I went 4-1 with my black-blue control deck. Apparently, my anti-Dawnbringer Charioteer plan worked out perfectly, as I played against four white decks and I didn’t get hit by that guy once. The fifth match? Didn’t do so well.
Although I previously advocated for white, I did play black just as I had also stated. I did not have to regret the decision. As the full spoiler became available, I saw that black, once again, had a removal spell in common in Feast of Dreams. And I got one. Also, I managed to Asphyxiate and Sip of Hemlock from the other two set. On top of that, blue was also kind to me, giving me a Voyage’s End, two Griptides and a Sea God’s Revenge. On top of that, I had a Hypnotic Sire and black came through with King Macar, the Gold-Cursed. There was also a Scourge of Fleets, but I just couldn’t fit that into a deck with only seven Islands.
So, the Charioteer was under control and that was pretty much good enough. Granted, Athreos, God of Passage proved problematic and I did pause for a while when I was only at seven life when opponent played Athreos and an Underworld Coinsmith. The problems began with the only deck I faced that didn’t play white.
It was a BG deck with plenty of Constellation. At least it felt like it. It didn’t probably have that many Constellation cards, but did have an Eidolon of Blossoms, which I was unable to deal with for some reason. I did have enough removal in my deck, but I just didn’t draw it when I needed it. Bouncing it isn’t actually very beneficial. He also had a couple of Nyx Weavers and worst of all, especially with the Constellation cards, Pharika, God of Affliction. (Note that the snake it produces happens to be an enchantment and thus triggers all the Constellation cards.)
Doomwake Giant was very strong. Sure, it came down as just a 4/6 couple of times, but a 4/6 for five isn’t bad at all. It definitely passes the vanilla test. It did take creatures with it plenty of times. Even one Pharika’s Chosen is big game, giving me room to attack much more beneficially. Also, the Giant had some weird interactions. Once I was able to attack with a Disciple of Deceit into an army of blockers, because after Doomwaking the opponent, he didn’t have enough power on the table to kill the disciple.
Speaking of the Disciple, it was a bit annoying. You can’t really build around it, because you don’t have enough options. Much of the time you just don’t have anything useful and I often even didn’t remember what I had in the deck. I asked the judge if I could use a decklist, but that was deemed too slow, which might be true in some instances, but since I’m pretty fast anyhow, I don’t think it would have mattered, but its better to have the same rules for everyone.
Although I’ve played a lot of Theros and Theros / Born of the Gods limited, this was the first time I used Griptide and Voyage’s End to protect my creatures. I did have enough bodies in the deck, but so few of them were good enough to matter, so I protected those if I was able. I did this with King Macar, the Gold-Cursed and even Sphinx’s Disciple at one point.
I enjoy sealed very much, especially with a good pool. I don’t even enjoy it as much if I have an unsportingly crushing pool, but here I had just a pretty good one. A few bombs and a good selection of solid cards. I like it when I have to make choices between good options, rather than having to live with putting something poor into the deck.
I was able to make two decks out of the pool (the other one being green-red), which is a bad sign, as that generally means there isn’t much depth in any color, but perhaps Journey is just that much deeper as a set than Born and as the prerelease format included three Journey boosters (one seeded) versus one Born booster, that might have changed the format for the better.
The seeded booster was a big disappointment at the Born prerelease, but now it actually felt good. Granted, this time I got a King Macar, where last time I had to settle for a pretty much completely unplayable Mindreaver. Of course, the fact that my deck was able to provide a good home for the King, as I was able to sculpt situations where he was extremely good with all the bounce and removal.
All in all, a fun experience and I’m looking forward to this format much more than I was to Born, although we are still dealing with the one Born booster in drafts.