Sealed Deck Building With No. 24 Fabrizio Anteri

Posted in GRAND PRIX LYON 2015 on October 31, 2015

By Frank Karsten

Fabrizio Anteri has been on an absolute tear as of late. Although he narrowly missed Gold level in the Pro Players Club last season, he kicked off this season with a boom. He won Grand Prix London, started his last three European Grand Prix events at 9-0, and finished in 29th place at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar. All in all, he had already accumulated 27 Pro points this season, which meant that he'd lock up Gold, had a reasonable shot at clinching Platinum, and was currently ranked 24th in the Top 25 Rankings.

Fabrizio Anteri

I took the opportunity to check in with him as he built his Battle for Zendikar Sealed deck. Here is the complete pool that he received. It's formatted as a single deck to allow you to load up the list on Magic Online and try it for yourself; a more easily digestible color-by-color overview will be provided afterwards.

Fabrizio Anteri's Sealed Pool – Grand Prix Lyon 2015

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Artifact (1)
1 Hedron Blade
84 Cards

Anteri started by laying out all of his colors separately to get a good overview of his pool.

Fabrizio Anteri's Gold and Colorless – Sealed Pool at Grand Prix Lyon 2015

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There are a bunch of big Eldrazi here, most notably Endless One, Ruin Processor, and Breaker of Armies, which would allow Anteri to dominate the board in the late game. In addition, Anteri had plenty of fixing in Pilgrim's Eye, Evolving Wilds, and dual lands that could enable a splash if he so desired.

Fabrizio Anteri's White – Sealed Pool at Grand Prix Lyon 2015

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This white is deep and powerful. It offers decent creatures, removal spells, fliers, and a bomb in Emeria Shepherd. "White is the best color in my pool, and I was going to play it for sure," Anteri told me afterward. "So I had to look for the color that combined the best with my white and colorless cards. This format is very synergistic, so I didn't want to look only at the power level of the cards, but also at how well they'd work together."

Fabrizio Anteri's Red – Sealed Pool at Grand Prix Lyon 2015

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Red offered a bunch of aggressive creatures, but Anteri was not interested. "Aggressive decks are generally bad in Battle for Zendikar Sealed because there are so many defensive cards that stop them. So cheap creatures is not where I want to be. I saw so many red-white decks that looked well on paper but that didn't work during the games."

One thing that Anteri did consider was to add the red removal spells to his white base. "I may not have enough creatures for Outnumber, and all of the double-red cards can be difficult to cast, but the red instants and sorceries are powerful," he said.

Fabrizio Anteri's Black – Sealed Pool at Grand Prix Lyon 2015

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Black was relegated to the sidelines quickly. There are few playables, and they are not very powerful. Certainly not an option as a second color.

Fabrizio Anteri's Blue – Sealed Pool at Grand Prix Lyon 2015

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"I initially dismissed blue for not having enough playables, but the blue cards fit well with the white ones, and because I already had a lot of white and colorless playables, I didn't need that many from my second color," Anteri explained. "Scatter to the Winds is powerful; Mist Intruder will allow my Ruin Processor to process; Tightening Coils is decent removal; Rush of Ice is a fine tempo card; and Eldrazi Skyspawner is a great complement to my already-strong late game."

After considering his options, Anteri ultimately decided to go with a white/blue build. He added a small black splash and settled on the following 40 cards.

Fabrizio Anteri's Build – Grand Prix Lyon 2015

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After handing in his deck registration sheet, Anteri explained that he was reasonably happy with his deck. "I like that it has a clear game plan with removal, fliers, and Eldrazi. I want to be on the draw with this deck and grind out opponents. It should be able to win enough matches."

Anteri's main path to victory, if his small fliers couldn't get the job done by themselves, was Breaker of Armies. Even if it would die, he had Emeria Shepherd to bring it back.

Anteri went with a small black splash. According to him, it's an 18-land format, and the splash was easy. Between one Swamp, Evolving Wilds, Sunken Hollow, and Pilgrim's Eye, he had more than enough black sources.

"Bone Splinters helps my deck because it makes sure that I have an answer to an opposing Eldrazi in the late-game. I don't mind losing a 1/1 or 2/2 for that. And Ulamog's Nullifier works well with my fliers. Its triggered ability is hard to activate because my only Ingest card is Mist Intruder, but a 2/3 flier with flash is good enough.

"The last cards I cut from my pool were Kor Castigator and Bane of Bala Ged. I already had enough 2-drops for defensive purposes, and I prefer Felidar Cub over Kor Castigator because it can at least destroy an enchantment in the late game. Bane of Bala Ged was cut because I already had more than enough late-game cards, and I liked the 7/8 body of Ruin Processor better."

After seven rounds, Anteri was sitting at a 6-1 record, which meant that his streak of always going 9-0 on Day 1 would be over. As for his Sealed Deck, he was still happy with his build overall, except for one inclusion. "Bone Splinters sucks. It's not a good splash for my deck because I don't have enough small creatures to sacrifice. I've been forced to sacrifice Makindi Patrol one game, for instance. So I've been boarding it out for Roilmage's Trick or Demon's Grasp."