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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Aug 15 2018 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  It feels good to be back in action after the weeks where I felt ill and unable to record any Magic Online videos.  Midway through recording the videos for this week I thought to myself, "Wow, I feel good doing all this talking and I don't feel tired at all."  It was something I could not have said a couple weeks back and hopefully I continue to feel this way for the foreseeable future.  I will say for as much as I've criticized Magic Online in the past, it did feel nice to play it again.  Perhaps it's a warped case of Stockholm Syndrome where you know what you're playing isn't optimal and buggy and has issues, but at the same time it's something you like and enjoy doing as well.  In a somewhat related thought: it's a weird sort of nostalgia, but I do find myself missing V3 of Magic Online even though V4 in a lot of ways is much more improved than what I was playing when I started 5 years ago.

In any case, I'm happy to be back and getting myself back in the groove of recording and doing video content.  For those that don't know I like to do a certain amount of videos per day and space out the uploads on YouTube so I can have something happening every single day and keep myself engaged with video production.  Since I hadn't been doing any content for a few weeks I've let my schedule adjust to that, but now I need to adjust back once more to get myself going again.  Given the light load in terms of total videos I need to do for next week, this week seems like the perfect time to get myself back in shape.  Let's see the upcoming schedule before diving into Magic 2019:

  • Today - Magic 2019 Draft League #4, Magic 2019 Sealed League #1 videos, Magic 2019 Sealed League #2 videos
  • 8/23 - Magic 2019 Draft League #5, Magic 2019 Sealed League #3, Magic 2019 Sealed League #4
  • 8/30 - Chaos Draft #1, Magic 2019 Sealed League #3 video, Magic 2019 Sealed League #4 videos
  • 9/6 - Chaos Draft #2, Magic 2019 Sealed League #3 videos, Magic 2019 Sealed League #4 videos

Magic 2019 Draft League #4

I feel this was a draft where I was in open colors but they weren't deep enough for me to make a good deck out of the cards I took.  It's hard to say you drafted the wrong deck with triple Poison-Tip Archer but I wouldn't blame you if that's the conclusion you come to.  I do believe the multicolored cards in this set are high draft picks because they really do reward you for taking advantage of the syngeries they offer.  Of course there's a risk you don't play your multicolored card and/or you force it and it's terrible, but that's a risk I feel is worth taking.  In theory I did draft a deck that could enable Regal Bloodlord but in practice I feel you need more enablers other than Fountain of RenewalVampire Neonate is a great way to enable life gain whereas Child of Night is not.

Round 1 I got destroyed by a very beautiful W/B lifegain deck with triple Regal Bloodlord easily dispatching my triple Poison-Tip Archer.  My lack of removal came to bite me in the butt because if I didn't kill all the Regal Bloodlords I had no way to stop any of them from triggering turn after turn after turn.  My opponent drafted a better deck than me and deserved to win that match.

Round 2 showed the power of Arcane Encyclopedia both while I was winning and while I was losing as well.  In the first game I would have absolutely lost much more quickly had I not had Arcane Encyclopedia getting me deeper and deeper into my deck.  Sadly, I had were a bunch of lands but that's not Arcane Encyclopedia's fault.  I put myself in a position early on where I was comfortable making exchanges because I thought I'd be able to draw more spells after my opponent gets out of their mana screw and the strategy is sound but it didn't pan out.  Game 2 and to a lesser extent showed how powerful it is to draw extra cards when you're at parity/ahead.  Eventually you're going to draw much more threats then your opponent and all the extra cards and mana you're able to use will win the game for you.

The last round shows the same concept of card/mana advantage turned against me in a losing effort on my part.  Game 1 my opponent drew so many more cards than I was able to and always had something valuable to do with their mana.  My draw lined up poorly against them and they were able to take a much more controlling stance and use all the card advantage they got to eventually attack with Psychic Symbiont and Windreader Sphinx to claim victory.  I do like my sideboard plan here: take out dead removal, bring in Duress, and have more sturdier threats in the postboard matchup.  Unfortunately for me my opponent started to put pressure on me early and I had to play catch up as opposed to being more proactive in what I wanted to do.  The cards I had didn't let me be proactive and I couldn't get anything going.

I don't believe my deck was terrible, it just needed to tuned more and have a clear and concise gameplan rather than trying to do a bunch of neat things all at the same time.  Not my best draft, hopefully next week is better.

Magic 2019 Sealed League #1

It had been quite awhile since I looked at my first sealed league and to be honest I didn't remember which deck I played in the first round going into me recording the matches.  The U/R deck I had build was the one which loaded up when I entered the league so I decided to stick with that over the Bant or U/G decks.  The main pull to the U/R deck is Lathliss, Dragon Queen, a card we've seen can win games out of nowhere with the right setup.  Unfortunately for me, I did not draw Lathliss, Dragon Queen in any of the games I played so we never got to see the best card in the deck.

After losing the second round with U/R and winning the third round with U/G, I decided it would be best to take U/G into the fourth match.  U/G gives me a way to win with Skyrider Patrol and I get some more removal (albeit conditional) in two copies of Rabid Bite.  U/R did not have removal outside a Dwindle so if my opponent played a threat I had to deal with it the hard way.  Rabid Bite is not the most reliable card in my deck because I do have some small creatures, however I also have some big threats which work very well with Rabid Bite

Of course, no amount of removal in green or blue could have stopped me from losing to Thud in both games.  Game 1 it came out of nowhere as Inferno Hellion hit me for 9 damage and then a Thud later my opponent won the game.  The second game had a lot more play to it as I was able to stymie my opponent's offense while Skyrider Patrol was getting me closer and closer to victory, but a Mighty Leap and Thud the turn before I had lethal on my opponent took the game from me.  I played it so I give my opponent one draw step to have exactly what they need to win the game and given the exact same board state the turn before, I have to believe they didn't have the win until they untapped that turn.  It's unfortunate the way it went down but my opponent played to their outs and they got it the win.  1-3 isn't what I wanted but given how the decks played and what my opponents brought to the table, I'm not surprised it ended this way.

Magic 2019 Sealed League #2

Going into the last leg of the league I fixed up the B/R deck and I actually took a good luck at the W/G deck I had and made a lot of changes to it.  I figured it wouldn't hurt to see if it was viable since I did have Cleansing Nova, Lena, Selfless Champion, and Ajani's Last Stand as three rares I could easily slot into the deck.  While I didn't think it was better than the B/R deck, I did keep it in mind as I was playing my matches.  It's always good to have another deck/option when you're playing sealed as sometimes what your first deck is doing doesn't line up well against your opponent.  Your second choice might not be as powerful in the abstract but if it has a better matchup against what your opponent is doing, then it's worth having just in case that comes up.

Round 1 of this set came down to my first hand not lining up well against what my opponent brought to the table, then both of us taking a win at outracing the other in a sort of aggro mirror.  I was able to get the better of my opponent in the second game where I used my removal to keep their offense at bay while I attacked, but in the last game I had to expend a lot of resources to kill Tezzeret, Artifice Master and the wasted cards came back to bite me in the end.  I dealt at least 20 points of damage that game but I threw 7 of it at a planeswalker instead of my opponent and the exchanges I made to get rid of Tezzeret were better for my opponent than they were for me.

Round 2 started off with me playing against another planeswalker in Vivien Reid, which I made a calculated risk in letting her reach her ultimate in order to give myself a chance at winning the game.  Now, I only had that chance because my opponent gave me an out by not attacking with every creature right after they got the emblem, but it was a chance nonetheless.  I might have been able to kill Vivien Reid over the course of several turns but it would cost me a lot of resources and leave me without a path to victory.  It's quite amazing how close I was to actually stealing the game if a few draw steps lined up better for me.  The next two games did not feature Vivien Reid and I was able to be the aggressor through every single turn and took the match down to even up the score.

The last round featured a very long game 1 where I had to maneuver through a Sarkhan's Unsealing and a Ajani's Last Stand with both of them doing quite a lot of work.  Fortunately for me my opponent was a little threat light and I had just enough to pull it out after 20+ turns of gameplay.  My opponent had some nice synergies but the overall threat density was low and that didn't bode well for the amount of removal I had.  I believe had I had less removal spells in my deck I would have lost the game.  My opponent likely had a deck that would like to see less removal spells thrown against it and leverage Sarkhan's Unsealing to bury the opponent in card advantage.  I switched to the W/G deck for game 2 largely due to Naturalize and Cleansing Nova.  My reasoning for this is because the biggest threat against me in game 1 were the enchantments, and so by switching to W/G I can beat the enchantments while still being able to to beat down with creatures.  The plan worked as I had hoped with Naturalize taking out a Sarkhan's Unsealing and me attacking for the win to finish the league 6-3.

Conclusion

All things considered I'd say it was a good week with me finishing my second sealed league with a 6-3 record.  The deck I played likely could be a 7-2 if things had gone my way a little bit more so we did have a strong deck in that league.  It's a little crazy to think with 8 packs total I could have run the first B/R deck through the entire league and still have a positive record.  We basically did that minus adding 2-3 cards from the other two packs overall.  I've been doing the sealed M19 league at my LGS and my packs have added more cards to my deck than the 2 packs I got from this league, so didn't run very well here.  Now, had I played W/G from the start I would have added/changed so many cards and it would have mirrored my paper experience, so that's something to take note of.

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 posted early along with content exclusive to the channel.  Hopefully I'll have some videos with Najeela, the Blade-Blossom at the helm of a Commander deck pretty soon.

Thanks for reading/watching!