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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Dec 16 2014 1:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  I've been kinda bummed out about not being able to draft a whole lot in real life, so when I logged into Magic Online and sat in the play lobby, all I wanted to do was draft and not play Sealed.

Drafts are quick and easy gratification, you don't have to wait long for a pod to fire and they usually end relatively quickly if you're doing an 8-4.  Sealed is something you have to plan in advance and it might not line up with your schedule.  I would expect 4 round Sealed DE's to take about 4-5 hours depending on how many people show up/how fast and/or slow they play.  Even the 8 man 4 pack Sealed queues can take a while to fire, and then you had 3-4 hours on top of that and the window for you to play in those events lowers considerably.  So when you combine those factors with the lack of drafting I've been doing, it's no surprise that I drafted not once, not twice, but three times this past week.

I started out with an M15 Draft since the EV is much higher and it's good to take a break from Khans Limited.  I do enjoy Khans, but sometimes you can get burnt out after the umpteenth draft.

As you can see, I'm a bit rusty as it comes to M15.  I would like to think I was a fairly solid drafter when it was the main Limited format, but after thinking of nothing but Khans for the past few months, it's hard to come back to an old format.  I tried to make white happen for a bit, but that was a mistake and I should have taken other cards instead.  While Raise the Alarm is good in the white deck, it's not the reason to be in white, that is reserved for Triplicate Spirits.  Missing out on a Hushwing Gryff didn't help what I was trying to do, although I feel in the end the pick doesn't change how I draft a whole ton.  Looking back, I do feel red was slightly open, there were a couple of late Scrapyard Mongrels in pack 1, and if I had taken those I would have been in a position to take advantage of Hoarding Dragon in pack 2 and Siege Dragon in pack 3.  I could see a RG or BR deck faring much better than the deck I drafted, and had I had better evaluations on certain cards/read the signals better, I could have put myself in a position to succeed.  The important thing here is to realize why I didn't do so well (poor drafting technique) as opposed to bad packs. 

After the debacle that was getting beat by Master of Pearls last week, I decided to run it back and do another KTK 8-4.  I do feel that Khans draft is not my best format, and I'm less confident giving draft advice as opposed to give sealed advice.  However, just because you're not as good at something doesn't mean you should avoid it, so the only way to get better is to keep trying to improve.  I think having a good pack 1 is very important in this format because if you don't know what colors you are and/or you're in the wrong colors that can just throw your entire draft out the window.  Instead of taking solid creatures/spells in pack 3, you're forced to go after mana fixing since it took you longer to identify what mana you actually wanted in your deck.  With Fate Reforged coming out soon, it's important to have a good foundation in triple Khans since a lot of what is happening in triple Khans will be applicable to Khans/Fate draft.

I think I can definitely say I had a good pack 1.  Given what I opened and what was passed to me, it was pretty obvious what the people to the right of me were not drafting so that left me in a good position to take the powerful cards they were passing and go from there.  I do think the hardest pick in the draft was Murderous Cut over Necropolis Fiend.  There's definitely some merit to taking the creature, and at that point we have to ask: are we splashing black or are we a solid 3 color deck?  If we're just splashing, there's no way we take the Necropolis Fiend since double black can be really restrictive whereas just a single black is easily doable.  In any case, I can just take the card that kills the bomb and move on with my life knowing I won't auto-lose to that card.  I do like the play that having End Hostilities has in the deck.  Having that type of effect can give you options as to how you want to play the game and that can lead you in a situation where you force your opponents to make decisions based on less than complete information and give them a chance to make the wrong choice.  Also, (Mardu Ascendancy is dumb).

So after doing well in that draft, I decided I wanted to run it back and do M15 again.  I figured after the first time I would be able to draft better and get a better deck than I did the first time.

I was kinda right, but not so much a better deck than my previous one.  I mentioned towards the end that I felt I did something wrong, and looking back on it. it feels like I did.  I think red would have been a better option to pair with blue than white, and I just couldn't see it at the time.  Generator Servant and Foundry Street Denizen are okay red cards and not unplayable, but when I saw them in pack 1 I couldn't see myself taking them.  I think I was too narrow minded when I saw the Denizen and thought I didn't have the deck for that card, but it's hard to justify saying that so early in the draft.  It might be that red would have been as bad as white was for me, but I didn't give myself the option to consider taking red cards during the draft.  So over 2 drafts I've been overvaluing white to the point where I'm not considering other colors, and that's something that I need to fix if I want to keep drafting this format.

Conclusion

I think it's fair to say that I need to reevaluate my stance on M15 if I want to draft it successfully.  Practice makes perfect, so I'll try to draft more and correct my mistakes as I go to make sure I actually draft good decks.  I think that KTK draft was the easiest draft I've ever done, it felt fairly straightforward and I got about every card I wanted and I felt really good while playing the games.  Mardu Ascendancy was really strong and I felt it may have over performed, but it might because I didn't know how good it would be in play.  It's strong but fair, unlike Jeskai Ascendancy (seriously, why does blue get the broken cards?) and I'm surprised it's not seeing more Constructed play.  Hopefully my next KTK drafts are as simple as that one!   If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, leave them in the comments section below!

Thank you for reading/watching!