Welcome to the eighth installment of “MTGDad tries to figure out if he can still squeeze in some Magic while also learning how to take care of his newborn daughter!” It’s been a pretty wild ride so far and we’re glad you’re here for it. To give you a quick update, we wrapped up our fourth Rivals of Ixalan Friendly Sealed league this week, finished 6-3 for the second time, and secured our second trophy!

For those of you keeping score at home you’ll recall that the primary goal, as a semi-retired Spike, Tournament Grinder, is to prove I can still accomplish MTG goals while being a full-time parent (and also working a full-time job and running this here website).

The first goal for this season, if you recall, is to win a Silver Prestige Avatar, which is Zacama, Primal Calamity. The way in which we’ve set about doing so is through Rivals of Ixalan Friendly Sealed Leagues. Each league consists of three stages of three rounds each, and if you go 3-0 in a stage you secure a trophy. Five trophies gets you the Silver Prestige Avatar.

With two trophies in our pocket we’re 40% of the way there! More importantly, we feel like we’re finally learning the format a bit better after our fourth rodeo, so hopefully the next three trophies will come a little quicker than once every other league.

Our second and third goals are not progressing as well but that’s to be expected as we balance life as a parent with the rest of our life. Right now I’ve been able to average one league every two weeks, which means I’ll have time for roughly three or four more leagues before the season is over. That’s likely not going to be enough time to acquire a full set of XLN and RIX commons and uncommons, but maybe the stars will align in our favor and we’ll get closer than we expect.

In the meantime, here’s the pool for Sealed League Number Five:

The first thing I do whenever I start a new league these days is build out the four tribal decks. However, I’ve discovered that this isn’t always the best plan. In the last league, my best tribe was Dinosaurs, but white was kind of weak so I just went with a R/G aggressive deck that had a combination of Dinosaurs and Merfolk.

So, take a look at the builds I’ve put in below, and then make sure you send your feedback on Twitter/Facebook and let me know what you would do with this pool. There are definitely some bombs in there with Vona’s Hunger, Journey to Eternity, and Hadana’s Climb. Two copies of Tilonalli’s Shapeshifter is… interesting? I don’t think I can work with too much there except to combo them with Hijack and call the deck “Shenanigans.”





I think that, of the four tribal options, this Pirate/Ascend deck is probably the strongest, but the Merfolk deck is pretty close in power level. It’s possible that shuffling the best cards from both of those decks together is the right thing to do for the first stage of the event. There’s no rule that says you have to play a tribal deck.

In the meantime you’ll all be happy to know that at 10 weeks old my daughter’s favorite thing to do in the world is sit and stare at my poster-size John Avon Unhinged prints which are framed and on the wall over my bed. As an MTGDad in this day and age, Unhinged was during the peak of my competitive days and I have a lot of fond memories of playing with it. I’ve long since sold my entire paper collection except for two things: my Dredge deck which I’ve had since 2007 and my collection of Unhinged basics which I’ve had since 2004. Nothing makes me prouder than my daughter spending all day staring at that artwork (yes I know she’s just enamored by shapes and colors and lights but I can still dream can’t I).

Rich Stein is a retired Magic player, an amateur content creator, and a Level 2 Social Justice Sorcerer. He hopes to eventually become a professional content creator and a Level 20 dual class Social Justice Sorcerer/Bard but he’s more than content to remain a retired Magic player. You can follow his musings on Twitter @RichStein13.

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