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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Jul 12 2018 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  During last week's article I neglected to put the upcoming schedule and it only came to mind when I began making the videos for this article.  I do apologize about that and I'll make sure to include it once again going forward.  This past weekend was the paper Prerelease and along with that came release events on Magic Online.  Normally I would play and then write about the paper events, but given that the cards are online I took the weekend to enjoy playing the games and not worry about analyzing them once I got home.  I will say it did put some stress off of me and allowed me to be more of a casual player while doing the events.  It's important to remember that the Prerelease is meant for everyone to come out and be excited about the new cards, so being a "Spike" about it isn't necessarily a good thing. 

I did pretty well for myself, going a combined 8-3 (2-2, 5-0, 3-1) over the weekend.  My 5-0 deck contained Pelakka Wurm, Vivien's Invocation, Mentor of the Meek, and Leonin Warleader.  I lived the dream of casting Vivien's Invocation to find Pelakka Wurm, eat my opponents best creature, gain 7 life, and have a commanding board presence.  At first it felt a little weird to open Pelakka Wurm as a rare but seeing it in action makes me glad it's a rare and not an uncommon.  The body and life gain are very relevant and you get card advantage when they have to kill it either through blocking or a removal spell.  At uncommon it would be too good since you'd be more likely to face multiples of it, and the first Pelakka Wurm is pretty threatening on its own.  My 3-1 deck was a UB/w deck with Fountain of Renewal, Vampire Neonate, and Regal Bloodlord.  It's a slow combo but I was able to make a lot of 1/1 Bats that were able to keep me in games I might have lost otherwise.  

For this week it's going to be fairly short just like it was when Dominaria came out but next week will have much more content to make up for that.  Let's look at the upcoming schedule and see what's happening.

  • Today - Magic 2019 Draft League #1*, Magic 2019 Sealed League #1, Magic 2019 Sealed League #2
  • 7/19 - Magic 2019 Draft League #1**, Magic 2019 Draft League #2, Magic 2019 Sealed League #1 video, Magic 2019 Sealed League #2 videos
  • 7/26 - Magic 2019 Draft League #3, Magic 2019 Sealed League #1 videos, Magic 2019 Sealed League #2 videos
  • 8/2 - Magic 2019 Draft League #4, Magic 2019 Sealed League #1 videos, Magic 2019 Sealed League #2 videos

Magic 2019 drafts opened on Monday and so that gave me only a day at best for the draft video to be live before I have to play the games.  Normally I like to upload the draft on a Thursday/Friday, let it stew for a few days and then play the games all in one sitting.  This way I can interact with YouTube comments and have a conversation about just the draft before I play the games.  It lets any potential conversation be only about the draft and not have the games influence anybody's opinion.  So for today I have just the draft portion of the league, but next week I'll have all the games plus the full second draft league as well.

Magic 2019 Draft League #1

While I do a Sealed Set Review I always look at the cards through the lens of Sealed Deck, which can be a bit of a different animal than Draft.  Draft is typically faster and you do compare cards to each other and try to determine what card you should take out of a given pack.  Since I don't do any draft overviews and my only experience is from Prerelease flights, what I see/do in those events is what translates to my first draft of the new format.  Beyond that, I have my own general assumptions about Core Set Limited: draft removal highly, only take bombs if they're unbeatable/highly unkillable, have win conditions and ways to accrue card advantage.  I first picked Hieromancer's Cage and I believe it's the correct pick there since it can remove almost every single threat in the format.  Skilled Animator second I like since it can turn an Explosive Apparatus or a Field Creeper into a 5/5 and give you a "free win" draw in some amount of games.  I don't like taking Strangling Spores over Suspicious Bookcase 8th pick when I have Skilled Animator and I'm likely to be in blue no matter what.  I need to take artifacts highly to make Skilled Animator work and instead I spent a speculative pick on an okay removal spell.  

I don't mind taking Sai, Master Thopterist with the first pick in the second pack, but if I'm going to do that I need artifacts in my deck to make the pick worth it.  The way the pack panned out I didn't get many artifacts so I'm better off here forgetting about Sai and Skilled Animator and instead drafting a U/G tempo/good-stuff deck.  If I change my mind about this I'm able to take Thorn Lieutenant first in pack 3 and probably table the Rogue's Gloves which had tabled in the second pack already.  My deck afterwards would be slightly better because I have less incentive to draft bad artifacts and I have cards that are good on their own.  In the end I cut the artifact package because I decided running mediocre cards to have a good effect a very small amount of the time wasn't worth it.  What do you think?  What would you have done in this draft?

Magic 2019 Sealed League #1

If we look at the pool by colors it's very clear white and black are the weakest colors and offer no real incentive to play either of those colors.  White has Luminous Bonds as its best card and you can splash it, while black is fairly weak top to bottom and has nothing going for it at all.  We're left with blue, red, and green to which we can make a deck out of.  Playing red gives me Lathliss, Dragon Queen and three Sparktongue Dragons but the rest of red is very poor.  You need red in order to play Enigma Drake in a UR deck however that deck would not have any removal outside of Dwindle.  UG has Skyrider Patrol, which I feel is a very strong uncommon and difficult to race if you're on the defensive.  Blue has solid spells and green provides big creatures and two Rabid Bites to complement the Dwindle for removal.  Arcades, the Strategist is an option on the splash but you'd have to not play Gigantosaurus in order to facilate decent mana in the deck.  Overall, I believe U/G is my best option and the only points of contention are if I play Arcades, and if I don't am I playing Gigantosaurus?  GGGGG is really tough on turn 5 and we're more likely going to see it on turn 8+, and turn 8 is being a little generous.  What do you think?

Magic 2019 Sealed League #2

If we look at the individual colors we can break it down and see what we want to play and what we don't want to include in our potential deck.  White has Cleansing Nova, Ajani's Last Stand, Luminous Bonds, Star-Crowned Stag, and Shield Mare as the cards that stand out with the rest being filler cards.  Blue is extremely weak with no bombs or win conditions in the cards it has, at best it is a support color that needs Essence Scatter to act as removal for big creature threats.  Black brings double Murder, double Strangling Spores, and a Lich's Caress to provide a very good removal suite against any threat that may come our way.  However, it is very weak on creatures so it needs to be complemented with a color that provides win conditions.  Red is able to take to the skies with Sparktongue Dragon, Demanding Dragon, and Volcanic Dragon and make good use of Spit Flame with those dragons.  The problem here is the red creatures aren't very sturdy once you get rid of a dragon, so removal might have to be used early if I can't fend of anything bigger than a X/2.  Green is very shallow and what good cards it has aren't game winning bombs.  Gigantosaurus could be a game winning threat but GGGGG is a huge investment in a color with so few playables.

I have a few decks I made (WG, Bant, BR) and I feel BR might be my best option since I do have win conditions and removal to back them up.  My non dragon creatures are weak but they're there to trade and protect my life total while I wait for a dragon to show up and win the game for me.  WB is an option if I want to play a grindy game and win with random creatures but I highly doubt that'll happen.  I'm more likely to find myself in stalemates with WB and those are losing positions when I don't have win conditions.  What do you think?  What is my best option?

Conclusion

I had a good time during the Magic 2019 Prerelease and I hope all of you who went out to the events did so as well.  I'm a big fan of Core Set Limited and I look forward to playing the games and seeing how the format shakes out.  I've seen both slow and aggressive decks do well, but if I had to guess I would say the format will lean towards the slower end of the scale.  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 the videos up early along with content exclusive to the channel.  Right now I'm taking a spin with a 4 color Landfall Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis deck that I feel is a lot of fun.  If you're into Commander I do post a lot of gameplay videos so feel free to check them out.

Thanks for reading/watching!