Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success! This week I have a bit of good news as I'm actually going to go to Grand Prix San Antonio! Although, it's not for the main event at all. Since Grand Prix will be holding PTQs now, and the PTQ for San Antonio will be Limited, the plan is to go out and play in the PTQ. I wanted to play in a Limited PTQQ but I couldn't find any so the Grand Prix is the best way for me to do that. I've also never played in a PTQ before, so that should be exciting.
I'd also like to take a moment to talk about the schedule for this column for the foreseeable future. I'm going to be drafting once a week, for a total of four drafts per month. I'm also going to do two sealed leagues per month, and those videos will span a total of four weeks. In practice this is how it will look like:
Aether Revolt Draft #3, Sealed League #1 video, Sealed League #2 video
Aether Revolt Draft #4, Sealed League #1 videos, Sealed League #2 videos
Aether Revolt Draft #5, Sealed League #2 videos, Sealed League #3 video
Aether Revolt Draft #6, Sealed League #2 videos, Sealed League #3 videos
Given the column's title, I thought it would be best to focus a little more on Sealed than I do on Draft, especially given that the most important hurdle to a PTQ or PTQ_Q top 8 is the sealed portion. I may do some draft simulations if I find a good website to do those one. With all that out of the way, let's open some packs!
Aether Revolt Draft #3
So I first picked Sram, Senior Edificer to start out this draft. Is Sram worth a first pick? I'm not too sure about that, as Sram on its own is fairly weak. However, if you pair Sram with Conviction, then it's quite the potent combo as you're able to draw more cards than your opponent while having a nice Revolt enabler. Sram on its own is not good, but you can build around Sram and make him a good card in your deck. There are safe choices in that pack, but Sram gives me the most upside here. Pick 3 Gifted Aetherborn into pick 4 Hidden Stockpile is a great incentive to go into B/W, especially since there's a strong signal that black is open with a third pick Gifted Aetherborn. Black dried up a little bit but I did table a Perilous Predicament, and even though I don't think that card is exceptionally powerful, it's still a signal that back isn't being taken.
Pack 2 started off great with Aether Poisoner into Fatal Push, giving me more of a push into black. After that black started to dry up again, and while I was covered in pack 1 with white, pack 2 had slim pickings for me in white. I ended up taking some speculative blue cards in case I needed to jump ship. Pack 3 gave me a choice of Eliminate the Competition or Gearseeker Serpent. At this point I knew I needed to make a stand. Either I stay in blue and abandon black, or stay in black and abandon blue. It's hard to tell which option is better since I didn't consider blue at all pack 1, so I have no idea how open it could be if I stick with blue. In the end I decide that Eliminate the Competition is a better pull to black and stay in B/W.
Blue was weak in pack 3, so it turned out better for me that I stuck in black. Overall I'm not sure what to make of this draft. Was black just not deep enough? I got a late Tidy Conclusion in the Kaladesh pack so it's definitely open, so does that mean it was too shallow? I had thoughts of jumping into blue and I did in pack 2, but it would have been a disaster if I kept with blue in pack 3. It just felt bad overall and I'm still unsure about how that draft played out. What do you think?
As far as the games go, they went the way I expected but if I'm being honest I could have pulled out a 2-1 out of that deck if I had the right mindset. I felt as though I was going to 0-3 with the deck, and played in such a way that I could not turn a winnable game into an actual victory.
"Whether you think you can or can't - you're right" - Henry Ford
If I had a great deck and thought I would lose every match, then more often than not I'm going to lose because I have that mentality of losing and I'm going to play to lose as opposed to winning. You misplay and make more mistakes when you don't focus and make sure you do everything correctly. If the opposite happens and I have a bad deck but think I can win, then I put myself in a much better position to win regardless of the outcome. I would have been better served trying to exploit the strengths of my deck (removal and Hidden Stockpile) as opposed to believing I was going to lose before the match even started.
Aether Revolt Sealed League #1
Just the one match today as opposed to two. I like to split up a sealed league into four weeks, but it's hard to split six videos into four. The best way to do it is to have the deckbuilding video and round three video be standalone videos. This way I don't end the league with just one match that's only relevant if I'm 2-2 since any other record has me either dead for prizes or already in the prizes.
As far as the match goes, this was a pretty brutal blowout. I got flooded game 1, which usually means you're dead in this format. That turned out to be true and even though I stabilized, I didn't draw anything to put into play other than my Druid of the Cowl and my opponent beat me with Vehicles I wouldn't block or deal with. Game 2 had me miss a couple of land drops and I was out of it before it even began. Oh well.
Aether Revolt Sealed League #2
I'm starting up a new league! I'm going to be having 2 sealed leagues running side by side for the foreseeable future. One league will be the competitive five match league while the other is the friendly nine match league. With the friendly league we'll be able to add one pack after every three matches to our pool, so our deck has a chance to get better no matter how we start out.
Looking at the pool I'm of the mindset that I have to play red in whatever deck I make. Skyship Stalker and Freejam Regent are big fliers that can close an opponent out quickly, especially if I can hold the ground a bit with Shock and Aether Chaser. The aggressive nature of Aether Chaser lends to more attacking, which plays well with the two rares. I tried pairing red with the other colors to see what would fit best with red and it felt that black was the best color for that job.
My other option is a U/B control deck that on surface seems to have a lot of options with all the blue cards in the pool, but it turns out that blue isn't really that strong. My Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Ironclad Revolutionarys are much worse here while the only reason to be blue is Gearseeker Serpent. It's much harder to close out a game in U/B as opposed to B/R and that's why I favor B/R for the moment.
What do you think? What deck should I make? Are there any cards I'm not considering?
Next week I'll be back to finish my first Aether Revolt Sealed League, play the first three matches of the second, and play a new Aether Revolt draft. Hopefully all I'll do next week is play to win and have a positive attitude as opposed to be negative and make mistakes. It's much better to think on the bright side, it doesn't cost you anything after all. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below.
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