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 Post subject: [Draft] Ixalan
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:49 am 
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I've drafted a lot of the intermediate League Ixalan drafts in the last three days it's been available online (well, four drafts, which is a lot for me :) ). My p1p1 in the very first one was Huatli, Warrior poet, I ended with a fine RW aggro Dino deck splashing for two Savage Stomp and a Regisaur Alpha. But what I want to talk about here is the fourth draft, where I first-picked Shapers of Nature over Star of Extinction, which led to this:

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UG aggro; and when the colors are this open, it feels invincible. Left panel is the deck, right the sideboard; I played 16 lands, 8 forests, 8 islands. In the deck, first column are non-creature spells, the rest is the creature curve.

I never thought I will draft a Merfolk deck where I will not play all copies of Jade Guardian, but three River Sneak and three River Heralds' Boon really make you prioritize two-drops. Even Shapers were a bit out of place here, as I never wanted to draw a card, I just wanted to keep on attacking with my augmented Sneaks. The worst cards in the deck are probably One with the Wind, which is there primarily to enhance the Guardians, Deeproot Champion which was too slow for this deck, and Dreamcaller Siren - maybe that should just be Guardians number four. MVP were the Sneaks, the Boons, and Opt. I ended one game with a 7/7 Sneak attacking for exactly lethal through an army of Pirates. Air Elemental also seems great in this format. There is so little removal in the set, I fear creature aggro, or big dumb beast will just be the king.

So far, I've seen a few good Merfolk decks, mostly relying on Shapers to gain long-game advantage, and some good Dino decks, using combat tricks and beasts to overpower the opposition. I've seen a few fair Pirates decks, but not a single successful Vampire deck. At first glance, the format seems a lot more shallow and less interesting that Hour. What do you think?

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 Post subject: Re: [Draft] Ixalan
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:37 am 
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As a sealed format I think it's dismal - exactly as you said, not enough removal, particularly not for big things, and as a result other archetypes generally get run over by dinosaurs or decks with biggies like Air Elemental.

I think they only hope for a good format is if draft causes so much contention for the obvious strategy (bigfat) that other strategies become viable by way of not having been cut between multiple drafters. If a Merfolk or Vampires deck comes together out of draft, it does well because that player got all the cards for that archetype while the Dinosaurs were stretched too thin among too many players.


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 Post subject: Re: [Draft] Ixalan
PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:31 pm 
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In sealed I had a merfork deck that could handle bigh stuff just by voltroning up something and hoping to force a trade or a chump block,with some bounce to handle double blocks.

Found myself drafting an rg deck with 6 decent two drops and more bombs that I could dream of (2 savage stomp, mostrosaur, burning sun avatar, captivating crew and even the green sun avatar) and ended up killing big stuff by voltroning up something twice in 8 games, so maybe that one wasn't a coplete fluke( once by using 2 savage stomps on a 4\\4 in the same turn to handle a burning sun avatar and clear a blocker and once by comboing the green keeper, the common dryad, new horizons and pounce to kill the selesnya 7 drop dinosaur and trample for 5 (was a 3 for 2 in favor of my opponent tho).

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 Post subject: Re: [Draft] Ixalan
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:44 pm 
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I have seen Merfolk drafted like, 6 times now. It is never good.

UG and Merfolk just seem tacked on this set. Don't really fit in, don't really perform well. Hoping that Rivals fixes that.

I tried Black/Green explore the other day. Was decent, not great. Relies on waaaay too many uncommons.

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 Post subject: Re: [Draft] Ixalan
PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:00 pm 
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Jman22 wrote:
I have seen Merfolk drafted like, 6 times now. It is never good.

UG and Merfolk just seem tacked on this set. Don't really fit in, don't really perform well. Hoping that Rivals fixes that.

I tried Black/Green explore the other day. Was decent, not great. Relies on waaaay too many uncommons.


Merfolk are probably the best deck in the format. It is overdrafted, especially since the common green two-drop is a priority pick for any green deck, but if it is even remotely open, you should go for it. Just put One with the Wind on Jade Guardian and win. Jade Guardian is probably the most unfun card in the whole set.

I'm not sure what you mean by not fitting in. Probably not the story. Mechanically, they are distinct from other tribes, and highly sinergistic. They function as a fast deck that keeps the Dino players honest, making them care about the early game. I don't really see a connection between any of the four tribes. I mean, Pirates and Dinosaurs?

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 Post subject: Re: [Draft] Ixalan
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:18 pm 
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Just started on mtgo and have to agree, this feels like a go big or go home format.

Currently have two drafts (both new player Phantom) under my belt:

One drafting RG Dinos with some green merfolk support. Went 1-1, both matches going to time one in my favor (guy drafted WG Vampires and stuff) He did decent, but I got mana screwed game 1, game 2 I knew I had the advantage (dropping the big stompy creatures Charging Monstrosaur being one), but went to time by the third.

Game 2 was against RB pirates: Another one of my bombs Vance's Blasting Cannons gave me enough gas to grind against him, but his deck had some solid synergy going. We were 1-1 by the time I ran the clock out, but if we had more time to finish, I'd say he would have had me solid.

Draft 2 I tried going UG Merfolk, this subset having some draw and tempo cards to draw things out, only to go against someone else who was trying the same colors!

Shapers of Nature is a solid bomb in this color combo, a card I failed to draft. He had me. Only reason I went 1-1 is because my next round was a bye against an opponent I assumed left.

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 Post subject: Re: [Draft] Ixalan
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:54 pm 
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This format is Baaaaadd... I don't know how they managed to make a worse aggro format than Origins, but somehow they managed.

My current strategy is to just pick 2 drops and 1-2 mana tricks until I see the open color pair.

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 Post subject: Re: [Draft] Ixalan
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:28 pm 
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Zenbitz wrote:
This format is Baaaaadd... I don't know how they managed to make a worse aggro format than Origins, but somehow they managed.

My current strategy is to just pick 2 drops and 1-2 mana tricks until I see the open color pair.

Worse aggro format? Not sure why, but I don't see this format as an aggro one... Then again, Modern has been the format I've been waiting years to get into, so maybe seeing things differently.

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 Post subject: Re: [Draft] Ixalan
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:21 pm 
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Update: Just played my first 2x hour of devastation 1x Amonkhet draft, way different feeling. Felt a lot more skill intensive vs the pick your bombs of Ixalan.

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 Post subject: Re: [Draft] Ixalan
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:17 pm 
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HOU/HOU/AKH is like a top 5 top 10 all time format. 3xIXL manages to have frustrating drafts (I *think* due to the few tribes and low number of generic playables) and poor gameplay. I don't really understand why the gameplay is so poor, but it seems like there are an abnormally high number of non-games. People blame the good auras Mark of the Vampire and One with the Wind and bad removal, but that seems like an over simplification. I think it's the combination of that with the 3xAKH like feeling of "you can never recover if your opponent goes first with a good hand".

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 Post subject: Re: [Draft] Ixalan
PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:51 am 
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The accepted way to talk about the first problem is to say that 3xXLN is a challenging draft format. You need to find the open tribe, and find it by the middle of pack one by the latest, or your deck will be underpowered (i.e. your draft will be a train wreck). And there are only six viable archetypes, as opposed to HOU-HOU-AKH, where every color combination was able of producing a good deck with plenty of playables and a high power level.

As for the gameplay, I don't find it that bad. There are challenging matchups, meaningful decisions, and opportunities for mistakes. Of course, if you stumble on turn two, it just might be game over, but it doesn't happen all that often; probably because everybody picks two-drops, bounce and Lightning Strike over anything else. In a recent episode of Limited Resources, LSV even chose Lightning Strike over Carnage Tyrant.

My last two drafts: the first one was a train wreck, and the second one was a Vampires deck that didn't quite get there, but was still good enough to get to the finals, where I lost a mirror match against a very similar deck that won with the card advantage provided by Arguel's Blood Fast. Thing is, I passed the card, and then lost a control mirror to it. Live and learn.

I call 3xXLN a bad draft format, but mostly because of the draft portion. It just got boring so fast.

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