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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Nov 01 2018 11:00am
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  Ravnica weekend is not this weekend but the weekend after and one of the suggested events is to do 4 pack drafts with Guilds of Ravnica.  4 pack drafts aren't too common and normally drafting strategy doesn't change much in regular sets but with multicolored sets the strategy does change a bit.  With 4 packs you're looking at much more cards than normal and so the average power level of the decks will rise.  Also, because you have one more pack to choose cards from you can be more bold with your picks early on.  If you like drafting 3+ color decks you can take mana fixing much more highly in the first pack and then have 3 packs left to choose the spells you want in your deck.  Alternatively you can force a guild early on and have that extra pack as an insurance policy so even if you have a medium deck after pack 3 you can one extra pack to help plug the holes in.  It should be a fun weekend coming up Nov. 9-11 and I'll be sure to get in as many 4 pack drafts as possible.  Perhaps I'll even draft mono guildgates pack 1 and see how many powerful spells I can draft in the next 3 packs.  Until then however, let's take a look at the upcoming schedule and open some packs:

  • Today - Guilds of Ravnica Draft League #5, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #1 videos, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #2 videos
  • 11/8 - Guilds of Ravnica Draft League #6, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #3, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #4
  • 11/15 - Guilds of Ravnica Draft League #7, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #3 videos, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #4 videos
  • 11/22 - Guilds of Ravnica Draft League #8, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #3 video, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #4 videos

Guilds of Ravnica Draft League #5

Dawn of Hope is an interesting card as it doesn't do anything for you early and is a mana intensive mana sink if you want to use it as a card draw engine.  It does allow you to go wider than your opponent will ever go, and the lifelink means you can race effectively should you get into a situation which requires it.  In games which you have Dawn of Hope in play and they last 10+ turns I'd say you're a solid favorite to win the game.  It's a powerful card and only monocolored, so because it keeps my options open I take it as my first pick.  Inspiring Unicorn can go into the Dawn of Hope deck and it can also go in the Boros Aggro deck so I decide to keep options open again and take another white card, but then I turn and take Notion Rain third.  Keeping my options open is good but I consider Notion Rain to be a signal that Dimir is open and I want to jump on that train early rather than late.  The format is incredibly deep on playables so you're not losing any value by taking a card early you might not end up playing, and even if I do make the switch to Dimir I can easily splash Dawn of Hope provided I have enough Dimir Guildgates and Surveil cards to make basic Plains less brutal on the mana.  Fortunately I get Conclave Guildmage as my fourth pick and given my other two white cards I decide to dive deep into Selesnya.  The guildmages are all very good in their respective two color combinations and I don't think you would pass one up if you were in those colors, so a guildmage fourth to me sends a very strong Selesnya signal.

It would appear Selesnya was not very deep in the draft as the deck I ended up drafting doesn't seem very strong at first glance.  Most of my spells are middle of the pack cards with some of the bright spots being Dawn of Hope, Conclave Guildmage, and Response//Resurgence.  I have some game against bomb rares if I'm patient with my removal but I don't have easy wins with this deck, I have to fight for them and make sure I play well and navigate the board states correctly.  I was not expecting a 3-0 performance but I can see why the deck had the capability to do so.  Dawn of Hope proved to be a good card in all points of the game and the ability to draw cards and get deeper into my deck was incredibly useful.  One of the upsides of playing mostly creatures is when you curve out and have expensive Convoke cards you can play them relatively cheaply and get ahead of the curve, putting immense pressure on your opponent to have an answer on the spot.  I did get a little lucky at times but I'll take luck any time I can get it.

Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #1

Competitive sealed leagues don't give prizes to players after the 3rd loss, so I told myself if I lost the 4th round I would drop as I would have very little incentive to play out the last match.  Playing against Boros game 1 is always a bit of a challenge as sometimes your hand isn't ready for it and the sudden urgency to play to the board may be too quick to properly respond to.  In the first game I felt I was always trying to contain the next threat and never on even footing, my opponent had the advantage and if I didn't stop it my opponent would not relent.  Given the nature of my deck and the hand I kept I always felt a turn or two behind and even as I thought I had stabilized my opponent plays Skyknight Legionnaire and forces me to have an answer for a flier or I die.  I didn't and I died.

My sideboarding strategy was sound in my opinion, unfortunately the only thing lacking in it was my execution of it.  In all honesty I should have mulliganed my hand, but I felt I had to get lucky and if I do draw lands the hand is powerful and I should beat my opponent given the cards I have.  Sadly, I stumbled on mana and took too much damage early on which made stabilizing difficult and I lost.  I do think my pool/deck is about a 2-3 record at best so I'm not surprised to have dropped at 1-3, but I certainly could have made better decisions in the last game.  While a mulligan likely yields the same match result it is the technically correct play to make and we should always be cognizant of those plays and execute them.

Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #2

There's an adage we all hear from time to time: play to your strengths.  There are things in life we can do well and things we cannot, and sometimes the key to success is to focus on what you do well and ignore the rest.  Heading into the final stage at 3-3 I knew I couldn't play the control role well, I don't have the finishers to win after using my removal to take care of their key threats.  The longer the game goes the more likely I am to draw the mediocre cards in my deck and I'll end up losing to some random card I can't deal with.  So if I can't go long what I can I do well?  I have Legion Warboss and enough tempo spells to win off of it if I land Legion Warboss on turn 3.  I also have enough instants/sorceries where I can play Leapfrog and Piston-Fist Cyclops and reliably trigger them.  Lastly, Cosmotronic Wave can sometimes win games if they go long enough and I have a board presence.  So with that in mind I decided to eschew 3+ color decks and play an Izzet deck for the last three matches of the league.  If I can't go long I might as well go short and make stake my claim in the early game.

I ended the stage with a 2-1 record and a 5-4 record overall in the league.  Given my record here and how well the games played out at times, should I have been Izzet all along?  I'm not sure how well any iteration of an Izzet deck earlier would have worked.  For one I thought early on I could play the control role and win with Muse Drake/Crackling Drake/Dream Eater and that did work at times, but it also wasn't enough at other times.  It's not my nature to play aggressive decks in sealed so I'm less likely to play the aggro role even if objectively it's better for me to do so.  In the end I was enticed by the amount of removal I could have if I splashed black and felt I could grind my way to victory even if it took longer to do so.  What do you think?  Would Izzet have been the best choice all along?

Conclusion

I'm glad I could finish my second sealed league on a winning note as I did have to do a lot of work in order to eek out a 5-4 record in that league, and I'm also glad I have my first 3-0 in a Guilds draft.  I don't think I drafted a 3-0 deck but I played well enough and got some lucky breaks to get the draft trophy in the end.  One thing about this format is there are no shortage of playable cards in the set, so if your deck is on the lower end of the power level then you're going to have a rough time because the average deck is much stronger than it would be in other formats.  Multicolored formats have more powerful cards and with adequate fixing you can expect each deck to be stronger than the average deck in other sets.  With this in mind you have to be aware of how good the cards are and play accordingly: if your deck is not as good you can't play long games because you'll draw bad cards and your opponent won't.  On the flip side if you're playing all powerful cards you have to be mindful of the fact that others will be able to go under you, so be prepared for it if it happens.

If you have any comments, questions, concerns you can leave them in the comments section below.  You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here where you'll find all my videos uploaded early along with content exclusive to the channel.  I'm dipping my toes back into Standard and likely have some Modern content coming up soon.

Thanks for reading/watching!