Posted in NEWS on March 15, 2014

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

Did you build your deck? Think you're ready to take on the field? If you haven't checked out the first sample Born of the Gods Sealed pool yet take a quick thirty minutes and build your deck.

When you're ready, we found our first expert to help up break down the deck to play.

11th-ranked Alexander Hayne is among the heroes of a resurgent Canadian Magic scene. With Pro Tour Avacyn Restored and a recent string of Grand Prix wins to his name, Hayne has demonstrated formidable skills in every way the game is played.

11th-ranked Alexander Hayne wears his grin more often than not.


So how does one of the game's great approach this Sealed pool?


"First I sort by color and remove the unplayable." Hayne said. What's unplayable? "A card that I certainly don't want to play, like Culling Mark or Witch's Eye. They're cards I'm very unlikely to play unless I'm forced to."

Setting aside what you don't want to play at all helps call out where your best options are found.


Hayne's been around the Born of the Gods Limited block. With his fellow Canadian stand-out Jon Stern and Grand Prix Richmond Top 8 member Josh McClain, Hayne ran the gamut at Grand Prix Barcelona. How much testing for "single" Sealed did he do? "I've done somewhere around ten Sealed decks just for this," Hayne admitted.


Hayne wasted no time pulled apart the colors. "All the colors seem deep enough to be playable. I like to eliminate colors if I can, unless it's just like a splash."

Many players prefer to lay everything out and look across the pool visually.


Is there a standout color in this pool? "Red seems solid," Hayne said. "I usually don't like red much in this format, but Stormbreath Dragon seems strong. Cards that really stand out are Stormbreath Dragon and Master of Waves. Black seems the color with the least going for it. It seems unlikely I'll play it unless I'm splashing with Temple of Malice. I think blue is also shallow too: No bounce spells, and Master of Waves is the one real draw. A couple bestow creatures too."


Where do you start? "A white-red aggressive deck is the first obvious deck to look at: Akroan Phalanx is really good if you're white-red," Hayne said.

Hayne laid out an aggressive red-white deck with a slightly rough curve.


"This is definitely a potential deck – very reasonable," Hayne said. "But I want to see what other decks are available. If I have time I'll look at all the options."


Red-Green looked good too, but was much heavier at the top of the mana curve.


"Green-red looks fairly solid," Hayne continued. "Satyr Hedonist is pretty reasonable since you can enable a third turn Stormbreath Dragon, but right away I see a glut at the five-spot. The two- and three-drops are fine but green isn't really bringing a lot to the deck. We'll struggle with others' fast starts without much to do other than Fall of the Hammer."


Hayne moved on to see if Forests and Plains could do the trick.


"White-green might work. The Excoriates get better since this deck a little bit slower and their guys will be tapped from attacking," Hayne explained. "But it looks like the white-red deck is just better."


Hayne was surprised at what he saw adding the thin blue options to his red.


"Blue-red looks pretty reasonable," Hayne said. "The curve works well. Of course, Master of Waves is very good though it looks like I'd play more red cards at this point. Steam Augury might not be that good in this deck: Normally you want to be just adding things to the battlefield with this deck. I'd play Nullify instead to stop them."


So where do you begin to settle down and choose the right deck? "How well the go with each other?" Hayne asked. "The blue had a good curve and solid creatures; red has enough to provide the deck since blue is a little shallow. The incentive to be white is the Akroan Phalanx, Archetype of Courage, and Akroan Hoplite. You'd also get to play the Ordeal of Heliod and get some free wins from that, but I think I like the blue-red deck better. It's the curve and mana stability, and access to the bestow creatures: They fill your early curve or late curve if you get flooded."

Is there anything people might miss looking over things? "I think a card people underrate is Thunderous Might: When you have fliers or Two-Headed Cerberus it's very strong. It's like Titan's Strength for your guy every turn."



So do certain deck styles fit certain pools better? "Some pools like a slower deck with lots of tools," Hayne said. Others want a faster deck. This pool doesn't have a lot of removal, and when you don't have a lot of answers you have to be the deck that presents threats."