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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
May 16 2019 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  I've been playing a fair amount of War of the Spark on Magic Arena and it's been going well so far, with the caveat that Bo1 is definitely different than Bo3.  I had a 7-2 run with a WUb deck with some fliers, removal and a small splash for Davriel and Ob Nixilis's CrueltyTime Wipe is an absurd card which won me a lot of games when my opponent walked right into it and me picking up an Elite Guardmage or Rescuer Sphinx to get more value later on.  As I've been playing games and seeing what my opponents are doing I've been adjusting my card evaluations and I want to point out a few cards I've come down on since then:

Some of those are just commons not working out as I thought they would, but the uncommon planeswalkers listed don't actually play out as you'd want them to.  In theory they all sound good but in practice the effect they have isn't really worth paying for so you feel as though you got a bad deal when you have one of them in your deck.  They can be effective in the right shell but more often than not they under-perform and you'll often let them die since they're not worth trying to protect.  There are cards as well that have gone up but those are less in number than the ones that have gone down.  With that said I did my first draft before I did my playing on Arena so my thoughts on cards there are outdated, which you'll come to find out when I play the games.  I accidentally deleted the recordings for those games, so instead I'm doing the replays all in one video.  With that said, let's take a look at the upcoming schedule and play some games:

  • Today - War of the Spark Draft League #1, War of the Spark Sealed League #1 video, War of the Spark Sealed League #2 videos
  • 5/23 - War of the Spark Draft League #2, War of the Spark Sealed League #1 video, War of the Spark Sealed League #2 videos
  • 5/30 - War of the Spark Draft League #3, War of the Spark Sealed League #1 videos, War of the Spark Sealed League #2 videos
  • 6/6 - War of the Spark Draft League #4, War of the Spark Sealed League #3, War of the Spark Sealed League #4

War of the Spark Draft League #1

First things first, there is a thing as having too many copies of Kasmina's Transmutation in your deck.  The card is sometimes a removal spell, but against +1/+1 counters it doesn't do what you want it to do, so you can't rely too much on it.  The fact that it was my primary source of removal meant anything that was enhanced by counters was going to be a major issue.  Overall I didn't draft well, and part of that was me drafting as soon as the prerelease was over.  I didn't end up giving myself time to adjust to playing War of the Spark Limited and seeing what cards ended up being better/worse after a good amount of practice.  Being creature light was a bit of an issue, but that can be solved by having good removal and/or planeswalkers that double as creatures.  The other part that led to my downfall was not having a solid plan as to what I wanted to do in U/B.  It felt like I wanted to be control, but I didn't have the cards for it and me trying to make Bolas's Citadel work didn't exactly mesh well with that plan.

When I came back to do the games it had been at least a week since I did the draft and by that point I had played some sealed games on Arena, watched other people play, and begun drafting on Arena myself.  This gave me a different perspective coming into the games and I realized by looking at my deck that I didn't have a good deck.  I needed Spark Harvest and/or Ob Nixilis's Cruelty instead of Kasmina's Transmutation so I had a good way to deal with threats and I also needed better creatures.  As the games played out it really felt I wasn't in the games if I fell behind and had to lean on a good Finale of Eternity or a slow start by the opponent and me being able to leverage my planeswalkers.  In reality I should have gone 0-3 in this draft but I what I imagine to be a tilt concession in the second match when I drew Toll of the Invasion off the top.

War of the Spark Sealed League #1

I thought I had a good strategy for the last game of the match but I didn't have a good way to execute it if I didn't cast Gideon Blackblade on turn 3.  The idea is to curve out and have Gideon on turn 3 so I have immediate pressure on my opponent and can back that up with Liliana, Dreadhorde General so the game wouldn't spiral out of control if my opponent somehow stabilized against me.  It was good in theory but practice found it lacking.  The reason I went away from my initial UBr deck was that while Nicol Bolas and Liliana are powerful, the pieces around aren't enough to keep me in a game where I don't have either one.  My opponent showed they could go over the top of at least one of them in a number of different ways, leaving me with little confidence in my original plan.  What do you think?  Should I have tried to run it back for the last game?

War of the Spark Sealed League #2

Between looking at the pool and when I played my matches I had a least a week of downtime to play more of the format and adjust my evaluations on certain cards.  It's important to do this every time you gain new information/experience and that helped me a little with this particular pool.  Even though I didn't make too many changes from the first WUb deck and the second one, even a small shift is worth doing because you'll play with those cards in a different mindset.  If you build a deck with a card you thought was good but then realize it isn't, and yet you still play that card then you're making a mistake.  Now, it's only a mistake if you are able to make a change and you don't.  For the most part I wasn't able to correct my mistakes in my draft video, so I had to make do with the cards I had.

I feel a little disappointed to have ended the stage at 1-2 because all three matches were definitely winnable from my side, but it wasn't meant to be.  It does show some weaknesses in the deck and it's important to know those exist even if I can't do much about them.  At this point if I want to keep playing WUb I have to rely solely on Oketra to win me games.  Sorin is an okay card, Kaya is removal, and Narset actually doesn't hit as much as I would like her to hit, so relying on a planeswalker is not a good strategy.  Most of my creatures are fairly mediocre so if I don't have Oketra I'm not likely to do well.  The issue with going away from Oketra is I'm not as confident in my other decks, but perhaps I should reevaluate how they look given the pack I added.

Conclusion

I really was happy when I won my last match in round 3 because that match felt like I was destined to lose and I made the comeback and didn't concede early.  I actually thought about conceding before I drew Enter the God-Eternals because I didn't think there was a way to survive another turn but luckily I made myself go through all the cards I had and it turned out to be the right choice.  I felt I was in every match I played, it just didn't go my way a few too many times.  Next week I'll be back with more matches and a new draft to go over.  If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading/watching!