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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Jan 20 2015 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  This past weekend was the Fate Reforged prerelease and I had a great time.  The set was pretty fun and I can't wait to play with it some more after the set officially releases.  I'll get this out of the way right now, this set is WAY better than Born of the Gods. 

I chose Jeskai for the prerelease, and it didn’t surprise me that it was the most popular clan at my LGS, but it was only popular for the "wrong" reasons. I can't blame anybody for choosing Jeskai just at a shot at opening a Monastery Mentor/Soulfire Grand Master, but I can't help but wonder how many of them actually knew if Jeskai would be good or not.  Personally, I chose Jeskai because I felt it was good and because I also wanted to open a money mythic.  Financially speaking, it felt to me that most of the money was in the mythics and that the rares were relatively interchangeable, so even if Jeskai wasn't good, choosing it based on money wasn't a bad move.

Going into the prerelease I thought it would be 1 seeded booster, 2 Khans of Tarkir boosters, and 3 Fate Reforged boosters.  I was wrong however, the 2nd Khans boosters would be a Fate Reforged booster and that would drastically change how the format would shake out.  Since the seeded booster was half Fate and half Khans, it felt more like 1.5 Khans boosters and 4.5 Fate boosters.  This format is incredibly different than 3 Fate/3 Khans, so it isn't completely fair to make judgments on the normal sealed format based on what happened this weekend.  That said, it'll still give us something to go on and it'll give us a fair indication of what the format will be for triple Fate drafts that will happen on Magic Online.

As for the prerelease itself, I opted for an afternoon Saturday flight rather than try to do a midnight one.  I haven't done a midnight prerelease since M14 or Dragon's Maze.  The midnight flights are fun, but they can be a bit exhausting and after round 3 your opponents are tired and just want to go home.  Yes, I know a prerelease isn't the most competitive environment, but I still want to play good Magic and there's a better chance of that happening if everybody rested and making good sound plays.  The flight was capped at ~20 people and we were to play 5 rounds with prize payout going to Top 8 only so I had to do well in order to get anything other than the prerelease kit.  3 p.m. rolled around and after sitting down with my Jeskai kit this is what I opened:















Pool Discussion

  • White - White is pretty average, it does have a bomb in Master of Pearls and a really good uncommon in Lightform, but after that the power level tapers off quite a bit.  White is a support color at best, and if it's my main color then I'm not happy about that. 
  • Blue - Blue seems super solid, if not great.  Double Cloudform is really good, Aven Surveyor is a great common, Jeskai Infiltrator can be really nutty and Reality Shift is an excellent removal spell even if they get to manifest a card.  There are some duds in blue such as double Neutralizing Blast/Will of the Naga, but the rest are definitely playable.  Blue would be a good support color and a fine main color.
  • Black - Black is too shallow on top of not being very good to even be considered.  I would have to have good black gold cards and/or be in a black clan to even justify playing anything in black.
  • Red - Red is the same as white, but it doesn't have a bomb like white does.  Double Bathe in Dragonfire is good, and I wouldn't be too upset if I had to play Fierce Invocation, but if I'm having to play Defiant Ogre or Gore Swine then I'm not too happy.  Shockmaw Dragon is the best card then it gets to be sort of filler.  Red could be a fine support color and it would be a terrible main color.
  • Green - Green is average as well, perhaps slightly worse than white/red.  Whisperer of the Wilds is a good common, but there's no payoff for ramping within green itself.  Feral Krushok has solid stats and slightly worse than my best green card in Temur Sabertooth.  Archers of Qarsi are okay to play, but you want to be more of a defensive deck than aggro deck.  Green is an okay support color and a terrible main color.
  • Multicolored - My worst card is Jeskai Charm and if that's the worst card then that's a good problem to have.  Cunning Strike is a nice removal spell and 2 bomb dragons makes it so no matter what I'm going to have a bomb at my top end.  My multicolored cards are split between Jeskai and Sultai, so if I'm in a clan then it makes the most sense to pick one of those two.
  • Lands - My fixing is in Sultai and Jeskai, so if I want good mana then it would make sense to pick one of those 2 clans and go with it.
Fate Reforged Prerelease Sealed
1 Master of Pearls
1 Efreet Weaponmaster
1 Glacial Stalker
1 Atarka, World Render
1 Aven Surveyor
1 Jeskai Infiltrator
1 Ojutai, Soul of Winter
1 Dragon Bell Monk
1 Shockmaw Dragon
1 Jeskai Sage
1 Mindscour Dragon
11 cards

Other Spells
2 Cloudform
2 Cunning Strike
1 Lightform
1 Supplant Form
1 Enhanced Awareness
1 Jeskai Banner
1 Bathe in Dragonfire
1 Soul Summons
1 Sandblast
1 Reality Shift
12 cards
7 Island
4 Plains
2 Mountain
2 Wind-Scarred Crag
1 Mystic Monastery
1 Thornwood Falls
17 cards
Jeskai Banner


The cards that stood out to me while I was deckbuilding were: Master of Pearls, Cloudform, Lightform, Ojutai, Soul Summons, Aven Surveyor, Jeskai Infiltrator, Reality Shift, Supplant Form, Shockmaw Dragon, Mindscour Dragon, Bathe in Dragonfire, Cunning Strike, Efreet Weaponmaster.  At first I was worried that I was forcing Jeskai, but looking over green and black I felt that if my deck was GBx that it likely wouldn't be very good and would be without my best cards.  I mapped out an initial sketch of Jeskai and noticed I could splash the Atarka off the Thornwood Falls if I wanted.  Normally I would be more hesitant to do so if I only have 1 source of the splash color, but given that I have 4 ways to manifest a creature, there was a chance that I could manifest Atarka and not have it be a bad draw at some point.  I also figured that if the Atarka splash was too much that I could take it out and bring in a Monastery Flock or a Bathe in Dragonfire in its place.  I didn't play the Mastery of the Unseen (which was my promo), because I didn't know how good it would actually be.  If the format was fast then it would be a dead play early on, and if it was slow enough then I would be able to side it in if I wanted.  I'm not punished if the format is slow by having it in my sideboard, but I'm really punished if it's fast and I have it in my maindeck, so I decided I would leave it in the sideboard and bring it in if I thought it would be a good card.

My first round was against a Mardu deck that was mana screwed in game 1 and color screwed in game 2, so it wasn't much of a match unfortunately. I did manage to manifest Atarka, but the game was over before I ever thought about unmorphing her.  

Round 2 was against a Jeskai deck that completely blew me out in 3 games with me losing both games I was on the draw.  His deck was very aggressive and had the appropriate amount of removal/bounce to make sure I was never going to stabilize.  He also had a fair amount of prowess creatures that happen to be very hard to block when you realize that Jeskai has a lot of instant speed ways to trigger prowess and make blocking very unprofitable.  In game 1 he went turn 2 Jeskai Elder and was able to loot with it 4-5 times because my first few creatures were manifests that either got killed or couldn't beat a prowess trigger until I was able to play a 4/4.  

Round 3 was against a very aggressive Mardu deck that got in 6 damage from just a Dashed Golbin Heelcutter and left me with around 4-6 life before I was able to stabilize with blockers and Ojutai that kept tapping his Alesha, Who Smiles at Death.  In that first game I believe he want turn 2 2/2, turn 3 dash, turn 4 dash and was able to get in 12 points of damage very quickly.  For game 2 I sided out my Supplant Form, Atarka, Wold Render, and Enhanced Awareness for Monastery Flock, Mardu Hordechief and another Bathe in Dragonfire.  My opponent had a slow start and I was able to go Soul Summons into Mardu Hordechief into Jeskai Infiltrator and have good control of the board and ended up winning with a Mindscour Dragon and a flying Glacial Stalker.  

Round 4 was against an Abzan deck that was very slow in game 1 and died to Ojutai, and for game 2 was slow as well but while he had a lot of removal, he wasn't able to use it on my Cloudform and eventually I was able to fly over for the victory.  

At 3-1 I was in spot to draw into Top 8 but I was the 8th seed and 9th was paired down at 3-1, so I would have to play if the top 3 tables drew.  Table 1 drew but tables 2 and 3 decided to play it out so I was able to offer my opponent the draw and lock up Top 8.  We did play for fun and I was able to take the match in 3 against a deck with Tasigur, Monastery Mentor, and Kolaghan.  Needless to say I think I got lucky taking the win.

The Top 8 decided to play it out and I lost 2 games against a Temur deck that had the appropriate amount of tempo that could take advantage of my incredibly slow starts in both games to win.  Game 2 was more of a clinic in how card advantage can win you a game at parity as he had a Monastery Siege that went unchecked from turn 3 onward.  I do believe that if he hadn't had that card I would have won the game easily, but he did and there's nothing I could have done to stop it.  For my troubles I got 2 packs and opened more copies of Supplant Form and Ojutai.  A bit disappointing after 6+ hours of play.


Fate Reforged is FAST.  It's not as fast as something like Gatecrash, but you need to affect the board on turn 2.  It's not unexpected to imagine that a 2 color set is faster than a 3 color set.  Your first play on turn 3 is just too slow in my opinion, and while you might be able to survive if it is, it needs to trump a 2/2, not trade with it.  This prerelease format was and probably will be the fastest the format gets, and I do expect it to slow down a bit for 3x Khans/3x Fate.  From playing with the Fate cards, it seems like board position and tempo are important, and will probably be true for Khans/Fate sealed.  I would build your first Khans/Fate pools with more 2 drops than you normally had and to make sure a turn 3 morph isn't your first play every single game.  I expect that 5 color decks will largely disappear as the incentive to be 5 color is greatly diminished if you're just working with 3 packs of Khans of Tarkir, not to mention that getting mana fixing is much more difficult.  Jeskai becomes a scary deck to play against because of how many ways they'll have to trigger prowess while getting card advantage.  Abzan gets a little bit worse with Bolster only working will with Outlast if you have the Outlast creatures while BW/r and/or RW/b Mardu decks get better with Dash enabling them to be more aggressive.

What were your experiences with Fate Reforged?  Do you think 4-5 color decks are still viable, or do you think the format will speed up and push them out of the format?  Let me know in the comments section below!  Next week I'll be back with my farewell to Khans of Tarkir!

Thanks for reading!