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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Jul 11 2019 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  This past weekend was the paper prerelease for Core Set 2020 and I did fairly well considering I opened Cavalier of Flame and Wakeroot Elemental in all three pools I opened.  I managed to open a Chandra, Awakened Inferno and I have to say it really puts a lot of pressure on your opponent to win quickly otherwise they will assuredly lose.  It's very much a ticking time bomb that only gets worse the longer its in play, adding more pressure and constricting your resources as time goes on.  Even if you manage to immediately deal with Chandra before getting a second emblem, the game will have close to a finite amount of turns left before it concludes.  In short, Chandra is pretty unfair and you should hope never to face her.  One thing I found surprising was the common tapped lands not being in every single pack.  It appears they replace the basic land some amount of the time so the fixing is not as plentiful as it was in Core Set 2019.  This is a bit troublesome as it makes the multicolored legends a lot tougher to play if you don't have the right cards to make it smoother for you to do so.

It's a bit of a short week this time as I'm only introducing the first two sealed leagues, with draft starting the following week.  I did this so I wouldn't have to rush in making the draft video if I didn't have enough time to do so.  I did end up having enough time to make the draft video and play the matches, but I felt better sticking to the schedule and doing it next week.  With all that said let's take a look at the upcoming schedule and open some packs:

  •  Today - Core Set 2020 Sealed League #1, Core Set 2020 Sealed League #2
  • 7/18 - Core Set 2020 Draft League #1, Core Set 2020 Sealed League #1 video, Core Set 2020 Sealed League #2 videos
  • 7/25 - Core Set 2020 Draft League #2, Core Set 2020 Sealed League #1 video, Core Set 2020 Sealed League #2 videos
  • 8/1 - Core Set 2020 Draft League #3, Core Set 2020 Sealed League #1 videos, Core Set 2020 Sealed League #2 videos

Core Set 2020 Sealed League #1

If you look at the decks I made you'll find I only made blue decks and the biggest reason for that is I have the most cards of a single color in blue.  Generally speaking you want card quality as opposed to card quantity but card quality loses if it doesn't have enough to make a functional deck.  Blue has the most cards in any one color so the odds of me playing blue are higher than normal because a lot of my resources come from that one color.  It also helps that blue has the most cards and it has good cards to go with it as well.  Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer, Drawn from Dreams, Agent of Treachery and Air Elemental provide a good core to start from in a blue deck and are tough cards to leave on the bench.  Air Elemental is a card I've always rated highly in core sets because the rate is already good enough without Flying and with it you get a hard creature to deal with against other fliers/creatures with reach.  For me, I don't mind putting it in a conversation with good rares because from my experience Air Elemental is certainly good enough to win games.

The question here is which blue deck I should play, and the answer isn't as clear as I'd like it to be.  W/U gives me Pacifism and Eternal Isolation while U/R gives me Reduce to Ashes and slightly better 2 mana creatures.  The Empyrean Eagle would be a lot better had I more fliers in my W/U deck but since I don't the effect isn't as strong as it would otherwise be.  If I see my way to win as protecting Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer then I should have more of a presence early, which makes U/R a better option over W/U.  W/U is the better option if I'm less concerned about Mu Yanling and value Pacifism and Eternal Isolation more highly than Reduce to Ashes.  Personally I've moved towards U/R in the writing of this paragraph and as such am more likely to play my first match with it.  What do you think?  What deck would you pick?

Core Set 2020 Sealed League #2

In contrast to the first pool this pool has close to the same distribution of cards per color as you can get.  Each color has between 15-16 cards it can work with before making cuts so in theory our power is spread out across the colors rather than concentrated in 1-3 colors.  This is good if you want multiple options for sideboard decks but less useful if you want one clear choice and/or don't have access to mana fixing.  Our two nonbasic lands are Cryptic Caves, making a splash much harder than it could be if I had some lifegain lands.

The issue with this pool is the lack of removal and to a lesser extent the lack of good noncreature spells.  While dudes.dek is a deck I've won with before, it's not the ideal strategy when it comes to Limited.  More often than not your opponents will be running enough removal to deal with at least a threat or two and if your plan hinges on one key creature surviving it's less likely you'll be able to win that way.  Dudes.dek also means there's less opportunities for you to outplay your opponent since your options every turn are limited (pun intended).  If your options are to attack/not attack in the very extreme 23 creatures deck, you can only do so much at any given turn.  If your opponent has actual noncreature spells in their deck their options are much more expanded and having more options is one way to turn a game in your favor by choosing the right decision tree.  It's as though you only have one card in hand every turn and your opponent has multiple cards every single turn, it's hard to win this way. 

With that said, what would you choose to play for the first three matches?  Would you play a deck with Sephara, Sky's Blade or Cavalier of Gales?  Is Dread Presence worth playing a color that is more of a support color but needs lots of basic Swamp to be good?  Is white too underpowered if Sephara, Sky's Blade never gets cast?  

Conclusion

From my early impressions I do like Core Set 2020 and feel it will be a fun format, I just wish the etb tapped common lands would be much more common so it makes the gold cards a little easier to splash/cast when you have them in your sealed pools.  Perhaps they'd be too good if you could consistently play them in Limited?  I don't think that's the case, especially since the gold cards are a low percentage of the overall set.  In any case I suppose it wouldn't come up too often that you have a hard to cast mythic legend in your pool so maybe it's not even worth making the lands more frequent.  Next week I'll be back with a draft and my first matches of Core Set 2020 on Magic Online.  If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading/watching!