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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Dec 08 2016 1:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  This week is going to be a little short since I came down with a bit of a cold over the weekend.  As December fell upon us in San Antonio it brought 3 straight days of rain, one of which I was not prepared for.  I should be good to go for next week, but this week I wasn't able to record my draft matches as my throat was not having it.  I was able to record the draft itself, but the matches will not be with us this week.

Today we have the conclusion of my Kaladesh Sealed League and I also have a special project I worked on this past week.  YouTube user Samuel Rubin contacted me about doing a collaboration involving Sealed Deck and I eagerly accepted his proposal.  We both generated a random sealed pool and battled each other while recording the matches.  I'll provide a link in that section where you can see everything from his point of view.

This week I'd like to talk about a format that isn't on Magic Online, but maybe one day the all-powerful Worth (blessed be thy name) will grant us the chance to draft Wacky Draft.  Wacky Draft is my favorite draft format ever and I'd love to be able to draft it on Magic Online.

Wacky Draft

Wacky Draft has been my favorite format ever since I first experienced it.  In my store we call it "Chaos Draft", since it really is pure chaos once you get down to it.  A recent chaos draft I did had packs of Battle for Zendikar, Oath of the Gatewatch, Shadows over Innistrad, Eldritch Moon, Kaladesh, Conspiracy and Conspiracy 2.  Adding to the chaos that was already there, my first pack of Conspiracy had a Lore Seeker, which meant adding another pack to the draft!

Wacky Draft is a format where you add boosters of any set you want to throw in.  You draft as normal, except you're not drafting a set format but rather random packs of cards.  It's not that different from a cube, but at least cubes are constructed in a way that the cards work together and there are no duds.  In this format there are going to be more duds than usual because a lot of cards are context dependent in their respective formats.  Take a Thought-Knot Seer for example.  It's a very powerful card that you would first pick in Oath draft, but if that pack is the only pack with colorless mana, is it now a first pick?  What if there is no colorless mana in that pack?  Another example is opening a pack with Terror from original Mirrodin.  In that format Terror is not as good since a lot of things you want to kill are artifacts, but in Wacky Draft it's basically a Doom Blade.

I tend to excel in Wacky Draft that have packs I've already drafted because I know the power level of the cards and which ones are objectively good as opposed to those that need synergy.  Kindly Stranger is a first pick hard in Shadows over Innistrad, but in Wacky Draft how often are you going to have Delirium?  I think most formats allow you go get three card types in the graveyard, but that fourth type is going to be difficult.  If that's going to be the case, is it worth taking Kindly Stranger?  What if Throttle is in the same pack?  Perhaps it's better to take that card despite it being weaker because in a normal draft -4/-4 is still going to kill a fair amount of creatures.

It's hard to read signals in Wacky Draft since everybody is drafting as they go and might not be sure about what they're doing.  How I read signals in this format is evaluating the higher rarity cards being passed to me and picking them based on how objectively powerful they are.  If I see a 4th pick Ultimate Price from a Return to Ravnica pack, I'm moving into black if I know the majority of the packs are going to be mono-colored creatures because that's too good a card to pass.  One of my drafts had a very early Niblis of Frost and that's a powerful card no matter the set it came out of, so I picked it and was rewarded with open blue.  This is how I like to pick cards in this format:

  • Efficient removal
  • Bombs
  • Good creatures
  • Mana fixing

I like taking removal first over bombs because removal is more flexible and less context dependent than some "bombs".  I find that my opponent will have a lot of random cards and one or two good cards, and if I'm able to remove the good cards from play then I'm able to win with whatever I have in my deck.  This isn't to say that I always take removal over a bomb rare, but it's how I generally operate.  Planeswalkers are still first picks and the bomb rare/mythics in each set are still first pick cards as well.  Wraths are also first picks as well since they can create a lot of card advantage while giving you outs to random shenanigans that happen in this format.  In reality you want to follow general drafting strategy which is to just take all the good cards regardless of the set they're in.  Aggro is a little less viable here since you need synergies and a good curve to make that work and that's not always there in every set.  Midrange/control is where I want to be if I get enough removal/bombs early.

Kaladesh Sealed League

I've linked the entire playlist but you can skip ahead to the 5th and 6th videos in order to see the last two matches.  My record speaks for itself, a 2-3 just isn't up to snuff and that's how you would describe my deck.  My deck didn't have enough power to give it a chance to win matches against decent/good decks.  My removal suite was not where I wanted to be and my finishers all cost a lot of mana and were beatable, even the Aethersquall Ancient can lose if I don't get to the necessary amount of energy to activate its ability.  At 1-2 I lost to a very good deck that I can't believe was in the 1-2 bracket.  Double Cloudblazer, Saheeli's Artistry, Aerial Responder, among other cards was just too much to deal with.  My deck is nowhere near good enough to beat those cards if my opponent is able to play them.  The deck and pool just weren't good enough for me to win more than I lost.  You can't always get a winner!

Kaladesh VS Sealed

You can find the link to his side of the battle here.  So this pool is not that great, but it has things I can work with.  I can play a B/x deck with some amount of removal, but I'm hard pressed to actually win the game.  White and green look okay, but they just look okay.  I'm not really a big fan of Inspired Charge decks because they just lose if your opponent is also able to go wide or you draw the wrong half of your deck.  I don't want to play a deck that is going to automatically lose to mana flood because it had horrible topdecks.  You can see this line of thinking when I decide to splash Fortuitous Find.  In practice, splashing that card is just a wasted effort.  I don't have good creatures to trade off and bring back, so it doesn't make sense to play the card.  If I'm behind I'm not going to be winning that game, so I might as well suck it up and play a very all in deck and hope it works. My style of play doesn't naturally lend to that, which is why I struggled at first.  I did my best when I had an aggressive draw and played to it, while I did badly if I tried to play like a midrange deck.  We split the two matches we played and we'll line up a tiebreaker match for next week.

Conclusion

I didn't do too well in the sealed league this time around, but they all can't be winners.  Sometimes you just get a bad pool and have to play through it and hope to make something out of nothing.  My sealed pool versus Samuel wasn't that great, but I was able to take a match by playing to the strengths of the pool.  Inspired Charge normally isn't a card I like to play, but here I'm glad I considered it and put in my deck.

Next week I'll be back with Kaladesh Draft, another Kaladesh Sealed League and the third match of the VS Sealed.  If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading/watching!