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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Mar 01 2018 1:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  Last week I mentioned that I had plans to possibly attend a PTQ_Q but I did not end up going.  I decided that sleeping in was better than playing at a store where I don't always feel comfortable being at.  It's not a knock against that particular store, it's more so that while I do like being competitive and challenging my skills, I don't always like the type of players I'll have to play against.  I've never been one to consider myself a serious competitive player and I'll always leave my ego at the door, but some players have trouble doing so and against them I tend to have a less positive playing experience.  In all honesty I prefer to play competitively on Magic Online and more laid back in real life, so perhaps I should try Magic Online PTQ_Qs.  Although I don't feel Rivals of Ixalan Sealed is going to be my forte, I'll try once Dominaria is on Magic Online.  Until then we'll keep trying to get better at Rivals of Ixalan.  Let's take a look at the upcoming schedule then turn our sights to Rivals Limited:

  • Today - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #5, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #3 videos, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #4 videos
  • 3/8 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #6, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #3 video, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #4 videos
  • 3/15 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #7, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #3 videos, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #4 videos
  • 3/22 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #8, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #5, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #6

Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #5

The draft portion didn't go well as I would have wanted and I feel I'm justified in blaming external factors instead of my own drafting skill.  I did miss a good amount of picks while I waited for my laptop to restart and for me to log into Magic Online.  Missing the picks isn't as damaging as missing out on the information that those packs contained.  Without me knowing what kind of signals the person to my left received, it's much harder for me to make picks because I could be taking cards that appear to be open but are actually not going to be passed to me in the third pack.  The best thing I could do was to force the color that I had the most cards in and see if I could make a deck around that.  My thought process was that I should stay in red since I had three cards in red already and since I had a Vona's Hunger to consider black as my second color.  I'm not sure what I would have done if red wasn't open, I'd likely switch to the color I felt was the most open with the information I had and forced that color for the rest of the draft.  Black didn't seem to be open in pack two and I did pick up two late blue cards in pack 1, so that's why I chose Waterknot over Sadistic Skymarcher and made a push into blue.  The end result is a playable U/R deck that while not ideal, isn't a complete disaster like I thought it would be.

As far as the games go I ended up with a 1-2 record that had a chance to be a 2-1 if things broke my way.  I'm not surprised at the result so I'm not upset about it at all.  I played the best I could with the handicap given to me during the draft and that's all that matters.

Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #3

During last week's article I mentioned that I thought B/G might be the best choice given curve considerations and power level, and with that in mind I decided to play it for the two matches this week.  Even as I chose it and began looking for my first match, I wasn't too impressed with the deck because the 2 mana slot felt very underpowered with the playset of Dinosaur Hunter complementing a single Dire Fleet Hoarder.  Those are filler 2 drops that you'll begrudgingly play and here I'm having to start only them as my plays at 2 mana.  It's not ideal at all but if they can hold the fort for a few turns then I can hopefully get Waker of the Wilds and/or Hadana's Climb in play and steal games that way.

The first game of the first match was quite intense from my perspective because even though I did have Hadana's Climb in play, my opponent had Kumena's Awakening and Search for Azcanta both giving them a lot of card advantage that I knew wasn't going to keep up with.  My only option at that point was to weather the removal/tricks I knew about and put myself in a position where Hadana's Climb would put the game in my favor.  I was in dire straits after my opponent used Run Aground to put a lethal Anointed Deacon on top of my deck with me empty handed and them attacking me with a lifelink creature.  I thought about making another land creature with Waker of the Wilds and using Winged Temple of Orazca but that would give my opponent a turn I didn't want them to have.  I realized that I could target a land with counters on it and make a bigger creature, so I put counters on a 4/4 land and attacked for 14 damage for the win.  Sadly I had two non-games following that and I lost.

The second match was weird because in the first game I was way behind by all accounts but then unexpectedly my opponent cast a Slaughter the Strong that took their advantage away and gave me the opening to stabilize and then pull ahead for the victory.  Perhaps they thought that they would keep all creatures with power 4 or less and pick off a creature or two from my side of the field?  In any case that blunder allowed me to win the game, and for the second game I sided into G/W thinking it would match up better against the copious amount of two drops they showed me.  It didn't match up well but I drew Waker of the Wilds and the land creatures bought me enough time to cast Zetalpa, Primal Dawn and that was enough to win.

Rival of Ixalan Sealed League #4

Heading into the games I thought I had a decent chance of going 2-1 given the removal and card advantage I could generate with the deck, but it turns out my opponent had other plans for me.  I won the first game of the first match but my opponent drew Tetzimoc, Primal Death both games two and three and that was enough for me to lose on the spot.  The second match had me lost game one to a flipped Golden Guardian that I had no answer for at all.  I do like my line of play in that game even if it was in a losing effort.  I could hold back my Sanctum Seeker and play defense in a bad position, or I could attack and hope for a mistake or two from my opponent to turn my bad position into a positive one.  I'm not winning that game by sitting back and blocking, so I might as well make attacks and see if my opponent makes a mistake.  I'm 100% to lose that game if I decide to start blocking, but I'm given a 95% chance to win if I make attacks.  I'd much rather have a 5% chance to win than a 0% chance to win.

Game 2 of the second match I'm able to take it even though my opponent puts up a fight while being stuck on three lands for the majority of the game, and that has me feeling that I have a chance to take the match if I play well in the final game.  Unfortunately I make the decision to Contract Killing a Charging Tuskodon instead of a Tilonalli's Skinshifter that eventually runs away with the game.  My reasoning was that I can't afford to get attacked by two Charging Tuskodon but I can take that way from my opponent if I go after the Skinshifter.  By going after the Tuskodon I let my opponent have the chance to draw another good creature and double up on that via the Skinshifter.  I should have taken care of the Skinshifter, let myself be able to double block the Tuskodon and play on from there.  Instead they draw a Vampire Revenant and make quick work of me.

The last match ended up me winning it, allowing me to get on the board with a 1-2 record and making up a bit for the misplay in the second round.  I had to navigate both games knowing my opponent has double Needletooth Raptor in their deck and let me tell you, that is hard to play around.  It made it hard to commit more than a single creature to the board, but at the same time if you don't pressure your opponent then they'll just play out their threats and force you to commit more creatures.  It's a bad situation to be in if you don't have removal or evasion, and luckily for me I had Captain's Hook to give me that evasion.  Every creature with the Hook forced my opponent to be reactive instead of proactive and use the Raptors as blockers far earlier than they would have liked.  I did have a potential scare with Forerunner of the Empire fetching a Needletooth Raptor and almost winning the game on the spot but I drew a removal for the Forerunner and I was able to play on.  The pack I opened wasn't too impressive but not every pack will help out your deck.  If nothing new pops up I'll keep on playing the R/B deck and hope for a better record in the next stage.

Conclusion

3-5 in matches played overall isn't very good but some of those losses were really close so we could easily be 5-3 instead.  Given that this week's draft had some complications I don't feel down about it and am willing to give myself a pass for next week.  The goal is always to do well and we'll continue on with that goal next week.  My sealed records are what they are, I have two medium decks and there isn't much I can do to fix that so I just have to play tight and hope I can steal games with good play.

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 can find all the videos in this article series uploaded sooner than you would see them here.  Depending on how I feel about my laptop/recording situation I might do some extra content, but if not then I'll upload my regular videos as I always do.

Thanks for reading/watching!