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How would you play it? – Conclusion

November 16, 2012

Now it’s time for the conclusion of the Sealed deck exercise I threw you guys at the beginning of the week.

Since the number of suggested builds that were sent in was scarce, I will just go through my thought process during the deck building session at the PTQ as well as some thoughts about the pool and the build in hindsight.

First I want to say as a general note that my approach on how to narrow down what color and cards to play for any given Sealed deck is to pinpoint your big game changers (or bombs if you will) and then make a great effort to play them.

The bombs might force you to bend your manabase in an awkward fashion or leave you in color that is short of a playable or two, but it’s usually worth it. Particularly in Limited there are cards that can single handedly win games pretty much regardless of what the opponent is doing, so it’s fine strategy to play relatively subpar card compared to the opponent during the first couple of turns of a game as long as you have an ace in the hole. It’s certainly not an unique approach for sure, but it’s working great so I have yet been served a reason why to deviate from it.

Sidenote, you can read more about this philosophy in this recent article by LSV.

So I started with scouring through the pool and as I already stated in the previous post, I wasn’t super happy about the tools I had to work with. Not a whole lot of powerful cards nor removals spells to be seen. The only thing that was somewhat pleasing at first sight was that the pool had a fair amount of options regarding manafixing, which is something at least.

I quickly came to the realization that Korozda Guildmage might be the strongest individual card in the pool. Don’t get me wrong, Lotleth Troll and Precinct Captain are really good. However they both are quite mana intensive and they are only truly awesome if you draw then in the early turns, which means splashing for them is weak. The guildmage on the other hand is great on turn two but it’s even better if you draw it later which means the guildmage is far more splash friendly.

Now I like Korozda Guildmage quite a lot (all the guildmages are fantastic, particularly in Sealed) but realizing that it might be your best card in the pool is somewhat of a turn off.

You would like to open at least some a sweet rare or two, *cough* Pack Rat *cough*, but that was not how this PTQ was going to play out for me.

Between pinpointing Korozda Guildmage as a card that I would most certainly have to play and the fact that I had 2 Golgari Guildgate and a Selesnya Guildgate, I tried to look if I could make green-black or green-white with a black splash happen. These were the two approaches I came up with:

GBw

2 Golgari Guildgate
1 Selesnya Guildgate
7 Swamp
5 Forest
2 Plains

1 Centaur’s Herald
1 Dryad Militant
1 Drudge Beetle
1 Daggerdrome Imp
2 Grim Roustabout
1 Korozda Guildmage
1 Lotleth Troll
1 Wild Beastmaster
1 Korozda Monitor
2 Towering Indrik
1 Perilous Shadow
1 Terrus Wurm

1 Giant Growth
1 Deviant Glee
1 Golgari Keyrune
1 Mind Rot
1 Stab Wound
1 Launch Party
1 Knightly Valor
1 Trostani’s Judgment
1 Rites of Reaping

GWb

2 Golgari Guildgate
1 Selesnya Guildgate
5 Forest
8 Plains
1 Swamp

1 Centaur’s Herald
1 Drudge Beetle
1 Concordia Pegasus
1 Precinct Captain
1 Korozda Guildmage
1 Wild Beastmaster
1 Seller of Songbirds
1 Centaur Healer
2 Vassal Soul
1 Korozda Monitor
2 Towering Indrik

1 Giant Growth
2 Swift Justice
1 Security Blockade
1 Stab Wound
1 Common Bond
1 Launch Party
1 Knightly Valor
1 Trostani’s Judgment
1 Coursers’ Accord

As an explanation to some of the card choices that I made, I really wanted to keep whatever build I ended up with really aggressive. Since I don’t have a whole lot of late game power or removal to deal with opposing such, I wanted to put myself in the drivers seat in each game and try to close out games before any of my opponents could draw and play their more powerful cards. That is why Knightly Valor was splashed for in the GB based build and how Dryad Militant got in there as the 23rd card. The militant specifically got in there because I really wanted to avoid dipping further into white and there wasn’t much else to choose from in either black or green.

You might point towards Slum Reaper or Treasured Find and ask why I didn’t play either of them, and to that I have the following to say; Slum Reaper is just not good card, as it’s highly likely that the opponent can just sacrifice something that you couldn’t care less about. I have used it once or twice as a sideboard card, but that’s about as much credit I can give to that card. In addition I wasn’t interested in another 4 drop as my deck already had 4 and my deck also didn’t really have any creature that you could easily throw away, like a Gatecreeper Vine. I have a bit warmer feelings for Treasured Find, but unless I have at least one Grizzly Salvage and/or is playing a very controlling deck, I’d like to stay away from it.

Anyhow, after I had crafted those lists, I went ahead to look if there was a less obvious route that you could go with the pool. Outside of green, black and white, the card with the most potential is Teleportal, so I went ahead and tried to make a list the included that card:

RBu

1 Izzet Guildgate
1 Transguild Promenade
8 Swamp
6 Mountain
1 Island

1 Rakdos Cackler
1 Daggerdrome Imp
2 Grim Roustabout
1 Frostburn Weird
1 Guttersnipe
2 Lobber Crew
1 Splatter Thug
1 Perilous Shadow
1 Cobblebrute
1 Soulsworn Spirit
1 Spawn of Rix Maadi
1 Isperia’s Skywatch
1 Terrus Wurm

1 Deviant Glee
1 Syncopate
1 Teleportal
1 Mind Rot
1 Stab Wound
1 Izzet Keyrune
1 Launch Party
1 Traitorous Instinct

While this approach looked better than I imagine beforehand, there are still several iffy details about it. There is less removal than in either the GBw or GWb version, the manabase is worse, the curve is higher and there a couple of card that I just don’t want to play with.

Guttersnipe is one.

I can make a case for Guttersnipe in aggressive and dedicated Izzet decks, but in here he is just going to be more than a Gray Ogre more often than not. Not only are there just 5 instants and/or sorceries in the deck but they are also for the most part spells in which you cast at very specific points in game. For example, you don’t curve into Teleportal or Traitorous Instinct in the same way you curve into a Inspiration or Annihilating Fire. If instants and sorceries isn’t a part of your regular curve, Guttersnipe is quite poopy to be honest.

With the final minutes of deck construction looming, I discarded the idea of playing RBu and subsequently narrowed it down to choosing between either of the green lists.

In the end, I went for the GBw approach for a couple of reasons; The manabase was slightly better in that version as the white cards I looked into playing was very color intensive (Vassal Soul, Precinct Captain), the black cards offered me a little more long game (Perilous Shadow, Terrus Wurm, Lotleth Troll) than the white cards while still allowing me to be as aggressive and finally because I just like Lotleth Troll more than Precinct Captain.

As you know my tournament ended short at 2-2, but despite the actual result I liked where I went with the pool in hindsight. The card quality overall wasn’t that great so trying to be aggressive was certainly the plan to pursue  The approach I went for allowed me to do that while also allowing me to just play the strongest cards in my pool.

With some perspective I think it’s actually closer between the green-white based version and the green-black based I choose since white does offer a fair amount of fliers which supports the beatdown plan a lot. Therefore I could see an argument being made for playing the white heavy version instead since it might increase my chances of mizing games against otherwise better decks, but that’s about it.

Those were my thoughts about this Sealed pool. Feel free to mention if you like where I went with the pool or if you would have done something differently. With that I wish you the best of luck for the remaining PTQs and for GP Taipei and/or Lisbon for those who are attending!

May you open many a Pack Rat,

Bernhard

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2012 15:48

    the second variation looks the most powerful
    http://blackbrosgames.com

    • BernhardZ permalink*
      November 28, 2012 09:36

      Care to elaborate your thoughts?

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