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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Apr 18 2019 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  I realize this article is two weeks late and I do apologize for that.  When last we left I planned on finishing up my leagues, take a two week break and then come back for the War of the Spark review.  Instead I got it in my mind that I would take the two weeks off first and then finish the leagues, and by the time I realized my error I decided to stick to that plan instead of coming back for a week then taking another week off.  These past two weeks have been spent working out parts of the War of the Spark review and playing Magic Arena, specifically Singleton these past few days.  I've found Singleton to be really fun and I've been jamming game after game at least 20 times at the time of this writing.  Currently I'm playing a 5C Mythics.dek with a terrible manabase to see if it can actually win a game (which it has).  There's a certain joy of having 8 different lands on the battlefield and three different Planeswalkers with not much synergy between them.

While I'm excited for War of the Spark as a set, I'm still on the fence about it as a Limited format even though I know it won't be terrible due to the very nature of the Planeswalker design.  These Planeswalkers aren't game breaking at all (for the most part) but play patterns and perceptions are going to have to change to account for the increase in Planeswalker play in Limited games.  That said, we'll talk about it more in detail next week.  For now, let's take a look at the upcoming schedule and bid farewell to Ravnica Allegiance:

  • Today - Ravnica Allegiance Draft League #9, Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #3, Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #4/
  • 4/25 - War of the Spark Sealed Set Review
  • 5/2 - War of the Spark Limited
  • 5/9 - War of the Spark Limited

Ravnica Allegiance Draft League #9

Even though I started Ravnica Allegiance drafting Orzhov and end it drafting Orzhov, there isn't much growth from the first draft to the last one.  Truth be told I've never been comfortable with this format and have always had a backwards glance at Guilds of Ravnica.  Not only did I do more winning there, I also drafted it more and understood what made it tick (in some sense).  The formats where I don't feel this way I tend to do very badly in (Ravnica Allegiance, Amonkhet, Hour of Devastation, etc).  These days I've come to accept it and realize not every format is meant for everyone.  Just from reading articles and/or perusing Twitter it's not uncommon over time to see some pros struggle with certain Limited environments while others thrive in those.  We all have limitations and we all excel in some areas in life while are less skilled in others; Limited format are the same in this regard.

Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #3

I find it important to be realistic with myself and sometimes that errs on the side of being negative, so even when I won my next two matches to get to 3-1 I still didn't feel good about my deck.  The thing is my deck doesn't do anything special, it plays creatures and hopes that's enough to get things done against my opponents.  That in itself is not a good plan since your opponent will be playing their best cards and there's bound to be a bomb or removal in there to stop a creature heavy plan.  Even as I'm playing my final match I still thought of my deck as nothing special and it being fairly bland, so getting to a game 3 with the chance to go 4-1 was a little shocking to me.  Unfortunately my opponent blew me out with a Stony Strength and put me too far back to mount a victory.  I could have played around it but it honestly didn't register to me that they had an open mana and even if it was open I don't think I would have thought about it.  From my point of view it's not a bad exchange to them to attack and trade with my Wrecking Beast and whatever other creatures they can kill in exchange for their 13/13.  They still have two big creatures and a Gruul Locket to draw cards from while I would be left with 2 cards in hand and small creatures in play.  Because of this I didn't think to see what else they could be trying to do and it cost me the match. 

Ravnica Allegiance Sealed League #4

After some time away from the league and recalling my subpar record I found it best not to continue on with the league and leave my record at 1-5, or 1-8 if we count the matches I didn't play as losses.  For one, I don't think it's very useful for me or for you to see me watch matches of Magic which have very little competitive meaning.  If any of us do something without proper motivation or reward we're less likely to perform at our best because our heart isn't in it.  I could have played those matches but I honestly wouldn't be doing my best since winning or losing wouldn't mean much to me.  My primary focus is to educate and find the teaching moments within the content I do and I wouldn't be actively looking for those if I was going through the motions. 

Instead, I realized I wouldn't be at my best and decided to use that as the teaching moment.  A famous Henry Ford qoute goes as such: "Whether you think you can or can't - you're right."  Our attitude and outlook on any specific situation is going to shape how that situation unfolds.  If I have a negative attitude and feel I'm going to lose my matches, that's more likely going to happen even if objectively my deck can win against those opponents.  The opposite is true as well, if I believe in myself and feel I have a chance at victory then victory is possible no matter the odds.  When I was in college and auditioning for acting roles, my attitude was both realistic and positive at the same time.  I knew I was not very skilled and had little experience, but I also knew if I prepared as much as possible and gave it my all my chance at success was much higher than if I had a defeatist attitude.

No only did I feel I could turn my lack of playing into a teaching moment, I also knew I could use that time to do something productive or more conducive to having a positive experience.  The five hours I could have spent playing the matches and uploading videos I put towards the War of the Spark review and thinking intently about everything the set has going on (Planeswalkers, Amass, Proliferate) and how this is going to redefine how we approach Planeswalkers in that format.  Generally speaking we all have the freedom to decide what we want to do and how we feel about doing it.  If something is worth our time and attention, our best experiences coming from will all happen if we have a positive mindset.

Conclusion

Not the best ending to Ravnica Allegiance but given how all the prior leagues and matches played out it's not much of a surprise to end it like this.  Ravnica Allegiance wasn't for me and that's okay because I still had good moments and it wasn't a miserable experience unlike a certain set in Theros block.  On the bright side saying goodbye to Ravnica Allegiance means we get to say hello to War of the Spark and see how that environment is going to shake out.  While apprehensive, I'm still excited for it and can't wait for the prerelease to arrive.  

Next week I'll be back with the War of the Spark review where I'll go over every card in the set and give my thoughts on the uncommon Planeswalkers and how I think it'll change how we play games of War of the Spark Limited.  If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading/watching!