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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Feb 23 2018 1:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  There is a chance I attend a Rivals of Ixalan PTQ_Q this weekend but that is still up in the air right now.  I've had an itch to play Competitive REL Magic and this weekend is my best chance before having to wait until Dominaria releases to find an event within driving distance to attend.  Perhaps it's the Jund/Abzan decks I've been playing on Magic Online that's doing it but I have the need to play for more than just packs or FNM.  This normally isn't something I feel or want to do, but given that it's here I'll try and see if it stays.  Being a competitive Magic player is something I always strive for, but I'm not big on being a professional player and trying to grind my way onto the Pro Tour.  That doesn't really appeal to me since it seems like a lot of work for little payoff, but that doesn't means I can't be competitive either.  We'll see how that goes, but in the meantime let's take a look at the upcoming schedule before diving into today's events:

  • Today - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #4, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #3, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #4
  • 3/1 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #5, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #3 videos, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #4 videos
  • 3/8 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #6, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #3 video, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #4 videos
  • 3/15 - Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #7, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #3 videos, Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #4 videos

Rivals of Ixalan Draft League #4

While I did draft the best deck I could after having a poor pack 1 and making the right choice to draft green in pack 2, I don't think the deck I drafted was particularly good.  It seems that in this format you want to capitalize on the tribal synergies while making your picks and I wasn't able to do that this draft.  I had a mix of Humans, Dinosaurs, and Vampires making it hard for me to have lords be powerful or have my cards feed off each other.  I had a Forerunner of the Legion in my sideboard because I had so few Vampires that it wasn't worth playing it and risking not having a Vampire to play afterwards.

My second pick of Dire Fleet Neckbreaker was a bit odd seeing as I don't take multicolored cards early but it made sense to me.  If I take another black card it's not going to be as good as what I took, so my only option is to take Hunt the Weak and I haven't had success with G/B since it has no tribal synergies there explore payoffs are all in the last pack of the draft.  The other option is Nezahal, Primal Tide and at seven mana I'm not interested in an Elder Dinosaur that doesn't win the game immediately.  You can make the argument that taking Thrashing Brontodon 5th is better than the Vampire Revenant I took but I don't like G/B and I'm trying to work myself in a B/x deck with two good picks already.  I would have a slightly better G/W deck if I had taken the Thrashing Brontodon there and not commit to G/W until pack 2, but in the moment I'm better off with the Vampire and hoping W/B works out.

I was not expecting to win this draft 3-0, especially playing against decks I felt were better than mine but I'll take what I can get.  I played well given the cards I had to work with and played around cards when I could to make sure I didn't walk into anything unexpected.  I finally got to play a Siegehorn Ceratops that I've drafted and it was good when I had fight cards but it is a little awkward to set up.  Pounce isn't the best at doing this and Hunt the Weak might be too expensive if you play the Ceratops on turn 2 and open it up to a removal spell.  It's not a first pick rare but it shouldn't wheel either as the card combos well with Savage Stomp in the first three turns of the game.

Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #3

I made a bunch of decks but if we address a couple of questions then we'll be able to narrow down the choices rather easily.  First off, is Zetalpa, Primal Dawn worth playing and if not, is white even worth playing without Zetalpa?  I think the strength of white in this pool comes from being able to play Zetalpa because without it all I'm really playing in white is two Divine Verdict and a Skymarcher Aspirant.  Given that we need to figure out if we can actually cast Zetalpa in the decks we've made with white in them.  R/W doesn't want nor can reasonably cast Zetalpa and it's a worse version of R/B in my opinion so we can take that one off the board.  W/G need Zetalpa to be competitive but has a hard time casting it, and without it can't really do much of anything so we'll take out W/G as well.  Lastly we have B/W which has few Vampire synergies and is a worse R/W if we compare the two decks, and given that we've taken out R/W we'll take out B/W as well.

Now that we've eliminated white as a color, is it worth it to play red and black or green and black?  I feel I need to play black so that I have access to Impale so I have at least one answer to any threat my opponent plays.  Green gives me Hadana's Climb, Hunt the Weak and Waker of the Wilds while red gives me a Bombard.  It's not an argument that red is going to win, so I'd say the power level of green is higher than that of red, so I'm more likely to play B/G over B/R.  I could try R/G and splash Hadana's Climb, but I don't think that's better than the black cards I'm playing so for the moment I'm going to play B/G.

Rivals of Ixalan Sealed League #4

Unlike the pool above it this one doesn't have as much options and that makes things much simpler in terms of deckbuilding.  Black is clearly the best color so any deck I play is going to have black in in, and it's very easy to cut green and white from consideration.  We have the option of being U/B or R/B and it's clear to me that R/B is the right choice for me.  R/B is more aggressive and use's Captain's Hook much better than U/B, not to mention that the deck doesn't really gain all that much by using blue cards as opposed to red cards.  Blue gives me more noncreature spells but that's not really what I'm looking for in my Captain's Hook deck.  Given the opportunity I want to be aggressive in this format and R/B allows me that opportunity. 

Conclusion

While I wasn't expecting the 3-0 once again I'm happy to increase my record in Rivals draft to 10-2 overall with two draft trophies to my name.  We've broken down both pools and next week I'll be battling with them to see if I can get some match wins in Rivals of Ixalan Sealed.  I feel good about how I've been playing during my drafts but not so much about how I've been drafting.  I've managed to make do while in rough spots coming out of pack 1 but I need to avoid that altogether and have a smooth draft so I can progress and refine the decks I make.  So far I've been winning but you can't get lucky forever.  We'll try again next week and see if we can draft and play well at the same time.

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'll be able to see all the videos I post early along with some content exclusive to the channel.  I'm going to be playing Modern Jund so if you're interested in that please it it a shot.

Thanks for reading/watching!