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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Dec 22 2015 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  This will actually be the last Sealed Success of the year, but I'll be back for the New Year! I'm not sure if I'll have an article out next week, but be sure to catch me in 2016 where I'll be looking at possibly more Oath of the Gatewatch spoilers! Last year I wrote out my goals for 2015 and today it's time to see if I achieved them or not.  I actually hadn't remembered I set goals for the year until I checked a week ago to see if I set any goals for the year.  This means that I spent most of the year unaware of these goals which means I probably didn't put time to doing them.  Let's see if I actually did!

2015 Goals

1.  Make Day 2 of a Grand Prix.  I set out to make Day 2 of a Grand Prix and I didn't achieve that goal.  I went 5-3 in GP Dallas and I didn't go to GP Oklahoma City and those were the two GPs I knew I would be going to.  I did try my best at GP Dallas but I was scared of going all in with the RG deck and that cost me at least 1 match loss.  This goal might have been more feasible if I attended more GPs but alas that was not the case.

2.  Play in a PTQ.  Admittedly, this was a misguided goal of mine.  You see, I don't really have aspirations to be a competitive pro player.  It'd obviously be nice to play Magic for a living, but that's not the end goal for me.  Due to the fact that I don't consider qualifying for the PT as a major goal, I didn't put enough effort into actually qualifying for a PTQ.  I got close to qualifying for a PTQ during the PTQ_Q I got top 4 in, but even then that was just a random spike I had considering I built the deck the day before.

3.  Become a better drafter.  I don't know if I accomplished this goal or not.  I did win a couple of 8-4s this year and won round 1 around 50% of the time, so I guess that's an improvement?  I should have been clearer on this goal and said something more concrete like "win X 8-4s" or "win round 1 X amount of the time".

4.  Continue to write weekly.  I didn't write every single week, but I did write more than enough overall to consider this goal accomplished.

5.  Expand my play range online.  I wanted to play more than just Limited and I think I have.  I'm slowly building a Modern deck and I have Standard/Pauper decks online.  I don't play them frequently but I do from time to time.

Goals for 2016

1.  Do every single flashback format in 2016.  If you haven't heard next year there will be a flashback format every week (barring prerelease and release events) and I'm making it my goal to play every single format.  I've already started stockpiling packs in order to make entry cheaper, otherwise I wouldn't have Champions/Betrayers/M12/Tenth/Ninth Edition packs in my collection.  I'll have never played most of these formats so it's going to be a learning experience for me.

2.  Day 2 a Grand Prix.  As of right now I know I'm attending Grand Prix Dallas (Modern) and I'm iffy on Grand Prix Houston (Standard).  If I attend Houston it would be with The Great Aurora and that would only happen if there are some upgrades with Oath and/or I find a way to make it competitive.  Given that I'd be going to so few Grand Prixs it's possible that I won't be able to achieve this goal, and that's fine with me.

3.  Finish my Modern deck.  Right now I'm trying to build an Esper version of Grixis Control that goes a little bit bigger with Gideon Jura.  If Stoneforge Mystic gets unbanned then I'll be happy that I went with Esper and if it doesn't then I can always go back to Grixis if I feel like it.

4.  4-1 or 5-0 a League.  Preferably I'd like this to be a Sealed League, but it can Modern or Standard if Sealed Leagues don't come back in 2016.

BFZ Limited

I think I drafted my seat correctly, it just so happened that my seat had to be green.  In any other set I think green would be a fine color to draft, but it has a lot of downfalls in Battle for Zendikar.  I'm not impressed at all with the Landfall creatures and with colorless Eldrazi roaming around every deck has a feasible late game.  Green could shine as the ramp deck, but every other color also has access to Eldrazi Scions, so green is disadvantaged there as well.  The biggest draw to green is that it's usually open and you can have your pick of the litter if you're the only green drafter, but if someone else is in green then you're in for a rough time.  Green feels like black in Avacyn Restored: it was good if you were the only drafter but if someone else tried to do the same then you both were screwed.

This draft on the other hand I drafted blue and it feels like whenever I draft blue I tend to do relatively well.  Pack 1 offers me an interesting question: do I draft a blue card or a white card?  The pack has 3 strong blue cards and if I don't take one then I can expect to see 0 blue cards in pack 2.  If I take a blue card then the odds of blue cards in pack 2 goes up from 0, but it's still pretty low if I manage to send another blue card past this pack. I know everything that the person to my left will know except what they first picked.  If they first picked a non-blue card then I can cut blue and be fine in pack 2.  If they open a blue card then there might be a fight in pack 2.  Regardless of what happens if I take blue and blue is open then I will get 2 packs of blue while my opponent will have access to only 1 and that would leave me with the stronger blue deck.  The only question is what blue card to take and I believe I made the right choice.  Scatter to the Winds is harder to cast over Clutch of Currents but I think the upside is higher there since Scatter can be used a hard removal spell against scary things whereas Clutch is good if you're ahead.

Game 3 of Round 2 is a game I might have thrown away.  When I cast Sheer Drop on Shadow Glider not only should I have attacked first with the Scion, it's possible I shouldn't have cast it at all.  By sacrificing the Scion I lose the ability to add more threats on the board if I don't draw another land.  If I draw the land then I'm in a good spot because my 3/3 can beat Courier Griffin and my follow up threats also demand answers.  Instead I get a little tempo boost for a turn but lose it because I have to play reactive Magic instead of proactive Magic.  Furthermore, is the Shadow Glider even a threat to me?  I have Ghostly Sentinel and Windrider Patrol as threats that can hold back the Shadow Glider so it's not a threat to me at all.  I definitely could have played that game better and it's possible by not casting Sheer Drop and progressing my board I'm actually able to win the match.

I think this pool pretty much built itself quite easily.  Blue is pretty much a lock to be in your deck and while black has Painful Truths and Grip of Desolation, that's not as good as double Stonefury and Nettle Drone shenanigans.  Herald of Kozilek also makes UR an attractive option since a lot of my spells were Devoid meaning I could use Herald to its fullest potential.  I could have splashed Painful Truths in the deck but I didn't feel like I needed it.  Between Anticipate, Coastal Discovery, and Ugin's Insight I had enough card draw to use and none of those spells cost me life to cast. Had I had a Evolving Wilds I probably would have played Painful Truths and Pilgrim's Eye.

I highly recommend checking out game 2 of round 2.  It's a great way to see how you can come back and win a game even if you have to mulligan multiple times.

Conclusion

I want to thank you all for sticking with me for all of 2015 and I do hope that you've learned something from reading these articles.  I try to make these articles as informative as I can as well as fun.  I like doing these and I hope that you like reading them as well.  If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below.  I hope you all had a great 2015 and I hope you have an even better 2016!

Thanks for reading/watching!