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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Nov 30 2017 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  Today is article #200 (in this series) and while that doesn't seem like a big deal to me at first, the fact that the first article came in August 2013 makes it a little more grand for me.  I didn't necessarily plan for a multi-year long article series when I submitted the very first article to this site.  At the time I thought very little into the future, perhaps a few weeks but nothing to the range of years.  These days I think more in advance than I did in the past, but very much still see things in the more immediate present.  It's a roundabout way of saying that I'm about as sure of hitting #300 as I was about hitting #200, #100, #50, etc.

I thought about doing something grand for this week, but I wasn't sure what to do exactly.  I thought I'd do something similar to what I did during the 100th article, and oddly enough I'm doing exactly what I did then: nothing.  The me that wrote the 100th article apparently wasn't aware of the fact that the 100th article was a thing, something that only came clear to me when our esteemed editor tweeted out the fact that I was close to this milestone.  Even though I'm taking a moment to pause and reflect on this achievement, it makes sense to me to not do anything extravagant.  By my very nature I'm a realist about my abilities and don't pretend to know or do more than I'm capable of.  I know my strengths, weaknesses, tendencies and act accordingly.  I know there are a lot of players better than me, I make plenty of mistakes, and I probably get luckier than I realize.  At the end of the day I try my best and let the chips fall where they may.  Generally speaking I'm more apt to extol the virtue of others as opposed to my own and keep a level head about me most of the time.

I do thank you all for keeping up with me for 200 articles and I hope I can continue to do more in the future.  I do this not just for myself, I do this to teach and bring insight to fellow players who want to learn and grow in either Draft or Sealed.  The more information you have at your disposal allows you to better make decisions regarding your style of play and how to approach games/format.  Even bad information is still useful because you don't have to personally explore the line of thought that got you to the bad information, you can see the result and know it to be true.  You can learn something from every person you meet if allow yourself to learn and keep an open mind.  With all that said let's take a look at the upcoming schedule:

  • Today - Ixalan Draft League #9, Ixalan Sealed League #5 videos, Ixalan Sealed League #6 videos

You might notice that I've only listed today, and that's because I'm going to send my laptop in to get repairs and once I send it in I'm not sure as to when I'll get it back.  I've been getting blue screen errors and even after a hard reset and a system restore the issue is persisting and making it difficult to have full confidence in a recording session.  I do have the backup option of just doing replay videos, but I don't like those very much and would prefer to keep my laptop as healthy as possible.  I will try to make content on my old laptop but I can't guarantee if that succeeds or not.  Dedicated readers will remember me having lagging issues while recording on that laptop, forcing me to purchase a new one.  I expect to be out of commission for two weeks, but I'll try to return as soon as possible.  

Ixalan Draft League #9

I could have gone a couple of different ways for my first pick but I decided that Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle was the right pick since it has the ability to get out of hand if you are able to attack with vampires turn after turn.  It's a boon in any racing situation as you leave yourself back a blocker that has lifelink, making it harder for your opponent to kill you before you kill them.  That said, I wasn't fully committed to white/black vampires until I saw Bishop of the Bloodstained.  Even if black wasn't open after that pick, it rewards me for picking up vampires and allows me to leverage Mavren Fein even more than I would be able to.  My two concern at that point would be picking up removal in Contract Killing and the common bomb for the archetype in Anointed Deacon.  While I wasn't able to pick up much removal I did get the Anointed Deacon and a reward for going wide in Rallying Roar.  I've seen better vampire decks but this one still had the ingredients to do well if the lack of removal didn't bite me in the butt.

Going 3-0 was a bit unexpected given that I had gone 3-0 last week, and it's one of the rare times I've won back to back drafts.  The lack of removal did not come back to bite me, mostly because my board was able to go wide enough that it was my opponent who needed the removal, not me.  It's also nice knowing you have a lot of lifelink on your side of the board if you ever need to get into a racing situation.  If you throw enough 1/1 lifelink vampires under the bus you eventually take a turn off your opponent's clock while maintaining your own.  You could enter a race a turn behind with this deck and end up winning the race simply by gaining life to offset an attack or two.  I didn't draw Mavren Fein often, but when I did it was incredibly powerful.

Ixalan Sealed League #5

Splitting the first two matches isn't the result I wanted given that I did have a chance to win the first match without my mulligan to five in the last game, but I'll take that over being down 0-2.  The deck doesn't do well once it's behind to multiple big creatures given the low curve and the mentality of being the aggressor in almost every matchup.  If our opponent can go over the top or just have slightly bigger creatures then it's going to be hard to win those games.  We do have Contract Killings to try and make up some of that ground if it's just one big thing in the way, but multiple roadblocks is tough when we don't have evasion to go around them.  I suspect my opponent was trying to be fancy game three of the second match by switching to W/B/x but it didn't end up working out for them.  I thought their R/B/u deck was positioned well enough against mine after splitting the first two games, there was no reason to try something else in my opinion.  Perhaps they felt the lifelink vampires would be good against me in a race?  

Ixalan Sealed League #6

Last week I talked about R/B and U/R being my choices for decks to enter the league with and I ended up deciding to start with the U/R list while giving myself the option of R/B should I need it.  It felt to me that U/R could leverage Captivating Crew more than the other deck and I had the feeling that it would be the reason I would win games.  I lost the first round to a much better deck coupled with some poor draws on my part.  Switching to R/B for the second game was the right play to make given that I would have access to actual removal for my opponent's creatures, and the sizing felt better there than it did in U/R.  I tried U/R again for the next two matches and won both of those, a result I'm happy with.  Captivating Crew played a large part of me winning those games, a testament to the cards strength.  I did take a bit of a risky line the one game where I basically went all in on it by using Swashbuckling to make it a big blocker and activating the ability while having ways to protect it in hand.  I had the option of playing more conservatively and at some point offering a trade with my best card, but I felt that would only put me in a losing situation.  


As it stands I'm typing this from my old laptop while the current laptop is in a box waiting to be taken to FedEx for repairs.  It's taking twice as long to upload/convert my videos, which makes me wonder how I even did this a couple months back.  I'm not sure if recording is a viable option while my laptop is away, but I'll try and make it happen.  We had a good day today, 6-2 overall and another 3-0 draft to our name.  While I haven't drafted all the archetypes I'm aware of what the format is about and what cards to take/avoid.  My first draft featured Ancient Brontodon, a card that is wildly unplayable now that the format has been sorted out, but I'm glad I was able to draft that kind of deck while I had the agency to do so.  

I don't know when exactly my laptop will come back but sometime mid December is a likely time frame.  Until then I urge you all to check out my YouTube channel here, I'll post there whatever I'm able to do and updates on when I'll be back.  I did just finish up a second friendly Modern league, so if you're interested in watching Abzan in Modern please feel free to check those videos out.  You can check out my other videos as well, it shows support and that there are people wanting to see what it is I do.

Thanks for reading/watching!


Congrats on 200! by JXClaytor at Thu, 11/30/2017 - 19:52
JXClaytor's picture

Congrats on 200!