Tuesday, 30 January 2018

MTGO: Rivals of Ixalan Friendly Sealed Leagues After Action report

I've mentioned before on this blog that at the beginning of each new Magic The Gathering expansion I try to cram in a bunch of Sealed Leagues as the return on investment is very high. This is unusual for a hobby that generally bleeds money, albeit for a very intense and enjoyable competitive experience.

Rivals of Ixalan, the latest set, launched 2 weeks ago on Monday 15th Jan and I've decided that it's time to cut my losses on this particular run. I'll go into MTGO hibernation until April now (probably.)

I played 7 leagues of 9 matches each, each match a best of 3 so that's somewhere between 126 and 189 individual games of Magic which is quite intense. I'm about $8.70 down. Looking at this another way I paid on average 5.5 cents per game which as they're pretty fun is perfectly acceptable.

I decided to stop fairly early in this Magic season because I wasn't that thrilled by the format. Here are my specific gripes:

- 2 packs of the new set and one of the old set (Ixalan) knocks significant value off the cashouts after each league. They're changing from this system and good riddance.

- the very overpowered bomby rares reduced the fun. My most fun plays are where he attacked, anticipating that I would block just so, which allows him to play surprise combat trick which (plot twist) I countered by playing a trick of my own which (double plot twist) he had allowed for and then in a shocking denouement it turns out I had just enough mana to cast a Spell Pierce, a very crappy counterspell that managed to be just enough. Those plays are fun. What is not fun is "You have X overpowered card, you win."

In this picture I actually have played three such cards and you'll see my opponent shares my views about overpowered rares.

More salt than a CODE mailbox

- another issue for me is that for some reason I was off my game. I seem to have just about played through it but I was making uncharacteristic mistakes, unforced errors. I think what it might be is that previously when not playing MTGO I played the Free to Play version so I kept my hand in. I came to this having not played Magic for months and it showed with some really poor plays. (The worst was probably letting an opponent play a powerful Enchantment spell, Profane Procession, when I had a Negate counterspell in my hand with mana to cast it and knew I was specifically waiting for a spell like that so I could counter it. Instead I just spaced and passed my response phase. Total punt).

I have other things to do in gaming, I'm really enjoying Dominions 5, I have got into the Magic Arena beta and I want to get active in Eve again so I'll draw a line under this Magic expansion here.

Some people have expressed an interest in my spreadsheet. Here it is, but note the listings of cards from the shows is incomplete (it misses the second LR set review show) and my results are below the card ratings. Older sets you view at your own peril as the info there should not be relied on.

My criteria for ratings is to take the highest rating for a card that any show gives it because it's useful to me that someone thinks it's an A even if the others don't. Ratings are a jump off point for card evaluation, not a guide to building a deck.

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