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By: xger, Xger
Mar 30 2017 11:00am
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This time around, I got one of the rare triple Mythic pools, though two are duds. Verdurous Gearhulk, Cataclysmic Gearhulk, and Planar Bridge. Three mythics, 1 great, 1 okay, and one nearly unplayable in limited.

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Introduction to Article Series

With this series, I'm aiming to go through the friendly add-a-pack leagues and give readers a chance to give feedback and hopefully gain some insight. I'll likely vary where I break in the article, and sometimes will ask for community feedback as to how to integrate a new pack before playing more matches. Here is a list of previous entries in this series.

I'll also include a value of the pool and pack, and might do some EV calculations (i.e. how much is the add-a-pack league worth). While it won't be true EV, it will be a real world application, which should highlight some of the variance you'll expect to see. 

Generally, I will do text write-ups, not videos. There may be times where I do include videos, but I will still include a write-up as well. Let me know if you have any thoughts on how to improve the series!

Friendly League 4

Here's my opening pool:

Friendly Sealed 5
Stage 1 - 84 Cards Total
1 Fairgrounds Warden
1 Skyswirl Harrier
1 Propeller Pioneer
1 Eddytrail Hawk
1 Cataclysmic Gearhulk
2 Alley Evasion
1 Bastion Enforcer
1 Herald of the Fair
1 Aether Inspector
10 cards

1 Reverse Engineer
1 Tezzeret's Ambition
1 Quicksmith Spy
1 Malfunction
1 Trophy Mage
1 Hinterland Drake
1 Aether Swooper
1 Experimental Aviator
1 Aether Tradewinds
1 Vedalken Blademaster
1 Shipwreck Moray
1 Negate
2 Dispersal Technician
14 cards

1 Foundry Screecher
1 Ambitious Aetherborn
1 Essence Extraction
1 Make Obsolete
1 Mind Rot
2 Fourth Bridge Prowler
2 Renegade's Getaway
1 Daring Demolition
1 Defiant Salvager
11 cards
1 Ruinous Gremlin
1 Incendiary Sabotage
1 Aethertorch Renegade
2 Chandra's Revolution
1 Precise Strike
1 Sweatworks Brawler
2 Lathnu Sailback
1 Reckless Racer
1 Ravenous Intruder
11 cards

1 Verdurous Gearhulk
1 Lifecraft Cavalry
1 Peema Aether-Seer
1 Armorcraft Judge
1 Aetherstream Leopard
1 Scrounging Bandar
2 Prey Upon
1 Attune with Aether
1 Appetite for the Unnatural
1 Highspire Infusion
1 Unbridled Growth
1 Lifecraft Awakening
13 cards

1 Renegade Rallier
1 Renegade Wheelsmith
2 cards
1 Lifecrafter's Bestiary
1 Sky Skiff
1 Renegade Map
1 Mobile Garrison
1 Verdant Automaton
1 Night Market Guard
1 Prakhata Pillar-Bug
1 Cogworker's Puzzleknot
1 Weldfast Monitor
1 Consulate Skygate
1 Welder Automaton
1 Foundry Assembler
1 Consulate Dreadnought
1 Aegis Automaton
1 Barricade Breaker
1 Planar Bridge
2 Augmenting Automaton
1 Implement of Combustion
1 Daredevil Dragster
1 Ornithopter
1 Universal Solvent
22 cards

1 Spire of Industry
1 cards


Here is the value (as of evening on Sunday the 26th):

Category Value
Pool Value  $9.77
Costs $1.75 * 2 + $3.62 * 4 + 4 = $21.98 or 24 tix or 240 PP
Outcome - $12.21

So, there are several options I see here.

White: The big draw here is, of course, Cataclysmic Gearhulk. However, I have played this particular hulk a number of times, and it has always underwhelmed me. I even had it in a previous iteration of this series. It just never works the way you would hope. Other than the gearhulk, there is Fairgrounds Warden and . . . Eddytrail Hawk? While I do love the hawk, the white just won't get there. 

Blue: The blue on the other hand, has quite a bit of promise. There are several strong cards and a decent depth to blue. The only removal is Malfunction though. Still, it offers lots of card draw, which can be huge in sealed. Quicksmith Spy is just amazing if unanswered. I would note that Dispersal Technician is not that good, though most people know that now. It is not Man-o'-War.

Black: The black is mediocre at best, though it is probably still better than my white. Mind Rot has some good gotcha game in sealed, and Daring Demolition might just be the best removal in the format. After the demolition, the quality declines quickly, with Defiant Salvager and Foundry Screecher being okay, but not great. Possibly a support color, unlikely to be the backbone of the deck.

Red: Red is a tempting proposition. Double Chandra's Revolution is huge, and I've come around to Precise Strike--with relatively few combat tricks, this can be a huge blowout. The issue with red is the lack of creatures. Lathnu Sailback is passable, but I wouldn't want to run 2. Beyond that, there is Reckless Racer and Sweatworks Brawler as always playable creatures. Might just be a splash option for the double revolution.

Green: Here are the real gems. Verdurous Gearhulk is just nuts good. While Prey Upon is not the best removal, it is still removal and works fine. Additionally, there isn't a single green creature in the pool I wouldn't play. The weakest is probably Peema Aether-Seer, and that card is still respectable. The spells are good too, so green is the winner, and base of the deck. This probably isn't that surprising, as Green is best color in the format, and it doesn't seem close.

Gold: The gold cards are both strong in the right decks. However, I don't think that this pool would realistically support the decks to make either shine.

Artifacts: Luckily, I got the real winner: Ornithopter! Back to reality--Lifecrafter's Bestiary is really strong and goes quite well with my green. I'm always glad to have Renegade Map. After those, there are decent, if uninspiring, vehicles. Mobile Garrison works exceptionally well when Quicksmith Spy is on the table. I doubt I'll play enough artifacts to justify Spire of Industry, and it probably will not be that beneficial. 

So, the choices seemed fairly clear--what to pair with Green? It didn't take me long to determine that Blue was the choice, so I built a color combo that I rarely play:


I went with 15 lands, because with Attune with Aether and Renegade Map, I felt much more would be flooding. The artifact count is probably a bit low for Tezzeret's Ambition and Quicksmith Spy, but with the amount of draw in the deck, this felt fine. To the battles!

Stage 1 Matches:

Match 1 fifedogg2: 2 - 0; Red Blue game 1, Green Black Game 2 

Game 1:I keep Experimental Aviator, Scrounging Bandar, Sky Skiff, and lands. I lead with the skiff and monkey, while my opponent starts with Aviary Mechanic and Ruinous Gremlin. I draw lands and Attune with Aether and all my opponent plays is Implement of Examination. I draw Verdurous Gearhulk and start setting up for a solid board. My opponent pops the implement and adds Countless Gears Renegade. I draw and play Night Market Guard so that I can set up a flying board the next turn. My opponent adds Scrapper Champion and I gearhulk to get lots of flying threats, bringing my opponent to 1. After drawing, my opponent concedes.

Game 2:  I keep Mobile Garrison, Sky Skiff, Lifecraft Cavalry, Verdant Automaton, 2 Islands, and a Plains. While I was missing a Forest, I still had action with the automaton, skiff, and garrison, so I risk it. Luckily, my first draw is Renegade Map. I start playing cards out, my opponent's first drop is Aether Herder. I've drawn a Forest and Quicksmith Spy, so I load that up on my map. Not surprisingly, my opponent kills the spy, so I pop the map and drop a 6/6 Lifecraft Cavalry, but my opponent has Daring Demolition for it. I use Fairgrounds Warden for the herder and add Mobile Garrison. I draw and cast Tezzeret's Ambition, to draw Hinterland Drake, Forest, and Lifecrafter's Bestiary. I attack with the garrison with the automaton into Sky Skiff into Mobile Garrison crew, and my opponent trades the herder. I play the bestiary and my Peema Aether-Seer, drawing an extra card. My opponent adds Riparian Tiger, Renegade Map and Narnam Cobra. I get an Experimental Aviator, adding it and Scrounging Bandar to the board. My opponent adds Bridge Patrol and Thriving Rats. I move a counter off the bandar and onto the 0/3 flier, which helps because I drew Armorcraft Judge. I add that and Hinterland Drake, drawing 4 extra cards. I am low on life, so I throw a bunch of creatures in front of the pumped tiger. Since I was at 7, I threw 4 creatures in front, so my opponent would need 3 removal to get me--they had 2 cards in hand, and didn't play removal. My opponent adds Foundry Hornet. I use  Prey Upon to keep the skies clear and finally start attacking. I don't cast my Reverse Engineer because I am running low on cards in my library. My opponent adds Aetherstream Leopard. On my upkeep I move the final bandar counter to present lethal in the air, and my opponent concedes. At the end, I had 8 cards in my library, and my opponent had 21.

Match 2 GrimTallstag: 2 - 1 vs. Green Red

Game 1: I keep Fairgrounds Warden, Attune with Aether, Lifecraft Cavalry, Tezzeret's Ambition, Forest and 2 Islands. My opponent leads with Winding Constrictor, which I hit with the Warden. My opponent plays Speedway Fanatic and then Chandra's Revolution on my warden. All I can play because of the tapped land is Mobile Garrison. My opponent adds Sweatworks Brawler and I add Lifecraft Cavalry because I need the blockers. My opponent bricks and I get Peema Aether-Seer off the top. I force the snake to block and my opponent double blocks my cavalry, giving me a free 2-for-1. My opponent seems to hit endless lands, and I get a Hinterland Drake into play. With no attack, my opponent passes, which gives me the chance to force the brawler to chump my Mobile Garrison. I play Tezzeret's Ambition to draw Aetherstream Leopard, Quicksmith Spy, and Lifecrafter's Bestiary. I'm low enough on life that I play cautiously, leaving back 2 blockers in case of haste and removal. My opponent does have the removal and kills the drake. I add the leopard and bestiary, getting the extra draw. I use Prey Upon to kill my opponent's Salivating Gremlins and swing my opponent down to 7. My opponent empties their hand with Embraal Gear-Smasher, so I add a creature, crew up and swing for lethal.

Game 2: I keep Renegade Map, Sky Skiff, Appetite for the Unnatural, Lifecraft Cavalry, Prey Upon, and lands. My opponent leads with Prophetic Prism and I start with map, skiff, and a freshly drawn Aether Swooper. My opponent adds Sweatworks Brawler. My opponent adds Winding Constrictor and then using Prey Upon to kill my swooper before I can make a servo. I miss on land so I pop my map and pass. My opponent adds Bristling Hydra. I miss on land again, drawing Scrounging Bandar. My opponent attacks with the team, and I concede as there is no way for me to come back. It's possible I might stage a comeback, but it is so unlikely that I decided it wasn't worth my time.

Game 3: I keep Appetite for the Unnatural, Scrounging Bandar, Experimental Aviator, and lands. My opponent leads with their own bander, matching my own, and then adds Aetherstream Leopard. I play Armorcraft Judge to draw a card. My opponent adds Weldfast Monitor. I play with Verdant Automaton and keep Appetite for the Unnatural open. My opponent uses the monitor to play Enraged Giant, moves a counter to the leopard and attacks for 5 with just the leopard. I kill the monitor and take the damage. I add Aether Swooper and my own Aetherstream Leopard. My opponent does nothing. I draw Prey Upon and decide to Tezzeret's Ambition, hoping to hit a Forest, but only hit Plains. My opponent moves their last counter to the leopard, making it a 4/5, and they also add Greenbelt Rampager and Riparian Tiger. I move my last counter to the judge, making it a 5/5. I kill the 4/5 leopard, and use a newly drawn Malfunction on the tiger. My opponent plays out their hand, adding land and the second Scrounging Bandar. My opponent makes their giant a 6/6 and swings with both the giant and the elephant. I chump the elephant with Experimental Aviator. This leaves them tapped out. I play Mobile Garrison, Night Market Guard, and Prey Upon to kill the elephant. I don't quite have lethal, so I leave back a handful of blockers and bring my opponent from 17 to 5. My opponent kills my leopard with Chandra's Revolution and adds Salivating Gremlins. I draw Trophy Mage which I use to get and play Lifecrafter's Bestiary. With the mage to crew, I have lethal on board and my opponent has no cards in hand, so I swing in for the win.

Match 3 huichilopostly: 2 - 0 vs. Green White?

Game 1: I keep Attune with Aether, Quicksmith Spy, Experimental Aviator, Verdurous Gearhulk, and lands. My opponent leads with a 1/1 Walking Ballista on turn 2. My first play is Peema Aether-Seer. They attack into my seer, and I don't block as there is simply no reason to bluff with such a powerful creature and 1 damage is not that much. I play Verdurous Gearhulk to make my seer a 6/5 and the hulk a 5/5. My opponent finally hits land 3 and uses Appetite for the Unnatural on my gearhulk. I add Experimental Aviator, and then my opponent hits land 4. They only play Greenbelt Rampager once and then pass. At this point I know they have a trick, which I think is Impeccable Timing. I force the ballista to block and opponent misplays, casting Highspire Infusion. My seer is a 6/5, so my opponent pings it, but then the ballista is a 3/3, so my opponent 0-for-2 themselvesf. I play Tezzeret's Ambition and draw land, Lifecrafter's Bestiary, and Prey Upon. My opponent plays Caught in the Brights on my seer. I play Lifecrafter's Bestiary and Mobile Garrison. This gets the concession for my opponent.

Game 2: My opponent is quite salty, as they mulligan to 4. I keep Renegade Map, Sky Skiff, Malfunction, Quicksmith Spy, and lands. My opponent leads with Implement of Ferocity. I start with map, skiff, and Scrounging Bandar. I attempt to Quicksmith Spy on the skiff, but my opponent hits it with Natural Obsolescence. I add Aetherstream Leopard while my opponent does nothing. They finally make their second play on turn 6, a Rishkar, Peema Renegade. I hit it with Malfunction and my opponent concedes after their next draw.

Stage 2 Pack and Pool:

Alright, here is the Aether Revolt pack I opened:

Friendly Sealed 5 Aether Revolt Pack
Yay Green - 14 Cards Total
1 Greenwheel Liberator
1 cards

1 Aeronaut Admiral
1 Hidden Stockpile
1 Peema Aether-Seer
3 cards
1 Alley Evasion
1 Chandra's Revolution
1 Defiant Salvager
1 Filigree Crawler
1 Fourth Bridge Prowler
1 Implement of Examination
1 Leave in the Dust
1 Prizefighter Construct
1 Renegade Map
9 cards

1 Plains
1 cards

Briefly, here is the pack value:

Category Value
Pool Value  $0.18
Winnings                            40PP
Costs $3.62 or $4.00 or 40 PP
Outcome +40 PP - 40 PP + $0.18

Find out what I did next time!

Wrap Up

I hope you enjoyed this league journey! As always, I appreciate comments and suggestions!


xger21 on MTGO