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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Jul 27 2007 11:13am
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The Learning Curve:  Saying Goodbye to Ninth.

Hello, and thanks for the clicking on the link that brought you here.  I'm sure you all know who I am from real life events in Kentucky.  I'm the former state champ, and a columnist for Beckett's Magic the Gathering magazine and for tcgplayer.com.  Not only am I a columnist for those two fine places, but I've also been featured on starcitygames.com and in Scrye Magazine.  I'm also a level one judge, but I normally do the judge thing at Prereleases.  If you are not familiar with me, thanks for reading my article.

I'm not much for the limited formats.  Of course I love to battle every so often with a forty card deck, but I prefer it to be Booster Draft, as I feel that format is one of my strengths.  Sealed deck is something that I have tried to avoid, but sadly end up doing well in real life. 

I've top eighted multiple Pro Tour Qualifers in Limited.  I top eighted the Kentucky State Limited Championships, and I would like to think that this success was because I received insane decks.  One of them featured three guildmages in my colors. (Selesnya Guildmage Gruul Guildmage Rakdos Guildmage ) Another deck featured Eight and a Half Tails and Kodama of the North Tree

Even the deck that I played Grand Prix Columbus featured Loxodon Warhammer and multiple Spikeshot Goblin I guess I have grown to expect that I will crack the insane card pool and build the best deck, just like any other player would when they got their golden ticket. 

I have yet to get this insane card pool on MTGO.  When Ravnica was the pool of choice, I would get plenty of great beaters, but no mana fixing over the colors I was playing.  I may have made a mistake by not running these signets, but I will chalk that up to bad play.  i jonestly can not think of a good enough reason to not actually run the signets that I was given.  Champions was no better for me online, everyone else got a dragon while I was hanging out with Ben-Ben, Akki Hermit.  Ben-Ben is not a bad guy, he just has this nasty habit of saying everything twice. 

Just Just Kidding Kidding.

Crickets...

Anyway I recently played in a 9th edition sealed event on MTGO.  It was last Friday, my wife was at work, the baby was asleep, and I was without a car.  I wanted to game really badly, so I turned on the computer, fired up the program and got the stuff I needed to be able to participate in said event. 

I've never played in any core set sealed format before, but I knew to be successful, you would need removal.  You would need flyers, or at the very least a way to deal with flyers, and you would need men, because well, the format is very creature based. 

My packs opened, and I sorted through for removal first.  I did not have much in that particular area.  I got a Shock, Volcanic Hammer and a (Bloodfire Colossus.) No Dark Banishings for me.  My flying men were pretty much limited to a Suntail Hawk.  Bummer.  I at least had some flying defense in my lone Giant Spider, but he was not going to be enough.

 

Instead of complaining about my sad fate of going 0-2 drop.  I decided that I needed to build the best deck I possibly could.  I may not have had an air defense, I may not have had removal, but man, I did have free time and I was going to have fun playing some Magic.  
Giant Spider

Let's take a look at my card pool before we go any further.   

 

1 Aven Windreader                                                                             1 Balduvian Barbarians
1
Blackmail
1
Bloodfire Colossus
1
Bog Imp
1
Bog Wraith
1
Bottle Gnomes
1
Coat of Arms
1
Coercion
1
Consume Spirit
1
Contaminated Bond
1
Craw Wurm
1
Creeping Mold
1
Dehydration
1
Fear
1
Final Punishment
1
Firebreathing
1
Flight
1
Flowstone Shambler
1
Foot Soldiers
1
Fugitive Wizard

1 Naturalize
1
Orcish Artillery
1
Pacifism
1
Panic Attack
1 Phyrexian HulkPlains
1
Raging Goblin
1
Raise Dead
1
Ravenous Rats
1
Reclaim
1
Remove Soul
1
Rootwalla              

Rootwalla      

1 Giant Cockroach
1
Giant Spider
1
Goblin Chariot
1 Goblin Piker
1
Gravedigger
1
Hollow Dogs
1
Holy Day
1
Honor Guard
1
Horned Turtle
1
Kavu Climber
1
King Cheetah
1
Levitation
1
Llanowar Elves
1
Looming Shade
1
Lumengrid Warden
1 Mana Leak
1 Master Decoy
1
Mending Hands
1
Mind Rot

1 Samite Healer
1
Sanctum Guardian
1
Savannah Lions
1
Scaled Wurm
1
Seedborn Muse
1
Seething Song
1
Serra's Blessing
1
Shock
1
Sift
1
Soul Feast
1
Stream of Life
1
Suntail Hawk
1
Urza's Mine
1
Veteran Cavalier
1
Volcanic Hammer
1
Warrior's Honor
1
Whip Sergeant
1
Wood Elves
1
Zodiac Monkey                   

 Let's go ahead a take a look at the deck by color, or at least the cards that I think are playable by each color. 

White. 

We have removal in white, that being Pacifism and Master Decoy.  We have a small flyer in Suntail Hawk, and some small beat down critters in the Savannah Lions and Veteren Cavalier.  There is a Samite Healer to play defense as well as Foot Soldiers, and Sanctum Guardian.  I'm not really impressed with most of these cards, but they could be hanging out in the main.

Master Decoy
Remove Soul
Blue.

Nice counter magic in Remove Soul and Mana Leak.  Levitation is there and can act as a falter effect to make my creatures come over the opposing ground force.  It can also let me block opposing flyers, and that would help knowing that I have so few ways to deal with them.  There is also two different walls in the color that would let me soak up damage in the early game. 

Black.

Blackmail, Coercion and Mind Rot are all great ways for me to rip apart any strategies that my opponent may be working on.  Spoiler.  I grabbed at least three bombs with Coericon during the course of the six rounds I played in that event.  Consume Spirit in one of my few answers to flyers and it allows me to gain some life back from the attacking men.  The creature base is a little to be desired.  Giant Cockroach, Hollow Dogs and Ravenous Rats are nothing to be excited about.

Mind Rot

 

Shock
Finally some cheap removal.  Shock and Volcanic Hammer fit in here nicely.  It would have been nice to have a Blaze, but that is wishful thinking.  The creatures again, are all tiny, and from what I have seen in this format, you need men that have power that is greater than three.  The only one here is Bloodfire Colossus, and I think that guy is a bomb.  He sweeps the board, takes six from both players, and puts the game back to an even playing field.  He does deal with flyers so I could play him, and hope to hit my first eight land drops before I die. 
That is not a very good plan. 

Green.

Finally we have some fatty boom boom monsters here.  Scaled and Craw Wurm are gigantic threats even with their lack of evansion (Trample would have been good on one of these guys right?) Zodiac Monkey is a quick beater with a relevent land walk.  We have Rootwalla, which I think is one of the best creatures in the format in this color.  Creeping Mold is a nice answer to Worship, Circles of Protection, and Anthems.  It deals with Phyrexian Hulk and any problematic lands in the format.  Quicksand is the only one that springs to mind at this moment. 

I know looking at my green I was going to be suckered into playing it.  There were plenty of monsters, and I know that when I got to the high casting cost men, I would be able to attack and have my opponent make poor blocks. 

What is the other color I played in this event?  I choose to run the black.  It did give me a couple more creature with three power, and discarding power (I got Wrath of God twice off of Coericon, and Thundermare as well.)

Let's take a look at the deck I ended up playing.

1x Bog Wraith
1x Blackmail
1x Bottle Gnomes
1x Coercion
1x Consume Spirit
1x Craw Wurm
1x Creeping Mold
1x Giant Cockroach
1x Giant Spider
1x Gravedigger
1x Hollow Dogs
1x Kavu Climber
1x King Cheetah
1x Llanowar Elves
1x Looming Shade
1x Mind Rot
1x Naturalize
1x Ravenous Rats
1x Rootwalla
1x Scaled Wurm
1x Seedborn Muse
1x Soul Feast
1x Wood Elves
1x Zodiac Monkey

10x Forest
6x Swamp

Long story short, I got lucky the first two rounds.  Round one I was in a dominating postion both games, and my Coericon ripped his clutch spells.  Once it was a sure fire back breaking Wrath of God, the other time it was a Thundermare while I was at 4 life.  Round two my opponent got land screwed both games. 

Round three I got overwhelmed by an opponent who started to drop flyers and did not stop until turn seven.  I never saw the lone Giant Spider, and losing this round was not so bad.  Round four I won, it involved me playing myself into a position to where top decking Soul Feast or Consume Spirit would win it for me, and thankfully that is exactly what happened. 

Round five and six I got beat up by better flying creatures.  I knew that was going to happen, and I took a risk by not playing the removal that I had in red.  It was a risk that I was willing to take, and it turns out I was wrong for not doing so. 

So here is where I learn something. 

1.  If you do not have ways to deal with flyers, you are going to have a hard time dealing with this soon to be dead format. 

2.  If you do not have removal, you are going to play long drawn out games, where you have to rely on your fatties.

I am sure I built this deck wrong, and I want to hear from you all.  However, I would have to give this build a C-, it is average, as is the pool, and I think I did the best that I could have.  I would love to make this sealed deck feature a weekly thing, where I present a sealed deck that I played in event.  Show you what I built and than have a discussion on what I did wrong. 

I thank you all for reading, and I look forward to your replies. 

0 Comments

Two colors vs. Three by Felorin at Tue, 07/31/2007 - 03:27
Felorin's picture

I think to get the strongest build out of 5 packs of core set boosters, you usually have to go 3 color, with an occasional lucky pool that's deep enough to go 2 color.  In the 4 week leagues on Magic Online, I recently won 1st place in a 9th edition league where I started out white/blue with a splash of red, and in week 3, with 7 boosters, I was able to cut the splash and go two color for higher consistency.

The next league I entered with the boosters I'd won, I had a much weaker cardpool and started out 1 and 7 with a green blue build I made.  Then I decided to experiment, since it couldn't matter much at that point, and made a build with 6 mountains, 6 islands, and 6 swamps, with my strongest spells from each of those colors.  It went 11 and 1, and I managed to win 2 boosters in the end!  Yes, you lose consistency and get more color screw, but in a weak cardpool, the higher average quality of the spells you're playing is well worth it.

In this pool, I would leave out the Naturalize and Acid Moss, those are sideboard cards, maybe add red - and definitely put in that Phyrexian Hulk, he's a fatty who's never held back by colorscrew problems!  If I ran into a deck with a lot of little flyers, I might sideboard into a red/blue/green build.  If you draw that levitation and some green fatties, his air assault is shut down.  Orcish Artillery is a minor bomb in any deck that has enough mountains to support the double-red cost, too.

by mtgotraders at Fri, 07/27/2007 - 19:39
mtgotraders's picture

Gnawph if your going to offer constructive criticism you might want to say it in a nicer way. 

Still expecting more... by gnawph (Unregistered) 69.183.222.142 (not verified) at Fri, 07/27/2007 - 18:59
gnawph (Unregistered) 69.183.222.142's picture

Lets break down your article.

Opening: Lame pimping of yourself.

Middle: Boring card evaluations.

End: I built a terrible deck.

i jonestly expect more from a professional writer.  Good to have you here though, especially if your work returns to be the quality material it once was.

 

 

I'm glad to be here. by JXClaytor at Fri, 07/27/2007 - 19:37
JXClaytor's picture

I'm really glad to be here.  Believe me, I'm not going to be doing lame pimping of myself every article, I am just horrible at breaking into sites that I had never written for before.  I'm not going to take any offense, because you have presented very good concerns, and well, if I am going to take offense to contrustive criticism, than I do not need to be writing. 

I have a vision for what I want to do here, in all honesty, my limited success has been based on the back of receiving sealed decks that well, very bad players could build correctly. 

Limited is a very weak part of my game, and I want to improve on that.

As for the red, I should have played it.  There is no doubt in my mind going back that I should have ran the deck as a green red number.  We'll see how things go with future sealed decks, and see how awesome 10th is for limited.

thanks again guys!

Not bad... by dragonmage65 at Fri, 07/27/2007 - 12:41
dragonmage65's picture

Good article. Two things:

 1) "I'm sure you all know who I am from real life events in Kentucky." Well, I don't know of anyone who lives in Kentucky (I life in California), and I've sure as hell never read anything you've written before. So try to avoid blanket statements like that. 

2) "I knew that was going to happen, and I took a risk by not playing the removal that I had in red." You absolutely took a risk you shouldn't have. Both Orcish Artillery and Bloodfire Colossus are bombs, and you have two fine removal spells in Shock and the Hammer. I would have at least splashed for those (though granted double-red is pushing it bit), so you would have been trading consistency for quality. 

Overall, good article, good style, hope to see more!

- Nick

Follow Up... by dragonmage65 at Fri, 07/27/2007 - 17:19
dragonmage65's picture

Just to let you know, I meant no offense with that first comment (apparently another person thought you might take intrepret it differently than I intended). Make no mistake, it was purely critical in the writing sense, not a personal sense.

Sorry if there was any misunderstanding.

- Nick 

by mtgotraders at Fri, 07/27/2007 - 17:22
mtgotraders's picture

I had never heard of Joshua either before because I don't follow paper that much but since posted this article several people have mentioned it was awesome he is writing on the site.  Joshua didn't even act put back earlier when I asked him if he had any previous articles he had written.  Super nice guy and glad to have him on board writing for us.