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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Jan 10 2019 1:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  This week is a bit light since I did not have time to finish the draft I thought I would be presenting today.  I've been having some Internet issues and by the time I managed to resolve them I only had so much time to do videos and thought it best to push the draft back to next week.  If you're subscribed to my YouTube channel you can see the draft and the first round already, but the remaining videos won't be up just yet.

Instead I thought I would talk about the Ravnica Allegiance mechanics this week as opposed to during the set review next week.  I'll link to this article when I mention them next week but it'll only be in passing before the videos start.  Normally I would write the mechanic section once I know all the cards with the keywords and can give a more nuanced review, but at a base level I don't think the Ravnica Allegiance keywords will need too much nuance to warrant waiting another week.

With all that said let's take a look at the upcoming schedule and start playing matches:

  • Today - Ravnica Allegiance Mechanics, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #5 video, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #6 videos
  • 1/17 - Guilds of Ravnica Draft/Sealed videos, Ravnica Allegiance Sealed Set Review
  • 1/24 - Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #5 videos, Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #6 videos, Ravnica Allegiance Events*
  • 1/31 - Ravnica Allegiance Events*

* - to be determined.

Ravnica Allegiance Mechanics

Addendum

Addendum- If you cast this spell during your main phase do X.

Addendum is an ability word and as such is more of a label than anything.  It's stapled onto instants and give them an additional benefit when played during your main phase.  Note, it doesn't matter if you are in first or second main phase to gain the advantage of Addendum.  I imagine there will be spells which you always want to play during your main phase because the Addendum bonus is worth the effort, but for the most part I believe the cards will be playable no matter what you do.

The biggest thing with Addendum is it forces you to think more critically about your instants and when you want to use them.  You don't have to use an instant always when it isn't your main phase and sometimes it's correct to play them at sorcery speed.  If you draft cards with Addendum make sure you know when you want to cast them and think on it in advance.  If your hand contains a counterspell and a card with Addendum, what do you do?  Do you always play your Addendum card during your main phase?  Do you pass with your counterspell and cast your Addendum card instant speed if they do nothing?  You have to know the answer to these questions and others like it as you draft, play, and draw these cards.

Afterlife

Afterlife X - When this creature dies, create X 1/1 black and white creature tokens with flying.

Creatures with Afterlife are reborn as 1/1 spirits when they are sent to the graveyard, giving your creatures a little bit more value than they would otherwise.  Creatures that leave behind other creatures are always useful as they give you an advantage not had by your opponent, and ensures you have good exchanges in combat.  I would wager to say Orzhov decks will be more likely to engage in creature combat because of Afterlife, raising the premium on creatures with Flying or Reach.  If the Orzhov deck is interested in trading and then attacking with tokens, you have to find a way to keep them in check.

Adapt

Adapt X - If this creature has 0 +1/+1 counters on it, put X +1/+1 counters on it.

Adapt feels like a reskinned Monstrosity, except you're allowed to Adapt again if for some reason you lose your counters.  Adapt will always have a mana cost attached to it, giving you a mana sink should you need one when you run out of cards to play.  You can Adapt at any time so being able to represent a way to grow your creatures in combat will give your opponent pause when deciding blocks.  If you have cards in hand and a creature with Adapt, does your opponent make blocks to overcome Adapt, or do they play in fear of potential combat tricks?  Mana sinks are always great and giving your creatures a way to be sturdier and more potent in combat is always welcomed.

Riot

Riot - This creature enters the battlefield with your choice of a +1/+1 counter on it or haste.

Riot appears to be a reskinned Tribute, but with none of the downside of Tribute.  Here your choices are a little more narrow but this time you're the one who gets to make the decisions.  You can come out swinging fast and loose or you can take a turn off to get advantage in creature sizing.  This mechanic is pretty straightforward and is all upside.

Spectacle

Spectacle X - You may cast this card for its Spectacle cost rather than its mana cost if an opponent lost life this turn.

Spectacle gives you a reward for having your opponent lose life that turn, either giving you a cost reduction or a bigger effect on your spells.  Because Spectacle is all upside you can play your spells normally and not have to worry about constantly triggering them every turn.  That said, I do believe a Rakdos deck is going to be aggressive so don't expect to cast all your cards with Spectacle if you're planning on curving out.  Some cards with Spectacle will be better than their normal cost, but don't be afraid to pay the normal cost.

Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #5

After some considerable time away I came back to the decks with fresh eyes and it was immediately clear I would have a better chance at winning with Thief of Sanity in my deck than I would without.  Having said that I won this match and it did not actually win the games I won, but that's not the fault of the card.  Game 1 I should have won off the back of Thief of Sanity but my opponent drew a Lotleth Giant with enough creatures in the graveyard to kill me on the spot just as I was turning the corner and had my sights on victory.  Regardless of the game loss I was able to come back in the next two games and take the match overall.  The deck played well but I do still think it's not up to par with good sealed decks.  What do you think?

Guilds of Ravnica Sealed League #6

In all honesty I don't think any of my decks are good so even with me picking Boros I did not have high hopes for the first stage.  The problem with me picking a Golgari based deck is I don't have a good deck, I have a medium deck at best with no free wins or bombs to speak of.  Your free wins come off you curving out and your opponent stumbling, and Golgari doesn't have a good curve to speak of.  If Burgler Rat is part of your offense in curving out then there are some issues with your plan.  If I can't win quickly I can try and go late right?

Wrong.  If you're playing a deck which has no good late game and you run into a deck which is built for it, you're going to lose very quickly once you reach that stage in the game.  You have to play to your strengths, but this isn't about your own your strengths, it's about what the deck/pool tells you what you need to do.  My pool doesn't give the impression I can play a mid/late game well enough, so if I'm screwed playing slow I may as well try and end the game quickly.  My Boros deck has issues for sure but if I'm going to lose I'd much rather lose quickly and go down swinging as opposed to a slow and painful death.  What do you think?  Is Boros the deck for me going into the second stage or should I consider Golgari?

Conclusion

While a little simple I do like the mechanics for Ravnica Allegiance.  They reward combat for the most part and strategic planning all around.  They play simple but will have some complexity to them once you get onto the battlefield and play the games.  As for my sealed leagues I don't have high hopes for them, but that means they have room to surprise me, so I'm hopeful that'll happen.  The full set spoiler should be out the Friday before the prerelease, meaning videos will go up on my YouTube channel starting that weekend.  The full article won't be written until the videos are done so if you're also wanting to read the article you'll have to wait until next week.

Thanks for reading/watching!