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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
May 04 2017 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!   Amonkhet has released and I did what I didn't think I would do: I drafted a deck with Approach of the Second Sun and actually won matches with it.  I do have to change my stance on that card, I gave it an F in the set review but if you build with it in mind you can turn that F into a C or even a B depending on the deck you're playing.  It's easy to get into a stall in this format and if you're able to have parity when that happens, Approach of the Second Sun is a card that allows you to break that parity and win the game because now your opponent has to force the issue otherwise they die in seven turns.  Let's go ahead and take a look at the upcoming schedule for this column:

  • Today - Amonkhet Draft League #1, Amonkhet Draft League #2, Amonkhet Sealed League #1 & 2, Prerelease Pool #2
  • 5/11 - Amonkhet Draft League #3, Amonkhet Sealed League #1 & 2
  • 5/18 - Amonkhet Draft League #4, Amonkhet Sealed League #1 & 2
  • 5/25 - Amonkhet Draft League #5, Amonkhet Sealed League #1 & 2

So I wanted to talk a bit about the god cards in this format as they're a little warping once they hit play, but I think a little easier to contain than their Theros counterparts.  Kefnet and Bontu are the easiest to contain in my opinion as you can pose enough threats that the Kefnet player is forced to turn it off in order to expend resources trying to keep up, while the Bontu player at some point might run out of creatures to sacrifice in order to keep Bontu able to attack/block.  If you pressure these gods they might not have enough time to set up shop and dictate the pace of the game.  You, as the player without a god, must dictate the pace of play otherwise you will lose.

Getting empty handed is both a natural part of Sealed and playing red, so it's very easy for the Hazoret player to keep their god active and able to attack/block.  There's very little incentive for the Hazoret player to keep a lot of cards in their hand, as those cards can be turned in for 2 damage any time they want.  Once you have that option, it makes little sense to build a slow deck with Hazoret in it.  Your best bet as the player without Hazoret is to play a bigger threat that they can't deal with.  Greater Sandwurm is a creature that can be the bane of gods and planeswalkers alike.

Rhonas and Oketra both are similar in terms of what they need in play, although Rhonas has an easier time managing their "devotion" as opposed to Oketra in the face of opposition.  The Oketra player has to make sure their creatures either don't die or they have a critical mass of creatures always in play, while the Rhonas player needs just one other creature in play to turn Rhonas on.  Oketra can grind out a long game quite well while Rhonas is more interested in making sure the game ends as quickly as possible.  It's a bit easy to interact with creatures in play, but the opponent can always choose not to commit to combat in fear of losing their god.  Instead both Oketra and Rhonas can spend some time building resources/mana in order to make their board presence much more potent.

All in all the gods are extremely powerful cards but they can be beaten.  They are creatures just like anybody else and can be hit by Essence Scatter or die to -1-/-1 counters so the format itself has some answers to the gods that govern Amonkhet.  With all that said, let's play some Magic!

Amonkhet Draft League #1

Last week I went over the draft portion of the league and I came out of it not entirely confident in my chances at winning any matches at all.  I tried to be open in the draft and it didn't seem to pan out, so I forced a R/B deck with a first pick Neheb, the Worthy in pack 2 to try and get something going. I wasn't too high on my chances to succeed, so imagine my surprise when I went 2-1 with the deck!  Now, I don't think my deck is always going to 2-1, in fact I think it goes 0-3 more often than it goes 1-2, but we did catch some lucky breaks while facing off against two players who each had a god card in their deck.  Fighting through Bontu the Glorified was difficult, but once we hit our Merciless Javelineer we were able to shrink Bontu down and "melt" her in her place.

Beating Rhonas the Indomitable was a touch more difficult, but we were helped by the fact that our opponent found it difficult to keep one creature in play besides Rhonas, so we were able to race and secure a win through sheer misfortune from my opponent.  I'm sure my opponent isn't too upset though, they did open a Rhonas!  In general I think it's difficult to beat a god card when you're in the middle of battle, but if you have advance knowledge that you're going to play against one of those cards, you might be able to craft a gameplan where you can beat your opponent without having to tangle with an active god.

Amonkhet Draft League #2

If you told me ahead of time that I would have to fight for a 2-1, I would not have believed you, but with hindsight to guide me I would definitely believe it.  Generally speaking you don't expect to lose any matches where you're able to first pick a Planeswalker card and be able to make that your main color(s).  Unfortunately Gideon of the Trials is not as good as Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and isn't an auto "I win the game" card here in Amonkhet Limited.  This Gideon can be defensive, but it's more suited to be an offensive threat.  Playing Gideon and then the next turn attacking with a 4/4 is ideally what you'd like to do, but at the same time you want to protect your Gideon from your opponent's creatures.  So sometimes you play your Gideon and it becomes all about using his +1 to allow yourself to have a more favorable combat until you're ready to use either of his +0's to help close out the game.

Even though I think this iteration of Gideon is weaker than Gideon, Ally of Zendikar or Gideon Jura, a Planeswalker is still a powerful asset to have and it did help me win games.  I drafted what I thought would be a good deck around Gideon; a creature deck that can put a creature before Gideon and after Gideon hits the field.  It didn't have the best late game as we were only playing 16 land, but if I'm able to draw my trial plus any number of cartouches then I can generate a lot of advantage just by replaying the trial.

Amonkhet Sealed League #1

This pool offered a lot of options, but it's more so that I wanted to explore the colors and make sure I was choosing the right deck to play the matches with.  The gold uncommons in the set allow you to have an idea of what that two color pair wants to do, so I thought it best to explore each two color pair that was afforded to me to see what was viable.  With no time limit on deck construction it's safe for me to take it as slow as I want.  In the end I think the only viable deck is the U/W deck I made, and I should look into possibly splashing a Final Reward since I do have a Fetid Pools to help fix mana.  What do you think?  What deck is the most viable option to play with?

Amonkhet Sealed League #2

I'll be honest, I look at this pool and I'm not impressed at all.  White, red and green aren't even colors here so I'm left with blue and black to make my deck from.  Unfortunately for me I have only one rare in those colors and not enough cycling to make the Archfiend of Ifnir a busted bomb.  Instead I just have a good flying creature that I can hope to win the game with in four attacks.  I'm not sure what more there is to say about this pool other than I'm so lucky to get FOUR Dissenter's Deliverance

Amonkhet Prerelease Pool #2

When I opened this pool I didn't care how good or bad it was because I opened a Yu-Gi-Oh! card.  Spell Pierce Invocation was around 60 dollars that day and I was happy about getting that pull that I saw the games as just pure upside.  In all seriousness I did actually try and make a good deck out of my cards, and what I got wasn't too bad.  I concocted a simple WB Zombies deck with an Archfiend of Ifnir  that could beat down and maybe hope to cycle a card to give a -1/-1 counter.  The Edifice of Authority was AMAZING and helped me beat a Glorybringer that would have killed me instantly had I not had Edifice in play.  I got a record of 2-1-1, losing to a deck with Nissa, Steward of Elements and drawing with said Glorybringer after they were one turn shy of taking lethal on me in extra turns.

Conclusion

I didn't do too badly this week and I got a few mythics to boot! In paper my 2-1 success with Approach of the Second Sun has lead me to build a Standard version of that deck, which just this past Monday achieved my first every Dovin Baan emblem to help secure a victory.  I'm a little iffy on my sealed pools but that's fine, we'll still play the games and see if we can churn out some victories with our decks.

 Next week I'll be back with Amonkhet Draft and Sealed.  If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below.  You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here to see all the content you see today at a much earlier time, along with content exclusive to the channel.

Thanks for reading and watching!