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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Dec 20 2018 1:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  This past weekend brought along another Ultimate Masters draft in paper but with a twist.  We settled on a "Chaos Draft" of 1 Ultimate Masters and 2 of a mix of Rivals of Ixalan and Core 2019.  It was not as chaotic as I would have liked but it was chaotic enough and actually made for a better drafting experience in my opinion.  I started out with a Faith's Fetters and let the colors come to me and settled into a G/W deck with a very healthy blue splash for Kumena's Awakening, Dimir Guildmage and a Aethersnipe or two.  I got lucky to get plenty of Woodland Stream and Meandering River come my way so the blue splash would be as free as possible.  Someone got to go nuts with (Satyr Enchanter) plus auras which was a delight to watch even if it came at the expense of me losing.  We had 10 players so it went 4 rounds and I ended up 2-2 losing some close games to start and finish the draft.  

As for Magic Online I'm not going to be doing any Ultimate Masters drafts since I'd much rather play Guilds of Ravnica and play something a little more relevant.  Masters sets can be fun but for the most part I've not enjoyed them outside of Modern Masters 2017 so at this point there's no need for me to play any more of it than is necessary.  I also won't be doing any Cubing over the holidays but that shouldn't come as a surprise to long time readers of this column.  I do enjoy Cube and what it is, but I don't enjoy it as much on Magic Online.  If I'm going to do degenerate things in Magic I'd prefer to do it in person where I'm likely to at least enjoy human interaction.  For me, Cube on Magic Online feels very disconnected and cold and I would prefer not to put myself in that situation.  I also don't think many people would like to see me force Red/x every single draft.  Instead, let's look at what I will be doing in the next few weeks and then open some packs:

  • Today - Guilds of Ravnica Draft League #11, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #5, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #6
  • 12/27 - Guilds of Ravnica Draft League #12, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #5 video, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #6 videos
  • 1/3 - Guilds of Ravnica Draft League #13, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #5 video, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #6 videos
  • 1/10 - Guilds of Ravnica Draft League #14, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #5 videos, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #6 videos

Guilds of Ravnica Draft League #11

The first pick here is interesting and perhaps it's a very clear Justice Strike but I believe this format to be one where individual likes and tendencies are more likely to play a part earlier and more strongly in a draft than in other formats.  While multicolored cards are powerful, they're not all the same and certain colors may be more preferable than others.  For example I believe the pick here is between Justice Strike and Sonic Assault, with the pick coming down to personal preference.  Sonic Assault is great in the Izzet aggro deck where you're looking to keep your opponent off balance and get in quick damage while they're unable to respond adequately.  Justice Strike is generally a good removal spell in colors where cheap removal is needed to allows turns where you can deploy a creature and still get a good attack in.  There is the safe option of Direct Current or Barging Sergeant to thread the line of both guilds, but splitting the difference isn't always the best option.  I like Boros more than I do Izzet and so I decide to take Justice Strike to see where it leads me while at the same time keeping my options open.  

I veer off into blue for a few moments after getting passed Connive/Concoct but it ultimately ends up being for naught as I don't see too much afterwards and when I open Tajic, Legion's Edge I decide it's best for me to go into Boros and draft the best Boros deck I can at that point.  Overall the deck I drafted was fine but missing key mentor cards such as Blade Instructor and Parhelion Patrol to make sure my creatures are actually bigger than their printed power/toughness.  Now, you don't need a whole lot of Mentor creatures to make Boros work, it's just less effective if you have little of it.  Overall I end the league with a 2-1 record only losing to a better Boros deck in which I didn't have a good hand in the first game and the second game I was simply outclassed.  Beating Dimir through Blood Operative was a little tricky but I managed to do it and while Dawn of Hope gave me cause to pause in the last match it didn't end up doing anything the entire match.  It wasn't the plan to draft Boros two weeks in a row but at least this week it ended with a winning record.

Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #5

Sometimes your decisions in sealed deck come down to which colors have the most cards in them and this pool is one of those pools.  I have the most cards in black and green meaning I have the most options if I choose to build Golgari, not to mention I have less options should I want to play any combination of white, blue, and red.  It's always good to look at all the options if time permits and I do so here to very little reward.  I don't have enough cards to make good Izzet or Boros decks, and because I have little blue I don't have a good Dimir deck as well.  I could try and pivot to Selesnya but my white is weak outside Venerated Loxodon and I only have Gateway Plaza to fix white if I wanted to splash it in Golgari. 

In the end I'm forced to build Golgari and use that as my baseline deck for this league.  I have the option to splash blue in it as I have two sources of blue and a District Guide to help find blue mana for Thief of Sanity and Capture SphereThief of Sanity is great and can win games on its own but I don't have a consistent manabase for it and would likely find some games where I have blue mana but no blue cards, or I have a blue card but no mana to cast it with.  What do you think?  Is the blue splash worth it or should I play straight Golgari instead?

Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #6 

This pool is almost the same as the first one but silghtly different as well.  I have the issue of having my cards be limited in some colors, abundant in others, but the power level is flat across the board.  Whereas the first pool had a clear guild I needed to play, this pool presents me two options: Boros and Golgari.  Ideally the two choices would share a color so I could have the possibility of a three colored deck or a two colored deck with a small splash, but alas that's not the case here.  

Boros gives me a lot of creatures to work with but I have so few of them with Mentor, meaning I'm limited on how well my creatures can tussle in combat.  If my opponent plays a creature slightly bigger than mine then they'll have the advantage unless I play a creature that costs 4 or 5 mana.  Experimental Frenzy is a good way for me to not run out of cards to play but the downside of having a lot of cheap spells is that they are less powerful later on in the game, even if I'm playing more than one a turn.  Goblin Locksmith can only do so much against something as simple as Siege Wurm or Watcher in the Mist.  The removal is a little lacking as well making it more likely I lose to a bomb I can't answer in time.

Golgari also has some of the same issues of Boros but slightly more pronounced than it would be otherwise.  Golgari is slower and has some big creatures, but they are few and not game winning cards on their own.  They don't have evasion and while they are large in cost and size, they are just creatures with power and toughness.  The cheap creatures are pretty medium and while not embarrassing they don't make forward progress as one would like.  The problem Boros has is it has cheap creatures that are completely useless if the game goes late, while Golgari has the worse issue of needing to go late to win but not having the right threats to finish the job.

What do you think?  What deck would you choose?  Is there something I've overlooked?


I'm not too trilled with what I have going on in my sealed leagues but this is what I've signed up for.  We can't control the cards we're given, all we can do is control how well we play and the decisions we make with the tools we have available.  It may all be for naught but it's the thought that counts, always striving for excellence even when it's very likely we'll fail.  Part of Magic and life is being at your best even when things don't go your way because you never know when fortune will favor you and put you in a situation where you can succeed.  The first step of attaining victory is being able to imagine it, and if you can't do that you'll never be able to win.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below.  You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here to see all the videos in this article series out early as well as some exclusive content, whether it be new or old.  

Thanks for reading/watching!