I just got back from a midnight prerelease and figured I’d write up some thoughts on the AVR sealed format, on the off chance that I can grab a few hits from people who will be battling later this weekend. I’m not much of a Limited player, so it’s possible my evaluations are off, but I did win, so I guess I did something right! (Or at least got really lucky…)
Going in, I expected the format to be pretty slow, with an abundance of white flyers, but from my experience, the Soulbond creatures actually change that quite a bit. There are definitely some bad ones, but in general I thought that they were pretty powerful. Of the ones I played or saw played, the green uncommon that gives +2/+2 seemed quite strong, and the Lifelink 1W white guy was pretty annoying to play against. The soulbond creatures allow you to get some very aggressive starts, and there didn’t actually seem to be *that* much removal in the format. The fact that they can pair with creatures that are played after them is pretty important, but usually they’re coming in and “hasting” in an extra few points of damage by making your guy too big to profitably block.
That having been said, I felt like this was a relatively awkward set to play in sealed. I feel like a lot of the cards synergize well together, but can be less exciting if you only a have a few. Soulbond is great since you’re basically always going to be playing creatures, but blink tricks, or the “if you control only one creature” theme in black for example, are a lot harder to build around. You can definitely do some very cool things if you do happen to get enough blue/white creatures to build around their ETB triggers. The 2UU flyer in particular seemed excellent, especially if you consider most people will have relatively slow decks. I know I said that you can build “aggressive” decks with Soulbond creatures, but that actually just means building a deck that reliably curves that goes from 3 to 6 (although having the 2 drop can certainly help!).
There are a decent number of silly bombs in the format, but I don’t know that there are any more than usual. Sigarda being basically unkillable is kind of frowny face though.
Miracle cards seemed…underwhelming? Obviously if you miracle them, they’re a huge blowout, and in general they aren’t so crazy overcosted that you don’t mind paying full price for them, so they’re fine, but it *does* suck to draw your miracle when you can’t cast it for whatever reason (which happened to me every time, so maybe that’s why I’m less excited about them). Something to keep in mind are the green wolves that can’t be blocked by creatures with less power – I saw someone miracle the green spell that puts 4 +1/+1 counters onto the 2/1 for 1G, and the game basically ended on turn three.
As far as my personal deck, I played a GB deck with a decent curve, a solid amount of removal, and six six drops. My game plan was to play a guy every turn, which would be bigger than their guy, and attack until they were dead. It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done? In the interest of full disclosure, I actually drew in the final round, and we split the prizes – I happened to have better tie breakers so I ended up as “1st”, but if we’d played the games out he probably would have stomped me quite thoroughly (we played several games for fun, and I think I won one in three games on average?). It wasn’t an unwinnable match, but his cards in general were far better than mine (vanilla 5/3s and 7/7s vs Sigarda and her angelic friends).
Okay, I am about to pass out, so enough of this. I think I had more to say, but it’s probably all unimportant Good luck to everyone battling this weekend!
(I also happened to go 3-1 at FNM with Delver, losing to RB Zombies, which seems like a really tough matchup, but I assume no one cares about Standard at the moment)