Magic 2015: Practice Sealed #1

Yesterday, I attended a Launch Day Sealed Event for Magic 2015. This was a small 8 player event at a local game store. As part of my GP Sydney preparation, here is a break down the deckbuilding portion, as well as my thoughts on the format.

First I should explain my sort process for the deckbuilding. It’s something I picked up from (I think) an article on wizards.com, and is used as a very rough guide to what colours are and aren’t playable. It consists of a grid, where the columns are each of the colours, and rows by the following criteria:
– The top row is your bombs and high-impact cards in that colour. My guideline for this row is “cards that pull you toward playing that colour”. Examples include Stoke the Flames for Red, and Devouring Light for White.
– The middle row is “solid” cards. These are the cards that, while not actively pulling you toward the colour, you are more then happy to include if you’re playing that colour. Examples are Charging Rhino in Green, and Divination in Blue.
– The bottom row is “filler” cards. These are either utility sideboard cards, or cards that you’re not necessarily excited to run, but will if you need to fill out your deck. Examples are Witch’s Familiar in Black, and Naturalize in Green.
– During this process, I also typically include an “unplayables” pile, where all the Mediation Puzzles and Profane Mementos end up.

I’ll do my best to present the pool in this fashion as I go through the list.

White
Constricting Sliver
Seraph of the Masses x2

Geist of the Moors
Paragon of New Dawns
Razorfoot Griffin
Ajani’s Pridemate x2
Midnight Guard x2
Oreskos Swiftclaw
Ephemeral Shields

Soulmender
Selfless Cathar
Battle Mastery
Sanctified Charge
Meditation Puzzle

White has an excellent removal option in Constricting Sliver, and some nice finishers with the Seraphs. The Seraphs are complimented by an abundance of small white creatures to Convoke them out, including a pair of Midnight Guards which remain on defense after casting the Angel. They also have the important number of 3 toughness. Finally, we have an excellent evasive creature in Geist of the Moors, and a white Paragon to boost the team. White looks reasonably deep and a solid option to consider for the deck.

Blue
Encrust
Kapsho Kitefins

Research Assistant x2
Coral Barrier
Void Snare x2

Statute of Denial
Chronostutter x2
Mind Sculpt x2
Invisibility
Fugitive Wizard x2
Hydrosurge

Blue starts out nicely, with a premium removal spell in Encrust and a reasonable finisher in Kapsho Kitefins. However, it quickly falls off after that, which a bunch of middling do-nothing spells that don’t really help win the game. Awkwardly, Encrust and Kitefins both have double blue in their mana costs, making splashing for these cards unlikely as well (and Kitefins likely gets pushed out as a finisher by the other colours anyway). Blue can likely be safely dismissed as an option.

Black
Ob Nixilis, Unshackled
Stab Wound
Covenant of Blood

Shadowcloak Vampire
Crippling Blight
Zof Shade x2
Black Cat x2

Witch’s Familiar
Feast on the Fallen
Necrobite
Stain the Mind

Black has some real nice headliners in Ob Nixilis and Stab Wound. A flying trampling creature is excellent as a finisher, and Stab Wound is removal that can also act as a finisher. Black doesn’t have a lot else going on, though. Shadowcloak Vampire is a solid creature, but Zof Shade demands we be reasonably heavy black with mana to leave open. Ultimately, black doesn’t seem deep enough to support a whole deck, but it might be worth seeing if we can splash for some of the better cards.

Red
Stoke the Flames
Heat Ray

Inferno Fist x2
Borderland Marauder
Altac Bloodseeker x2
Krenko’s Enforcer
Torch Fiend x2
Crowd’s Favor
Thundering Giant
Blastfire Bolt x2

Goblin Roughrider
Miner’s Bane
Lava Axe
Shrapnel Blast
Circle of Flame
Crucible of Fire

Red immediately presents two very appealing removal options with Stoke the Flames and Heat Ray. It’s “solid” category is also reasonably deep, with a multitude of two drops available. Borderland Marauder is excellent for pushing through damage, Torch Fiends help deal with random Juggernauts and other artifact threats, and Altac Bloodseeker can get some nice blowouts with removal mid-combat. Krenko’s Enforcer is an excellent way to push through the last few points with intimidate, and a pair of Inferno Fists provides more quasi-removal for the deck. Red is currently the most likely candidate for this deck.

Green
Siege Wurm x2
Phytotitan

Living Totem
Venom Sliver
Undergrowth Scavenger

Naturalize
Titanic Growth
Plummet
Hunter’s Ambush

Green starts off alright, with a pair of Siege Wurms and a Phytotitan promising to be reasonable finishers. Like Blue, however, things quickly trail off, with a bunch of utility spells being the bulk of the green cards, and the remaining creatures not really being high-impact enough. There isn’t enough depth here to supprt a deck, so Green is also dismissed as an option.

Artifacts
Scuttling Doom Engine

Shield of the Avatar
Will-Forged Golem

Tyrant’s Machine
Profane Memento

Lands
Shivan Reef
Evolving Wilds x2

Scuttling Doom Engine is a real boon here, providing a colourless bomb that can be played in any deck. The Golem is nice to have available if a bigger creature is needed, and the Evolving Wilds make any potential splash much easier.

As red and white were clearly the deepest options available in this pool, it makes sense to start with a red/white deck:

Ajani’s Pridemate x2
Oreskos Swiftclaw
Borderland Marauder
Altac Bloodseeker x2
Torch Fiend
Geist of the Moors
Midnight Guard x2
Krenko’s Enforcer
Goblin Roughrider
Paragon of New Dawns
Razorfoot Griffin
Thundering Giant
Constricting Sliver
Scuttling Doom Engine
Seraph of the Masses x2
Crowd’s Favor
Inferno Fist x2
Stoke the Flames
Heat Ray
Blastfire Bolt

Sideboard
Ephemeral Shields
Selfless Cathar
Sanctified Charge
Torch Fiend
Blastfire Bolt

This maindeck has 25 cards, so some trimming is required. In addition, the pair of Evolving Wilds makes splashing black for the Stab Wound relatively easy, so I’d like to try that.

I believe I slightly misbuilt my deck in round one, as I trimmed the Torch Fiend and one Bloodseeker, and substituted Stab wound for the Blastfire Bolt, running a manabase of 7 Plains, 7 Mountain, 1 Swamp, and 2 Evolving Wilds. After losing the first round to a bit of ill fortune (Never drew a land across both games after keeping 3 landers), I elected to lower the curve of the deck by replacing the two drops, and instead trimming the Thundering Giant and the second Seraph.

This version of the deck functioned much better, leaving me with a 2-1 record, although being in the lower bracket meant I faced opponents who had also likely misbuilt their decks. Still, the game plan of early beatdowns followed by evasion and burn is still a solid one and provided I had a reasonable curve the deck performed quite excellently.

Stoke the Flames was a real standout card, as Convoke enabled me to stay in the game in round 1 where I was missing land drops. Altac Bloodseeker also reasonably impressed, as people generally tended to not want to get blown out by blocking him, so he got through for a reasonable amount of damage. Heat Ray functioned quite well as an enabler for the Bloodseeker, as did Inferno Fist (The on-board “don’t block this guy” is rather nice).

Seraph, on the other hand, rather underperformed. I probably didn’t have the right deck for it, seeing as I had no Raise the Alarms or Triplicate Spirits, but most of the time it was “only” a 3/3 or 4/4 flier, but I had to give up blocking for the turn to play it without Midnight Guards. Doom Engine is a complete and total bomb, however, and the blocking clause is relevant against a high number of creatures in the format. If you get in enough early damage, they get to this lose/lose point of “can’t block it, can’t kill it” thanks to the 6 damage ability as well.

Overall I was quite happy with my deck for this event. I look forward to sharing a bunch more sealed events, including the upcoming Magic Online M15 launch. I hope people find this to be informative.

Until then,

Random

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One thought on “Magic 2015: Practice Sealed #1

  1. Pingback: Magic 2015: Practice Sealed #2 | randommtgthoughts

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