Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Adventure in Alara: Why You Shouldn't Talk Too Much When Building a Sealed Deck

I didn't start playing paper Magic (as opposed to drafting on Magic Online) until my daughter was old enough to play with me, but making the switch was not difficult.  The act of opening packs and slamming down bomb cards is far more exciting in real life than it is in the virtual one.

But one thing I do regret is 'losing' all the random cards that I had drafted (badly) before my daughter was even born.  So what I do is this: I trawl eBay for relatively cheap deals for older booster boxes.  And when I manage to obtain one, my daughter and I rip the box open and build sealed decks.

My most recent acquisition was a Shards of Alara Premium Foil Booster Box.  These boxes contain twelve packs of 15 cards with the normal rarity split.  However the cards can be from any of the three Alara block sets, and every card is foil.

The box came, my daughter and I each took six packs, and here are the decks that we built.

My Deck (Esper)

  CREATURES (14)  
Cloudheath Drake
Esper Cormorants
Esper Sojourners
Ethercaste Knight
Etherium Sculptor
Guardians of Akrasa
Illusory Demon
Magister Sphinx
Parasitic Strix
Vectis Agents
Vectis Dominator x2
Vedalken Outlander
Wall of Denial
Oblivion Ring
Etherium Astrolabe
Obelisk of Esper
Thopter Foundry
  INSTANTS (3)  
Hindering Light
View from Above
Zealous Persecution
Bone Splinters
  LANDS (17)  
Island x7
Plains x6
Swamp x4
Gleam of Resistance
Knight of the White Orchid
Lapse of Certainty
Marble Chalice
Mark of Asylum
Yoked Plowbeast
Cathartic Adept
Jhessian Lookout
Skill Borrower
Spell Snip
Traumatic Visions
Vectis Silencers
Worldly Counsel
Onyx Goblet
Pestilent Kathari
Resounding Scream
Bloodpyre Elemental
Dark Temper
Ignite Disorder
Molten Frame
Soul's Fire
Thunder Thrash Elder
Toxic Iguanar
Viashino Skelton
Viashino Slaughtermaster
Wandering Goblins
Behemoth's Herald
Cylian Elf
Gift of the Gargantuan
Keepr of Progenitus
Might of Alara
Naya Battlemage
Sacellum Archers x2
Scattershot Archer x2
Shard Convergence
Wild Nacatl
Anathemancer x2
Branching Bolt
Breath of Malfegor
Captured Sunlight
Deadshot Minotaur
Gorger Wurm
Identity Crisis
Monstrous Carabid
Pale Recluse
Sangrite Backlash
Sewn-Eye Drake
Singe-Mind Ogre
Sprouting Thrinax
Steward of Valeron
Valley Rannet
Violent Outburst
Winged Coatl
Bone Saw
Obelisk of Grixis
Jungle Shrine

My Daughter's Deck (Naya)

  CREATURES (15)  
Beacon Behemoth
Bloodthorn Taunter
Cerodon Yearling
Druid of the Anima
Elvish Visionary
Ember Weaver
Enlisted Wurm
Gutstrider Exuberant
Jungle Weaver
Nacatl Savage
Naya Sojourners
Rakeclaw Gargantuan
Rhox Brute
Ridge Rannet
Scourge Devil
Sigil of the Nayan Gods
Trace of Abundance
Dispeller's Capsule
  INSTANTS (5)  
Colossal Might
Ignite Disorder
Magma Spray
Molten Frame
Path to Exile
  LANDS (17)  
Bant Panorama
Jungle Shrine
Naya Panorama
Savage Lands
Forest x9
Mountain x4
Angeleic Benediction
Asha's Favor
Resounding Silence
Rhox Meditant
Grixis Illusionist
Outrider of Jhess
Steelclad Serpent
Tortoise Formation
Traumatic Visions
Absorb Vis
Banewasp Affliction
Dregscape Zombie
Executioner's Capsule
Immortal Coil
Infectious Horror
Scepter of Fugue
Sedraxis Alchemist
Undead Leotau
Wretched Banquet
Dragonsoul Knight
Hell's Thunder
Resounding Thunder
Thunder-Thrash Elder
Aven Mimeomanger
Bant Sojourners
Bituminous Blast x2
Clarion Ultimatum
Esper Charm
Esper Cormorants
Esper Stormblade
Ethersworn Shieldmage
Firewild Borerpost
Goblin Deathraiders
Grixis Charm
Grizzled Leotau
Igneous Pouncer
Jhessian Balmgiver
Kederekt Creeper
Knotvine Paladin
Mistvein Borderpost
Shambling Remains x2
Sigiled Behemoth
Stormcaller's Boon
Tidehollow Strix
Veinfire Borderpost
Wall of Denial
Waveskimmer Aven
Windwright Mage
Zombie Outlander

The Matchup

We decided to play a best-of-three.

A quick Rakeclaw Gargantuan decimated me in game 1.  Conversely, in game 2 I quickly flew to victory over my daughter's defenders.

Game 3 was where all the excitement was - a long, drawn out game with lots of swings and turns of fate.  What ultimately decided it?  To answer that question, let me transcribe a conversation my daughter and I had while building our decks:
Her: "Hey Daddy, what kind of deck are you building?"
Me: "I dunno.  Maybe Esper?
Her: "Esper? What's that?"
Me: "Black-Blue-White.  Artifacts.  Wait, why do you want to know?"
And so I was eventually blown out by Dispeller's Capsule, Molten Frame, and Ignite Disorder.

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