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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Mar 29 2018 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  Dominaria spoiler season is upon us and I can't wait to play with the new cards in just a few short weeks.  I've been very hyped for the set since the leak came out that I've finally decided to buy a box of Magic cards for the first time ever.  I've bought fat packs (now called bundles) in the past and single boosters, but never a complete box before.  I've always envied those who open boxes when the set releases and I need cards for my own personal collection, but now I won't feel that way.  The Dominaria Sealed Set Review will be coming out the day before the prerelease happens but videos will be going up on my YouTube channel starting the day after the entire set is spoiled on the Wizards website.  This also means that our time with Rivals of Ixalan is coming to an end, and I'll be sad to see it go.  Until then, we still have packs to open and matches to battle.  Let's take a look at the upcoming schedule before diving in:

  • Today - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #9, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #5 videos, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #6 videos
  • 4/5 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #10, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #5 video, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #6 videos
  • 4/12 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #11, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #5 videos, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #6 videos
  • 4/19 - Dominaria Sealed Set Review

Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #9

Pick 2 of this draft was really rough and I'm not sure what the right call is.  If I take a Merfolk card and get passed cards then I can put myself in a good position in pack 3 to get the Ixalan Merfolk and battle through a possible fight in pack 2 for playables.  If I don't take a Merfolk card then I'm not in that tribe at all and try to be in Vampires by taking a Dusk Charger.  It's possible I could take Siegehorn Ceratops but it's too early for that and not worth building around.  My instinct is to take the more flexible card in Forerunner of the Heralds that allows me to draft green Merfolk and/or stay open to other colors by not committing to a Merfolk Mistbinder.  In the end it doesn't matter as I wasn't passed any Merfolk of note and ended up in green/white coming out of pack 1.  It's not a good position to be in as the color pair isn't the preferred Dinosaur color combination, but it's not unplayable.

The draft ended with me sticking in W/G for the next two packs and cobbling an okay build of W/G Dinosaurs.  Given the way the packs broke in pack 1 I don't think I could have been a better position going into pack 2.  I could have taken Reaver Ambush and Dusk Charger and had some okay black cards after that and still be in green, but I don't know if that would be any better than the cards I ended up taking.    I believe that any path you take in pack 1 still leads to an average collection of the first 8 picks, and from there it's anybody's guess.

Despite the lack of powerful synergy in the deck I was able to get a 2-1 record with it, so in that respect I'm happy with the result.  An uncontested Waker of the Wilds in the late game can easily take over the game and win it for it, which is why I was happy to see it in pack 3.  It's a powerful card that gets better as the game goes on and makes otherwise dead draw steps into something useful.  Temple Altisaur was merely okay and that's about that I expected from the card going into the games.  It's a nice roleplayer in Dinosaur decks when combat is involved but otherwise it doesn't do anything special for you.  It's likely better in the Belligerent Brontodon deck, but given that you'll be unlikely to open it since it's an uncommon in Ixalan, I think Temple Altisaur is not worth building around at all.  

Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #5

While I got destroyed in the first match, I could have played a little better in game 1 to give myself a chance at winning.  The turn I played Rekindling Phoenix I should have just replayed the Thrashing Brontodon and passed the turn.  This way I still take the same amount of damage but I have an additional blocker in play if I decided to play the Phoenix the turn after.  The idea was that Rekindling Phoenix uses all my mana and while I was unaware that I could get a 2 for 1 by blocking Deadeye Rig-Hauler and losing the token to the Fanatical Firebrand, it's better to set that up with a Brontodon in play than without.  Of course, I also have the option of passing with Bombard mana and catching the Wind Strider that I wouldn't have an answer to.  I likely lose that game anyway no matter how I play it, but it's better for me to have played it differently. 

Despite the first match I ended up going 1-1 in the first part of the league and I'm happy I got a match win after getting destroyed in the first match.  Next week will be a crucial match as I want to go into the last part of the league with a 2-1 record and only needing at least one win to get prizes for the league.  What do you think of the deck?  Should I make any changes?

Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #6

I ended up going with the W/G deck I had built and I'm glad I went with it because I don't think I would have won games if I didn't have Ghalta, Primal Hunger in my deck.  I sideboarded into the B/G build for every match and I'm glad I did as that deck had better matchups than the W/G deck would have.  The initial plan to get Ghalta into play early with W/G is solid, but sometimes you don't draw Ghalta and you have to deal with the creatures your opponent plays.  W/G can't do that very well since the removal is a bit clunky, so if it can't block the opposing threat then it doesn't have an answer.  Besides that, there are creatures in the format that accrue value without having to attack, so having a clean removal spell is preferred in those situations.

I went 2-1 in the first stage of the league and I did have a chance to get the 3-0 had I curved out a bit better in either of the last two games of match 3.  That's one of the downsides of the B/G deck and there isn't much I can do about that given the cards at my disposal.  A hand with multiple 4 drops and lands is going to happen and I can't really mulligan those hands because then I lose the ability to cast Ghalta in a timely manner.  That's why I opted for the W/G build initially, it has a better curve and is less likely to be run over by a reasonable start from my opponent.  The pack I opened after the three matches offered a couple of options for my B/G deck so I'm doing to add those cards in and start with B/G for the next three matches with the option of switching into W/G if I need to play early creatures to block with.

Conclusion

I did more winning than losing this week with another 2-1 draft and a 1-1/2-1 records in the sealed leagues.  After starting out with a 10-2 record win Rivals draft I've hit a bit of a rough patch and now am 17-10 since that point.  It's not a bad record by any means but I've gone from 83% to 63% and that's a big drop off in win percentage.  It may be that I was getting lucky during that 10-2 run or people have gotten better at drafting while I haven't done much to catch up to them.  In any case I'll be happy to end Rivals with at least a 60% win rate and that shouldn't be too difficult to manage.  I'm not sure what my record is in Rivals sealed but I can't imagine it's good.  At best I think I'm 50%, but I could be under that.

Next week I'll be back with another Rivals of Ixalan draft along with continuing my run at both sealed leagues.  As always you can find my videos up early at my YouTube channel here if you so desire to see them early.

Thanks for reading/watching!