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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
May 19 2016 11:00am
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  Today I'm going to be talking about the colors in Shadows over Innistrad and how good/powerful they are.  In particular I'll be looking over the commons and uncommons in blue, black, and red.  Next week I'll finish up with white and green.

SOI Sealed Colors Part 1

Blue

Blue's commons are fairly underwhelming in my opinion.  Outside of Silburlind Snapper the biggest creature in blue is a 3/5 for 5 mana.  Sure, Lamplighter of Selhoff has the chance to loot when it enters the battlefield, but if you can't do that then you're not getting a good rate for 5 mana.  Blue is about the spells it would seem since the other creatures aren't very good at blocking.  Uncaged Fury and/or Rush of Adrenaline make blocking not where you want to be.  Just the Wind, Press for Answers, and Gone Missing make me think that blue wants to play a tempo game, but what tempo are you getting if you have 2/1s and 1/3s in play?  You'll have to pair blue with a color that has actual creatures to get proper use of the tempo plays.

For a while I thought Catalog was a good card, but now I think it's just okay.  Blue decks are full of spells that don't necessarily get you ahead, so it doesn't do you any good to draw more mediocre spells that don't make a big impact.  Card draw spells are only as good as the cards you can draw into, and at common blue is pretty weak.

At uncommon blue gets a big power boost with some build around uncommons but you still run into the issue of needing another color to support it. Reckless Scholar enables Madness but that's a mechanic that is better served in red/black where you can get creatures on the cheap.  Getting cheap spells is nice but they're not going to be that much more powerful than if you cast them for their original mana cost.  Rise from the Tides rewards you for using the "tempo" plays in blue to hold off your opponent long enough to make a bunch of zombies.  Fleeting Memories is a card that needs Ongoing Investigation to actually do something while the latter is good in any matchup.

Blue can do some nice things but it's not powerful enough by itself.  It needs better creature support and removal to give it time to do its thing.

Black

At common black is about removal and delirium.  Hound of the Farbogs and Stallion of Ashmouth give you a reward for having delirium and the removal spells can help get you there.  Murderous Compulsion, Dead Weight, and Throttle give you three different types that work towards you having delirium.  Macabre Waltz gives your recursion in case you need it while being a onetime discard outlet for madness spells.

Black's creatures are a little small but they don't need to be big when you have removal to back them up.  The two tribes in this color are Zombies and Vampires and they're the focus of their respective two color combinations (UB and BR).  While not a zombie or vampire, Farbog Revenant is one of the better black creatures at common.  It's small enough to attack in board stalls while having enough toughness to be a good blocker in the early game. 

The uncommons that black has are quite good.  You have a mix of efficient creatures and removal to go along with one of the best uncommons in the set: Call the Bloodline.  This card not only enables Madness while giving you a 1/1 Lifelink token, you also get to turn excess lands into something relevant.  With this in play every draw in your deck is worth something and you get an even better bonus if any cards have Madness on them.  Vampires, Zombies, and Delirium show up again at uncommon to reinforce those themes found at common.

Black overall has good removal and solid creatures, something blue was lacking in.  However, black doesn't have the heavy hitters it needs to be an all-star color.  Creature size can be a bit of an issue here, but luckily it has the removal to help push through its medium sized creatures.

Red

Red has some great commons and I believe it to be a solid color.  It can put pressure on early with Ember-Eye Wolf, Convicted Killer, and Howlpack Wolf but it can also play a bit of a long game with Tormenting Voice and Gatstaf Arsonists.  Gatstaf Arsonists is likely one of the better creatures at common because of how quickly it can take over the game.  If not dealt with, you have the option of a 5/4 or a 6/5 menace, and a large percentage of the time you'll go out of your way to make sure it flips.  Once you flip this card it's hard for your opponent to chump it, and if they can't chump or deal with it they're taking 6 points a turn.  That's a lot of damage!

Voldaren Duelist can make for a very quick game if your opponent doesn't account for it.  If Duelist isn't on their radar a relatively stable board can turn into a nightmare blocking situation.  Duelist takes away their best blocker while adding a hasty attacker on your side, making combat much more favorable for you.  If that isn't enough, Fiery Temper and Reduce to Ashes can clear the way for your attacking creatures to hit your opponent.  You're not good at blocking with red, but you don't need to be when you're the one on the offensive.

Note: Uncaged Fury and Rush of Adrenaline both at common means you're able to deal a lot of damage out of nowhere if your opponent isn't wise to it.  By now it should be known that those cards exist, but you can still catch someone off guard with the combo.  I will say that an Uncaged Fury can sometimes be telegraphed, so be careful not to give information to your opponent.  There will be times they can't play around it and it doesn't matter then, but if they can then they'll be able to play accordingly.

At uncommon Red only gets better at how good it can be at attacking.  Breakneck Rider demands an answer otherwise chump block won't ever happen and multiple Riders is almost game over.  Mad Prophet gives the red deck a way to keep cards flowing and turn excess lands into actual cards, a very dangerous option for you to be playing against.  Stensia Masquerade and Ulrich's Kindred can make blocking worthless while Lightning Axe is a cheap way of getting rid of a blocker/threat.

Red is very clear in what it wants to do: attack.  This is something it does well and it can even go a bit longer than most red decks we're used to, which is important because sealed deck games can go longer than normal draft matches.

SOI Sealed League #2

I'll leave the bulk of my analysis of the pool for the video, but looking at it for the first time did not leave me impressed with it.  My rares were pretty much worthless, so I can't lean on a powerful card to win the game for me.  I have to win by getting favorable combats and using any tricks/removal to keep my opponent stumbling.  I can outcard my opponent with Pore Over the Pages and Forgotten Creation, but I need good cards to draw into.  I'm a little iffy on whether I should be playing Rise from the Tides or not.  I feel like I'm just barely there in terms of having enough instants and sorceries to make it worthwhile, but at the same time I can see myself only getting 2-3 zombies.  I'm not sure if the blue is worth it to be honest, but I don't know if white is better.  It's more aggressive, but I don't want to give myself the opportunity to lose by drawing one or two lands too many.  If I make any changes I'll likely make them next week.

Time Spiral/Planar Chaos Draft

Another flashback draft, another draft where I don't know what I'm doing.  I did manage to win a match, so there's that!  Perhaps going beatdowns is better than trying to play the control role?  This draft I felt better about my deck going into the games and I did better as a result.  Hopefully we keep improving and possibly make the finals next week?

Shadows over Innistrad Draft

Black was open, that much was pretty clear.  Red was not however and I should have switched colors at some point.  Green was likely the color I should have switched into, but I couldn't really tell until it was too late for me.  I did get a lot of dry packs when I was hurting for red cards so that didn't help me decide if I needed to switch or not.

Conclusion

I lost both drafts, but you can't win them all.  We're 1-0 in the league so far and hopefully we can keep that going, especially since I didn't think much of my deck going into the match.  Next week I'll continue the league, do another Time Spiral draft and Shadows over Innistrad draft.  I'll also be starting Modern practice for the SCG Open in June, so that'll "replace" the phantom sealed I've yet to actually do.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below!

Thanks for reading/watching!