Limited Resources: M11 Sealed #1

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  1. That was a very difficult card pool. I still enjoyed the video. I think it shows that all you can do is build the best deck from your card pool and try to not make any play errors.

  2. The videos were very slow for me. Is there a reason you don’t use youtube?

    Also, my condolences for the card pool, not exactly the way you want to start out a series of videos. However, this shows just how real that you guys are compared to some other writers who only write about their successes. Your approach is different and I really think you guys should do another video because of how awesome you guys are.

  3. I think your pool was great and you sadly were really unlucky. with your opponents.
    Some of their pools were extremely unfair :)
    Great vid though, I like when guys are man enough to post their losing streaks aswell.

  4. Wow. What a terrible pool. I’m interested to see what you are going to do with this.

  5. I don’t feel like this pool was terrible. The 3 expanses and nice fixing in green makes 3 colors very viable. I pretty much agree with the build but I like excommunicate a lot more than the next guy, especially in a deck playing both U and W. Well, I guess I would like it more with more mana leaks

  6. People who say Good Game like that round 1 guy also tilt me. Although it feels very good to win after they’ve said it. Then hopefully they feel stupid.

  7. Match 2 game 1, you should have tapped the knight with your air servant and won. He was only at 3 and your wolf or juggernaut would have gotten through finishing him off barring he didn’t have a trick.

  8. Good Video, baaad pool. What do you guys think about this thought… In this format where its so easy to tell right off the bat that its gonna be a major uphill battle for you, and probably best you can hope for is to win about half your matches… throw out all the established rules and just build a greedy lucksacking 4 or 5 color deck, or rotate color combinations, or well, just something drastic and crazy,

    Love the videos… Im really hoping instead of a vid every 2 weeks maybe you guys will also start doing individual ones so we can watch 1 a week. I dont know why but im addicted to these things,

  9. Thanks for all the comments regarding the videos. We are aware of the fact that it is difficult to balance video quality and bandwidth issues because of the vastly different connections and machines our visitors are using.
    We are going to look into an option to offer a lower res version or a download for the videos. This will off course cost additional time and resources and we will have to see how to balance cost and convenience.
    Until then use our bot (mtgocardtraderbot)or store to support our efforts (It makes a difference…)! :-)

    Great video content, guys,


  10. Also, trying resetting your cache, as I have a hollowed out tortoise shell full of copper wire and have no issue whatsoever with the vids. I have suggested this before and it has helped.

  11. After watching this sealed video I’ve realized I’m now going to watch every video you guys ever do. With no griping or complaining you guys simply made the best lemonade you could and chugged it.

    I’ve been a fan of your podcast for a while now, and I truly enjoy your videos so keep them coming!

  12. Another great set of videos. Tough luck on the card pool. Did you consider black at all? The two black knights with the knight exemplar could be good, except the casting costs prohibit one another. The shade also has an upside. I think you made the right call with colors, but I was wondering if you gave black consideration at all.

    My buddy and I do kind of the same thing over on in a segment called draft beer. We are inferior players, but we make up for it by getting sloshed.

  13. Yeah, interesting pool……think you made the best out of it, although giant growth might have been better maindeck. Also a safe passage maindeck might be better. I would have skipped the merfolk(s) for those 2, as a 1/3 and a 2/2 for 3 mana is just not worth it, even with Anjani.
    Another thought i had was, as you had so much deck thining, is add the elixers. You gain 5 life and add your graveyard again back into your deck, making the odds of drawing land much lower. Just a thought. Probably not a good idea (as it are bad cards), but yeah, with this pool you need to explore the options…….

    A tip: if you want to set or remove steps in MTGO, you can rightclick on the icon, and choose the option. Much easier imo.
    Also the video’s where a kind of slow, mainly due to the oponents, but also because of all those stops. I prefer the have minimal stops, and only add those when relevant.
    But thanks for the video’s, keep them coming. Gl next time.

  14. 2/4 unblockable scroll thief wins games, as clunky as it may seem. :S Great interesting video there, now i feel less bad when i open a terrible pool. it happens to the best of us. lol

  15. In regards to play vs. draw:

    If you are choosing to draw instead of play, you are effectively making your cards 1 mana worse for the first five or so turns of the game. This is not as much of a problem in RoE, where there are so few cards that can be played in the first five turns, but it is a big deal in most formats. Essentially, it means that you are giving up about 5 mana over the course of the game. When we consider that cycling 2 is an approximately fair value for card drawing in limited, this means that you are essentially giving up 2 1/2 cards when you draw.

    So, you really aren’t getting one more card. You are getting 1 1/2 less cards. That is why it is almost always better to play first, unless you are both playing decks that don’t play more than 2 spells in the first five turns of the game. M11 is not one of those formats. Although it seems like drawing gives you a better chance of getting your bombs, it does so at the cost of making all of your cards weaker, and essentially giving your opponent a 2-for-1. So… you really should have been playing, and not drawing. You want to maximise your chances of making your cards good, and you want to maximise your chances of making your bombs game breaking. Drawing does not do that for you.

  16. @Bibble163: Can’t tap a nonflying creature with Air Servant, so the knight couldn’t have been tapped.

    Great vids, thanks guys. I recently played a prerelease M11 on MODO and I got what I thought was the worst pool ever (in my memory comparable to this pool, but minus the serra angel and ajani, plus one jace’s ingenuity and another mana leak. Really, really awful). I built the best I could, went 1-2, 0-2, 0-2 and was just crushed.
    I had no idea what I did wrong and felt pretty frustrated at my cardpool. I don’t have a large collection and I’m not going infinite on MODO so I really felt like I wasted 30 (24? Something like that anyway) bucks just to get shafted by an online game.
    Anyway later I asked a good friend of mine to help me look at the pool and see what I could have done and I think it really improved to talk to someone else about the pool. I don’t think I would have won many more games with his build, but it was an option I had not considered that could have stolen a match.

    The point I’m getting to is that this video is another great help, because it shows that, you know, everyone gets terrible pools once in a while and the best you can do is build it as well as you can, hope for the best and clearly evaluate after to improve yourself.
    The three influences (play skill, opening skill, topdeck skill :p) ring very true for me and it’s satisfying in a way to hear that two of the three factors in sealed are luck-based (though topdecking skill is by far the least important influence I’d say, as it’s greatly influenced by deck construction).

    Loved these vids. Not a lot of hard decisions I think, but the experience of seeing someone go at it with a terrible pool, play to their outs all the way through and I’ll admit, just seeing good players struggle is sometimes motivating for lesser players like myself. Not in a ‘maybe I’m better than them’ sort of way, not at all. No in a ‘we all get that sometimes’ sort of way.

    Thanks for the vids, and please keep them going. I think I enjoy drafts a little more, but I believe I may learn more from sealed as there are many more places to watch/read about drafts, while sealed is much less popular. Either way the vids are extremely entertaining, but since you asked I think I’d like to see another Sealed.

    ps. Sorry for the long-ass comment, but I really liked the videos =)

  17. Such a long comment and I still didn’t say everything I wanted to, reading the other comments (the ones posted while I was watching/posting).

    On the Play VS Draw debate, I am solidly on the DRAW. Card advantage is key and drawing first puts you on card advantage. If you trade every single card 1 for 1, the drawing player has an advantage, which grows every turn.
    With less-than-great mana or a weakish hand, being on the draw is perfect. Mulliganing is giving up card advantage (or parity) and a terrible way to start a game.
    Games aren’t won on tempo too often in the M11 I’ve seen (these games, games I played, what I read on other sites), so especially in sealed with the clunky decks drawing is just better. In Draft a case can be made for playing what with UW tempo and such, but I think in Sealed it takes a pretty special deck to be wanting to play.
    I don’t think this was one of those decks. This deck was all about the five-drops and the only card advantage it had was mind control, being on the draw and cultivate. If you’re putting all your eggs in the ‘play first’ basket, you have to be very agressive so the extra card doesn’t matter. Only 1 out of these 6 games was like that.

    And I would have also probably played both Giant Growth and Safe Passage, although I can understand wanting more creatures in both because the creatures were pretty bad and because it’d be nice if Ajani is actually a wincon and not a fog (and for that you need creatures out).

  18. @Zage: I definitely agree that card advantage is key, but drawing first actually doesn’t get you card advantage.

    For example, if you are on the play, then a bear has two or three turns of usefulness. A gray ogre actually has one or two turns of usefulness. A hill giant is always useful, but he will come into play sooner and outclass your opponents things completely for a couple of turns. And a bomb is going to have a bigger impact on the game. All you are really getting is a little less than 1 extra mana, or 1/3 a card extra power out of every card you play in the early game. Meanwhile, your opponent is losing a little less than 1 mana per card, or 1/3 per card for each card played during the early game. So, if neither deck plays very much in the first four or five turns of the game, then drawing is going to be much more useful. If both decks play 3 or 4 cards in the early game, then going first essentially nets you 2-3 cards. Finally, if either deck plays 3-4 cards in the early game, then you are still going to get 1.5 to 2 theoretical cards. These aren’t cards in your hand, but it is the value that your cards are providing. If this is true, than going for the draw is only useful when you are facing a slow deck with a slow deck.

    The point is that many good players delude themselves into thinking that they are gaining card advantage by drawing first, but they don’t realize that they are effectively making all of their cards worse. Would Pegasus be as good if he was effectively 2W? Are you really wanting to play Assault Griffin for 4W? How good is Ajani when you are effectively paying 3WW? Is Mind Control still either the first or second best common at 4UU? Again, this advantage disappates once players stop hitting land drops, though it doesn’t completely disappear because you are still the first one to cast your spells and the first one to have them hit.

    With this deck, you are not playing any good defensive creatures, and the things you do have work better on the offense. You are hoping to race in the air, and hit bombs that turn the race in your favor. You are hoping that your opponent is going slow enough that your lack of defense doesn’t just make you lose. You are also wanting to get down threats first so that your opponent can’t remove your creatures and still put the beats on. Just look at the deck, how many things actually have a greater toughness than 2? Assault Griffins are not made to block. When you are playing with a pool that is this bad, you need to play to your outs, and those outs are putting down creatures, and hoping to draw a bomb that swings the game in your favor and squeaking out a win. You’ve just gotta say, “the only way I am winning with this card set is to hope I get lucky on mana, and get lucky to draw my bombs, so I play and cross my fingers and pray to the shuffler gods and sacrifice a fatted calf.” This way, you might squeak out a few wins that you wouldn’t get otherwise.

  19. @zage

    Ah, thanks…figured there was a reason they didn’t do it. I feel silly for missing that tid bit. /eat piece of humble pie

  20. Oh by the way you guys totally missed that the player from your clan perfectly called that you had Cultivate in hand but didn’t draw the third land to go with it (the turn you didn’t play your third land) . I thought that was a pretty great read by him.

    @Bibble163: Np, we all miss stuff sometimes. I bet you were screaming at the screen though when they didn’t tap it :D

    @Oraymw: You make some very good points concerning this pool, and I think you’re right. This pool should probably play first just because it has no real way to win a war of attrition/lategame situation. It can’t handle bombs, doesn’t have ‘win the game’ bombs of it’s own and not a lot of ways to accrue card advantage.
    It doesn’t have an early game either (what can I say? It’s a bad deck), but not having a lategame means you have to go for it anyway. So I agree with you there, this deck is so bad it probably needs to play and get lucky.

    I still don’t agree on the bigger ‘draw vs play’ debate though, as I don’t see where you are getting your 1/3rd, 1.5 and such cards from. I understand cards feel like they take more mana when you’re on the draw, but in realitiy they don’t. You don’t need more lands than you would on the play.
    If someone has a start you can’t answer right away perhaps drawing a card costs you 4 life (like if they play a bear on turn 2 and a removal for yours on turn 3). I find that a perfectly good deal. 3-5 Life for a card isn’t great, but Sylvan Library is playable :p

    And how often does a Sealed game turn out to be a race where the early damage really makes a difference? In my opinion in all these 6 games there was only 1 where not being on the play hurt (the fiery hellhound bridle boar game). And I think that with a reasonably-powered deck, being on the draw there would still have been better. This deck just happened to be terrible.
    Trading life for cards is something a lot of people can get behind, and a lot of powerful cards prove it is a very worthwhile endeavour.
    Or at least, that’s my opinion on the matter.

  21. Another good video, thanks for sharing.

    I’d prefer M11 draft though, it’s just more interesting than sealed and can still help familiarize people with the M11 limited format.

  22. Go back to ROE draft please, ROE draft is amazing fun to watch. M11 was really boring I thought. The interactions between cards were pretty unintuitive, and all the correct plays are so straight forward. In ROE, there is so much that can still be learned. I agree with Marshall about m11! Let’s see a vent sentinel deck in action!

  23. Oh wait, you are Godot.

    So how does it feel to be on the otherside of things!

  24. Can I just say I’m 100% with Marshall on the whole untap step stop thing. Especially in limited, there is just never a reason you’re going to play anything on the untap step. Just try it and you’ll never go back!

  25. Obviously I meant upkeep step!! But I guess it’s true you’re never going to play on your untap step either :)

  26. I would keep the siren in your deck. She is quasi removal that you can throw into your fatties

  27. Match 2, I would have sided into a Merfolk package, with the Merfolk Spies and the Sovereign. Also the Excommunicates. Basically turn into a lean, mean aggro machine (against this opponent anyway).

  28. In Match 2, Game 1, why did you play a Ajani over Prized Unicorn? Doesn’t the Unicorn just give you the win as long as you untap with it and Air Servant?

  29. Ah, never mind. Stormtide Leviathan has crazy good defensive rules text.

    Just some thoughts:
    - I think, at the time of this sealed, you under-rate Solemn Offering/Naturalize. I think in every game you played, there was a viable target game 1, and it certainly should have been sideboarded in against those Whispersilk Cloak and r3 opponent decks.
    - I suspect the mana base is wrong. By playing double-white cards and only 3 Plains, you were leaning entirely on your Cultivates and Terramorphics to get you to WW, but at the same time, you weren’t then able to use your Cultivates to fix your Blue. I think you could have gotten away with a LOT less Green, and more W. Before you hit submit on your final mana base, i was thinking, 4/6/4, but now i think it’s more like 5/6/4 and one fewer Terramorphic Expanse. 6 pieces of mana fixing in one deck is a LOT! The WW requirement off your fixing warps your decision-making in-game, and forced you to make awkward decisions like fetch double Plains in match 3. It also constricts your ability to play Blinding Mage + your WW bomb.

    Of course, general commiseration on the extremely low quality of the card pool.

  30. Just watched this for first time (just pool and not games so far) and winced when I saw this pool. I would have gone another way though as when my pools bad I usually try and play aggro as that at least lets you apply pressure to punish your opponents bad/clunky draws. I’d have gone BWr or BUr as the black gives plentiful two drops which you can support with expanses and if you play seer+vamp with double act of treason you actually gain access to some unconditional removal. Also I’d say manic vandals fine as a maindeck splash here as he will almost always have a target in m11 sealed and you need the blowout potential (I’d also play deathmark main here).