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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Jun 15 2017 11:00am
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  Last week I went over my match win percentage over various formats from M14 to M15 and found that I played a lot of triple Theros and had a win rate of 60% in sealed deck.  I remember during that time I would very close to redeeming a set of Theros just from all the drafts and sealed I played, but my rate of matches played dropped a lot after Born of the Gods and subsequent sets came out.  I attributed that to my lack of interest and external factors, but was the really the case?  Let's look at the next year of formats: Khans, Fate/Khans, Dragons/Fate, Origins.

  • Khans Sealed 11-10 52%
  • Khans Draft 13-6 68%
  • Fate/Khans Sealed 5-4 55%
  • Fate/Khans Draft 6-4 60%
  • Dragons/Fate Sealed 7-9 43%
  • Dragons/Fate Draft 10-7 58%
  • Origins Sealed 3-4 42%
  • Origins Draft 3-1 75%

I wanted to see if I had similar number of matches between Theros and Khans, but that was not the case at all.  79 matches against 21 matches is quite the wide gap given that both formats were triple large fall sets.  There was a 2-3 week gap where I did no articles due to my laptop being on the fritz, but it's not enough to explain a 60 match gap.  Part of it can be attributed to me playing 4 pack sealed instead of regular sealed for some articles, and having two articles dedicated to Grand Prix San Antonio which was Standard, not Limited.  It wouldn't surprise me if I kept the same amount of numbers until I hit a set that started sealed league play, in which I imagine I'll be hitting an average of 40 matches for sealed instead of 20.  As of right now it would still appear that Theros is my best format in terms of sealed deck.  As a quick aside, here are some brief notes about these numbers:

  • I did very little Origins while it was the featured Limited set.  After Battle for Zendikar hit I tried doing more drafts in order to open a Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.
  • Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir saw little play due to Tempest Remastered and Modern Masters 2015 also being out around the same time. I chose to not include those sets as those formats wouldn't receive weekly attention like a normal Standard legal set.
  • I was still drafting 8-4s during this year so that's why there's not a whole lot of draft matches played.

Next week I'll take a look at Battle for Zendikar through Kaladesh and see if anything new comes to light.  Today I have a draft and sealed league matches, but first I'd like to take a look at the upcoming schedule:

  • Today - Amonkhet Draft League #7, Amonkhet Sealed League #3 video, Amonkhet Sealed League #4 videos
  • 6/22 - Amonkhet Draft League #8, Amonkhet Sealed League #3 videos, Amonkhet Sealed League #4 videos
  • 6/29 - Amonkhet Draft League #9, Amonkhet Sealed League #4 videos
  • 7/6 - Hour of Devastation Sealed Set Review

Originally I had intentions of doing a 5th sealed league, but it wouldn't make sense for it to happen so close to the Hour of Devastation prerelease that I decided to cancel that league and only do 4 sealed leagues for Amonkhet.  Hour of Devastation should hit Magic Online right after the paper prerelease so we'll jump right into Hour of Devastation Limited and hope to hit it on the right note.  Until then however, let's open some packs!

Amonkhet Draft League #7

Amonkhet Draft has not been kind to me lately and I was hoping this draft would be different but sadly it was not.  I've been having the issue of sometimes having a color be open when I'm already in two other colors and not knowing if I should jump ship or not.  The problem arises when I already have a good number of cards in one color and if I jump ship and the new color doesn't improve, I gave up 5+ picks for little gain.  It's the fear of taking a chance and it not working out in your favor if the packs don't align like you want them to.  There's so many variables at stake and you can make an educated guess and still be wrong because it's not a sure thing.

In this draft I wanted to be B/x with a cycling theme and knew that blue would be the ideal color to pair with it, but I wasn't in blue coming out of pack one.  I could have switched into blue at a few points in pack 2, but if it doesn't end up working out then I threw away picks for nothing when I can get something in the colors I'm in.  More so here than in other draft formats I have difficulty understanding when to jump into another color and how early to do it.  I could have made a jump into UB Cycling in pack 2 and I would have been rewarded with a Drake Haven in pack 3, but instead I chose to stay in green and ended up with a pretty bad B/G deck.  My first two matches were frustrating and it showed me that black and green aren't meant to be the cycling colors, they instead are more about -1/-1 counters.  After going 0-2 in the first two matches I felt it best to not play the last match since it wouldn't do me any good to keep playing a bad draft deck.  If I'm stuck in the same position next week where I can see an open color and have a choice, I'll take that choice.  It might not work out, but I'm going to assert myself and do something instead of wondering if I'm doing the right thing or not. 

Amonkhet Sealed League #3

Game 1 was quite the interesting one since I thought I had run out of gas when I drew all three blue cards in my deck with no means of casting them.  I said I needed to hit runner runner Islands to give myself a chance and that's exactly what happened.  I cast Aven Wind Guide, then a Kefnet the Mindful, and finally I played a big Pull from Tomorrow in order to activate Kefnet and attack for lethal.  My opponent had a strong showing in game 1 but I was able to overcome my lack of blue mana and pull ahead in the nick of time.  Games 2 and 3 did not result in victory however.  Game 2 I was pretty locked into losing given how much better my opponent's cards were, not to mention that Merciless Javelineer acting as removal in order to make my blocks much worse than they were.  Game 3 I just wasn't in it given how few creatures I drew and my strategy of playing defensive in order to  secure a victory via time was thwarted.  

Amonkhet Sealed League #4

When I opened this pool up again I wasn't very happy at all with what I saw, and I almost considered just dropping entirely and calling it a day but I figured I'd give it a shot and see what happens.  I looked at one of the decks I made and thought to myself "eh, it could work."  The idea was if I had no staying power in the later portions of the game, I should try and win early and play as many cheap creatures as I could.  It's not the best idea since I don't have the power to support it, but it's better than trying to make a bad control/midrange deck and lose to everything that comes at me.  If I can't win late, might as well try and win early right?  Somehow I was fortunate enough to escape with 2 match wins in the first stage of the league and it's something that wouldn't have happened if I tried to make a "normal" deck work.  My conventional wisdom is to make decks in sealed that can go long and win with card advantage or big creatures.  Playing aggro/linear decks isn't what I normally do since you don't always curve out and you might just die if you skip a beat and let your opponent develop their mana/board and not always have them on the back foot.  Despite my inclinations I gave myself the best chance at victory and it paid off for the first stage.  Here's hoping it continues to work out!

Conclusion

At some point I was worried I wasn't going to win a match for the article, so I'm thankful I avoided that.  The drafting issue I can try to fix, but I have to do the best I can with what I have in the sealed leagues.  It's not really up to me there, but drafting I control my own fate.  I will at least win a draft match next week and hopefully make it so I get the elusive 3-0 I need from Amonkhet.  I'd be pretty unhappy if I didn't get it at all, so I'm going to do my best to make it happen.  The Sealed Set Review for Hour of Devastation is coming up soon, so be on the lookout for that!

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below.  You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here where you'll find all the videos for this article series early, and extra content exclusive to the channel.  Once the Commander banlist updates for Magic Online I'll be back to doing Commander content so look forward to that!

Thanks for reading/watching!