Magic: The Gathering Arena - Another MtG video game

In case anyone missed the announcement a while back, this weekend is another Arena Open. The first major limited format tournament on Arena, so it’s a pretty big deal.

Draft would have been nice, but I’ll take sealed. Better than yet another constructed event!

Used my hoarded daily-quest gold to enter the sealed-deck Arena Open today.

First try, got myself spanked, as one would expect. Went 2-3 with this weak-ass deck.

Notes on each round

1L: Cyclone Summoner wrecked me - he had two other giants on the board and bounced his Egon artifact to hand. I missed land drops twice.
2W: RG aggro. Kept 4 land hand, drew 3 more in a row. Way behind on board. Made mistake tapping mana, cost me 2 life. Saved by Run Ashore bouncing two creatures to keep me at 1, then got through with Yeti.
3W: BUG snow. Multiple flyers, double Spirit of the Aldergard, and Narfi. Run Ashore was big again, caused enough delay for Yeti to get through before he killed me.
4L: Mana screw, kept three tapped lands, had to Behold to find 4th, drew no more. He had turn 3 Jorn, turn 4 Harald, turn 6 kennel master, turn 7 wurm…totally stomped me.
5L: His Firewalker attacked twice and got playable lands off the boast both times. I had to trade a Yeti for it. He followed with packmate and outrider. Got Nexus out, slowed him with Run Ashore. He had Aegar and Raven to follow though, couldn’t keep up, and had his own Run Ashore to finish.

Second try, ended up with this wierd 4-color thing that went 5-3. Would have liked to play aggro with the two Hammers, but just didn’t have the 2-drops to be feasible.

Notes on each round

1W: Kept 2-land hand, but it had both Sculptor and Replicating Ring. Drew third land, good to go, then got really lucky with Dragon and a Hammer dwarf. He killed those but couldn’t handle the follow-up Cyclone Summoner.
2L: Ridiculous UGW deck with a zillion creatures, including Toski and Maja. Plus Path to the World Tree. Used Cyclone Summoner to reset, and got Narfi out. But he replayed Toski and a Wings, started drawing cards, and got a wurm to clog up the ground. Played Righteous Valkyrie too, and Ravenformed my Narfi. Got close, but he just had too many extra cards from the Toski and the Path.
3L: Kept hand with no green but Behold, had to use it to find a forest. Opponent was GW with multiple angels, splashed red for removal, curved out and just stomped me.
4W: Turn 2 Magda, turn 3 Firewalker, turn 4 Toralf’s Hammer. Nothing in my deck can stop that hammer, but it doesn’t help if he has no creatures. Battle of Frost and Fire saved me, then Disdainful Stroke saved me again by countering his Mammoth. Hammer was still out, but no creatures so I was able to get in with a Troll and Hammer dwarf. Cyclone Summoner finished it off.
5W: UR giants and spells. Used Sculptor and Frost to get Narfi out. He had Hawk with Pick, got the Invasion of the Giants saga, and played two Squash plus Berg Strider. Killed a bunch of my things, but a Hammer dwarf, packmate, and Narfi were enough to get through.
6W: Had to mull a hand with no early plays and bad color combos. Kept three lands but drew no more, had to Behold to find fourth. Opponent was BW and played Starnhelm Unleashed, too short on land to counter though I had a Stroke. Fortunately got land to play an Elven Bow and Outrider to stall the angels, though he made me discard a Hammer in the process. Eventually drew the Dragon and a demon bolt that let me kill the angels, then flew in for the win.
7W: Turn one Throne of Death, turn two Disciple for discard. Both of us missed land drops, but then he got one and played Harald. Killed him with Poison the Cup and scryed to some land. Eventually got to cast the Battle of Frost and Fire to get two of his guys, then Dragon. He never got his fifth land.
8L: WR aggro, opened with Oracle and Story Seeker then Goldmaw Champion. Dead on turn 6.

And the third run, another green-based 4 color deck that was terrible, ended up 1-3.

Notes on each round

1L: Halvar’s equipment and a Tormentor’s helm on a Story Seeker. Killed that, Righteous Valkyrie equipped with same, then a Hammer dwarf. Had both Squash in my hand but no red.
2W: Played the changling artifact guy naming giant, then Doomskar, Cinderheart, and Aegar in succession. Plus equipment, and a Cosmos Elixir. Got Squash plus Masked Vandal to remove his big guys, then blockers to stabilize, then Svella and started pulling things out for free.
3L: Lost to poison. Fymn plus two Valkyries, couldn’t block enough of them, got no removal.
4L: Bloodsky Berkserker plus Throne of Death turn 3, Braggart turn 4, Draugur Necromancer turn 5. Had to block, but then he just got my guys back with the necromancer. Finally drew a Squash to kill it but too late.

Fourth pool, went RG splashing black and white and that was even worse, 0-3.

Notes on each round

1L: Had to mull after drawing all forests and no green cards. RG aggro on the other side, and he got both squash and demon bolt to remove my blockers. Then he dropped Vorinclex and killed me.
2L: RG again, this time with black splash. Removed three of my creatures then played Svella. Got Fynn with the Sword of the Realms, but drew no removal for Svella and couldn’t keep up. Eventually he got Toralf’s Hammer and overran me.
3L: Svella again, on curve on turn 3, but this time I had Binding to kill it. Then he played Calamity Bearer followed by Cinderheart Giant, and I couldn’t kill either.

Fifth pool, tried RW aggro. This one went all the way, 7-1.

Notes on each round

1W: Kept 2-land hand, missed next two land drops. Finally drew third land but by then he was set up, GW with lots of creatures. Lucky for me he got mana screwed and never drew his fifth land, was able to trade to clear off the board and then get across with Arni Brokenbrow.
2L: First hand 4 mountains and no early plays, second one land, ended up mull to 5. Opponent also RW, played Magda into Breakneck Berseker into Master Skald. Drew 4 lands in a row, he dropped a Conderheart Giant, got run over.
3W: No 2 drop but had haste 3 drop into Braggart. Opponent was slow, doing 3 foretells. Finally got a Berg Strider down but used Wings to fly over for the win.
4W: RG aggro but I had the quicker draw plus a demon bolt. He got a wurm on turn 6 to go up to 8 but I had enough creatures to go wide for the win.
5W: Slow opening hand with no plays, mull to 6 had only two mountains, but kept anyway since it was mostly red and had demon bolt. Drew a mountain and plains next two draws, so lucky there. Had him at 3, but then he played Rise of the Dread Marn for 2 zombies, Righteous Valkyrie, and kept drawing creatures and combat tricks. Finally he got Rise of the Draugur and got back two angels, but still I just barely was staying ahead. Then somehow I screwed up and killed the wrong one of his creatures on a block, and he had me dead to rights, but next turn made a mistake of his own blocking and let through exactly lethal.
6W: He got Koll out right away and played a Spectral Steel on him, and I had no removal. But he eventually blocked so I could kill it…and then used a Master Skald to get back the Steel. But that wasn’t the worst, because then he played Toralf’s Hammer. Luckily I was sitting on Shackles of Treachery and it didn’t matter.
7W: Got a good aggro draw and he was mana screwed, stuck on 3 swamps. Still, I almost messed it up by throwing away a Wings of the Cosmos when it made no sense to play it. Fortunately I drew a few more good cards and finished it out.
8W: Five color snow deck, got down Battle of Frost and Fire on turn 5 and wiped out most of my board. I screwed up again with Wings of the Cosmos and “saved” my Bloodline Pretender, though he would have survived anyway. Then he dropped Waking the Trolls - but I drew a hasty guy and finished him off.

I’ve certainly learned that I’m best at playing aggro in these sealed environments. I just don’t do as well with the slower decks, probably gives me more opportunities to screw up.

First time I’ve done day 2 in one of these things. I’ll be shocked if I win more than one match…but who knows, maybe my pool will have good aggro again.

I exceeded my expectations for day 2 by winning not one, but two matches! And losing two, so I’m done. Deck was a terrible BR Berserker thing. Was nice when it worked, but any mana problems and it just folded - and I had plenty of games with mana problems.

Hey good one! Two match wins is no joke with that size of a field.

Do you get a new set of cards on Day 2 or you just continue on with Day 1’s deck?

Day 2 is a new card pool. And also Day 2 is only best-of-three. On the first day, you got to choose best-of-one or best-of-three.

Arena gets a full release for Android and iOS devices tomorrow!

I’m gonna guess there’s probably still a few bugs to squash.

Thar be free card sleeve codes for the upcoming Strixhaven release.

Anyone else playing this?

Add me: TJR Neal#03813

Strixhaven is live! Freebie packs code: “Playstx”.

Got the end-of-set stats email:


Lowest number of games played of any set besides M21, according to the emails. I did not like Kaldheim much. I dunno where they got that “favorite format draft” bit, I played a lot more Brawl.

I haven’t played much myself since Kaldheim came out. I didn’t mind the meta, just a little burned out and using my gaming time for other things. Not sure I ever bothered getting past Platinum the whole set.

I only got back into Magic Arena a couple of weeks ago, and had a good enough time to preorder one of the Strixhaven packs. 50 booster packs OR the mastery pass, 3 draft tokens, and 1 sealed token. I am so glad that I chose the latter, I haven’t played limited much before but I am having a blast. Deck building becomes much more interesting when you’re so limited by cards (or at least less overwhelming than standard constructed), and I have found that the matches are much more varied than in constructed. You see cards you’d never see in constructed, you see suboptimal cards, and you don’t get the really annoying control/mill decks.

My first sealed went pretty well:

Yeah man! Limited is the jam.

This. I only play constructed around the table with my friends, and we all build the craziest/most inefficient decks packed full of crazy shit. It’s like the roguelike of games - you just never know what someone’s going to pull out (but it’s probably going to synergize well, even if by accident).

For fun, and as an example, here is one of my normal decks.

But a few times a year we love getting together and drafting a new set - and this is an itch that is easily scratched on Arena (my son drafts several times on Arena each set, and never pays a dime for it). Drafting is the bomb.

My first Arena sealed was a success. 7-2 with this baby:

Most games were won on the backs of pests.

Nicely done! I’ve tried Witherbloom in a couple of drafts and it hasn’t gone well, never seem to have enough pest generation. But sealed is a different beast.

Thus far the best draft decks seem to be mostly either red/blue (my best run so far was Prismari) or blue/green. Not particularly surprising with all the magecraft triggers running around. Occasionally you get run over by a black/white aggro draw, and once a guy stomped me with that black/green 11/10 guy, but those are the exceptions. Mainly it’s about tempo or making big fractals. Have yet to see a red/white deck do anything of note.

It’s crazy how vastly different our experiences have been. My first draft was Prismari and it went SO horribly. It was so slow that I just got completely run over by basically everyone.

Lorehold seems like a trap almost. It has a very clear mechanical identity, and you would think the recursion would give it a lot of inevitability. But I’m finding it really challenging to put the pieces together. In fact, I would say that about the draft format as a whole. If you aren’t smart about your selections and your synergies, you’re going to get blown out by someone who was. It’s a little unforgiving.

I say that as a Bad Drafter, though.

Oh, I agree. I’m a mediocre drafter at best. I do pretty well when it’s very clear which colors (or in this set, school pairs) are open, but if it’s not extremely obvious what’s being drafted by my neighbors, I end up with really bad decks. Still, I enjoy doing it every once in a while, especially since it’s basically free to draft occasionally on Arena by using your daily quest gold.

PSA: Free stuff.

Apparently this is in apology for the bug that kept you from seeing your daily quests for the last few days.

Good choice, Wizards. Introducing new bugs every update is pretty aggravating.