Sealed Deckbuilding with Sam Black

Posted in Event Coverage on July 21, 2018

By Corey Burkhart

Sam Black is world renown for his deckbuilding prowess. When it comes to sealed deck, his creative mind and desire to explore every angle of the format has him leaving no stone left unturned. If there's a niche strategy in the sealed format, Black is aware of it, and looking for it. I caught up with him as he built his sealed deck to see how he approached the Core Set 2019 Sealed Deck format.

“I first look for the good rares.” He pulled out Gigantosaurus, excited with the card, and then pulled out the rest of his good green card. He found a Dryad Greenseeker, Vine Mare, and 2x Druid of the Cowl. “My green is so good, but I'm lacking on total number of cards I want to play. These cards are great however.”

He then looked at his blue cards and pulled out a Windreader Sphinx and a Djinn of Wishes, “These are busted rares!” I got the feeling Black would be leaning towards playing blue for the incredibly powerful two fliers.

He began laying out a WU artifact + Fliers deck that featured Aerial Engineer and Militia Bugler at uncommon. “I wonder if it's worth biasing all the creatures in my deck to be found by the Bugler.” Black was excited with his sealed pool. He had plenty of ways to draw extra cards to find his bombs. He was really pleased with his multiple copies of Skyscanner which seemed to be the glue to the different build around cards in his deck.

“I think with 6 artifacts I think I could play Scholar of Stars, but I already have so many good 4 drops and I have so many ways to draw cards. Salvager of Secrets I think is more questionable in my deck. I added Switcheroo to help it because I have a lot of smaller creatures and it's really powerful to give your opponent a 2/2 with Switcheroo for their best creature.”

Black not only had plenty of options, but he was building plenty of two card combos. With his multiple copies of Skycanner he pulled out his Trusty Packmaster saying he liked them as an option in a really grindy deck. Additionally, he pointed out a card that usually ends up in sideboards that caught his fancy: “I think Invoke the Divine helps out my deck overall.” Having a way to kill many of the powerful enchantments in the format reliably was something Black was interested in, because his deck would play many longer games, it would give his opponent's time to deploy their artifacts or enchantments, and Black had the ability to destroy them.

Once Black had a deck that he would be happy with, he scanned back through his entire card pool, looking for additional options. He first looked to Lightning Strike, he wanted more removal in his deck, but he thought it was too big of a risk to play a fourth color even with his Ruptured Spires and other dual lands. “Sleep could be good in this deck, but I'm not sure. I think Sleep is the kind of card I underrate in general.”

Just to check himself, Black laid out his Red-Green, but it was lacking power. He then tried looking at his White-Green deck because it had three dual lands, but again, he wasn't thrilled.

In the end, Black ended up going back to his White-Blue artifacts and fliers deck. He managed to maximize the ability of his best cards and keep cards with low levels of synergy out of his deck. “I have to imagine this deck is pretty good. I have solid removal, good bombs, a great curve. This deck just looks like what I want to have in sealed.”

Here is Sam Black's final Sealed Deck:

Sam Black GP Sacramento 2018 – Sealed Deck

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