Welcome back for the second friendly league! Due to some ignorance on my part, there are not match summaries for the end of the first league. To compensate, I've included a full friendly league, though in abbreviated form. Let's jump in!
With this series, I'm aiming to go through the friendly add-a-pack leagues and give readers a chance to give feedback and hopefully gain some insight. I'll likely vary where I break in the article, and sometimes will ask for community feedback as to how to integrate a new pack before playing more matches. Here is a list of previous entries in this series.
I'll also include a value of the pool and pack, and might do some EV calculations (i.e. how much is the add-a-pack league worth). While it won't be true EV, it will be a real world application, which should highlight some of the variance you'll expect to see.
Generally, I will do text write-ups, not videos. There may be times where I do include videos, but I will still include a write-up as well. Let me know if you have any thoughts on how to improve the series!
None of the additional pack seemed worth color shifting away from G/W. So, what did I learn from the first round of plays? Splashing just for Empyreal Voyager is bad, and Workshop Assistant is not good either. The question becomes, does Cloudblazer make the blue splash good enough?
I built up the deck with the splash and try to evaluate it. I consider going with just Cloudblazer and dropping the Voyager. In the end, I just don't find the added inconsistency worth it. Cloudblazer is very strong, but I'd rather play a 5-drop that I know I can play versus one that would be a crap shoot. Relying on Attune with Aether is not as good as relying on AEther Hub or Prophetic Prism. So, I filter down to two colors. I decide that I shouldn't have cut the Kujar Seedsculptors after all and add them back in. I also add in the Iron League Steed, cutting the Riparian Tiger. I dropped the tiger because I felt like I wanted to use my energy elsewhere, and getting zero or one swings with the tiger as a 6/6 seemed subpar. The real victory with the deck came from flying and Eddytrail Hawk.
In hind sight, I should have dropped to 16 lands. I've found Kaladesh to be aggressive enough that if my curve is low enough, 16 lands is plenty.
Here's where I have some confusion. I did not realize that MTGO cleared out games from your ability to rewatch. So, I never reviewed and wrote up the matches for stage 2 and 3. I will share the deck building and added pack. Since I'm a little short on completing this one, I'm including an abbreviated look at a full league after this. If memory serves me correctly, I went 2-1 in this stage along similar lines as the first stage. I know that Cataclysmic Gearhulk underperformed for me.
One of the reasons I wanted to do this series is packs like this, that give strong incentive to change your deck. For instance, in a later league, I was R/G and in pack 3 opened Saheeli Rai. I switched to red blue as my blue and green were both relatively okay--luckily my red was carrying the day. Essentially, sometimes the best colors in the opening pool are very different than the best colors in Stage 2 and in Stage 3.
With this pack, my best color got stronger with one of the best uncommons, Aerial Responder, a surefire include. Otherwise, Welding Sparks is good to excellent removal, Spark of Creativity is if-you-are-really-desperate 'removal', and Bomat Courier is a nifty card that can draw some interesting hands, and pairs decently with Eddytrail Hawk. Decoction Module is a card that has nearly always over performed for me. While it is expensive, the ability can be quite powerful. Even bouncing the aforementioned Eddytrail Hawk after attack and replaying can allow you to continue flying over the top.
Anywho, here's the pool. Try and build stage 3 (and stage 2) pools as though that was the start of your league.
Despite the new red, I still don't think red is the right choice. It might have been if I could support the Salivating Gremlins better. It'd be great if I had some more artifacts I wanted to play, or a couple of Visionary Augmenters. So, the Welding Sparks never flew. I did however try out the Black White deck, comparing it to the Green White deck. The double Tidy Conclusion would be nice, as would the Aetherborn Marauder. Of course, Fretwork Colony is absurd. But it falls off pretty fast after those. In the end, decided to stick with the green.
A big note is that I dropped to 16 lands. Over time, I've come to favor 16 in Kaladesh, though it depends on the deck. A lot of the 5+ cards aren't great, and if I play only 1 to 3, I generally feel better about going down to 16. Here, Attune with Aether helps support it. In the end, I went 2-1, for an overall 6-3 record.
Now, let's look at the fiscal aspect:
160PP + 30PP + 30PP + 30PP = 250PP
2.74 * 8 + 4 = $21.92
+250 PP - $17.96
So, if I value 10 PPs at about 72¢, I broke even. That's probably a little high, but not too far off. If you note, I also bought boosters under the assumption it was better. In hindsight, it wouldn't be that different than using play points.
Friendly League 2
Alright, here's the next league. It's going to be a bit abbreviated, but I wanted to wrap it up before the season ends. Without more, here is the pool:
Friendly League 2
Where to start? Oh, right, boros… - 84 Cards Total
Game 1 is fairly typical, where I play some beaters and weaken my opponent a bit with Bomat Bazaar Barge. My opponent drops a Cloudblazer and then Acrobatic Maneuvered it. However, Pia Nalaar came to rescue, stopping some blocks and letting me hit me for the win. Game two goes on for a ridiculous amount of time. At one point my opponent has out Aethersquall Ancient and I drop Depala, Pilot Exemplar. I franticly dig through my deck for a Fairgrounds Warden. On my last chance, after spending ~16 mana on the search over a few turns, I hit it and cast the Warden. Eventually my opponent drops a Key to the City and starts hitting me for 4 with Bastion Mastodon. With time on the clock short, my opponent goes for an air alpha, and I block one, chump another and go to 2. At that point my opponent realizes they do not have enough to block and survive, so they concede.
Game 1 I play a fairly aggressive hand and my opponent only plays Sage of Shaila's Claim and a Spireside Infiltrator for creatures. I am able to overwhelm them. Game 2 the game becomes a stall and I play without thinking, pretty much dropping everything. In comes the Fumigate that gains 12 life, and leaves my opponent with their Renegade Freighter. I am unable to recover and concede. Game 3 I keep a 2 lander that will be amazing with a third land. After my opponent plays Visionary Augmenter and Subtle Strike, I eventually concede never having found land 3.
Overall: 7-2. Not a bad record, but my mistake of playing into board wipes cost me at least 2 games, so I clearly need to pay more attention to that.
Value of the league:
160PP + 40PP + 40PP + 20PP + $2.74 = 260PP, $2.74
$2.74 * 8 + 4 = $21.92
+260 PP - $14.09
Obviously I did better here, arguably getting positive value of this league, if PP are worth 55¢ or more.