SEALED DECK BUILD EXERCISE WITH FRANK KARSTEN

Posted in NEWS on May 24, 2014

By Olle Rade

While different pro players might have the same view of how a sealed deck pool should be built, they certainly have different methods of getting there. If anyone is a thorough sealed deck builder it is Dutch Hall of Famer, and recent PhD graduate Frank Karsten, who was next up to dissect the pool in our sealed deck build exercise.

Fresh off from Pro Tour Journey into Nyx last weekend, Frank Karsten had focused mainly on drafting, but also had a good sealed deck practice at Grand Prix Warsaw the weekend before where he ended up in 38th place, adding to a resume of multiple Pro Tour and Grand Prix top 8's.

His first course of action was piling up all the colors with cards that stood out as particularly good in one pile, with the merely playable ones in a pile below it. A very good method to get an overview of how the colors are looking. His selection classified the best cards in each colors as following:

Blue: Sudden Storm, Voyage's End, Nyxborn Triton
Red: Magma Spray, Arena Athlete
White: Vanguard of Brimaz, Tethmos High Priest
Black: Insatiable Harpy, Silence the Believers
Green: Nemesis of Mortals, Arbor Colossus, Nyxborn Wolf, Swordwise Centaur, Scourge of Skola Vale

"Black has the strongest card in the pool in Silence the Believers, but other than that it is not very deep. While Green is the deepest color of the pool and has several strong cards like Arbor Colossus," he summed up the sorting.

After carefully pondering his decision the Dutchman also fell for Green/Blue. "At a first glance i like Green/Blue the best. It has the deepest colors, a decent curve and good tempo spells, although it might not have enough good creatures," said Karsten.

It turned out the colors had as many as 12 spells that Frank considered playable. But an optimal build he explained has around 16 creatures and 7 spells, and he would be very hesitant to go lower than 13 creatures in any build. After looking over the other colors quickly he laid up the Green and Blue cards according to mana cost to get the best look of how the deck could perform, also looking for synergetic combos.

"Guardians of Meletis for example, goes very nice with Scourge of Skola Vale, to sac it and give +6/+6. But in the end it might be better to run the Opaline Unicorn to be able to ramp into the 5-drops," he said.

Being the analyst he is, Frank took a good look at other color combinations, even laying out a Green and Black build before making his final decision. He ruled out Green/White due to lack of interactive spells, Blue/Black due to lack of creatures and Black/White because of not enough playable cards. In the end his final decision was the Green/Blue he had initially dubbed the best build, and his deck ended up close to Denniz Rachid's build. Although Frank wasn't as enthusiastic about the decks strength.

"I'd give it a 6 on a scale from 1 to 10," he explained. "I am not that confidant that this is the best build, but it has a serviceable creature base, a serviceable mana curve and a good mix of interactive cards and pump spells."

Frank Karsten

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