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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Nov 09 2017 11:00am
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  Something that I've known about but hasn't really impacted me until recently was YouTube's algorithm on finding videos ill-suited for monetization.  Other YouTube content creators have spoken out about it, but the last time I personally saw a video about it was about a month ago.  Given my small channel/following, I didn't feel it would ever impact me because there are bigger fish for YouTube to fry.  I'm not trying to downplay my talents or work, I just feel it's important to be realistic about oneself and I've never been one for a big ego (or so I hope.)

However, last week some of my videos began getting flagged for demonetization, something I didn't think would happen given that I've never had an issue with the years I've spent uploading to YouTube.  Nonetheless, I tried to find an answer as to what was causing the issue, and the only thing I could think of was the rhetoric that was in the videos.  Without context there's a high usage rate of the words "kill" and "die" that someone outside of Magic would find somewhat alarming.  At least with me, it's so ingrained and normal to say those words that I wouldn't consider them foul language, but there's no arguing that those words are very unfriendly in the abstract.  While I know what I'm saying has no evil intent behind it, it's best to avoid those terms and use other words instead.  It might be a bit more lengthy, but it's better to say "I'll use my removal spell on the creature"/"So the creatures will both trade" as opposed to "I'll kill it"/"Both creatures will die".

This change in language isn't an attempt to be politically correct or to dissuade the YouTube algorithm from demonetizing my videos, but rather a conscious choice to treat the words I use with more care.  Words have power behind them, but they can lose that power the more they're used.  I'm so used to saying words like "kill" and "die" that what those words actually depict is not as shocking as it should be.  I can't promise I'll be perfect about the change in vocabulary, but I will be earnest in my attempts to do so.  With that said, let's take a look at the upcoming schedule and get on with the games.

  • Today - Ixalan Draft League #6, Ixalan Sealed League #3 video, Ixalan Sealed League #4 videos
  • 11/16 - Ixalan Draft League #7, Ixalan Sealed League #3 videos, Ixalan Sealed League #4 videos
  • 11/23 - Ixalan Draft League #8, Ixalan Sealed League #5 video, Ixalan Sealed League #6 video
  • 11/30 - Ixalan Draft League #9, Ixalan Sealed League #5 videos, Ixalan Sealed League #6 videos

Ixalan Draft League #6

When I was doing this draft I thought I had navigated it badly, but in hindsight I don't think it was as bad as I thought.  I would have been more inclined to have taken black cards in pack one had I started with Air Elemental/Kitesail Freebooter/Contract Killing as opposed to Air Elemental/Tempest Caller/Contract Killing.  The average black cards seem more appealing once I have more of a black bent to my deck, but if I'm more base blue then I'm not as interested in taking those cards.  I do think taking Kitesail Freebooter would have changed the way I drafted my deck, but that's not what happened.  The pivot to UG happened because I saw a higher density of green cards than I did black cards, giving me the impression that green would be a deeper color for me to choose from than black.  My only real pull to black with Contract Killing giving me no real tie to stay in the color.  I was still open to black after pack one since my green was very weak, but it opened up enough that I couldn't justify still hedging in black.  

The biggest thing that I want to take away from this draft is the fact that I tried to find the best way to make a winning deck instead of just drafting blue and green cards.  My best route to victory given the cards I had was to be a tempo deck and find ways to make unblockable creatures and use that to my advantage to keep the games short and simple.  I don't have the raw power to win a long game, so might as well try for the short game and see if I can win that way.  The strategy wasn't pretty but One With the Wind and flying Shaper Apprentices was the best I could come up with.  I didn't expect it to work, so I was surprised as anyone when I managed to 3-0 this draft.  Turns out flying is a hard thing to block and if you have Dive Down then they're hard pressed to find an answer to your creature.  I'm not sure how viable this strategy is, but it's one I'm thankful actually worked out for me.

Ixalan Sealed League #3

Getting the match win to go up 2-1 overall was definitely something I was happy about.  Game 1 felt like a runaway as long as I didn't lose the game to my Ruin Raider triggers, and the thought did cross my mind to destroy my own creature if it came down to that.  Thankfully it did not as I was able to leverage all my spells to a victory.  Game 2 I had little resources and my opponent was able to present enough threats that I couldn't keep up with them in the end.  Any attempts for me to stabilize had me doing so with a weak board state, with is not something you want when you're already behind.  Game 3 was simply a matter of my opponent not having more threats than I did removal, and I was able to win that game easily once I managed their board.  The last two matches are upon us and at worst I hope for a 1-1 split to end up at 3-2 overall.   I feel I have a chance to do well if my opponent is playing average creatures and only one two key threats that fold to removal, but if my opponent has a high powered deck I'm surely disadvantaged.

Ixalan Sealed League #4

While we didn't manage to go 0-3 again, a 1-2 showing isn't much better all things considered.  We did have a chance to go 2-1 had the game 3 in the last round gone better, but it didn't and so we have a 1-5 record overall.  As I said going into the 4th match, the pool isn't very strong and there isn't a whole lot of power to draw from in order to make a viable deck.  We can make 23/24 playables easily but that doesn't always translate to having good cards in your deck.  Notwithstanding the last game of round 6, it felt in the games I lost I was just playing weaker cards than my opponent.  My removal suite was either bad or not right for the situation at hand and my creatures were relatively small.  I have two Territorial Hammerskulls but not the right pool to leverage them as one would hope to.  I have great removal in red but that's all the color offers, leaving me to use a different color to manage the playable creatures and threats at the same time.  Sadly, I have no such color.  I will play on the last three rounds of the league, but I don't feel as those they will be successful.

Conclusion

4-3 is a better record than last week's 3-5, but there is still room to improve.  I am very surprised that I went 3-0 with a deck that I didn't think would even win a game, but I'll take a draft trophy any way I can get it.  I think this is the first 3-0 draft in several months and here's hoping it doesn't go that long between trophies.  Next week we end the sealed leagues we have and while I'm not optimistic that I'll end the friendly league at 4-5, I will try to do my best to win each match and maximize my potential for victory.

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 early along with content exclusive to the channel.  I've started up a video series with Modern Abzan, a deck I've found myself liking and will hope to build it in paper someday.  Come check out the matches and see how the deck plays!

Thanks for reading/watching!