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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Feb 08 2018 1:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  My apologies for not having an article last week, I had pain in my throat and it was difficult to talk and eat without feeling pain so I thought it best to put off recording any videos until I was feeling better.  Now I'm back and let me tell you, you don't realize how awesome it is to just function normally until you're not able to do it.   For the moment I'm counting my blessings that I can continue to live in relative good health.  The Pro Tour was this past weekend and while I did watch coverage of the event I mostly focused on Modern since that was more appealing to me than Rivals of Ixalan Limited.  I enjoy Modern as a format and a Modern Pro Tour with a healthy metagame is a rare sight to behold and I wanted to enjoy that part of it as opposed to draft.  It also didn't help that I would fall asleep trying to watch the drafts live and when I woke up I was more excited for Modern than trying to watch draft again.  I'm sure I'll get to the draft portion of the videos at some point when I have the time for it.  In the meantime let's take a look at the upcoming schedule:

  • Today - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #2, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #1 video, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #2 videos
  • 2/15 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #3, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #1 videos, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #2 videos
  • 2/22 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #4, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #3, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #4
  • 3/1 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #5, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #3 videos, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #4 videos

Looking towards the future I did have an open week before the Dominaria Set Review that I didn't know what to do with, but given that I had a week off it means that we'll have a smooth transition from Rivals of Ixalan into Dominaria.   In total we should end with 11 total drafts and 6 sealed leagues before the next set comes out on Magic Online.  As far as Masters 25 is concerned I will not be doing any events for them should they come out on Magic Online.  I might draft it a few times in paper but for the most part Masters set drafts don't really pique my interest.  With that said, let's open some packs!

Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #2

I have to admit, it doesn't take me much to try and draft U/G Tempo/Merfolk if I feel it's somewhat feasible to draft it.  I've done variations of the archetype in paper drafts to mixed results, but even though I could draft other decks it's hard to say no.  The concept of attacking with creatures and using Crashing Tide and Deadeye Rig-Hauler to keep my opponent off balance is all I ideally want to be doing right now in Rivals of Ixalan.  I will try and be more open minded about how I draft, but don't be surprised if I try and make U/G work even if it's not what I should be doing.

As far as my first pick goes there's a lot of defensible picks and instead of going with my preference I tried to figure out the "correct" pick and because of that I ended up taking The Immortal Sun which ended up being more of a wasted pick than anything else.  The correct thing to do is to make a pick based on what color I'd like to draft and leave it at that.  It comes down to Spire Winder and Dusk Charger if you think of it that way and both are good picks no matter what.  It all comes down to preference at that point and I think I'm likely to start my draft off with a Spire Winder in that case.  If I had actually taken the Spire Winder my next few picks are likely Waterknot into Deadeye Rig-Hauler into Secrets of the Golden City into Dusk Charger.  In this world I would have debated taking the Dusk Charger first pick and seeing it fifth pick would give me a reason to move into black.

I ended up going 2-1 with this deck because even though it was a pretty bad U/G Merfolk deck, it was still good at doing regular things so the lack of good Merfolk synergies wasn't a hindrance to me.  I did lose pretty badly to a good U/G Merfolk deck that overwhelmed me both times it was on the play.  I don't believe I could have done anything to change the result of that match and that's okay.  Sometimes you just lose to a deck that is better than yours and you have to be willing to accept it happening.  As long as you make the right choices and play your best then you've done everything right regardless of the match result.

Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #1

Sadly we had a pretty uneventful match here as I was overwhelmed in game 1 and in game 2 I was stuck on three lands for far too long and my opponent had a rather easy time defeating me.  It's hard to tell if my deck is good or not if I keep losing in pretty easy fashion.  Do I have a bad deck and it's hard for me to tell because I lose to factors that I can't control, or do I have a good deck that is just getting unlucky in the matches I'm playing?  What do you think?

Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #2

I wanted to start the next three matches with U/G because even though I keep siding into B/G I feel the U/G deck has potential to do well in the abstract, it's just that B/G has looked better in certain matchups.  The trend continued in the three matches I played as I kept siding into the B/G deck when I felt it was appropriate, which ended up being more often than not.  At this point it might be best to just start on B/G and leave U/G as an option should I need it.  I'm winning with the green part of the deck and I'm using the other color for support, something that black appears to be better at then the blue cards I'm playing.  What do you think?  Should I continue with U/G or switch to B/G for the last stage of the league?

I went 1-2 in this stage of the league leaving me with an overall record of 3-3 heading into the last stage.  The two matches I lost were to a combination of mulligans and being overwhelmed quickly while I fumbled around trying to cast my expensive spells.  I'm going to have a hard time against an aggressive start with the two decks I could play, but if my opponent is a little slower then I can leverage my big green creatures and win a longer game with The Immortal Sun.  This format is an aggressive one just like Ixalan and if you don't have ways to deal with early aggression it's tough to come back and be on the defensive.  In general I think the person who is blocking is at a disadvantage as it's very easy to be punished with a one or two mana combat trick, so you should aim to be the aggressor and leverage those tricks yourself.

Conclusion

3-4 overall in matches played with a 2-1 draft, a 1-2 in the first sealed league, and a 3-3 in the second sealed league.  I'll be looking to wrap up both sealed leagues next week and hopefully end with positive records in both leagues.  I have a good shot at doing so, I just need to play tight and draw well in order to make it happen.  I still am not sure how good my W/B deck is in the first sealed league.  It might be average with it being very good if I have Tetzimoc in play giving me good card advantage.  I likely need to draw and cast Tetzimoc in order to actually do well as my Vampire synergies aren't the best and I don't have a lot of power outside of Tetzimoc.

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 along with content exclusive to the channel.  If you're a Modern fan I'll be testing out Jund/Abzan variants to see which deck is better positioned now that the Pro Tour is over.

Thanks for reading/watching!