Wenzel Krautmann hadn't been as active, or at least not as succesful, this season as many of the players congregating in Sydney at the moment. But with his 21 Pro Points he reached the Silver Level of the Pro Players Club long ago, and his life-time record of five Grand Prix Top 8s and one win didn't look too shabby either. So when I was looking for someone to keep an eye on during deck construction Krautmann was an obvious choice.
While he was walking over to the feature match area to build his deck, he told me that his red and blue looked nice, apparently. Of course, he had only got a quick look during the deck registration process. "I've been told red is a good color now," he said. "Actually, I think blue might be the best in Sealed Deck and red the best in Booster Draft."
What he was looking for in a Limited deck in this format, more than anything else, was a straight two-color deck with a good curve. "You never want to splash in this format, not ever," he said.
When he went down to the business of sorting through his cards, Krautmann found white to be "underwhelming," except for a pair of Choking Restraints. "And even then, it's essentially Pacifism for 3, which isn't even that strong."
Blue, on the other hand did indeed look quite appealing. He specifically pointed out his two copies of Geist of the Archives: "That card's amazing. It's a flying Sigiled Starfish which you don't need to tap!"
He quickly laid out a green-blue emerge deck with two copies each of Enlightened Maniac and Ulvenwald Captive. "I like Ulvenwald Captive in such an emerge deck," he said. "It's also the best kind of mana creature: accelerates early, provides a mana sink later."
As for the actual emerge cards, Krautmann had four: Wretched Gryff, It of the Horrid Swarm, Lashweed Lurker, and Elder Deep-Fiend. Pointing at the rare, he said, "That must be able to win some games, right?"
Then he gave the other colors a proper check. His first intuition with regards to white proved correct and the white cards were quickly shelved. Things with red were trickier. "I really like the removal here …" said Krautmann about his Galvanic Bombardment, Incendiary Flow, Avacyn's Judgment, and Spreading Flames.
He went to take the green out of his green-blue build. But when he reached the end of his curve and was about to remove It of the Horrid Swarm and Lashweed Lurker he stopped himself: red had enough cards to replace the green cards but not enough to make up for the loss of these colorless creatures as well.
Black similarly didn't really have sufficient numbers and also not a high enough power level. "I could cast Behold the Beyond, but I don't have any cards here that would even be worth searching for!" Krautmann complained.
"The deck may have problems closing games. The cards are all good, but actually winning may be a problem," Krautmann said. "But Day 2 should definitely be possible."
I ran into Krautmann again during Round 2, after he had had a chance to do a few test games with his deck. Succesful test games? "Oh, yes. Won all of them," he replied. "I learned that Somberwald Stag mostly doesn't fight and live, but that's fine. On the other hand, I realized that my deck is a little better than I initially thought. Simply having larger creatures than your opponent still is a good thing, apparently."