Eldritch Moon Sealed Deck Building with Anton Jonsson

Posted in Event Coverage on July 30, 2016

By Craig Jones

With most of them Down Under at Grand Prix Sydney in preparation for the Pro Tour the following weekend, we ended up being a little light on recognizable pro players at Grand Prix Stockholm. So much so, there were only two players who came into the tournament with three byes—Swedish Hall of Famers Anton Jonsson and Olle Råde.

Anton Jonsson got into the Hall of Fame on the back of five Pro Tour Top 8s, including a runner-up finish at PT Nagoya in 2005. He also won a Grand Prix title back in Seville in 2003. At his height Jonsson was renowned as being one of the top Limited specialists. That made him a good choice to query about his decisions while building his sealed deck and I caught up with him after he finished off his 4th Round opponent on the back of a hasty Impetuous Devils.

Initially, I did have a worry that any question on what he thought of the format would be answered with, “I dunno, I just came because the Grand Prix is in my home country,” as sometimes happens when speaking to players that don't have the time to play the game regularly anymore, but in this case I needn't have been concerned. While not as active as he was in his heyday, Jonsson had still found the time to play GP Barcelona and PT Madrid earlier this year and had also managed three Eldritch Moon sealed builds before this one, so the format was not completely alien to him.

The first step as he said was to sort through and assess the strengths of the various colors.

As there was nothing in black apart from a high number of unplayables, it was easy to put that color aside straight away.

In blue there were a few okay cards like Aberrant Researcher, but as Jonsson put it, “They don't make you want to play the color.”

As for green – “A little bit better. If it fit better with the other colors and I only needed 8 or 9 cards then it might be a thing.”

Things were a lot more exciting with red as that color had the decent rares and removal.

“There are about 10 red cards I want to play,” Jonsson said.

The color had a good mix of removal, okay early creatures, and a couple of decent combat tricks, one of which I watched him wreck his opponent with in the first game of his 4th Round match (and I won't mention here to give him the opportunity to wreck more people with it over the day).

Red gave him ten good cards, but that wasn't enough to pair with green as there were only 8 good cards there. Thankfully, white was able to complete the puzzle as he had a lot of playables. That included some risky temporary removal in the form of Faith Unbroken, but as he said, “Sometimes it will be enough.”

Afterwards he said it was “not a hard decision” to build. “With a few more one or two drops I'd be happy with it as a draft deck.” It did look like a solid white-red deck.

A query I had was after noticing a Geistblast in his sideboard – “Not good enough?”

Jonsson pointed out, “I've already got a bunch of cards that provide the same effect.” He said it was “obviously the last one to get cut, but to play it I would have to cut a creature.” He didn't want to be in a position of being stuck with a bunch of reactive cards in hand. He also said he was running sixteen lands, “which might be a little greedy.”

An Explosive Apparatus was left out of the deck for the same reason. If anything, Jonsson said it was more enticing to include than the Geistblast as he had a couple of cards that cared about delirium and the Explosive Apparatus would help reach that.

The lesson here is that you don't have to include all of your removal. It's better to have the right balance of creatures and spells rather than try to cram in every direct damage spell at your disposal (although it saddens the red mage inside me to say it. Burn it! Burn everything!).

Anton Jonsson's Sealed Deck, GP Stockholm 2016

Download Arena Decklist

Normally we don't bother including the full sealed deck pools, but personally I believe that sometimes seeing what has been omitted can be as useful as seeing what made the cut, so here are the remaining cards Jonsson had at his disposal.

Drogskol Shieldmate
Lunarch Mantle
Spectral Reserves

Harness the Storm
Magmatic Chasm
Rush of Adrenaline
Bold Impaler
Harmless Offering
Prophetic Ravings
Stensia Banquet

Aberrant Researcher
Drunau Corpse Trawler
Furtive Homunculus
Gone Missing
Jace's Scrutiny
Vessel of Paramnesia
Curious Homunculus
Drag Under
Enlightened Maniac
Exultant Cultist
Lunar Force
Spontaneous Mutation
Take Inventory
Tattered Haunter
Turn Aside

Alms of the Vein
Murderous Compulsion
Pick the Brain
Stallion of Ashmouth
Borrowed Malevolence
Certain Death
Dusk Feaster
Gavony Unhallowed
Liliana's Elite
Skirsdag Supplicant
Strange Augmentation
Wailing Ghoul
Whispers of Emrakul

Briarbridge Patrol
Clip Wings
Intrepid Provisioner
Rabid Bite
Grapple with the Past x 2
Hamlet Captain
Swift Spinner
Tangleclaw Werewolf
Ulvenwald Captive

Epitaph Golem
Explosive Apparatus
Emrakul, the Promised End
It of the Horrid Swarm x 2
Cultist's Staff
Slayer's Cleaver

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