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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Jan 25 2018 1:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  I wasn't too sure if I was going to have an article up this week due to spotty Internet connection and some minor health issues, but things have cleared up enough that I was able to record all the videos I needed to do without too much hassle.  I did do a draft at my LGS for release weekend and I went 4-1 with a RG Dinosaur deck that featured two Forerunner of the Empire along with several enrage creatures to take advantage of the one damage I'd be dealing to every creature.  The real treat was being able to splash Hadana's Climb off of a Ranging Raptors and a single Island, and then using Hadana's Climb to win every game it was played in.  That card is very strong and worth splashing if you're able to manage it.  Let's take a look at the upcoming schedule before we dive into today's videos:

  • Today - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #1, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #1 videos, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #2 videos
  • 2/1 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #2, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #1 video, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #2 videos
  • 2/8 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #3, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #1 videos, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #2 videos
  • 2/15 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #4, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #3, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #4

Something to note is that with Masters 25 releasing in mid-March and Dominaria in mid-April, we don't have that much time to play Rivals of Ixalan.  By my count I think we'll be doing 6 sealed leagues and about 12 drafts, and that number could be less if I dedicate any time to Masters 25.  Such a short time span doesn't mean I won't treat Rivals of Ixalan any less than I would otherwise, so don't worry about that.  It does mean that the final two sealed leagues could be condensed into four weeks instead of the five I normally do.  I thought it would be prudent to mention that now so it doesn't surprise anyone as we get closer to April.  With that said, let's play some Rivals Limited!

Rivals of Ixalan Draft League

I did this draft the first day of Rivals being out on Magic Online, so I didn't have any time to look at pick orders to better prepare myself for the draft.  Instead I went in with my knowledge of Ixalan draft and the assumption that the format would still be fast and draft according to those preconceptions.  With that in mind I decided to first pick a Deadeye Rig-Hauler and third pick a Daring Buccaneer.  I did catch some flack for taking the one mana creature over a Bombard, but my reasoning was that not only is removal good when you have a presence in play, I didn't know if Daring Buccaneer was a good pick early.  Would I be making a mistake passing it, or would I be right in taking it early?  This wasn't a question of whether or not Bombard is better than Daring Buccaneer, it's a question of how highly should I take Daring Buccaneer?  The only way for me to find out is to take it highly and see if it's worth doing so.  I suspect the default answer is to take Bombard over Daring Buccaneer, but it doesn't hurt to find out for sure if that's the case.  By taking the Daring Buccaneer I'm priced into being a Pirate deck, but thankfully I was already leaning towards UR and that has plenty of pirates so I'm not forced to take sub-par cards to make it work.

The rest of the draft went off without a hitch and I got enough cards to make a decent UR tempo deck, which is what I was setting myself up for when I took Deadeye Rig-Hauler and Tilonalli's Summoner.  I did miss out on Depths of Desire and Run Aground to really cement the tempo aspects as well as the two Bombards I saw, so the deck should have been better than it turned out to be.  I managed a 2-1 with the deck, mostly due to Tilonalli's Summoner.  The card, among other rares in the set, is quite good and forces your opponent to have an answer or they lose the game.  Tilonalli's Summoner in particular gets stronger as the game goes on and you're able to make more and more land drops, putting your opponent in a bad position offensively and defensively.  It's difficult to account for all the Elementals that come into play while at the same time if you couldn't attack through the board before, it's impossible to do so after it hits play because you take more damage if the attack you made wasn't lethal.

Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #1

Looking back on these two matches I can't tell if my deck is good or not.  Round 1 I got hit by the mana screw/flood and in round 2 I got the first game very easily, lost the second very easily, and then my opponent conceded in the third game.  By all accounts I should be 0-2 in the hole but I'm for some reason 1-1 instead.  There isn't much to say here as the first two matches weren't really matches in my opinion.  One thing I will say is that I don't draw lands when I have Tetzimoc in my hand, and I sure hope that fixes itself for the next match.  It may be that I'm not meant to be playing with Tetzimoc, but we'll see if that is the case.  What do you think of my deck?  Is it good/bad or are the two matches not enough to give an opinion?

Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #2

Going into the first stage I still didn't have an idea of what I wanted to play, so when I looked at the decks I went with UG since I felt if I was wrong I wasn't too wrong and I could always sideboard into the other deck if I needed to.  It ended up being that I switched decks a fair amount of the time and that was mostly due to one deck being better positioned than the other, as opposed to me making a wrong choice.  The UG deck is better at attacking and playing a shorter game while the BG version is more removal heavy and wants to play a longer game.  Each deck can be played first but I'd rather be a bit faster in game one rather than being a little slower.  I did make one mistake in playing only 16 lands, I cut the Enter the Unknown in both builds to make room for a 17th land.  Having a lot of 5 and 6 drops makes hitting those lands very important, so adding a land is better than it normally would be.

I ended up going 2-1 in this stage and opened a booster that was much better for me if I was playing white than the colors I was already playing.  I will look at white again to see if it's better now than it was before, otherwise I'll be playing UG again with very little changes.  What do you think?  Will white be strong enough to make it into consideration, or did we open a dud pack and have to keep on with UG?


5-3 overall isn't too bad and a good sign of things to come hopefully.  I don't imagine Rivals of Ixalan draft being too differently from Ixalan, other than including some powerful rares that put you to the test right away.  The sealed format is about the same as it was in Ixalan, which is to say that I don't really know what's going on there.  I didn't fare too well in Ixalan sealed and I imagine the same will happen here unless I get some good pools.  Next week I'll be back with another draft and more matches with my sealed leagues.  

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 articles series out early along with content exclusive to the channel.  I'll be taking a dive into Standard with Sultai Merfolk, so if you're interested in that go take a look!

Thanks for reading/watching!