Building a Sealed Deck with Huang Hao Shan

Posted in GRAND PRIX HONG KONG 2015 on August 8, 2015

By Chapman Sim

With the 2014 - 2015 season coming to an end last week, not only are Pro Levels for the current season set in stone, but also National Champions of 2015.

Huang Hao Shan's solid performance at Pro Tour Fate Reforged contributed a huge chunk of Pro Points to his final tally and he was able to lock up Gold Level before even heading for Pro Tour Magic Origins.

Huang Hao Shan

After a three-year reign, World Magic Cup 2012 Champion Tzu Ching Kuo has found himself being overtaken. That also means that Huang is the 2015 Chinese Taipei National Champion who will be leading his team at the World Magic Cup in Barcelona this December.

As one of the (only) nine players in the room with 3 Round Byes, I took the opportunity to check in with him as he walks me through his Magic Origins deck-building process.

The Process of Elimination

"I usually try to eliminate at least two of the worst colors before deciding on my final color pair. This time round, it was pretty easy because I had two really terrible colors and one weak color," Huang bemoaned.

White was quickly eliminated because only 10 of the 84 cards were from that color. It did have Knightly Valor, Topan Freeblade and a pair of Grasp of the Hieromancer but that was never going to be enough to form either the base or the support color.

Black was also easy to eliminate because of the overall quality (or lack thereof) of the pool. "Only the 2 Reave Souls are good. If I had Evolving Wilds, I would gladly splash them both but sadly I don't even have a copy of that."

Green's cards look very solid, but Huang pointed out a dire problem. "Look at all the cards jamming up the four mana and five mana spots. It's terrible. I will probably consider boarding into green if I need to deal with artifacts or enchantments," Huang pointed out while pointing to the very cute Caustic Caterpillar.

Assembling the Blue-Red Deck

With that, Huang proceeded to put together the remaining of his cards. It sounds really sad, but Huang agrees that his "pile" was far from being the kind of deck he would like.

After some maneuvering, he decided to register these as his final 40:

Huang Hao Shan’s Sealed Deck (Blue-Red)

Download Arena Decklist

Huang's Blue Red deck looks pretty sweet actually, with a lot of good fliers and a very nice curve. However, it was sorely lacking spells and Huang admitted that he should have played Chandra's Fury and perhaps even Negate in the maindeck to support his removal-light deck.

"I only have 4 spells! Turn to Frog and three pieces of equipment. The rest is a bunch of creatures! Haha! I think I will need to trade very aggressively and hope that my opponents never find out that I have actually no tricks in my deck!"

I guess Separatist Voidmage and Reclusive Artificer both count as "spells", even if they don't provide as much finesse as actual instants.

Huang does have a lot of evasion in his deck though, as evidenced by four creatures which produce Thopters as well as three other actual creatures with wings.

"The game plan is to fly through the skies and shorten the clock with any of my equipment. This is a Core Set, and 'Flying' has always been one of the most important keywords. I think my deck is quite bad but I should be able to squeak into Day 2 if I'm not too unlucky. Maybe the Prickleboars will go all the way!"