This week in Magic: Fat challenges, fat packs

This has been one of the craziest weeks of my life. If all goes right, hopefully it will get even crazier with the Fat Pack Challenge that is coming up this Friday. How many of you have been to the Fat Pack Challenge before? Okay. Well you’re in or  treat. As the name implies, instead of having the usual six packs for a sealed event, we’re using Fat Packs – which have nine packs.



You would think that there would be little difference between six packs and nine packs. However, this is a huge difference. It is makes for quite the challenge. Hence : “Fat Pack Challenge.” More options basically mean more decisions to make. If you asked me which would I prefer? It’s really nice having to make decisions than no decisions.


When I last talked about the Fat Pack Challenge, it was for Journey Into Nyx. That was an interesting Challenge. The biggest reason was due to the potential to open up a God Pack. Unfortunately, no one at either event (Abingtong & Plainville) opened one (at least to my knowledge). In this round of the Challenge, there are no God Packs. Still, Magic 2015 has shown itself to be a really fun set.


Ornithopter – really?


From what I had read along the Twitterverse, Ornithopter was in a lot of main decks over the weekend at pre-release events. Just check out this dicussion thread started by Marhsall Sutcliff and replied by Owen Turtenwald:



Who would have thought that this little guy would be such an all star? From being an easy sac target for Shrapnel Blast to being one of the many creatures to cast spells with Convoke, Ornithopter seemed to do it all. I mean, to think about it, I wouldn’t even want to bother killing it. I guess that’s why it’s such a threat.


However, based off of some of the reactions by the professional players, while it may have been a surprise that many people were playing it main board, they still thought it was not even worthy of coming in from the side board. This is definitely something to think about.


How do you feel about it? Would you play it for some cheap effects? Let me know. I’m quite curious to know.


17 lands or 18 lands?


I’ve always been accustomed to playing 17 lands in Limited. I think that playing 18 is something situational, and only if you’re playing into a heavy curve. In a recent article, Travis Woo discussed this very issue. According to Travis, he states that playing 17 land is more situational and something you do if you play ramp spells. By playing 18 lands, you help yourself by lowering the chances of getting mana boned, and you increase your chances of being able to play that high CC bomb you’re looking to drop on your opponent.


Why do I play 17 lands? I guess the question should be more like, “When should I play 17 lands?” For starters, if you have a small mana curve, then it would make total sense to play 17 lands. In a deck where your highest casting cost spell is four mana, the last thing you want to happen is to get land flooded. Just keep in mind, sometimes it’s better to play a little loose and safe rather than tight and dangerous.


More possible strategies


Some of these strats may be basic to some of you, but the Fat Pack Challenge tends to bring out new players. For them, this is the first time in a sealed event. So, here are some tips from the Zen Master of Sealed: me (Ken Briscoe can testify to this).


When making your deck, try to stick to one or two colors. As you get into three or four color territory, the potential to miss your colors goes up. What can be done to remedy this? One thing that can be done is mana fixing. Luckily in M15, we have the benefits of the Pain Lands making their return to Standard. While you only get two colors out of them, producing a 2-for-1 is still nice. Thanks to spells like Nissa’s Expedition and Verdant Haven, mana fixing becomes a little bit easier as well, so long as you’re playing Green.


Stick to 40 cards. Don’t go 41, 42, or 43. Now I’m sure you’re asking why. The main reason is to be able to draw the spells you want. There is a great article from Jeff Cunningham (circa 2006 via the Mothersite) that explains this well. Playing 40 cards allows for a more focused strategy. Typically when you play more than 40 cards, it can end up diluting your deck and your draws. When you draw a spell from your deck, you want that card to make an impact and not linger around. In some cases, by the time that particular card’s moment to shine comes, it may be too late for you.


Some final thoughts


The most important thing to remember at these events is to have fun. These strategies I proposed at just that – proposals. You don’t have to follow mine, or anyone else’s word. However, I do want you to win. So use the advice I have given you any way you see fit.


That’s it for this week. If you do attend the Fat Pack Challenge, let us know. We want to hear about your experiences in general and your experiences with playing the cards in the Limited format. Also, if you didn’t know, we have also started an Instagram and Tumblr page. If you take any photos from the event, then feel free to share them with us and other Magic: The Gathering fans out there. If you have your own accounts on these sites then don’t forget to tag us in the photos. If you don’t you can always send me any photos you’d like posted on the site to my email:


fat Pack Challenge


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


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