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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Sep 14 2017 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  Today we say goodbye to Hour of Devastation and next week we usher in the age of Ixalan. In other news, Magic Arena made its debut this past week at HASCON and it has a lot of people wondering what the future of Magic Online will be.  Personally I don't believe Magic Online is done for in the short term.  Consumer confidence would crash even more than it already has and Arena would be doomed before it even got a chance to shine.  I give Magic Online a year to keep itself afloat before Magic Arena debuts, and then after that it's up to anyone how long Magic Online will exist.  On a basic level it doesn't make sense for a company to have two digital offerings of what might be the same product, so one will eventually have to go.  Until then we'll continue to use and enjoy Magic Online for as long as it lasts.  Let's take a look at the upcoming schedule:

  • Today - Modern Cube Draft League, HOU Sealed League #5, HOU Wrap Up
  • 9/21 - Ixalan Sealed Set Review
  • 9/28 - Ixalan Prerelease Pool #1, Ixalan Prerelease Pool #2, Ixalan Sealed League #1, Ixalan Sealed League #2
  • 10/5 - Ixalan Draft League #1, Ixalan Sealed League #1 videos, Ixalan Sealed League #2 videos

We're going to hit the ground running once I shift my gears to Ixalan and I'm definitely excited about that.  It feels like a fun fresh world and it has dinosaurs and pirates!  For me at the very least it sounds more engaging than Amonkhet block has been for the past few months.  With that said, let's say farewell to Amonkhet/Hour of Devastation!

Modern Cube Draft League

Going into the cube I wasn't really sure what I wanted to draft or even what archetypes are viable.  With my limited knowledge I decided I'd play it by ear and see if I could draft an archetype that was already played in Modern, and that's where I made my mistake with this draft.  Even though this is the Modern Cube, that doesn't mean that the rules of Modern are going to be the same here.  Blue control decks are actually strong here whereas they're not as strong in the actual Modern format.  People are going to be playing more answers/removal in their decks, which means you're going to find very few people not playing removal.  This is a cube with a Modern legal card pool, not a cube with the Modern format in mind.  Sure, you can draft very basic Modern decks, but that's not the goal.

With that said, I'm not too sure how the draft would change had I gone with more of a clearer mind.  I probably don't take Pia and Kiran Nalaar as my first pick, I'm sure of at least that.  Perhaps I take lands early and see what powerful cards come my way so I'm able to have better options as the packs come to me?  That's certainly one way I could play it out.  I forced red/black a bit here and that was not for the best since I ended up going 1-2 in the matches I played.  The deck is strong, but it's a mix between a midrange deck and an aggro deck and that's not something you want to be doing.  You want a clear identity in your deck and if I was going to be midrange I needed more removal and if I was going to be aggro I needed smaller creatures.  Instead I tried to do both and it did end up costing me.

Hour of Devastation Sealed League #5

While I had the option to play a deck with Hour of Eternity and Drake Haven, I decided to go against that and play a G/B/r deck instead.  My reasoning was that even though I had enough cyclers, I was having to play bad cards to enable the Drake Haven, and Lord help me if I never draw my payoff card.  Additionally, my Hour of Eternity was going to be very weak if I'm getting back Moaning Wall and the like.  My support cards weren't there so I decided to try G/B instead.  I'll admit that I didn't think my other option was any better, but I felt I had the better chances at winning if I went G/B.  I did spend time trying to concoct various 3+ color decks but without adequate mana fixing in my manabase and no Oasis Ritualist, it was going to be hard to pull it off with just Beneath the Sands and Manalith.

I ended up going 1-4 in this league before I dropped, which surprised me since I thought it would be an easy 0-3 drop this time around.  The one match I did win I was able to leverage the removal I had and put pressure on my opponent, something that wasn't always the case in my other three matches. To win you need win conditions, and this deck didn't really have any, and you can say the same thing about the pool.  I had no clear plan for victory when I played my games other than the match I won.  On a basic level if you can't do that, if you're not in a position to say how you're going to win the game, you're not going to do much or any winning.

Hour of Devastation Wrap Up

In draft I managed a 8-14 record, good for a 36 percent win rate in my drafts.  Early on and even now I had difficulty finding the open colors while trying to wade through the medium picks you'd find in the packs.  I did try out some cards just to try them out as first picks, but more often than not I was burned when I tried to force them in archetypes I didn't really know how to draft.  Through it all I can definitely say that I had no clear idea of what each color pair wanted to do in the environment, which meant if I was in those colors I didn't know what cards I needed to take highly to make the deck work.  Drafting the open colors is always what you want to be doing, but if you don't know what cards you need to make that color pair work it's not going to matter if you drafted the open colors.  I had a slight preference in what I wanted to do (G/x) but no clear understanding on what cards I needed to take against the field.

I had issues with Amonkhet draft to begin with and those issues were compounded when Hour of Devastation came in.  I think overall I'm weaker once a small set comes in, and if you add that to a format I was already struggling with then I'm not going to do well.  I drafted Hour of Devastation less than any other format I've had when you take into account that I've had very few paper drafts to supplement my online play.  Things should get better in Ixalan where there are four clear paths to take (Merfolk, Pirates, Dinosaurs, Vampires) and I'm able to draft regularly each week in paper.

Outside my 8-1 in one of my leagues I've had very unfavorable records in this sealed format.  I've had a 1-3, a 4-5, a 0-3, and a 1-3 if we don't count the good pool I opened and did well with.  That brings me to a record of 5-14 and a 26 percent win rate, and that goes up to 13-15 with a 46 percent win rate once I include the 8-1.Since I'm more well versed in sealed and can do well as evidenced by my 8-1, I don't feel as bad when I say that I opened some pretty bad pools to battle with.  Of course, you can still win with a bad pool if you have tight play and a bit of luck on your side, and in that department I know I could have played better in some matches to give myself a greater chance at winning.  Despite that, I had too much of a disadvantage to overcome and ended up losing more often than I won.  

In my opinion G/x is the way to go since you have mana acceleration and fixing in Oasis Ritualist along with big creatures in Rampaging Hippo and Greater Sandwurm.  Playing Oasis Ritualist also gives you an opportunity to splash other colors if you have powerful options to play with.  I remember splashing multiple cards off an Oasis Ritualist when being a two color deck didn't give me the options needed to be competitive.  In one of my more successful leagues I had a green deck splashing multiple colors and I would have lost so much more if I hadn't taken that risk and played those cards.  While I know other color combinations are viable, they didn't really work out for me so I can't personally speak to if they're good and/or how viable they truly are.

Conclusion

While I didn't do a lot of winning, I did get two trophies in my 8-1 league so at the very least I improved upon what I did in Amonkhet.  I feel like the block as a whole didn't agree with me, and I'm happy to see it go.  Next week will start Ixalan with the Ixalan Sealed Set Review, so be on the lookout for that.  I'm always looking to improve upon my set reviews and more than likely this set review will be better than my Hour of Devastation set review, which got more praise than I was used to.  If you have any suggestions on topics to cover for the set review, please do let me know.

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 in this article series posted much earlier along with content exclusive to the channel.  For the time being I'll be playing a rotation proof UR Bolas deck until Ixalan hits Magic Online.  Come out and watch!

Thank you for reading/watching!