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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Apr 26 2018 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  This past weekend was the Dominaria prerelease and while my overall record wasn't too great, I did have a lot of fun and got to see and play with a lot of neat cards.  From my personal experience the format does seem to be slower than Ixalan block on the whole given the amount of 3+ color decks I saw during the three sealed events I did.  Green has some good fixing and being a little slower means that you can take the risk of playing a splash based purely on basic lands and not be punished too much.  I even saw multiple people play 5 color decks and do decently well given the manabase they had to play.  It's not something that would have been possible in Ixalan block, which is either a good or bad thing depending on how you want to play.

One thing I will say is that pools tended to be good or bad depending on how many artifacts made up their pool.  I understand the need for artifacts to play into the historic subtheme of the set, but opening multiple Navigator's Compass is terrible when it cuts into your playable cards and the amount of colored spells you have access to.  I saw one pool of mine have 15 artifacts and it definitely made my colors weaker as a result.  Artifacts have to be at a base power level since because everybody can play them, there has to be some limitation set in place.  If artifacts make up more of the cards you open and they're not the strongest ones, your entire pool suffers as a result.  It's not as bad if the artifacts take away from only one or two colors potential strength but if you're getting cut on all colors then you're in trouble.  I'll talk more in depth about gameplay and my experiences with Dominaria next week, but for now let's look at the upcoming schedule and open some packs:

  • Today - Dominaria Draft League #1, Dominaria Sealed League #1, Dominaria Sealed League #2 
  • 5/3 - Dominaria Draft League #1, Dominaria Draft League #2, Dominaria Sealed League #1 videos, Dominaria Sealed League #2 videos
  • 5/10 - Dominaria Draft League #3, Dominaria Sealed League #1 video, Dominaria Sealed League #2 videos
  • 5/17 - Dominaria Draft League #4, Dominaria Sealed League #1 videos, Dominaria Sealed League #2 videos

Dominaria Draft League #1

Even though I did a set review I don't engage in the draft mentality when I do it, nor do I look at any guides to get an idea of what I should be doing in the format.  While guides are useful, I find I learn best by doing and actually making mistakes as I draft the format.  One thing that isn't easy to grasp even if you think you have a good pick order down is how to read signals when either the packs are empty or people have their own assumptions about the format.  I'd rather learn how to read the signals or recognize them after the fact as a way to learn how to draft the format than try to form any sort of assumptions beforehand.  It also means I'm more willing to not only make mistakes, but take chances on cards that I wouldn't otherwise.  It's one thing to be told card X is bad, it's another to understand why it's bad after having played with/against it.  It may be a slower way to get ahead in a format but your end results are more stable and grounded in understanding and that's what's important to me.

I start off with a Vicious Offering as it performed well for me in the sealed events and I know it's hard for a card to naturally get past 5 toughness.  There are about 20 that get above 4 toughness naturally, so the bar has to be higher for those that can live through a Vicious Offering.  From there I felt the best place for that deck was in B/G Saprolings since you end up with an abundance of tokens you can sacrifice to pay for the Kicker cost.  It definitely sounds like I forced the deck and that's precisely what I did.  You can chalk it up to me trying to explore the format because generally speaking forcing a deck isn't advisable unless even the tame versions of that build are really strong.  

Even though I didn't get a Sporecrown Thallid or Slimefoot, the Stowaway to have a good payoff for Saprolings, the Song of Freyalise is a good payoff assuming I draw it at the right time.  The deck itself isn't bad and since I'm in green I was able to splash for Shivan Fire and Garna, the Bloodflame, two nice options for the deck.  Garna is really good in particular since it gives me the option to pull ahead in a race I'm behind in.  If my opponent makes attacks that requires me to make bad blocks, I can do so and then flash Garna in and have an unimpeded attack to hopefully turn the tide in my favor.  We'll see how the games play out next week along with another Dominaria draft.

Dominaria Sealed League #1

This pool was a little tough to analyze and in hindsight I should have done it after I did the prerelease events, but I think I still did a good job given what I know now.  Green and white are the two best colors in the pool and I have the chance to splash for Aryel, Knight of Windgrace should I feel like it.  I did have a pool during the prerelease that splashed for Aryel and she was pretty strong when she came into play and survived a turn.  She demands an immediate answer or she'll start creating Knights, and given enough Knights you should have the advantage on the ground.  I opened a Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar and that card is pretty hard to beat if you can't exile it.  I played a match where my opponent played Multani both games and I couldn't get rid of it ever.  The card is very strong and even though I'm a little down on the pool when I made the video, Multani definitely gives me a strong chance to win games.

Dominaria Sealed League #2

This pool was pretty simple to analyze once we stripped the unplayables and are left which really only two colors to work with.  The question that comes to mind once I decide that B/G is my best option is whether or not to play Yawgmoth's Vile Offering.  I'm not sure how many legendary creatures you need in your deck to make it worth playing, but I don't believe only having access to two is enough to not make it a dead card about half the time.  I think my bar is set to at least 3 legends, or two if I have ways to recur them if they die early on.  I could meet that bar by splashing for Rona, Disciple of Gix and while she's a strong card the sacrifice I'd have to make to make her castable is too high in my opinion.  At this point I'd prefer to be a straight B/G deck and reconsider my stance after I add a pack and play three matches.  What do you think? 

Conclusion

I think I have a strong W/G/b deck in the first sealed league and two serviceable B/G decks in the draft and second sealed league.  It's very early on in Dominaria Limited so things will change in terms of card evaluations and and my own drafting preferences.  Early on I like to feel out the format as see what's possible before tightening up and drafting decks I know are viable and have success.  Next week I'll continue exploring Dominaria deeper as I play actual games of it on Magic Online.

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 my videos uploaded early.

Thanks for reading/watching!