…and now for something completely different. My last post was about my adventures in the old school 93-94 format. Today I am bringing the newest content possible: a Rivals of Ixlan sealed pool on MTGO. I chose the name ‘Limited Intelligence’ today, as I will make no claims of being a master when it comes to 40-card decks (and Canadians have been known to enjoy self-deprecating humour more than most). The league I joined is made up of three rounds of three matches, with the option of adding a pack to the pool after each of the first two rounds. Here is what I saw upon opening:
I like to play my bombs, and I like to have answers and removal to deal with my opponents’ bombs, so Jace, Cunning Castaway jumped out at me first. However, other than Jace there weren’t many cards pulling me to play Blue. White and Black both looked to be pretty thin overall. The Red and Green dinosaurs and curve were both appealing, along with the Rootbound Crag and a few sideboard options like Plummet and Naturalize.
I always like to try out new mechanics with a new set, and the Tilonalli’s Summoner would be a huge threat if I could manage to Ascend and gain the City’s Blessing. Traveler’s Amulet to find a second land and the colorless flip Golden Guardian were going in any deck I built.
I attempted to put Jace in a U/G shell; the defensive nature of the blue creatures in this pool would hopefully be able to protect Jace when I drew him, allowing him to take over the game. Aside from Jace, however, it looked pretty mediocre. I also looked at U/R, with all the red dinosaurs. However, my original R/G deck looked to be the most consistent, with both a good curve and a solid plan – to cast big creatures and turn them sideways! Since my removal is pretty light, I would have to rely on my creatures to hit.
Match 1 was against B/W fliers, and lifelink was tough to beat in game 1 (although an active Tilonalli’s Summoner did make for an interesting last turn). Game 2 would have been mine if I could have hit a third land drop before turn 6, but once again lifelink coupled with a flying creature went over my head. 0-1.
Match 2 started off with a mulligan to 5, with 5 lands in each of the first two starting hands. My opponent was on R/G dinosaurs as well; his bit harder and had Bombard to help decimate my meagre forces. Arch of Orazca came out for my opponent to give them card advantage, and a well-timed Mutiny cleared the way for their Raging Swordtooth to finish me off. Game 2 was eerily similar to the previous round, except I was stuck on 3 mana with my 4-drops rotting in hand. 0-2.
Match 3 found me an opponent playing Grixis, and a flying vampire looked to suck me dry. Fortunately a misplay by my opponent (playing a Tilonalli’s Crown on a 2-toughness flier) allowed me to ping it with my Fanatical Firebrand and extend the game. I waited for the right moment to activate my Golden Guardian, but just couldn’t bring myself to kill my own creature to get the engine running. It ended up being a moot point as I drew more threats. In Game 2 I found more threats than they had answers, and tasted my first win of the league. (1-2)
After playing the first stage, here are the cards that I added to my pool. Should I stay with the original build, use one of the others, or scrap it all and start with something else?
Craig is a husband, and father of 4, living in the frozen north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Outside of collecting cards to build old school decks with, he has a love for merfolk in modern and occasionally drafting online.