Rob Dougherty's Sealed Deck

Posted in Event Coverage

By by Rui Oliveira

One of the best ways to learn anything about Magic is to watch the Pros. So while the 417 players where racking their minds to build a good sealed deck I sat down to watch Rob Dougherty at work.

Rob quickly admitted that his team hadn't practised enough for this tournament. He got stranded in Dallas, while returning from PT LA, due to a huge snowstorm in Boston. In today's tough Pro Tour schedule every day counts. They only had time for one practice session, which makes Valencia the premier event Rob has been least prepared for. This lack of practice forced Rob to carefully read every Planeshift card.

While we waited for the start of registration we watched Darwin Kastle shaking his card box to get a glimpse of his "soon-to-be" deck. I guess even the great Pros get restless and curious :)

Rob started out by doing something very important: checking the card pool versus the list. In big events the staff has to register a large amount of decks which can sometimes lead to fatigue-induced mistakes, Rob later explained. So always take the time to check things out to avoid any unnecessary trouble.

The first thing he did was split the cards by colour and carefully check each pile. He was quickly drawn to the sheer power of the G/R base: Breath of Darigaaz, Canopy Surge, Scorching Lava, Stormscape Battlemage, Jade Leech and a few useful Kavus. After splitting the G/R useful cards by casting cost Rob had the following piles:

1cc:Gaea's Might
2cc:two Quirion Explorer, Scorching Lava, Agressive Urge, Rogue Kavu
3cc:Kavu Agressor, Caldera Kavu, Slingshot Kavu
4cc:Canopy Surge, Breath of Darigaaz, Jade Leech, Stormscape Battlemage
5cc:Pouncing Kavu, Serpentine Kavu

Notice that, for Breath, Battlemage and Surge, Rob considered the kicker costs when calculating the mana cost. Pleased with these piles he then checks the golden cards and the other colours looking for a third colour (since he only has 15 spells so far). Interesting cards:

Blue: Repulse, Dream Thrush, Probe, Stormscape Apprentice, Wash Out. Gold: Armadillo Cloak, Sleeper's Robe, Cavern Harpy and Malicious Advice. White: Razorfoot Griffin. Black: Soul Burn, Bog Down, Defiling Tears, Nightscape Battlemage, Nightscape Familiar.

Rob picks black and adds Soul Burn, Defiling Tears, Nightscape Battlemage and Bog Down. The new piles look like this:

1cc:Gaea's Might
2cc:2 Quirion Explorer, Scorching Lava, Aggressive Urge, Rogue Kavu
3cc:Kavu Aggressor, Caldera Kavu, Slingshot Kavu, Bog Down, Defiling Tears
4cc:Canopy Surge, Breath of Darigaaz, Jade Leech, Stormscape Battlemage
5cc+:Pouncing Kavu, Serpentine Kavu, Soul Burn, Nightscape Battlemage

A total of 19 cards. Rob goes back to the piles looking for those elusive last spells. At the time I thought Rob was going to use 18 lands and 22 spells but it turns out he felt his two Quirion Explorers allowed him to cut one land. So Rob was missing four cards.

After reviewing blue, again, Rob added two Phyrexian Reaper and Cursed Flesh. He also found a Sparkcaster in his gold cards. One card to go and that one was a tough one to pick. After a long, long review of all his options Rob added the Armadillo Cloak. That was a little risky because he only had three sources of white: two Explorers and a Elfhame Palace. Would he be adding Plains?

As Rob was registering the deck he suddenly stopped and reconsidered the Cloak. His other viable options where Crosis' Attendant and Keldon Mantle. The Cloak was quickly cast aside due to mana problems and the Mantle eventually lost the slot to the Attendant, since Rob would have a hard time using the most valuable abilities (regeneration and pumping) constantly.

The final list:

Lands: 1 Elfhame Palace, 6 Forests, 6 Mountains, 4 Swamps. 1cc:Gaea's Might, Cursed Flesh
2cc:2 Quirion Explorer, Scorching Lava, Aggressive Urge, Rogue Kavu
3cc:Kavu Aggressor, Caldera Kavu, Slingshot Kavu, Bog Down, Defiling Tears
4cc:Canopy Surge, Breath of Darigaaz, Jade Leech, Stormscape Battlemage, Sparkcaster
5+cc:Pouncing Kavu, Serpentine Kavu, Soul Burn, Nightscape Battlemage, Phyrexian Reaper, Crosis' Attendant.

Not broken but very strong. Since Rob has the benefit of three byes he will probably have a quiet afternoon sailing effortlessly through the seven rounds to reach the second day.

Hopefully by tomorrow he will feel more comfortable around Planeshift.

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