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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Jun 07 2018 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  I did not watch the Pro Tour this weekend as I had the Battlebond preview event and the NBA Finals that were much more appealing to me than the Pro Tour itself.  Battlebond was lots of fun and it was evident that the set was designed with Two-Headed Giant in mind.  In a normal expansion having to build two sealed decks out of 6 packs is a bit of a tall challenge and you'd have to open well in order for both decks to be remotely competitive.  In Battlebond we were able to build two decks very easily using our packs and it didn't as though either player was short on playables.  Our strategy was to open three packs each, identify the strong colors/cards in those packs and then divide the colors to make the decks.  For my first sealed I opened up Najeela, the Blade-Blossom, Nyxathid, and Mind's Eye so I got all the B/R cards while my partner took the W/U cards.  The second sealed I opened Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom, Okaum, Eye of Chaos, and a Mystic Confluence so I was U/R while my partner was B/G. 

I'm not sure if this this approach is ideal for Two-Headed Giant but it worked well as we went 5-1 over two sealed events.  It launches this weekend and I'm hopeful to play in some more Battlebond events.  For me Magic is a game that I play with friends and it allows me to interact and meet people I wouldn't normally.  I really like the social aspect of Magic and multiplayer Magic is the best way I enjoy playing.  Commander is my favorite format to play because of the multiplayer aspect and Battlebond plays that up as well.  Being able to team up with someone and share the highs and lows of Magic is a great experience and something I wish could be replicated in online play.  As it stands I don't believe it's possible for Magic Online or Magic Arena to make that possible, but perhaps that's what makes paper Magic so special.  All that being said, let's take a look at the upcoming schedule and play Dominaria Limited:

  • Today - Dominaria Draft League #7, Dominaria Sealed League #3 videos, Dominaria Sealed League #4 videos
  • 6/14 - Dominaria Draft League #8, Dominaria Sealed League #3 videos, Dominaria Sealed League #4 videos
  • 6/21 - Dominaria Draft League #9, Dominaria Sealed League #5, Dominaria Sealed League #6
  • 6/28 - Dominaria Draft League #10, Dominaria Sealed League #5 videos, Dominaria Sealed League #6 videos

Dominaria Draft League #7

I like the uncommon legends in the set and find they're a very good payoff for being in those two colors, so if you can pick one early and find that those colors are open it puts you in a good spot for the rest of the draft.  Arvad the Cursed is interesting in that it's hard to build around if you don't pick up enough legends to make his +2/+2 useful, but the base body is still playable even if it's a bit expensive at 5 mana.  The first Arvad was a nice pick after starting with Whisper, Blood Liturgist and the second one left me with the impression that I could build a W/B deck and pick legends highly to have a lot of powerful effects.  I toyed with either a red or green splash but I ended up settling with a straight W/B deck that included 7 legends, 8 if you count whatever On Serra's Wings enchants.  I was very excited about this deck because I thought I managed to draft what the Arvad deck should look like.  Most of the other uncommon two-color legends are not only pretty straightforward in what you want to do, they're fairly easy to accomplish.  I believe Arvad is the card that asks the most of you since the cards you want to draft are less likely to be passed to you/in your colors.

Unfortunately for me I was not able to draft much removal so when I needed an answer to a threat I was not able to draw one and I promptly lost both matches I played before dropping from the league.  I will count this as a 0-3 draft for all intents and purposes so my overall draft record is still divisible by three.  It's a shame that I didn't draw very many lands in the final game of the second match as I felt there was a shot at winning the match if there was actual back and forth going on.  It's possible I should have not tried to see if a third color could work and focused on just a two color deck since I don't have as much success when I'm 2+ colors when my base color is not green.  I am glad I tried to draft an Arvad deck no matter what the result ended up being.  It's important to know that it can come together but you can't ignore drafting removal otherwise you'll run into issues.  

Dominaria Sealed League #3

I looked over my pool after I played the first match and realized that I needed to commit to Steel Leaf Champion and be a two color deck or not play it at all and that could open up myself to the idea of a three color deck.  I decided that it would be best to commit to Steel Leaf Champion since I could have the draws where it gets in for 5-10 damage and I'm able to use my other creatures to deal the rest in a situation where dealing the full 20 would be almost impossible.  I also get to have consistent mana even if my power level goes down by not having red cards in the deck.  My thoughts overall with the pool were that it's an average pool at best and I need to get lucky if I'm going to win.  I could either get lucky by playing more colors and hoping to get there multiple times with bad mana, or I could be more consistent and steal games where my opponent stumbles.  I chose the second option since I get to play more games with a smooth mana base than I do with a 3+ color one.

I split the two matches giving me a record of 1-2 overall heading into the last two matches.  I won the first match almost out of sheer luck due to my opponent conceding very early in game 3 due to their frustrations about having to mulligan and an apparent mana screw.  I'll take any win I can get so I'm not complaining that it happened that way.  The second match went to three games and I lost the third when I had an "aggro" draw that couldn't draw a removal spell for Aryel, Knight of Windgrace.  If I don't count The Eldest Reborn I only have two ways to deal with Aryel on the spot and I was not able to draw either of them in time.  That's a situation where the red splash would have helped but the real way to look at it is my average deck lost to a better deck and that's how it goes sometimes.  Here's hoping I play well and get lucky to get two match wins next week. 

Dominaria Sealed League #4

Looking over the pool again I had two decks come to mind as I was thinking about what deck to start off with for the fourth round.  I had a U/B build that could win in the late game with a flying Cold-Water Snapper, but getting to the later stages of the game would be an issue.  The other option was to play B/G/w, a smoother version of the five color deck I started with in round 1.  That deck has the same issues of getting ot the late game but is able to leverage Shalai, Voice of Plenty once it gets there.  I figured I should start with B/G/w since the fixing is a little better there and Shalai is a very powerful card in that deck.  The first round did not go well for me as I found myself really close to finishing off my opponent in the first game but they were able to stabilize and climb their way back into the game.  My only hope was that because I had more time on my clock than my opponent and with no way to win the game, I could prolong the game to give me a better chance in game 2.  I was several minutes ahead on clock and with that in mind I decided to switch to U/B/w.

I made this change in part because I felt I didn't have a good way to win with B/G/w if the game went long, and also because my Cold-Water Snappers could blank some of the removal my opponent had.  In Bolas's Clutches could take a key threat from my opponent and I could always live the dream of Naru Meha, Master Wizard copying an Eviscerate to get a lot of value from my removal.  Unfortunately I went several turns on 5 lands and my hand full of expensive spells meaning I was under pressure for the entire game.  It was hard for me to get in a proper defensive position and my time advantage was for naught as I slowly succumbed to the abyss that was Torgaar, Famine Incarnate.

The next round finally saw me get a match win after starting off 0-4.  Game one I decided to give the U/B/w deck I had last round another look and it did not perform well as it was a struggle to stabilize and even when I thought I had, I lost to a Spore Swarm when I was at one life.  I switched back to B/G/w because I felt I could maintain a defensive position more easily and turn it into an offensive position if I needed to.  I won both games with the B/G/w deck and I felt a little better about having tried it in round 4.  Given everything I have it might be the best positioned deck I could make even if it does contain flaws.  The last match featured three non-games from each side with my opponent having the luxury of having won both the first and last game.  I did have some decisions to make during the second game as my opponent was representing some interaction during combat but it was easy to sniff out that it was a Gideon's Reproach and I played accordingly.  A 1-2, 1-5 record overall isn't where I want to be but there's no use in feeling bad about the record.  I'll keep making adjustments and hope to finish out the league on a high note.

Conclusion

The 0-3 in the draft bring my record to 14-7 in Dominaria draft which is still a good record even with that blemish bringing down my win percentage.  I drafted a cool deck I didn't think I'd be able to do and even if it didn't work out I'm still glad it happened.  My sealed leagues don't look very promising but there isn't much I can do to fix the issues I have there.  I am improving and making better decisions in terms of deckbuilding but there's no so much you can get out of average pools.  The power level of Dominaria is high enough that you can't expect to do well with an average deck, you have to bring something to the table that demands an answer from your opponent.  More often than not our opponent have been able to do that and we have not had the right answer, leading to defeat.  With less than stellar records we should be playing against decks with similar power level, so hopefully we can do well against those.

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 my videos for this article series posted early along with content exclusive to the channel.  I've been doing gameplay videos of Jodah Archmage Eternal and plan to do videos about Najeela, the Blade-Blossom when she get released on Magic Online.  

Thanks for reading/watching!