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Prerelease tournaments (or prereleases) are events held one week before the release of an expansion set. Starting with Shards of Alara, Wizards of the Coast allowed local stores to run the tournaments, which vastly broadened their attendance.
The tournament format is sealed deck. Players build decks with cards from the upcoming release set. Players build a deck with a minimum of 40 cards from booster packs received. The unused cards are considered their sideboard for the tournament.