Magic 2015: Practice Sealed #2

As part of my GP Sydney preparation, I have bought a booster box of Magic 2015 that will be used to provide practice sealed pools, in order to practice our deckbuilding skills and enhance our knowledge of the format. This is the first of six pools from that booster box.

For a recap of the overall “sort process” I use for Sealed pools, see the first paragraph of Sealed Pool #1. Let’s get straight to it:

White
Resolute Archangel
Spectra Ward
Boonweaver Giant

Razorfoot Griffin
Midnight Guard
Sungrace Pegasus x3
Kinsbaile Skirmisher

Wall of Essence
Sanctified Charge x2
Selfless Cathar
Tireless Missionaries
Congregate
First Response

White has some immediate bombs available in the Archangel and Spectra Ward. Boonweaver Giant is not normally in the “bomb” category, but Spectra Ward pushes him up there, as a 6/6 protection from all colours is nigh unkillable. Unfortunately, White doesn’t seem to have a lot of depth outside of these cards, with a few middling 2-drop creatures and some utility spells being the bulk of the available cards. In this pool, White is at best a support colour to a deeper colour, and it could be correct to just ignore the White entirely.

Blue
Jorubi Murk Lurker x2
Illusory Angel

Welkin Tern
Aeronaut Tinkerer
Peel from Reality x3
Quickling

Void Snare
Chronostutter x3
Fugitive Wizard
Hydrosurge

Blue’s best offerings are the pair of Murk Lurkers, which forces us to pair with Black if we play the colour. While the rest of the creatures are perfectly acceptable in their own right, the awkward combination of spells is not particularly helpful, particularly the triplicates. Blue is likely not going to be played in this pool.

Black
Soul of Innistrad
Flesh to Dust

Accursed Spirit x2
Typhoid Rats x2
Crippling Blight
Blood Host

Necrobite x2
Witch’s Familiar
Unmake the Graves
Mind Rot x2
Eternal Thirst
Wall of Limbs

Headlined by a Soul and a premium removal spell, Black makes a strong case to be one of the colours to play in this pool. The rest of the cards are quite playable, with the Spirits being an evasive source of damage while the Rats gum up the ground. While the overall number of decent playables is slightly short, the is enough here that Black is worthy of consideration.

Red
Cone of Flame
Paragon of Fierce Defiance x2

Inferno Fist
Borderland Marauder
Krenko’s Enforcer
Generator Servant x2
Rummaging Goblin

Crowd’s Favor x2
Foundry Street Denizen
Miner’s Bane
Wall of Fire
Clear a Path

Cone of Flame is an extremely potent card in Limited, often removing several creatures from the board at once, or even just killing your opponent. A pair of Paragons is an excellent selling point for Red as well, and we have a number of small creatures available for them to pump up. A pair of Generator servants can be used to accelerate to some bombs in other colours, like the Soul or the Boonweaver Giant. Red is a strong contender for a playable colour.

Green
Kalonian Twingrove
Genesis Hydra
Paragon of Eternal Wilds x2
Elvish Mystic

Netcaster Spider
Charging Rhino
Shaman of Spring x2
Living Totem

Satyr Wayfinder
Carnivorous Moss-Beast
Plummet x2
Back to Nature

Green also features bombs in Kalonian Twingrove and Genesis Hydra. Another pair of Paragons also shows up in Green, and although there are less creatures available in this colour to pump, the trample-granting ability will be put to good use here. There are a number of solid creatures to fill out a curve, as well. It’s worth noting here that Green has absolutely no removal, and will be reliant on other colours to provide that protection.

Artifacts
(No bombs)

Hot Soup
Tyrant’s Machine
Will-Forged Golem x2

Staff of the Wild Magus
Staff of the Sun Magus

Lands
Yavimaya Coast

Hot Soup, and Tyrant’s Machine to a lesser extent, are reasonable includes if we need a 22nd-23rd card. The other cards areunfortunately unplayable, including the Yavimaya Coast as the Blue pool was too weak.

This is an extremely difficult pool to build from, as while there are a number of good cards available, they are fairly evenly spread across all the colours (The exact split is 16/15/16/15/15 from White to Green, a surprisingly even distribution). This is true to the extent that I still haven’t figured out the “right” build for this pool. While Blue was eliminated in our initial review of the cards, that still leaves six different possible colour pairings. While unconventional, as you certainly won’t have time to do this at a real event, I’m going to cover all the available options and evaluate them individually.

Red had the most cohesive plan when we looked at it, and Black had a reasonable game plan as well.  This pairing seems like a good place to start:

Red/Black
Typhoid Rats x2
Borderland Marauder
Generator Servant x2
Krenko’s Enforcer
Rummaging Goblin
Witch’s Familiar
Accursed Spirit x2
Paragon of Fierce Defiance x2
Blood Host
Soul of Innistrad
Miner’s Bane

Hot Soup
Crippling Blight
Crowd’s Favor x2
Inferno Fist
Necrobite
Flesh to Dust
Cone of Flame

Relevant Sideboard
Unmake the Graves
Mind Rot x2
Eternal Thirst
Wall of Limbs
Necrobite
Foundry Street Denizen
Tyrant’s Machine

Wall of Fire
Clear a Path

This deck looks very reasonable on the surface. You have an early game plan of beat down with aggressive dudes, which the Pargaons will pump. In the late game, a Soul of Innistrad can provide a large advantage. Miner’s Bane is there as an awkward second “finisher” due to the lack of options in these colours. There is a decent amount of removal available as well.

The second Crowd’s Favor was the 23rd card added, and it’s not entirely clear whether that’s correct, or if it should be the Tyrant’s Machine instead. Favor and Necrobite are definitely the two cards I would flag to take out when sideboarding, as they get worse once your opponent knows about them, and Necrobite in particular is awfully clunky.

Unfortunately, this deck does appear to have a weakness to fliers, having exactly zero flying creatures anywhere in the list. The decks solution to this to attempt to outrace any flying beats with the dual Paragon plan, with removal available in emergencies, but it’s still worth noting. A potential solution for this is to pair Red with White instead, as White has a few options available to control the skies:

Red/White
Selfless Cathar
Borderland Marauder
Generator Servant x2
Sungrace Pegasus x3
Kinsbaile Skirmisher
Krenko’s Enforcer
Rummaging Goblin
Midnight Guard
Razorfoot Griffin
Paragon of Fierce Defiance x2
Resolute Archangel
Boonweaver Giant

Hot Soup
Crowd’s Favor x2
Inferno Fist
Cone of Flame
Spectra Ward
Sanctified Charge

Relevant Sideboard
Sanctified Charge
Tireless Missionaries
Foundry Street Denizen
Miner’s Bane

Wall of Essence
Wall of Fire
Congregate
First Response
Clear a Path

This list has a very similar plan A of playing the early beatdown game. While the Pegasi don’t look too impressive, they can help push through damage while helping you stay ahead in a race with lifelink. Inferno Fist on a Pegasus is quite good also. With a primary plan of swarming with a bunch of creatures, Sanctified Charge promises to be quite powerful here, and it’s not clear that we don’t want the second copy. Charging with two Pegasi out is another excellent way to pad your life total.

This version is able to drop the Miner’s Bane, as Whites finisher options are just so much better. While seven mana looks a bit awkward in this weenie-oriented deck, Generator Servant helps provide that little push required to get them out in time. Selfless Cathar barely makes the cut as another way to make combat awkward for the opponent.

Red/Green
I’m going to cheat here and not provide the decklist, as I don’t think a Red/Green combination is particularly viable. The curve is a little clunky, and light on early plays. There is also a significant glut at the 4-drop slot, between 2 Red Paragons, 2 Green Paragons, and 2 Shaman of Spring. The Green bombs don’t seem better then the White options, and, outside of playing maindeck Plummets, Green’s natural weakness to flying compounds the flying issue rather then aids it.

With all the red options exhausted, the other option is to use Black as the main colour:

Black/White
Typhoid Rats x2
Wall of Essence
Sungrace Pegasus x3
Kinsbaile Skirmisher
Witch’s Familiar
Wall of Limbs
Midnight Guard
Accursed Spirit x2
Razorfoot Griffin
Blood Host
Soul of Innistrad
Resolute Archangel
Boonweaver Giant

Crippling Blight
Hot Soup
Tyrant’s Machine
Necrobite
Flesh to Dust
Spectra Ward

Relevant Sideboard
Unmake the Graves
Necrobite
Sanctified Charge x2
Selfless Cathar
Tireless Missionaries
Mind Rot x2
Eternal Thirst
Congregate
First Response

Amusingly enough, this deck looks like it could do a decent job of pulling off the Wall of Limbs kill, with all the incidental sources of lifegain in the deck (3 Pegasus, Blood Host, Wall of Essence, and even the Archangel, with more available in the board). Without the aggression of Red to fuel us, we’re more all-in on our bombs, with some small evasive hits getting in while the ground is clogged up with Walls and Rats.

It’s not clear this deck doesn’t want a Sanctified Charge, as it could be a nice way to get some surprise kills (Who doesn’t like killing creatures with Wall of Essence?). The Hot Soup also looks more out of place in this deck, as we’ve moved away from the aggressive swarming strategy into a more stalling long game play that the Tyrant’s Machine favors.

Ultimately, however, I’m not convinced this deck is better then either the Red/Black or Red/White variations. That said, I will sleeve it up and run it through some practice matches to confirm.

Black/Green
Black/Green is bad for most of the same reasons Red/Green was, and actually looks even worse. Your two-drop slot basically doesn’t exist, which in my experiences is unacceptable in this format, and there’s still a huge glut of 4-drops and expensive creatures. I don’t like it at all.

Green/White
For completeness, here’s the summary of Green/White as well. This option looks surprisingly better then the other pairings for Green, as White does a good job of filling the two-drop slot by itself. The bomb density is at it’s highest in this deck, with the colours each contributing two rares. However, the overall removal density is weakened as a result due to removing Black and Red, and this deck is again more all-in on it’s bombs as a result. It likely isn’t terrible, but I again don’t think it’s better then Red/Black or Red/White.

Conclusions
Of the decks examined in this article, I think the “best” option is either Red/Black or Red/White, with the edge slightly given to White, as it has both more bombs available, and can be more explosive thanks to Sanctified Charge. The limited interactions with fliers is another strike against the Red/Black build.

An honorable mention is given to the Black/White deck, as it’s worth experimenting to see if a deck with that kind of game plan can succeed in the format.

I hope everyone enjoyed looking at this Sealed pool. This is the kind I would consider to be the most educational, as there’s no clear “best deck”, and we have to weigh the pros and cons of a variety of configurations.

Stay tuned for more M15 Limited breakdowns.

Until then,

Random.

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