Mystery Sealed After-Action Report

Posted in Event Coverage on November 30, 2013

By Josh Bennett

Captain Canuck alter-ego Alexander Hayne has continued to light things up following his surprise win at Pro Tour Avacyn Restored. He put a second Grand Prix Championship trophy on his shelf last weekend at Kyoto (helped in no small part by fellow masters and teammates Mike Hron and Rich Hoaen), and jumped back onto the Top 25 Rankings in 21st.

He had his work cut out for him this weekend, however, as he was the recipient of the sealed deck pool we showed you earlier. During his byes, I asked him to walk me through his thought process as he built his deck.

He said the first thing he settled on was playing the green. It has a number of very powerful cards, the Nessian Asps, Voyaging Satyrs and the Nemesis of Mortals. Blue gives him still more power in the form of two Nimbus Naiads and two Ordeal of Thassa. Knowing that he wanted all those cards together, the next step was figuring out what would best complement them. "The thing that stuck out to me was no bounce. No Voyage's End, no Griptide, no ways to interact with my opponent's creatures. So I figured I needed to go for as many cheap wins as possible. That's where this little guy comes in." He turned over the much-maligned Triton Shorethief.

"If I miss Day 2, this is the card that people will point at. But if I make it, I can go 'Haha! I was right!'"

He had considered a light red splash for Steam Augury and Crackling Triton, made possible by the Burnished Hart and Nylea's Presences, but ultimately decided against it. Consistency was key. The last two cards on the chopping block were Omenspeaker and Sealock Monster. Despite his many mana accelerants, Hayne says that the hexproof Benthic Giant will often outperform the Monster.

I asked him what he thought of black-blue, the three Returned Phalanx and Nighthowler seemingly demanding attention. He explained that the Black-Blue deck winds up short on cards, and can't really take advantage of the two blue Ordeals. The red tells a similar story, no way to support its two all-star cards. Hayne reiterated his dislike of aggressive creatures in this format. He wouldn't be caught dead playing Minotaur Skullcleaver.

Alexander Hayne

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After 8 rounds Hayne was at a comfortable 7-1. He said the deck had been performing well, above his expectations. "I lost to Gerard Fabiano, he had the one thing I was worried about - another deck with Ordeals. I have no way to deal with them." Hayne also pre-empted my question about the little Shorethief that could. "I actually won this round because of Shorethief. It had to be him, not the Scorpion, because my opponent had Pharika's Cure. He dodges Pharika's Cure on turn two, and then outgrows Lash of the Whip!"

I asked if he'd done much sideboarding. He said he had been (perhaps reluctantly) taking out the Shorethief on the draw. He also brought in Sealock Monster against blue decks, and added the second Benthic Giant against black. Overall, he's very happy with his build, and delighted with his good fortune. He only has one more round with the Ordeal Machine, and then he can get rested for Day 2.

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