SAMPLE SEALED POOL #2 DISCUSSION

Posted in Event Coverage on March 14, 2015

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Yesterday, Adam Styborski and myself each opened a Khans of Tarkir/Fate Reforged sealed pool. We built our decks and played two matches against one another. Building a Sealed Deck can be a complicated endeavor, especially in a multi-color format like this one. Let's take a look at the sealed pool I opened and discuss how I went about building it.

A Sealed card list may look like a wall of text, so I'll include pictures of each color's cards to make things easier to digest.

JVL's Sealed Pool

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The first thing we want to do when building a Sealed Deck is organize our cards. Organizational skills are extremely important to optimally building a sealed pool within the given amount of time. We'll start by organizing cards by color. We'll discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each color before deciding what our final deck should look like.

White:

White is by far our deepest color. We managed to open the two best white uncommons in Fate Reforged, Elite Scaleguard and Valorous Stance, and two copies of the best white common, Sandsteppe Outcast. In Sealed Deck, Valorous Stance essentially feels like a split card where both halves cost 1W and the modes are Terminate or Negate. Elite Scaleguard has the ability to win a game by itself when we get ahead early. High quality cards like Feat of Resistance and Seeker of the Way make it pretty clear that we'll be playing White, probably as our primary color.

Blue:

Our Blue is fairly unexciting. Aven Surveyor and Monastery Siege are both very powerful, but our other good playables require very specific decks. Will of the Naga is very strong if we're playing sixteen or more creatures, especially those with a lot of power, but the card requires two blue mana and it seems unreasonable to assume our mana base will be able to support that. Blue seems like it's unlikely to be a major player here, but that could change when we look at our gold cards.

Black:

Our black is exactly what we're looking for when playing Sealed Deck. We have two copies of Bitter Revelation to win long games, two copies of Typhoid Rats to trade or hold off large monsters while developing our board, and a few other playables to round out the deck.

Red:

Crater's Claws is one of the best cards in the format and its easy enough to splash that we'll basically be playing with it no matter what the rest of our deck ends up looking like. From there, there's not a lot here for the red deck. The inexpensive cards aren't of very high quality, Bring Low is a lackluster removal spell, and Arrow Storm will likely be too difficult to cast.

Green:

Our green lacks creatures, but we do have access to Sansteppe Mastodon, which is definitely a bomb in this format. We Also have Abzan Beastmaster, but it seems unlikely our deck will be able to consistently trigger it.

Multicolor:

We have a lot of good Blue/Green cards here and we're lucky enough to have Ojutai, Soul of Winter, which performs very well in the Sealed format. Mardu Charm, Chief of the Scale, and Mardu Roughrider pull us in the other direction.

Lands and Artifacts:

The first thing we'll notice when looking at our lands is that we don't have any lands that produce green mana. We know we want to be playing White, and we don't have deep enough green to commit to that as a main color. This means we'll likely have to abandon Green altogether and lose access to our Blue/Green and Sultai multicolored cards. Our blue is weak, but we have enough lands to easily splash Ojutai, Soul of Winter to play on the top end.

Black and White were definitely my most attractive color options. I had some decent Mardu options and Crater's Claws was undoubtedly making the cut. When I put the deck together, the curve looked beautiful and the deck seemed like it had all the tools necessary to beat any opponent.

Here's what I ended up playing with:

JVL's Finished Sealed Deck

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Adam Styborski had a powerful Temur deck with big hitters like Whisperwood Elemental, Surrak Dragonclaw, and Dragonstyle Twins. We played two matches and my deck performed beautifully. Adam managed to steal one game from me in a game where his Whisperwood Elemental went unanswered, but Bitter Revelation helped me find the necessary removal spells to handily win four out of five games.

Later in the night, I ran into my friend Gabe Carleton-Barnes who recently won a Limited Pro Tour Qualifier on Magic Online. My deck had been taken apart at this point, but I still had all the cards on me.

GCB mulled over the pool for about twenty minutes before arriving at an almost identical deck to my own. In the end, he made a good argument for cutting Bring Low and one Mountain in favor of Jeskai Student and another Plains.

This Sealed pool was particularly interesting because I was given the option of many powerful Blue/Green cards and a very deep White pool. In the end, my lands dictated the final color decisions and I was forced to leave some powerful cards in my sideboard. Nevertheless, my deck operated beautifully and allowed me to outmaneuver Adam's Temur deck.

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