final round. This put the Golgari in third. Rakdos, unsurprisingly, came first and Selesnya were second.
I really like themed pre-releases and hope Wizards do more. I'm especially looking forward to seeing what they do for the Theros block pre-releases.
All in all I'm not sure what the pre-release taught me about the Dragon's Maze sealed format, apart from it's a lot slower than Gatecrash sealed. In my opinion this is a good thing as Gatecrash seemed insanely fast and gave the impression to win you had to be playing Boros.
I have yet to do a DGR (Dragon's Maze, Gatecrash, Return to Ravnica) draft but I'm interested in participating in at least one, just to see what it's like.