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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Feb 14 2019 1:00pm
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Hello all and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  Apologies for not being here last week, a needed to take a breather for personal reasons and sort some things out but that's all been taken care of and now I'm back.  I actually haven't been drafting as much Ravnica Allegiance as I would, I've eschewed drafting in favor of helping fire off Standard events.  This isn't to say I don't want to draft in paper, it's more so the Standard events need help going off and it's better for everyone to have a chance to play as opposed to only some people.  All of this is to say I'm more likely with this format to make mistakes early on and need more time to correct them as I'm getting less practice than I would normally have.  Of course, making mistakes is how you learn and grow so it's not all bad to make mistakes.

In fact, I believe a willingness to learn from mistakes and embrace the reality of making them is an underrated part of being not just a good Magic player, but a good person overall.  Mistakes are inevitable and if you refuse to acknowledge them or learn from them you only do yourself a disservice and limit your growth.  Of course we shouldn't strive to constantly make mistakes as that doesn't really get us anywhere but we should allow ourselves the opportunity to recognize them and learn from them.  I believe we would all lead happier lives if we own up to our mistakes and see them as a learning opportunity.  No need to dwell in the past if you learn from it right?  Let's take a look at the upcoming schedule and open some packs:

  •  Today - Ravnica Allegiance Draft League #3, Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #1 video, Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #2 videos
  • 2/21 - Ravnica Allegiance Draft League #4, Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #1 video, Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #2 videos
  • 2/28 - Ravnica Allegiance Draft League #5, Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #1 videos, Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #2 videos
  • 3/7 - Ravnica Allegiance Draft League #6, Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #3, Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #4 

Ravnica Allegiance Draft League #3

Hydroid Krasis is a good start to a draft but this was a situation where by trying not to force it and hedge by leaving myself open to either Gruul or Simic, I ended up in a position where I forced myself to play Hydroid Krasis even though that wasn't my intention.  I actually don't mind the picks I made after taking Hydroid Krasis until I took Growth Spiral with my 7th pick over Consign to the Pit.  If I want to stay in green I should take Wrecking Beast over Growth Spiral since I can pick the top end of a green deck early and then focus on the early plays as the draft goes on.  However, Consign to the Pit is a decent removal spell and I've already taken two black cards as it is.  Growth Spiral doesn't help me stay in green and it's not an important card in a Simic deck, so I shouldn't have given it priority over other cards.

My thought process was I could build a big mana G/x/x deck and it perform well if I got to Hydroid Krasis people and have a big creature in play and other expensive spells to back it up.  It obviously didn't work in practice as the mana acceleration isn't really there and you have to play a control/defensive game if you're wanting to take over with big creatures.  My curve starts at 3 in a format where having a turn 2 play is very important and you don't have a lot of time to durdle around without the right setup.  Had I taken Consign to the Pit and pushed myself more towards black/Orzhov I likely would have ended up with a solid deck as I would have gotten good picks in the next two packs.  If you take something away from this, don't get married to your first pick unless you feel very strongly it's a game winning card every time you play it.  In actuality Hydroid Krasis is good but not bomb tier and it can be beat with a removal spell and some luck.  

Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #1

There really isn't much to say here other than I got absolutely destroyed by my opponent two games in a row.  Looking back on the deck I need to be the aggressor in my matches because if the game goes long I have no chance at winning.  My removal suite is bad and if we don't count Gate Colossus then my curve stops at 5.  If you told me you had a deck where you stopped your curve at 5 mana I would tell you you're playing an aggro deck, which is precisely what I need to be doing.  I can't try to have cards that are better in the later stages of the game because I don't really have any, and if I get to that point I'm likely guaranteed a loss.

Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #2

I decided to play base Rakdos with a white splash because I thought the removal suite made it much better than a base Orzhov deck would be since I have a better chance at grinding my opponent out if it comes down to that.  The thought process there is I have enough spot removal to manage key threats and I can rely on Rakdos or Sphinx of the Guildpact as a finisher while my opponent has ineffective creatures in play.  I didn't expect much of it to be honest and figured I needed to play Rakdos, the Showstopper every game to have a chance at winning.

As it stands I played against three opponents who I had a good matchup against and I was able to leverage my cards in a way where I had the upper hand going into the later stages of the games and allowing myself a chance at victory.  I have to stress I got lucky to face good matchups as my 3-0 record is a bit of a misnomer.  The early rounds of any swiss tournament are very random and your results aren't always indicative of your deck's strength and your play skill.  The later on a tournament goes the better your record is at showing you how well you're doing overall, so you have a better assessment of what you're doing.  If I start a tournament with a positive record but post a negative record towards the end it means I did not fare as well against players with a good record and my early results were a little fraudulent.  

So why did I win?  My first round opponent graced with the a win after taking way too long to make plays and became a victim of the clock as opposed to my deck.  I do think I had a chance to win the last game had time not been a factor but time was a factor and so it goes.  I do want to be clear that I didn't intend to rub it in my opponents face that they could have won the game if they attacked with everything.  With one card in hand and if you assume it's a removal spell then I'm dead to all an out attack.  If it's Undercity's Embrace I'm still in a bad spot since my blocks are pretty bad and I stand to lose almost everything I have.  I think my opponent was playing around a card that doesn't exist, and if it does then I'm not sure what it is.  I asked for clarification only.  My next two opponents were both playing small creature decks where Scorchmark became a legit removal spell and they were slow enough to where I could play defensively with removal and grind them out of card while I win with one or two creatures in play.  Both of them allowed me to play a role I thought I would do well in and it turns out I was right.

Conclusion

I need to draft better and I know it's going to take some time before I figure things out but I know I'll get there.  The first pack is definitely key to my success and if I learn to identity the open guild and run with it even if it seems under-powered I'm much more likely to have success.  I'm not at a point where I can force a guild or archetype yet since I don't know how to draft them properly at first.  This is something I would do in paper to see where it takes me but if I'm not drafting in paper I need to be more conservative with my drafting strategy.  We'll see how this works with the next draft and what we can do there.  I'm happy with my 3-0 start to the league but I don't believe we'll have that level of success in the second stage of the league.  I fear how we do against green decks with bigger creatures and against any deck with small fliers that we can't block well.  If Scorchmark is a good card for us when we have a shot at winning and if it's not then we'll play it by ear but we'd likely be in a worse position.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below!

Thanks for reading/watching!