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July 18, 2016


2014-15 Precon Championships: Round 2 and the Leaderboard

by Dredd77

Welcome back to the Precon Championships! The 2014-15 season has just kicked off with the opening round of action as the Nagle Division went from eight contenders, down to four. Not only that, but a number of contenders have joined the Prediction League, competing for a treasure trove of prizes including an Eldritch Moon Prerelease Pack and more than a dozen boosters. If you’re joining us for the first time, there’s still plenty of action ahead- make sure to get your predictions posted to be in the hunt!

More than two-thirds of our predictors felt that the Red Magic 2015 Sample Deck would be grist for the Price of Glory mill. After all, lifegain is an effective strategy against Red burn, and that’s certainly part of the deck’s strategy. Said Jeskai Angel, “The sample decks have the potential to be insanely advantaged over real 60 or 100 card decks, since they have vastly better chances of drawing into their strongest cards.”

This is an interesting perspective, but is it true? While there’s certainly a consistency boost to be gained from building a 30-card deck over a 60, that presupposes you’re running playsets of cards (drawing a card you have four of in a 30-card deck is twice as easy as a 60-card one). The Red Sample deck, however, runs no more than two copies of any card. If you were to dump two Red decks together into a 60-card deck, that deck would have only two rares and eight uncommons- less than even what an Intro Pack gets.

Regardless, Jeskai Angel saw something many missed, and as a result is tied for first place at the top of the table. Well done!

For our second match, Kiora’s Duel Deck took on the Intro Pack from Fate Reforged, Stampeding Hordes. Jeskai Angel again shared some insight, stating that “It looks like Stampeding Hordes has a bunch of bad creatures, while Kiora has a bunch of value creatures and strong tempo cards. I dislike the character, but her deck looks strong here. Kiora is my vote.”

Insidious, meanwhile, opted to back a hot hand. “I would have bet for Conquering Hordes to beat Kiora in 8 games out of 10, but sometimes the two games that Kiora wins are the ones that count.” The pick was Kiora, “obviously on a win streak.”

Next up was the day’s most divisive game, Cruel Plots versus the Black Magic 2015 Player’s Guide. The inclusion of the Player’s Guide decks has been controversial, with some contending that they’re not actual preconstructed decks. Ertai’s Lament has long taken a fairly liberal position on the definition of a preconstructed deck, which to us is defined as any deck constructed by Wizards of the Coast (or its licensed agents). We have, in the past, done reviews on the decks from the Duels from the Planeswalker game (not the officially-released Duels of the Planeswalker paper decks, but the ones from the actual game) as well as the Mirage Block Theme Decks which were never released in a paper form, but rather a creation for Magic: the Gathering Online.

What almost everyone could agree on, though, was the power level for the Player’s Guide deck, but Cruel Plots surpassed most everyone’s expectation to pull past its rival and take the match!

For the final match, we saw the Fate and Fury deck- the “Event Deck” decklist from the eponymous Clash Pack, zip past another Fate Reforged Intro Pack, Surprise Attack. There was no surprise in the outcome, though, as Fate and Fury blasted past to contend for the next round. Refresh_daemon remarked, somewhat prophetically, “having twelve ramp creatures beats the three Embodiments and the bombs in F&F are just so much better than Attack’s, I think even the uncertainty the morphs bring and the tempo plays aren’t going to be able to overcome just how much faster F&F can go big.”

Here’s our Prediction Leaderboard!


As always, if you notice a discrepancy, please let us know immediately.

And now… the next round of predictions! You’ll be picking the winners of three matches this week- the last two matches and then the winner of the Nagle Division.


Game One: Red versus Kiora

Game Two: Cruel Plots versus Fate and Fury

Game Three: Winner of Game One versus Winner of Game Two

It’s not too late to jump in if you haven’t already, plenty of games ahead to catch up with. The deadline for this week’s predictions is 11:59pm this Friday night.

Good luck!


25 Comments Post a comment
  1. Grue
    Jul 18 2016

    It looks like I got left off the results list, my picks last week were…

    G1: Price of Glory *sigh*
    G2: Kiora
    G3: Black *alas*
    G4: Fate & Fury

    • Jul 19 2016

      Sorry for the oversight, I’ll make sure your points are counted!

  2. signofzeta
    Jul 18 2016

    cruel plots

    no to sample decks, no to combined clash packs, no to preconstructed decks that aren’t literally preconstructed.

    • Jul 19 2016

      Don’t forget to pick a winner of the Division, too!

      • signofzeta
        Jul 19 2016

        cruel plots, because it is an intro pack. Sometimes, when you are a fan of a team, you throw logic out the window and cheer for your team no matter how many times they miss the playoffs or play in many games where they get blown out. Then we put paper bags over our heads and toss the $200 jersey onto the ice, while giving the organization more money because we are fans.

        You should really consider grouping precons into franchises, such that the precons in the same franchise are released in the same time, but different years, and each season has a representative of that franchise. It also makes it easier to form divisions as the same “franchises” are in the same division. It also makes it so that there might be some seasons with dominant divisions and weak divisions. I mentioned that between the 08-09 and 09-10 season, there are back to back winners because both Dead Ahead and Eldrazi Arisen are the intro packs of the spring set, and both are the “red” based intro pack. It also makes it so that if a precon that gets released in the same time every year always gets bounced in the first round, or if you include a round robin “season” structure, and they never make the playoffs, we can say that precon franchise is a joke, and boo them, and if we are fans, we wear paper bags over our head while throwing jerseys onto the ice/court/pitch/field to voice our displeasure. In this case, we just throw the precon on the ground.

        I already posted long comments on how this franchise thing works in the previous article, so I will mention it with the planeswalker deck era. in which there are 22 franchises.

        Early year left side duel deck (Jace, Elspeth, Blessed)
        Early year right side duel deck (Vraska, Kiora, Cursed)
        Late year left side duel deck (Heroes, Speed, Zendikar)
        Late year right side duel deck (Monsters, Cunning, Eldrazi)
        White commander deck (Evasive Maneuvers, Forged in Stone, Call the Spirits)
        Blue commander deck (Mind Seize, Peer through Time, Seize Control)
        Black commander deck (Eternal Bargain, Sworn to Darkness, Plunder the Graves)
        Red commander deck (Power Hungry, Built from Scratch, Wade into Battle)
        Green commander deck (Nature of the Beast, Guided by Nature, Swell the Host)
        White welcome deck
        Blue welcome deck
        Black welcome deck
        Red welcome deck
        Green welcome deck
        Fall set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
        Fall set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
        Winter set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
        Winter set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
        Spring set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
        Spring set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 2
        Summer set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 1
        Summer set planeswalker deck whose number near barcode ends in 2

        The franchises are based on release date first, before deck type. Commander 2011 does not belong to the same franchise as Commander 2013, 2014, and 2015. They belong to the same franchise as Planechase 2009, and 2012, and Archenemy.

        You can pretty much figure out the franchises if you look at the annual release schedules, which is the same every year.

  3. Excuse me, has anyone seen my jaw? I think it fell on the floor somewhere around here …

    1) Red (M15 Sample Deck) – Dirty 30-card RDW throat-slitter versus enemy-colour deck that looks like it was pushed to win in the previous round? I will be moderately surprised if this goes to three rounds.
    2) Fate & Fury – I like domino run plays. Fate & Fury likes kicking domino run plays across the room.
    3) Red (M15 Sample Deck) – I’d rather see Fate & Fury take this, which means of course Red will win.

  4. Jeskai Angel
    Jul 18 2016

    G1 (Red vs. Kiora): Kiora has some real powerhouse cards, but also some pretty fiddly chaff that doesn’t line up well against Red. She also needs time to ramp. Sample Red has less fluff to sift through, and I think it can run enough more consistently to take out Kiora before she achieve board dominance. #RedDeckWins
    G2 (CP vs. F&F): I think CP has better synergy (good density of sac outlets and benefits for sacrificing) and better spot removal. F&F has some incredible haymakers (e.g. Hydra Broodmaster), and it has some game-changing mass removal (Curse, Aetherspouts) but I’m still going to bet on Cruel Plots to get the job done. #SlumgarMillionaire
    G3 (ostensibly Red vs. CP): Team Silumgar has enough defensive creatures, removal options, and occasional card advantage, that I think they’ll be able to finally put a stop to the rampaging crimson menace, making Cruel Plots the division champ. #SlumgarMillionaire

  5. signofzeta
    Jul 18 2016

    A little off topic, but I think I figured out what WOTC’s plan is with planeswalker decks, and fitting as many archetypes into them. Right now, we get 5 intro packs, and 2 deck archetypes for Magic Duels per set, right? I am thinking that in the Planeswalker deck era, we get 2 Planeswalker decks, and 5 deck archetypes for Magic Duels per set, so what ever mechanical themes we might have gotten as physical preconstructed decks will end up digital only in magic duels. You get to see these deck archetypes when you use the deck wizard to build your deck, so the idea of “getting the feel for themes and mechanics of the set” still exist, although it isn’t really a fixed decklist. I also checked, and whenever a new expansion is released, it does not remove the older deck archetypes, at least so far, it doesn’t. This means that if you want to get a feel of an older set, you can still use magic duels. If you don’t want to build the deck, you just use auto complete, so maybe this might give some of us who play theme decks and intro packs, only because we want to sample the set, some closure as there is an alternate way, but for me, I mentioned in a very super long comment as to why I personally don’t like the change to Planeswalker Deck, although that reason doesn’t make any sense to you.

  6. Jul 19 2016

    G1: All right, I got burned (of course) last time by favoring life gain, so I’m giving the red welcome deck’s consistency the benefit of the doubt, especially since Kiora’s deck has rather high variance and not a ton of ramp, meaning that the speed and efficiency of the red deck really could win. Yes, if Kiora lands a shrouded fat fattie, red’s in trouble, but I don’t know if red will let her get there, so I’ll pick the red deck.

    G2: I think this one might be closer. Cruel Plots does have some ways to stall with its bounce, deathtouch, and some options for single target removal while getting bits of incremental advantage. Fate and Fury on the other hand is very single minded towards getting out its fatties quickly, but since it will frequently be relying on one big creature at a time, it does become susceptible to single target removal and Cruel Plots isn’t even bad at chump blocking. Still, in the end, I like the much more focused approach of Fate and Fury as well as its reduced variance and while I think it will be close, I feel like Fate and Fury will get to crash in with big beats and eventually win off its big mana, big card draw style.

    G3: If it comes down to Red welcome vs. Fate and Fury, I think it could again be close, especially since red can move more quickly into the red zone. However, most of its creatures minus the two dragons can be traded with by a number of green’s early drops and then just straight up stopped by its midrange, at least not without relying on burn to remove them often at a two-for one rate. Red could steal wins if F&F is stuck dawdling waiting for a fattie to drop, but I think the dedicated ramp plus the card draw of F&F will win the day more often (barring any Cone of Flame blowouts on the mana dorks) and take the division.

  7. Jul 19 2016

    Sort of related question: When you reach the Precon Championships for Theros block, will we see the Modern Event Deck joining the fray? I imagine it’d be a favorite to win if it did, although I would love to see what deck upset it (should it get upset).

    • Jul 19 2016

      Absolutely, we will be seeing that deck in contention, and I agree- I’m a sucker for an underdog story.

  8. Icehawk
    Jul 19 2016

    1.) Kiora. >.> One of these day a duel deck will tell these intro pack kids to get off their lawn and they’ll listen.
    2.) Cruel Plots <..< It may be dreaming, but she'll get away with it if it isn't for these kids! 😛

    • Jul 19 2016

      Don’t forget to pick a winner of the Division, too!

      • Icehawk
        Jul 20 2016

        Thanks! >.> I have no clue how it got cut off. Must have hit undo or something. It’s weird coz my joke for it’s there.

        3.) Kiora >.< It may be dreaming, but she'll get away with it if it isn't for these kids! 😛

  9. westbrook57
    Jul 19 2016

    G1: Kiora. They look like polar opposites in terms of consistency, but Red has a ton of reliable early pressure. On the other hand, once Kiora gets ramped up it’s no contest. I’d have to go with Kiora, even though it doesn’t seem statistically likely for her to win.

    G2: Fate and Fury. No way an Event Deck will lose to an Intro Deck.

    G3: Fate and Fury. Kiora’s is too inconsistent, in my opinion, and the Fate part has answers to the big monstrosity creatures, while the Fury aspect can ramp up just as well. Plus, the name’s cool.

  10. Insidious
    Jul 19 2016

    Jeskai Angel is correct about the advantage of 30-card decks over 60-card decks. I did the math and the probability of drawing one of a pair in a 30-card deck is actually *higher* than the probability of drawing one of four cards in a 60-card deck (not by much, but still…). The chance of a drawing a singleton, obviously, is much higher. Also, the 30-card deck is less likely to have mana problems, both drawing not enough/ too many lands because of size and, obviously again, drawing the wrong colour because it´s mono-coloured. That said, I go for the red deck to win the first game.
    The second game is interesting. Cruel Plots works surprisingly well when it has all the right cards on board, and Fate and Fury does not really pack enough removal and is a bit vulnerable in the air. But Cruel Plots can falter easily if the cards don´t manage to come together. My heart tells me to go for the underdog (go Iceland!), but my mind says that Fate and Fury is simply much stronger, so I´ll pick Fate and Fury both as winner of the second game and as division champion.

    Next week I won´t post since I´m on holiday. See you all in two weeks, and have fun gaming!

    • Jul 25 2016

      I think we both wanted to see it be Iceland…

  11. Jenesis
    Jul 19 2016

    G1: Kiora. She beat a red deck against my expectations before, I’m betting she can do it again.
    G2: Fate and Fury. Lots of ramp, cheap dudes to sac off, and consistency.
    Final: Fate and Fury: In the battle of GU it should come down to the more consistent deck.

  12. Grue
    Jul 20 2016

    G1 – Kiora
    G2 – Fate and Fury
    G3 – Fate and Fury

  13. Ender
    Jul 20 2016

    G1- red
    G2 Fate and fury
    g3- red

  14. Scott Mazurek
    Jul 21 2016

    Game One – Kiora
    Game Two – Fate & Fury
    Game Three – Fate & Fury

    Also…on the leaderboard you added an unnecessary “N” in my last name 🙂

  15. ubur
    Jul 22 2016

    G1 Kiora
    G2 Fate and Fury
    G3 Fate and Fury

  16. Jul 22 2016

    I’m going to guess…
    1) Kiora
    2) Fate and Fury
    3) Fate and Fury

    Why the fate and fury love? I think the ramp is a little bit better and more consistent, plus it could go over and kill the only real win con in Kiora’s deck (Kiora) pretty easily. If the deck stumbles on mana at all, Fate and Fury has a field day.

    Knowing my luck, though, the red sample deck will continue to defy all logic and wreck face wherever it goes (note: in the small group I play with, no one can beat ANYONE with the red sample deck)

  17. Jul 22 2016

    G1 Koira
    G2 Fate / Fury
    G3 Fate / Fury

  18. errtu
    Jul 23 2016

    Ach, thought I already posted! 😦

    1 Kiora
    2 Fate&Fury
    3 Kiora


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