Totally unprepared, that was what I was today. It had been since a draft in the closing week of Theros that I played Magic - that also was my only Theros block event so far -, and that meant I missed out the full second set, and now got tossed into the third one without any knowledge of the cards that are around in the block.
Having decided only past thursday to actually attend, and having had to do some things on top, this also meant I didn`t even go round to read on what colours are good in this block, what cards are playable etc. I was expecting nothing less then an all out loss streak over the whole line.
I let my choice of deckbuilding depend on two factors today: in the draft, blue white had been a good choice for most players back then (I did play red green there, but that was due to the combo of Xenagos and the red god), and three of my six rares where in that colour, so Blue White I went, focussing on small Heroics to do early damage and some bigger flyers to hopefully finish it off.
And so, this was the rubbish deck I went to war with...
White - Creatures (6)
Eidolon of Rhetoric
Scholar of Athreos
Blue - Creatures (8)
Chorus of the Tides
Siren of the Fanged Coast
Sigiled Starfish x 2
Others - Creatures (2)
Underworld Coinsmith -> He got replaced after round 3 with a Divine Verdict
White - Spells (4)
Hold at Bay
Font of Vigor
Mortal Obstinacy x 2
Blue - Spells (3)
Pin to the Earth
Polymorphous Rush x 2
Plains x 8
Islands x 7
Swamps x 2 (to power the Scholar`s ability and initially the Coinmaster)
And this was the rest of my pool...
* Note that the promo wasn`t playable in the event *
Now, back home when I finally got to slowly read all the cards, I made a wrong choice in colours. I should have taken Green to accompany the white, as it has a good amount of Constellation cards and enhancements to trigger the Heroics on the Whites, as well as a not to expensive no drawback Trampler. I then should have splashed Blue to add the two Polymorphous Rush to the deck, but at least now I know the cards a tat better and it will help out in future drafts and sealed events.
I wanted to be able to open with critters, either heroic or unblockable, boosted by the cheap +1 / +1 enchantment for early damage, then stabilise a bit before flying over the lines to go in for the kill. Now, the first part did work out nicely in most round, I think i have got the Hoplite / Mortal combo out almost every game, and the Eidolon showed up a lot as well to cut short flashy effects.
In the meantime before the flyers came out to play, I would be hopefully poking them a bit with the two unblockables, and keep my life up with the Scholar, Font and Hold at Bay.
Sounded a rigid plan for a non-experienced in the block player. The Release event only had 25 players though, and a very relaxed atmosphere, so that would be 5 rounds of `loss and learn`, anything else would be a bonus. And learn we did!
The first match was against regular Guy, and he played a Blue Green big beasties deck, which hit hard... very hard with his Hydra and all. I managed in the first game to make him sweat, but then I stalled and he ate me for breakfast with the big Monstrocities. And then rechewed my corpse just to be certain. 0-2 Loss
Second, I faced Jeroen and a Black White deck with Artheos, one of the cards expected to be a `stayer` in the set. The first round I managed to win due to outracing him, as he did 2 to 4 damage a turn in the early rounds, compared to my 3 - 5. the second game, I smoothly went over him as I could copy my Fabled Hero a few times, raking in two rounds in a row for 10 damage. 2-0 WIN, now this is a surprise.
Next on the list was Bob, and another Blue Green monsterball. Just like with Guy, I didn`t stand a chance, and after this round I switched the Coinmaster for the Verdict to hopefully counter a big beast somewhere down the line. 0-2 Loss.
Fourth round, and a highly enjoyable one to boot, was against Emiel and a Black Red deck turning around the big 3 drop demon. He got it out soon, but I managed to bite of it`s tail by Pinning it to the earth. Then I copied it unto all my creatures and won the first round. Unfortunalty, round 2 was more one sided for him, so it all came down to the third round, where a well placed `to my face` burn ended the battle in his favour. That is normally my tactic *grumble*... 1-2 Loss
Finally, Johan, local PTQ qualifier and having a bad day, and I faced off to not end totally last. He had a Green Red, yup, monsterball and the first round I was fastly trampled. Roudn 2 I for some reason managed to take the win, as FINALLY my flying circus made an appearance, but in round 3 it went all normal vs the big beasts again and the result was a 1-2 Loss.
Not the expected 5 streak loss, but never the less I did manage to win only a single game, though either 4 (especially) or 5 (with luck) *could* have swinged the other way. But the hard facts remain that by the end of the day, I went home with a 21st place out of 25 (oh lallala), a marginal 20% win rate and 5 measly Plainswalker Points (3 for the win, 2 for showing up). And a rekindled fire!
The big thing I learned in these matches: Monstrocity owns in the Sealed format. Those beasts, once cast, can quickly follow up on becoming even larger monsters and you`ll be speedbumping your critters on them, but they will sooner rather then later flood over you and smash you to bloody pulp.
I decided for myself after today, that no matter what I open, if I don`t know the set very well or haven`t played for a while, I will be playing RED combined with `something` depending the card pool. It is just the colour I feel the most comfortable in in using, I can `visualise` it better in the sequence to play it, and over the years in Sealed helped me get my better results.
Another, far more important conclusion, is that I enjoyed myself, and know how hard I have been missing it in fact. I might as well start retuning my deck to a current block variant, and once life settles back into a more normal pace, see to get more Type 2 in.
Eric Knowles RIP
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