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Prerelease with hard lessons

July 13, 2010

The M11 prerelease was last weekend and I hope everyone had a good time those of you who attended. I certainly had thought I didn’t do to well. Why it went like it did is what I’m going to talk about today.

The trap?

When I got the sealed pool I was destined to work with I was at first overjoyed seeing that my pool had 2 whole copies of Day of Judgement in it along with enough playable white cards to make that color work. Then I had to decide what to fill out the white with. Green was pretty easy to cut. Aside from a Sylvan Ranger the cards just lacked relevant text. Blue and Black was quite interesting because they both complimented the white in a control direction which would be really nice with the two Day of Judgment I had. But in the end both colors was a little to thin in numbers to make it work.

So I turned to red, which had a couple of nice removal (Lightning Bolt and Chandra’s Outrage) and 3 solid finishers (Hoarding Dragon, Fireball and Shiv’s Embrace). The deck looked pretty good initially, certainly the individual card value was something I couldn’t complain about. But off course there is more to it than that to have a successful sealed deck.

After a little disappointing 1-2-drop I learned/was reminded about two things. First, I punted the second game in my last round badly and at last, good cards doesn’t necessary make out a good sealed deck.

Starting with the punt, my opponent has a Roc’s Egg token enchanted with Armored Ascension (currently a 6/6) tapped and a Wild Griffin untapped. He is at 6 with a Swamp, a Forest and a Plains untapped along with 2 cards in hand. I’m at 9 and I have a Fire Elemental in play along with 5 lands and a Crystal Ball. On my turn my hand is Fireball, Day of Judgment and a Wild Griffin. What’s the play?

I can tell you for sure what’s not the play. Pre-combat Fireball for 4 at his dome. Guess what happened? He Doom Blades my Fire Elemental in response, untaps and draw a Plains so he can attack for lethal.

What I should have done was attacking with the Fire Elemental first. This way if he has a trick of some sort I just play Day of Judgement after combat and then proceed to scry up 2 lands via Crystal Ball to make the Fireball lethal ideally two turns later. Sure, he can chump but then he can’t threaten with lethal the next turn and I can play my Wild Griffin and pass. If he just takes it he is at two and then the Fireball in my hand will kill him regardless if Fire Elemental is in play or not. Why didn’t I play it that way? Well at the time I thought I was playing around a Giant Growth-effect and therefore I opted to go for the win with the first mainphase Fireball. When I thought it through afterwards I realised that I just took a unneccessary risk. Didn’t bring my A-game for sure…

Anyhow, back to the actual sealed deck. My deck was not that good honestly and it didn’t have anything with the card quality to do, really. The big flaw was the strategy. The deck I built was quite aggressive, solid beaters, a lot of cheap evasion guys backed up a little red removal and a Shiv’s Embrace and an Armored Ascension for that extra punch. And yeah, two day of Judgment. See the problem here?

A major clash of interest. My deck couldn’t really play a control game on a regular basis. You wanted to come out quick and get in there. And Day of Judgment doesn’t really help with that plan. Don’t get me wrong, Day of Judgment is a veeeery powerful card. It’s just it requires you to set up your game plan accordingly. And my deck couldn’t really do that. If I would go back and do it again, I think I would cut at least one Day of Judgment out of the deck, honestly. Then sure, I can complain that my pool was a little heavy on 4-drops and that I didn’t have a solid trick that white as like Safe Passage etc. etc. but I mean, it’s Sealed. It’s the point to try to build a deck and play around  or through those restrictions.

Enough ranting, lesson learned and I’m ready to fight another day. Bernhard, signing off.

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