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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Sep 12 2018 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  I did have plans to have an article up last week but sometimes real life gets in the way and is too much to overcome.  I generally record whatever videos I have left to do on Tuesday afternoon and write/submit the article Tuesday night, except this Tuesday was a little different.  While I was at the gym that night I received a text from my mother saying she needed me to drive my father to the hospital.  That every Sunday prior my dad had told me he had been in incredible pain the day before and he surmised he might need surgery at some point.  Come to find out after a couple hours of waiting that he was right, he had gallstones and would need surgery to remove them.  He was transferred to another hospital and I didn't fall asleep until 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, not only much past my usual bedtime but also without having been able to do my article.  I wouldn't have time for the rest of the week either as between my normal schedule and running errands while my mom stayed at my dad's side, there was no time to think about sitting down and doing my article.

You know, as a child/teenager the thought of someone having surgery isn't as big a deal as it seems when you're an adult.  When you're younger you are much more trusting and inexperienced, so when an adult figure tells you everything is going to be okay, you believe them.  That's not to say when you're an adult you don't believe anymore, it's more so you have more experience and the risks involved are much more magnified than they were as a child.  You also learn, as with Magic, there are things you cannot control and it is a waste of mental energy to worry about them.  You can't control the amount of variance the game has no matter how much you worry, so all you can do is worry about the things you can control.  You can control how you play your cards, you control when you attack or block, and you control your reactions to whatever happens during the game.  I'm not going to say Magic was the reason I stayed even keel throughout the entire process, but it most certainly helped.  We cannot control the hand we are dealt, all we can do is maximize the way we play our cards.

Luckily for everyone involved the surgery went well and my dad is back home and well, albeit extremely bored since he's unable to exert himself physically for a few weeks.  With the surgery past me I'm also back to playing Magic and writing about it, and I'm a bit fortunate that I did have an empty week before the set review, so I'm not rushed to finish my leagues and can continue at my normal pace.  With that in mind, let's take a look at the upcoming schedule:

  • Today - Chaos Draft League #2, Magic 2019 Sealed League #3 videos, Magic 2019 Sealed League #4 videos
  • 9/20 - Magic 2019 Draft League #6, Magic 2019 Sealed League #3 videos, Magic 2019 Sealed League #4 videos
  • 9/27 - Guilds of Ravnica Sealed Set Review
  • 10/4 - Guilds of Ravnica Draft #1, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #1, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #2*

October 4th is a bit tentative since while I'm certain Guilds will be up by the time the prerelease is up, I can't find a source confirming it just yet.  Regardless of that, I will have Guilds of Ravnica content following the prerelease so it will happen in some form or fashion.  The Guilds Sealed Set Review will start going up Sunday following the complete spoiling of the set on my YouTube channel, so if you want to listen before the article proper comes out you may do so.  With all that out of the way, let's play some Magic.

Chaos Draft League #2

It's hard to tell how good or bad a deck is when you're chaos drafting because there's so much to account for and you don't know what exactly you'll be facing against.  Compound that with cross pod play and you could play against literal anything and either win or lose independent of how well you think you drafted.  I think I put myself into a very narrow deck by picking the Elvish Piper and trying to make a R/G Ramp deck work in a format where I don't know if I'll get the big fatties and/or ramp spells.  Elvish Piper is a card that is better in Cube or Commander where you're almost guaranteed to have big creatures to put into play, but not so much in Chaos Draft.   I'm better off taking the Deadly Recluse and instead of a ramp deck try and be a R/G Midrange deck with beefy creatures and removal.  Now, in practice it wouldn't have worked out any better than what I drafted, but it's a better drafting strategy nonetheless.

I went 0-3 in this pod and it came down to me nothing having a big payoff to consistently cast and my ground creatures being unable to finish the job when I needed them to.  My opponents either were able to take initiative and have me on the backfoot very quickly, or they played some creatures to defend themselves with and I had no way to push through the last points of damage.  All in all it was still fun to draft and play this format even if the end result is not the one I wanted.

Magic 2019 Sealed League #3

That was about as poor a showing as I've had in recent memory with a sealed pool.  Normally I get at least one match win in the first three matches but this time I laid a goose egg with this pool.  I wasn't able to get much going in the two matches I played and when I did my opponent was either farther ahead or they had the answer on the spot for whatever I did.  The deck itself is a little too defensive and doesn't have a way to win games other than Demon of Catastrophes, while a nice card is susceptible to removal.  Two of my games were decided by mana/color screw and there's nothing I could have done about it once it started happening to me and my other losses came to my opponent having better cards than me.  It's a little frustrating knowing that as the games are happening I don't have much of a chance to win but there's nothing I could do about it so I didn't give it too much thought.  At 0-3 I'm out of prize contention but I'll still play the last two matches to see if I can win a match before it's all over.  I might change to a different deck because at this point going back to U/B isn't going to have a favorable result.  What do you think?

Magic 2019 Sealed League #4

After opening Chromium, the Mutable I decided I would see if a deck with that card would work as an alternative to the Grixis deck I had originally.  The mana is slightly better and Chromium, the Mutable offers me more protection than Nicol Bolas, the Ravager does.  It's much harder for my opponent to get rid of Chromium once it's in play and since it can't be countered I don't have to fear countermagic if my opponent is playing with blue cards.  It kills only one turn slower than an uncontested turn 4 Nicol Bolas so it's not as though I'm having to extend the game so much longer in order to win with Chromium.  You still get the potential for card advantage by flashing in Chromium and eating an attacker, which is sometimes better than the discard from Nicol Bolas.

With all that in mind I built a Chromium deck and decided to test it out so I could see how it worked and if it was a better or worse option than playing Nicol Bolas again.  I went 3-0 in the second stage to end the first two stages at 4-2.  Chromium played exactly like I wanted it to, I was able to flash it in during a favorable board state and start attacking my opponent until they lost the game.  Multiple times my opponent tried to use removal on it, perhaps thinking they would catch me hitting F6 or not expecting them to try, and in every case I made sure to discard a card to give it Hexproof.  One neat thing you can do to race Chromium is to try and use instant speed removal as a sort of Fog effect so you take only 1 point of damage instead of 7. 

The pack I opened didn't add much to my pool as I don't have a use for another Lathliss, Dragon Queen unfortunately.  Arcane Encyclopedia is a good option either in the main or side to help me draw into Chromium much faster, so I'll take a look at that for sure.  For the moment I think I'll only be changing a card or two and then take the Chromium deck back for the final three matches of the league.  The Esper deck plays much smoother than the Grixis deck and I feel it gives me the best chance at winning.  What do you think?

Conclusion

Not the best record overall this week but you can't always win them all.  All you can do is focus on how well you played and learning from any mistakes you made.  If nothing else your life will be less full of salt than it would otherwise.  If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below.  You can find all the videos in this article series as well as exclusive content on my YouTube channel here.  I'll be getting back to playing Commander relatively shortly so if you're a fan of Najeela, the Blade-Blossom feel free to check the channel out.

Thanks for reading/watching!