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.

As a quick reminder, 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, check out what 11th-ranked Alexander Hayne did with the first sample Sealed pool and compare it to our featured pro here, Conley Woods.

Woods, like Hayne, started starting a Sealed pool the same way: "I'd normally take out all the unplayables first," Woods said. "A lot of them here are white. Unplayable doesn't mean it's truly unplayable, just that 9 times out of 10 you don't want it in your deck."

Conley Woods


So did anything stand out to Woods? "This pool is good," Woods said. "Mnemonic Wall is great with Fated Infatuation. Red's got Stormbreath Dragon, enough of a reason to play it. Temple of Malice might be helpful. Steam Augury is not my favorite card but it's playable. I'm going to start with red because it looks the deepest."


Woods started with the strongest color at first glance.


"Akroan Conscriptor is really good," Woods said, before fanning over the pile of creatures that cast two mana. "Generally you want to play your two-drops. There's aren't a lot of them, so they're all playable. I'd even play a Mindreaver," a rare, blue 2/1 that cost {oU}{oU}. "It's that's important."


What color do you look at next? "I would say blue's best two cards are Master of Waves and Fated Infatuation," Woods said. "But there's not enough blue to play them. No Griptide. No Voyage's End. So if blue's out I'd look at the double Oreskos Sun Guide," Woods said, laying out white cards. "Akroan Phalanx is really strong in red-white."

Woods looked pleased when he laid out the aggressive red-white options.


"I would play this Temple of Malice even through there's nothing worth splashing in black. I'd play just the Temple for the scry," Woods said. "There's 29 cards here, so in terms of cuts I'd start with Excoriate and Two-Headed Cerberus. Cerberus the worst three-drop because I don't have a ton of stuff to do with him; The next worst is Laganna-Band Elder."


Why not cut a more expensive second Rage of Purphoros before the second Excoriate? "Excoriate goes because I have a decent amount of removal, and you're generally expecting their guys to be on the defense," Woods said. "Rage of Purphoros can play when they're both on the offense and defense."

What else can go? "Next is Rise to the Challenge since I don't have that much heroic to trigger, and I already have other things to do it," Woods explained. "To get down to 23 cards I think the last one to go is the second Rage of Purphoros – I don't want to cut any more of the heroic enables."

Woods kept these cards as he cut them away. "You'll need these from your sideboard depending on what you play against.


"This deck will put so much pressure on opponents it will turn combat tricks into removal, so the extra Rage isn't necessary. I wouldn't play the Akroan Crusader since there isn't enough to target it with otherwise."


Woods has a straightforward method for looking at how many of each basic land to add to the deck.


How do you find the right mix of mana sources for a deck? "I always lay out singe and double mana costs since that's what matters," Woods said. "I'd run a little extra red for Dragon Mantle, Satyr Nyx-Smith, and Akroan Phalanx – all those want extra red mana, and Archetype of Courage doesn't have to come down on turn three to be good."


Do you like where we ended up? "I'd take this over most other decks in the format," Woods admitted. "The deck is like a 7 or 8 out of 10. This pool is tough because all of the colors have reasons to play them, I'd just say the red-white just has the most cohesive game plan."