Limited Resources: Solo M11 Sealed Flight

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  1. in the second game of the first match when you drew the azure you should have held it till after you attacked. if he thought you had giant growth he may have blocked your 2/3 instead of sara angel and than you could have dropped the drake and swung for the win next turn.

  2. Armored Ascension and Vengeful Archon with only 6 plains seems very wrong to me, especially considering the Sylvan Rangers essentially have to grab a forest every time. I understand you were going for the most raw power, but adding green just seemed to weaken your two best on-color win conditions.
    NOTE: I haven’t watched any of your games yet, so it’s certainly possible I’ll be proven wrong here.

  3. Nice video I enjoyed it. I think you played well. I would like to see you and Ryan do a video like this but for an M11 draft instead of the sealed.

  4. Well it seems the Rangers really pulled a lot of weight for you, but the green fatties did essentially nothing. Good work!

  5. Great vids, had a lot of fun watching them. And nice opening skills, Primeval Titan (i.e. ‘win the sealed before playing’), Mind Control, Jace, Serra Angel, Vengeful Archon, Clone, 2 Azure Drakes…good stuff. But hey, that’s sealed. You have to get a little lucky to do well.

    That brings me right to the downside of these videos. I was one of the people that asked you last week to please do another sealed, but I am finding now that it really is all about the 3 skills: Play, Opening and Drawing. And opening seems most important, drawing second and playing well is just a nice little bonus. Emphasis on little.
    Draft seems more skill-intensive and to have more ways to screw up or be rewarded for knowing what to do. If you are still wondering what people want, change my vote to a draft for next week. Despite it being pretty mundane (compared to exciting RoE), M11 would have my vote for the format. Because RoE is just over, sadly.

    Oh and one small point regarding the actual videos: Please try to reduce the amount of dead air to nearly nothing. Several times I wiggled my mouse or checked my sound to see if I hadn’t muted, only to hear you again (shouting, if I was checking my sound :P).

    But again, please first note that I am loving these videos and had a blast watching them. This isn’t criticism to be a jerk or a ‘backseat driver’, just a well-meant tip to improve the quality of the videos even higher :)

  6. And regarding the Sealed Deck itself:
    Splashing green seemed a bit greedy to me, especially because your two fixers were in the color you were splashing for. The fact that they had to often dig up a plains or island shows in my opinion that your deck just couldn’t handle being 3 colors very well.
    I don’t know if the Sylvan Rangers, which are fine but not spectacular, and two ‘pretty good’ lategame guys (Primeval Titan is by far the worst Titan for limited as you also said and Yavimaya Wurm is no instawin either) are worth all the trouble you got yourself into by splashing.

    I don’t know if any mulligans in the matches you played could have been avoided by losing Green, but I think the deck was strong enough to not have to get greedy and splash for green in order to win matches. Another Wall of Frost, perhaps Mighty Leap (it’s an ok trick, surprised you didn’t consider it at all) and a Cancel and your deck is way more consistent, at nearly no cost.

    Then again maybe being a little greedy is nessecary if you want to do well at an M11 sealed. 3-1 is a pretty nice result, even if your opponents had some…odd decks (off the top of my head Unholy Strength, Wall of Vines, Runeclaw Bears, Act of Treason in a deck that it doesn’t fit in and lastly Domain in M11 Sealed).

    Anyway, I was wondering what your thoughts were on the Green Splash, ‘back then’ and now. Do you think you would have decided against it if you had 10 more minutes for deck construction? Probably not because you never sided it out, but I am still interested in hearing more of your thoughts regarding the choice to add Green.

    Oh and I’m still firmly on the ‘almost always draw in sealed, very often draw in draft’ mindset. A *lot* of the matches you played ended up being attrition wars (from memory you were living off the top in well over half of your games), and only in one race did going first mean a blowout, and in that game you had some pretty awesome topdecks to make going first good.

  7. Making my comments without reading anyone else’s, BTW.

    You know I’m not a huge general fan of counters in Limited, but I think Cancel is a must-include in core-set sealed when you are in blue. Sealed it particularly bomb-driven, so reasonably-costed hard counters gain value.

    I go with the straight UW build. Less raw power, but a couple of ground tramplers aren’t appealing enough to me to force green into things, especially if it means running two rangers off four forests (or increasing forest count at the cost of blue and white sources). The move also weakens Armored Ascension significantly. I think if you had the full 20 minutes for deckbuilding you might not have played the green either. It felt like it was the build you were looking at when the clock was running down, and then you just kinda married it from there without considering the transformative sb plan.

    My maindeck is -4 green cards, +Strongbox, +Sentinel, +Wall of Frost, +Cancel. Might Leap is a decent trick, too.

    R1 What do you know? It turns out Wall of Ass, Fog, and Unholy Strength are actually awesome! Oh, and Sword of Vengeance. Facing down the 2-turn clock like you were in R1G2, I like to go and look at the deck to check for outs I may be forgetting. I don’t think you had any outs, but rather than shrug and attack, make sure there’s not a forgotten out you could play to.

    R3G2 just Mana Leak whatever he casts post DoJ, don’t leak the DoJ, right?

    R4G1 was a solid spot for going for the Jace ultimate strategy. The biggest reason not to was that he was stuck on three lands, and going Howling Mine for 1UU helps bail him out. It’s not often you have a window to go ultimate with Jace in Limited, though, so I don’t blame you for going for it.

  8. i woulda sided in the natures spiral just to make all your bombs have even more values, as well as your beloved roc eggs

  9. Awesome vid. I’m always a fan of going a little greedier and more powerful in sealed. You could have gone the consistency route like Ryan suggested for a 4 rounder, but the greedy build is the one I would take to a PTQ. Run good and smash ‘em I say.

  10. very nice vids and well played!
    I also want to see you play a M11 draft. The ones i played, i always got the feeling i went for the wrong decks (drafted UW-control got beat by aggro green and when i went for the green got beaten by the control decks) I don’t know if it was bad luck/drafting/play that i lost those drafts (bit of all i think..) but i really like all your draft videos and well: I learn from them :D
    So please play a draft!

  11. i also think u/w would have been better and more consistant although i would splash for the bolt in a u/w build.

  12. R1G2 the only out was I think Armored Ascension on Serra, making her a 7/7 which would force villain to chump and lose his dude or die. Shouldn’t have swung in and let the big girl eat it.

  13. Thanks all for the comments, good bad or indifferent, they are all appreciated.

    I think that the WU vs WUg argument is totally valid. I really felt like I could take a more powerful deck into the matches by splashing for Green. This was made much easier by having 2 Rangers of course. I think speed is the main thing that I would lose by doing this, consistency to a point but a much lesser one as the Rangers really help with it. Sure I could draw all my forests and all my WW or UU spells, but I am mulliganing that anyway. I viewed it as fairly low risk, while giving a nice bump to my top end.

    I think that the “weakens Armored Ascension” argument isn’t really that strong, as in my deck, Armored Ascension ends up being more of a “make something fly for a turn with a bonus” or putting it on anything with +2+2 or +3+3 and flying, all of which are acceptable. To me, the difference between giving something flying and +4+4 and +2+2 isn’t massive, especially when that something is big already.

    Looking back at the deckbuild, I do wish I had included Cancel. It’s just a reflex to not want to include it, but in sealed, as Ryan pointed out, Canceling a bomb is a huge deal.

    Again, thanks for the comments and support, much appreciated!

    PS: Stupid Fog :P

  14. Oh in the one game where you ended up countering the Phoenix and next turn you Jace’d to kill him: If he had the Lightning Bolt you were afraid of, not countering Phoenix would have been better. He had 1 Red open and he could have thrown the Bolt right at Jace after you countered the Phoenix, setting your win back two turns.
    Phoenix is completely meaningless at this point because the next turn you use your ultimate and he just loses. So holding the mana leak for bolt would have been better, I think.

  15. “I could take a more powerful deck into the matches by splashing for Green.” Yeah, but I question whether it’s really that much more powerful. You pointed out during the matches that the green titan was the worst for Limited, and was effectively a 6/6 trampler for 6. Not bad, but I just don’t think it was worth contorting your mana base to get a 6/4 trampler and a 6/6 trampler into your deck over the W/U/Artifact options you had in your board. The times where a green fatty is the difference between winning and losing with this deck don’t feel like they make up for the times where you lose because you had to mull awkward mana or were unable to cast your early spells.

    Also, while evasion is certainly an important part of AA, I wouldn’t dismiss the +2/+2 vs. +4/+4 as inconsequential; those are the power gaps that shift clocks from 3+ turns to 2 turns.

    So, how important *is* the mana thinning on the titan, anyway? Are we running green if the titan is a Duskdale Wurm instead? What about if it were a second Yavimaya Wurm or a 6/6 trampler for 4GG with no other ability?

    Greed (power) vs. consistency seems like the central decision point in decent-to-great M11 pools. It’s a hard line to pin down, and one I’m trying to get a better handle on before Portland…

  16. I don’t think you have any business with your shaky mana base to play first in the first round. I think the format is so slow, with so many stalemates the extra card is almost always worth it especially with your shaky mana base.

    Also I probably would’ve just played the UB build it seems more consistent, and the “power” added from green doesn’t seem relevant, especially with your ability to stall the ground with Roc Eggs and Wall of Frosts.

    Keep up the good work!

  17. Deck Building: I love being greedy, but I think the big problem with your deck was the mana issues combined with the lack of focus in the deck building. You state at the very end that you want to sit back and then let the bombs take over. If that’s the case, then play more defensive cards. Play wall of frost x2, play cancel, drop the green altogether. I’m not saying that’s the correct build 100% for this pool, but if you are going to play for the long game, then just commit to that instead of trying to splash for green. I’ll echo everyone else on this too: you are splashing green for mana fixing in a two color deck where you have armored ascension. It just seems sketchy.
    You cut gargoyle sentinel! It’s a 3/3 for 3 in a 3 colorless in a 3 color deck where the mana is admittedly sketchy. I don’t think I agree with that.

    Inspired charge is amazing, BTW. You said it was wasn’t that good during your initial evaluation, but I impore you to try any heavy white m11 draft deck. Just force it. You’ll get 1-2 inspired charge. They’ll win you games or act as 2-for-1s. It May not the best in this pool, but the card is nearly a blowout every time I’ve cast it.

    Match 3, Game 2: If you are worried about a follow up play to DOJ, why not just mana leak his follow up play? Since he only have 5 up at that point even if he plays around leak the best he can play is a two drop. Considering your hand, I doubt any 2 drop would be relevant.

  18. @imawizard: See my thinking at the time was that I didn’t *have* bombs in WU that could allow me to just stall out. If I ran the WU build, I would have Serra Angel and Vengeful Achon as my main wincons, supplemented by some 2 power flyers. This might be a good way to victory, but it does rely pretty heavily on drawing Archon as Serra Angel is a pretty good finisher, but isn’t always going to get you there. By adding the Wurm and the Titan, I felt like I was giving up very little on consistency, and gaining 2 more legit win conditions.

    I am not sure if the straight WU build would have been more effective, it may have been, but I felt like putting in the 4 green cards for the relatively not great 4 WU cards I took out made sense power wise. I don’t think that the splash is very greedy, as I will either have WU mana and cast the majority of my deck, or will have G with a Ranger and can dig up land to smooth out my mana base. In the case that I draw all my Green spells and none of my forests, well either I need to mulligan (which I might not have to in straight WU fwiw) or I got ~unlucky.

    Over the course of a typically slow sealed game though, I figure I am pretty safe to get what I need with relatively little risk, and as the game closes, I am happy to have 2 big fatties to go into instead of 2x Wall of Frost, Strongbox, and Sentinel.

    Speaking of the Sentinel, I think I do like keeping it in as imawizard suggested. It seems like a good defensive or offensive tool and fine to get early or late game.

    Overall, I think the question is really about consistency vs power, and in Sealed I am looking to go for power a bit more. In draft I tend to lean towards consistency more. In this case I thought I could increase my power level without compromising consistency too much.

    Was I wrong?

  19. It sucks that you had such a limited time for deck building. ;)

    But I am actually supporting your decision in getting greedy. The mana base…maybe I would have added a forest as there were a few times you had a bit of trouble.

    The main thing I saw was in one of the games you primeval’d for plains and island…and then did the same when you clone’d. The issue I see with that is that you had 4 islands when you cast the titan in the first place, and either 1 or 2 plains. Getting 4+ islands does nothing for you. But getting 5+ plains means AA would be so much deadlier.

    I agree with your playing first, though it’d be scary with the shaky mana base. You had to be aggressive. With preordain, rangers, titan, and jace you weren’t really short on “draw”. As well as considering you needed to drop lands to get your bombs out for a race, your decision was right.

    I think the Roc eggs, and single wall is where your deck kinda sputtered in the sense that you took more focus from the deck. That’s where you could have fit the sentinal in. Though its fair to say that it would have made white less important and further weaken the AA.

    In any case you get a serious congrats for opening the Primedollar Titan.

  20. Dang. I posted without being logged in. :(

    But I had also forgot to mention that it was great to see you build this pool. Especially considering the time constraint. It shows the experience you have and how it can be done quickly and effectively without leading to failure. Makes practice seem much more worth it.

    I would love to hear an episode on the value of power vs consistency. This would be a great example as Its caused a fair bit of debate.

  21. I think your decision was right. Sealed is all about playing the best cards you have. Power > consistency here because you usually have time to get back in the game if you get mana screwed.

  22. You do a great job of not fearing the Fog after that first game. I would have played around it the whole time and probably lost round 3 as a result.

    Love the “nice draw” comment from the 5-color deck. Hilarious.

  23. I definitely think using M4G2 as an argument for generally choosing to play is very RoTy. You had pretty much an ideal curve out with high power guys and he had a very slow start. Of course, playing vs. him is definitely excellent since his deck is just so slow and inconsistent. But I wouldn’t draw from that that playing is generally right in M11 Sealed. I do think you should generally have been on the draw with that shaky mana base though. That extra draw really helps you smooth things out and hit the turn 2 owl/ranger that your deck desperately needed in order to function.

  24. I just re-read that previous post. Gosh that’s hard to read. I’ll blame it on the 4 hours of sleep last night, and I hope everyone can forgive me for the misspellings, grammatical errors, and general horribleness of it.

    I can see your point about feeling like you are relying too much on too little to seal the deal with those cards. Although, when it comes to big finishers I see 4: armored ascension, archon, serra, and mind control. I think that assessment made me more comfortable with going with a lower power build.

    @ Anonymous:
    I actually prefer consistency if the pool allows it (and I feel this one does) probably because most people do prefer power > consistency in sealed. The argument of “all the decks are slow, so stumbling on mana is fine” is a fine one if everyone is splashing for 3rd and 4th colors for bombs, but imagine facing a UW deck that doesn’t stumble on mana, provides consistent pressure through evasion, and even has answers to their bombs with mana leak, cancel, and mind control? That’s my preference though, and, as always, it depends on the pool. : )

  25. @iamawizard Agreed that AA could be in the finisher category, but I wouldn’t put Mind Control in there at all. Occasionally I will get to MC some Titan or whatever, but usually it will be used as removal for something I have a hard time with, not necessarily a finisher (meaning something capable of breaking through a big board or a stall out).

    Good points altogether in your response to anonymous as well, I think the main reason I didn’t see the deck this way is because I had a lack of early pressure. I would want more Stormfront Pegasi and Wild Griffins as opposed to the 4 drops I had if I was going to go with a “set up a favorable board state and protect it” gameplan. T4 Azure Drake isn’t really applying enough pressure to take advantage of my counters/MC I don’t think. My deck’s power was nearer to the top end, with Serra and Archon mainly.

    Good stuff, great discussion too, which is what I really like :)

  26. Maybe it’s just Rise still affecting how I think about manabases, but if you hadn’t been green you could have ran 18 land and had a much more consistent manabase. Cancel and the Gargoyle Sentinel are both worth maindecking too. You boarded in the elephant once, but Gargoyle would have been a better card most likely.

    If you didn’t play green you could have also splashed for Lightning Bolt. In a removal light deck, it would have helped a lot, and this also opens up sideboard Manic Vandal, which would have been the only artifact removal in the pool. I’m not sure if you should run 2 Roc Egg, so one of them could have been either Scroll Thief, Mastadon, or Strongbox. Red also gives you sideboard access to Fling, which is good against Pacifism and would probably need to come in against problem creatures that you can’t deal with like Blinding Mage. Green only really gives you fatties, which don’t seem that great in this format.

    The most useful common cards in green are probably answers, particularly Naturalize, Plummet, and Giant Spider. The pool didn’t have any of these in green, and fatties aren’t flexible and are really bad against the most useful commons in the set (Doom Blade, Pacifism, Blinding Mage, Aether Adept, Unsummon, Mana Leak, etc), as well as being extra bad against common sideboard answers in Deathmark and Flashfreeze. They’re only really good against red removal, which is a bit less common than the other colors, especially in sealed, because red is so bad in M11.

  27. Hi, Impressive game knowledge. I also love the high res video. Keep up the great work :0)


  28. your bombs were good but the 3 colors with your fixing in green means that you need more green sources imo.

  29. Playing green was greedy but if you run well and draw those Rangers (like you did) you look like Jon Finkle. If you draw like a mortal, the comments would look a lot different. “The rule” is to never splash green for mana fixing but there you go…I think your deck ran best when it was playing U/W mostly. I honestly think you would have done just as well if not better if you had gone the U/W only route.

    Must be nice to have: Archon, Jace, Mind Control, Serra and Clone and still be able to “splash” Primeval Titan! However, your play was tight and well thought out. I know it’s hard to talk and play.

    It’s funny because I think your round 1 opp was the worst of the lot. OK, maybe the 5c last round was worse. Def, 5c…

    Nice rips and enjoy the 30+tix that Titan will get you! I ripped one last week and it’s so sweet.

  30. @Aznsilly My bombs were good? What bombs do you mean?

    Why do I need more green sources? It’s not like I have to hit T2 Ranger to make my deck go, I am trying to make sure I have GG available by T7-8. I can hit G at any time in that spectrum to get me half way there, and if I happen to hit a ranger (which will happen a decent % of the time) I should be all set by the time I need to be. If I draw a forest early and a ranger, then that smooths out any other issues I may have casting stuff in between.

    @oma I don’t need the Rangers early to make the deck go though. I am running 2 of them, so I have a reasonable chance to draw one by the later stages of the game. The only really bad scenario is if I draw most of my forests AND no Rangers early. This is a pretty clear mulligan though (which is the downside of me playing the Green splash), but should happen fairly rarely. If I have all U and W mana, and a ranger in hand, then so be it, I can play through that pretty easily. If I have U and W and no rangers, then my deck just plays like a normal UW deck.

    My point is that the risk of the splash (because of the Rangers) is fairly low (although still tangible).

  31. M3G2 Why don’t you just wait and mana leak what he plays? That way his threat is in te yard and not his hand.

  32. One note on R4G1: When your opponent let the Jace ultimate resolve, you should have looked at his graveyard, to see what else he had. I saw at least 2 more Doom Blades in his last 4 cards. It would also show exactly how much mana fixing he had.

  33. Starwarer makes a good point. During the video I was also surprised you didn’t take the opportunity to look at his entire deck. Knowledge is power and all that.

  34. I definitely understand your point about putting in the green. Sure, it is going to make your deck less consistent, and it is going to make you have more variance with the pool. But your deck probably wouldn’t have been a 4-0 deck anyways, so the variance gives you a chance of getting lucky and pulling out 4 wins. Sure, Primeval Titan isn’t as much of a bomb as Death Titan, but a 6/6 trampler for 6 is pretty good, especially when he is giving you so much card advantage. Pretty much every time you cast the titan, the land thinning was relevant.

    I also agree with your point about having things to get through in the end game. Every deck you went up against had bombs of their own, and you just can’t get there without playing enough good late game cards.

  35. Should not have played the green as it was a small power bump and hugh consistancy downgrade. Should have played the walls main as you had so many excellent fliers.

    Lastly, Rewatch your round 3. You played sooooo terribly (yet won) in game two that I wanted to scream.

    Overall you did well, but that was an excellent pool. Serra Angel is a flat bomb for sealed. In draft she is a step below bomb, but in sealed, excellent.

  36. Ok i’ll be a little more clear. Mana leak on the Day of Judgment to prevent him from casting extra action……

    He had 5 mana left open after the Day. If he cast anything above a 2 drop you get to trade leak for a threat. You instead traded leak for 0 net gain. It was worse than casting an excommunicate in a non-race situation. It was a terrible terrible play. You almost had a chance to make mana leak relevant in the late game.

    That play just made me puke a little bit in my mouth. I think you were on a slight tilt when you saw him deal with all our bombs.

  37. Probably a little bit late here, but I mean, the 2 green fatties were almost meaningless whereas the Rangers seemed to fixed the mana issues you wouldn’t have had in the first place, hadn’t you played green (inconsistency cost you the first match, if I am not mistaken, but did the green splash win you the other games? Would you have lost had those cards been, let’s say, Gargoyle, Scroll Thief, Wall of Frost #2 and Cancel?

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