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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Feb 11 2014 1:00pm
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I lied.  I hate to admit it, but I went to the Prerelease even though I told myself I wouldn't.  One of my friends was texting me about his pool and discussing card options and I just had the itch to go down and crack some packs, so I ended up doing that.  I was also fortunate enough to do a BNG/THS draft, and I definitely learned a lot from that, something I'll be able to use once drafts fire up on MTGO.  Since I went to the Prerelease and drafted, I'm going to cover my Sealed Pool and talk about my initial thoughts about draft as well as do my set review.  Having said all that, I'd like to start out with a brief overview of the new mechanics in Born of the Gods and how I'll be judging them, then head right along into the set and go over each and every card.  

For those that want a detailed explanation of the new mechanics and rulings on several cards, I'd recommend reading this article from the mothership found here, as well as listening to the Limited Resources Podcast, which can be found here.  So we have Tribute and Inspired.  With Tribute, the mechanic is entirely creature based and offers your opponent a choice of two options as the creature enters the battlefield: either pay X amount of +1/+1 counters, or have the creature enter with its base stats and get some sort of bonus.  In general, your opponent will give you the version that is best for him/worst for you, so to make the card playable you'd have to be willing to play with the "worse" version of the card about 80-90 percent of the time because that's what you'll be getting.  As always, there are some corner case scenarios where you get the "better" version of the card, but that would mean that either your opponent is so far ahead/behind that it doesn't matter, or they can deal with the "better" version and are okay with you having a bigger creature.  In practice, Tribute is a mechanic you want when you're ahead, because at that point both options are bad for your opponent. So in general, you want your deck to be able to curve out into your Tribute creature, and that way you're guaranteed to get value out of your card no matter what.

Inspired is creature based as well, what it is basically is when the creature untaps for any reason, X happens.  Sometimes there will be a cost associated with X, but that's the gist of the mechanic.  The most common way to tap a creature is to attack with it, but there are some enchantments in Born of the Gods that give you an activated ability that requires you to tap the creature to active it.  Much like Heroic, there are Inspired enablers in the set and how well your Inspired creatures perform will largely depend on how often you can activate the ability.

With these two mechanics, I'm going to evaluate each card using the worst case scenario mentality.  If in the worst case, either you get the "weak" part of the tribute creature, or you only activate Inspired 0-1 times and you're still happy with the card, then it's a good card to have.  If you're not happy with it in the worst case, then the value for me goes down.    Obviously for Inspired if you have more enablers the card goes up in value, but as a baseline we're going to approach the card with the worst case scenario in mind.  As for card evaluation, I'll be considering how good it is (bomb, good, playable, sideboard, unplayable) and if it's worth splashing.  Most cards won't be worth splashing, but it's still good to talk about it since in Sealed you're more likely to splash a card than you are in draft.  With that in mind, let's talk Born of the Gods!

Evaluation scale: 

Bomb - Can win you games easily.  Strong effect, hard to deal with, presents a question your opponent must answer.

Good - Strong card, likely a good common or uncommon.  Doesn't quite have the free win factor as a bomb.

Playable - Decent card, sometimes this will be filler, other times it'll be a useful instant/sorcery

Sideboard - Strong effect but very narrow in application.  Only good against certain cards.

Unplayble - Don't touch these cards.








Prerelease Sealed and Draft

For the Prerelease I chose to be Destined to Thrive, the Green path.  That fact that I chose Green really didn't matter in the end because the seeded booster was not all green, it had a few green cards and then the rest was red/blue/white, so that booster didn't push me into Green at all.  My thinking going into deckbuilding was that I would just choose the 2 best colors and play them even if those 2 colors weren't Green.  This is what I opened*:

Green:  1x Hunt the Hunter, 1x Aspect of Hydra, 1x Nylea's Presence, 1x Mortal's Resolve, 2x Commune with the Gods, 2x Satyr Wayfinder, 1x Swordwise Centaur, 2x Setessan Oathsworn, 1x Nessian Courser, 1x Culling Mark, 1x Setessan Starbreaker, 1x Centaur Battlemaster, 1x Nessian Wilds Ravager, 1x Hunters's Prowess, 1x Mischief and Mayhem, 1x Raised by Wolves

Red:  1x Akroan Crusader, 2x Spark Jolt, 1x Coordinated Assault, 1x Lightning Strike, 1x Fall of the Hammer, 1x Rise to the Challenge, 2x Bolt of Keranos, 1x Pharagax Giant, 1x Stoneshock Giant

Blue:  1x Triton Shorethief, 1x Lost in a Labyrinth, 3x Retraction Helix, 1 Deepwater Hypnotist, 1x Crackling Triton, 1x Wavecrash Triton, 1x Griptide, 1x Oracle's Insight, 1x Coastline Chimera, 1x Thassa's Emissary, 1x Siren of Fangeti Coast, 1x Sphinx's Disciple

Black:  1x Eye Gouge, 2x Returned Phalanx, 1x Fleshmad Steed, 1x Nyxborn Eidolon, 1x Spiteful Returned, 1x Pharika's Cure, 1x Pain Seer, 1x Scourgemark, 1x Asphyxiate, 1x Grisly Transformation, 1x Erebos's Emissary, 1x Cavern Lampad, 1x Weight of the Underworld, 1x Gild, 1x March of the Returned, 1x Keepsake Gorgon, 1x Strike Harpy, 1x Sanguimancy, 1x Loathsome Catoblepas

White:  1x Nyxborn Shieldmate, 1x Hopeful Eidolon, 1x Mortal's Ardor, 1x Akroan Skyguard, 1x Cavalry Pegasus, 2x Vanguard of Brimaz, 1x Last Breath, 1x Ordeal of Heliod, 2x Elite Skirmisher, 1x Lagoona-Band Elder, 1x Fabled Hero, 1x Ray of Dissolution

Artifact/Multicolored:  1x Traveler's Amulet, 1x Psychic Intrusion, 1x Spellheart Chimera, 1x Temple of Deceit

*Bold cards are cards I considered playable

I didn't like the green I opened, it didn't really do a whole lot and that's the problem blue and red had as well.  Looking at black I had Asphyxiate, Gild, and Keepsake Gorgon as top notch removal, so I knew I would be playing a B/x deck no matter what.  With green, blue, and red not looking deep enough, the only choice I had for my deck was B/W, which was good since my white spells gave me an early game while my black spells gave me some late game.  I dropped at 2-2 when it was unlikely that I was going to be able to get prizes so instead I joined a draft.

My strategy going into my first BNG/THS/THS draft was to draft a strategy that I knew worked in triple THS and just pick cards in BNG that would lead me to an archetype I liked.  For me, I liked a lot of B/x decks in triple Theros, so I had in my mind that I would try be black in pack 1 but open to other colors as well.  My first pick was between Fated Conflagration and Asphyxiate.  Knowing that red isn't the best color in Theros, I didn't want to start out drafting a 1RRR card when I could take a 1BB card that has a similar effect.  I took the Asphyxiate because of my preference in black then got passed a Drown in Sorrow and a Weight of the Underworld after that.  I managed to wheel a Siren Song Lyre and a Siren of the Silent Song to go along with a Nullify and Kraken of the Straits, leading me to believe that U/B was open, and it was confirmed when I got passed Gray Merchant, Thassa's Emissary and Voyage's End.  I settled into U/B in pack 2 and never looked back as I went 3-0 in the draft.  For reference, this is my deck:

BNG/THS Draft Deck
3-0 Draft Deck
2 Returned Centaur
1 Nimbus Naiad
1 Shipwreck Singer
1 Keepsake Gorgon
1 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
1 Baleful Eidolon
1 Returned Phalanx
1 Disciple of Phenax
1 Insatiable Harpy
1 Mnemonic Wall
1 Thassa's Emissary
1 Omenspeaker
13 cards

Other Spells
1 Read the Bones
1 Voyage's End
1 Black Oak of Odunos
1 Siren of Silent Song
1 Asphyxiate
1 Weight of the Underworld
1 Siren Song Lyre
1 Drown in Sorrow
1 Kraken of the Straits
1 Nullify
2 cards
8 Island
9 Swamp
17 cards
Gray Merchant of Asphodel




This concludes the Set Review!  If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, leave them in the comments section below.  Next week I'll be back with BNG/THS Release queues since I won't be doing the Prerelease events.  I'll either give you my first thoughts on BNG/THS Sealed, or do a BNG/THS draft then start jamming Sealeds for the foreseeable future.  If you're doing a Prerelease or Release Sealed and would like an opinion on your pool, you can message me on MTGO and I'll be happy to give you my opinion.  If you would like, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel and get notified when I upload content.  You can also follow my Tumblr, I'll be posting pools and draft decks that I don't record from time to time. 


Thanks for reading/watching!



MarcosPMA on MTGO


Sealed Pool by IYankemDDS at Tue, 02/11/2014 - 18:50
IYankemDDS's picture

I agree that your green was underwhelming. It hurts not being able to play the Promo card. I think you probably made the right choice, but overall I have to think that the pool left something to be desired. :/ I picked the Green pack as well and opened really good blue to go with it and was able to go 3-1.