Since quite a time I do not really play limited. Last time that I actively played was when I could draft KTK/FRF. I played some drafts and sealed decks of the more recent sets but I wasn't fan of either DTK, BFZ, OGW nor KLD. On Magic Online when draft Leagues were introduced I played few events and had one of the most terrifying experiences with limited. The drafting itself totally changed and I couldn't use the information from drafting. The reason was simply because one would later play matches cross-pod meaning that any player could play more or less anything and the power level of the deck could be either way better or way worse (this not reflecting the drafting skill of the player, because simply some pods simply have higher power level of decks in general or lower).
When there were Favorite Flashback drafts of Zendikar I decided to join and I had lots of fun with the set. I was even able to live with the fact that the deck I'd face most commonly would be Boros landfall aggro. I even managed to end up in that once. I wondered if my experience with Aether Revolt would be similar to this one or the one that I experienced during Scars of Mirrodin/Mirrodin Besieged limited GP. At that time I was ready to stop playing Magic but playing Scars of Mirrodin limited was something that totally changed my mind. I realized how much I love the game and I loved the design of the set. That is why my expectations of playing limited after quite a while were relatively high. When playing SOI, EMN or KLD limited I really liked to see all the mechanics and cards. Awesome decks could be built and playing them or playing against them was a really nice experience even though quite frustrating sometimes.
Aether Revolt though was totally different. For some reason I did not experience the 'WOW' effect I experienced when playing with the earlier sets. My first pool and deck did not really seem too funny nor good (I don't usually build good decks and my decks are hardly funny).
In the end the deck wasn't that bad as I envisioned it when I put it together. I expected a lot of my Cat Monkeys and they proved to do exactly what I needed them doing. I also put quite a lot of hope in my Solemn Recruit but this card never managed to attack even once. Always got 'pacified' in a way or killed. Verdurous Gearhulk and Ridgescal Tusker were simply BEASTS. Felidar Guardian was awesome and the MVP of the deck was actually Unbrindled Growth. After five rounds I ended up with 3-2 record which did not seem possible for my deck, but my opponents were even more confused than me.
The record doesn't matter I could have gone 5-0 or 0-5. What mattered was the course of those games. I'll give you few examples.
- Turn 1 Greenbelt Rampager, t2 Greenbelt Rampager, t3 Prophetic Prism, Unbrindled Growth, t4 Quicksmith Spy GG.
- T2 Smuggler's Copter, t3 random creature, t4 Sram's Expertise -> Aethersphere Harvester, GG.
- T2, Shock, t3 Hungry Flames, t4, Caught in the Brights, t6 Noxious Gearhulk, t7 Marionette Master, GG.
- T4 Sram's Expertise -> Smuggler's Copter, t5 Angel of Invention, GG
- t2 Metallic Mimic, t3 Metallic Mimic, t4 Solemn Recruit, Humans followed...GG
I know that my deck also contained some bombs but even with those I couldn't deal with the rares my opponents played. I hate decks full of bombs or just one bomb.
After this experience I was seriously upset and I did not enjoy the event.
In my next pool I had Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian and I decided to build some Jeskai deck. I really liked the deck. It had some removal, very aggressive creatures that I did not want to play, the combo and some terrible artifacts I needed to stay alive. The deck was doing many things, was fun to play but my brain just couldn't somehow play with it nor face yet another stream of rares. After trying to survive Smuggler's Copter and Aethersphere Harvester attacking me for what seemed like an eternity I eventually died to those cards because I couldn't simply deal with them. I won game 2 but the deciding game I mulled to 5 and had to face 3 rares once again (Solemn Recruit being the third rare). I just couldn't bear that and dropped from the tournament playing Vintage in between rounds of the ongoing sealed deck.
Try to guess what deck I played in Vintage? I picked my biggest enemy - Monastery Mentor - and played with that against Shops. Honestly I had some fun and I was crushing my Shops opponents. Mentor upsets me no matter on which side of the table the card is but Aether Revolt upset me way more. I was ready to give the set another try. Before the event I decided to go through Magic Duels campaign hoping to see some commons and uncommons in action.
After I was thrown into a tutorial showing me how Revolt mechanic works I faced my first opponent. My hand contained 2 Aerial Responders and a creature that could possibly be 4/3. I didn't care about that one and hoped that the Responders would win the game. When my opponent played Master Trinketeer I wanted to scoop but if my opponent would just be creating Servo tokens I could still fly and deal some damage while gaining life. Till the end of the game my opponent didn't do anything. Just created some servos and crewed a vehicle. In the following game my hand looked more like a constructed game. My hand contained all the rares I would need till the end of the game, I did not care about my draws. The following game was yet another exhibition of Rares and Mythics. Liliana, my next opponent, actually started bashing me and almost killed me but her advance was stopped by two rares I drew and managed to play (I was helped by the AI not really valueing its card much). In the final match I was provided with Heart of Kiran, Gideon and Chandra and the only cards I needed were already in my hand. Tezzeret also got mana screwed so well all I needed to deal with were 1/1 Thopters. This wasn't an enlightening experience either. Rather similar to the prerelease one. If you want to see me struggle with Magic Duels UI and see how I randomly kill my campaign opponents you are welcome to watch the video above this paragraph.
My following sealed pool wasn't the best one either. The cards I valued the most were Yahenni's Expertise and Daring Demolition. In general the strongest color was blue and I had some sweet cards in red and white color was the most aggressive. I put together White-Blue-Red deck because there was no way I could splash the black removal. I played two rounds before I dropped. Both of my opponents didn't know the cards but had a nice decks with killer rares in them. Both of them tried very hard to lose and not kill me but in the end in both cases I lost to their rares. I wasn't more angry during a limited game of Magic.
When I came back to my flat I showed my pool to my flatmate and asked him for an opinion. Well, he picked exactly the same cards as me and had the same dilemma with Expertise and Demolition. He would have ended up in Grixis most probably not playing the double black cards and but the cards that killed me would have easily killed that Grixis deck as well. At least someone was seeing my pool the same way as me and it made me feel a little bit better. But it did not change the fact that I could play a normal game of Magic and had be totally upset about being totally crushed by some darn rares.
Trying to forget about AER-KLD limited by playing Legacy
After I cooked dinner that was by some miracle edible (it actually tasted good). I opened Magic Online and put together the strangest deck ever for Legacy.
In one of the games I even managed to throw Emrakul at my opponent twice! That was hilarious. I lost the match anyway, because my opponent played few Cabal Therapies and Thoughtseizes that stripped me out of all the nonland cards I had in my hand. Anyway the game wasn't that one sided as this might have suggest. I was in a winning position for a while till my opponent killed my Jace, the Mind Sculptor and played Thragtusk. I needed two removal spells for it that I didn't have and died. In the last match I played (around midnight, the moment when you tell yourself 'just a quick match and I'll go to sleep) I faced yet another Miracles deck. The games were pretty cool and I was surprised that my opponent brought in Blood Moons post-board. I was wondering if I would make similar deck in Vintage. Just take part of my Blue Moon deck, mix it up with Mentor and try to make it work. I would be a big blue deck, not using Gush engine. It could possibly work :-/.
Here's a screenshot of a game I thought I would win, but my opponent's Counterbalance totally changed that because I couldn't Flusterstorm and counter my opponent's Terminus. Moral of the story always kill Jace, the Mind Sculptor when you have the chance. I've seen many Jaces during my Legacy games but I did not feel so cheated like facing ANY rare from KLD or AER in those sealed event's matches. Limited GP is upon us and I have NO IDEA what the set is about - except obviously bombs.
End of a rant-y post
Thanks for reading