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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Apr 24 2018 12:00pm
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I'm excited. I started playing Magic in early 1994 as a teenager and was immediately hooked. I read all I could get my hands on back in those days (mostly, Duellist Magazine articles) and fell in love with the world the folks at Wizards of the Coast had created. That world, of course, was Dominaria (or "Dominia Prime" as it was known back then!)

Dominaria is a huge burst of nostalgia for me and, I'm sure, many other people as well. This week, I'm going to break down a sealed pool. As I'm writing this the set has been out for just a few hours on Magic Online, and this will be the first time I have played with the cards. Let's get started!

 

 

The Best Cards

Sealed deck is, usually, all about playing your best cards. If you open a bomb rare or mythic, you want to include it in your deck if at all possible. The first thing I do with a new sealed pool is to look at what bomb rares I have. For this pool, the closest thing I really have is Territorial Allosaurus. Even then, to call it a bomb rare is a stretch; it's a 5/5 for four mana which is very good, and if you pay the kicker it becomes great, but that's a 7 mana investment. 

The Removal Spells

The next best cards in your sealed deck are normally the good removal spells. Luckily, this pool seems to have quite a few good ones:

Three copies of Fight with Fire is quite nice, and Icy Manipulator is an auto include in any deck in this format. Unsurprisingly, red and black have the best removal.

Evasive Creatures

Sealed decks often come down to a board stall, so I like to have a few evasive creatures in my decks to get around that. This is the next thing I look for when sorting through a pool of cards. Again, we have the unfortunate situation of not having many to choose from:

The fact that three of these are in black, and so is a lot of my removal, heavily pushes me towards looking at black as a colour. With Kazarov, I'm even incentivized to play red (which fits in nicely with the three red removal spells).

As you can see, at this point I'm starting to develop an idea that, maybe, a black/red deck, probably a bit controlling, might be what I need to look at building.

The Next Best Creatures

Again, there is not a lot going on here either. After seeing this, I'm starting to think either black/red or black/green is the way to go, but I'm going to have to make the best of a bad set of cards here I think.

Deck Building

I started by trying to put together the black/red deck. Upon looking at it though it became clear I was really stretching to build this deck. The removal package was extremely nice, but the rest of the cards were very subpar. While doing this, though, I noticed there was quite a few black cards that cared about Saprolings. Taking a look at green, I noticed I had Fungal Plots in the pool. So, I scrapped the idea of black/red and tried black/green. This ended up looking a lot better to me, and this was the deck I ended up with:

 

 

Even with the three elves that produce mana, I want to run 18 land in this deck. In a format with kicker, and quite a few mana sinks in the deck, 18 land is certainly the correct amount. Besides, I can cash Memorial to Folly in to get a creature back, so the risk of flooding out is mitigated somewhat.

There is some decent synergy going on here. I've got quite a few ways to create Saprolings (Deathbloom Thallid, Fungal Infection, Fungal Plots) and ways to use them (Vicious Offering, Thallid Omnivore). Voltaic Servant and Icy Manipulator is an interesting (and potentially quite annoying) combination. And then there are some heavy hitters and ways to ramp into them. 

The Results

The deck surprised me; I went 4-1 in my matches, and 8-2 in games. The games were quite long and grindy, which is a nice change from some of the most recent limited formats. The best cards in the deck were easily Icy Manipulator and Urgoros, the Empty One. The flyer was what won me most of the games; in long grindy games like these were, having that big beater in the air was extremely important. Opponents the killed it had to do it twice in most cases, as Memorial to Folly was used to get it back. Fungal Plots was also quite useful, allowing me to block on the ground as needed until I could find removal to deal with whatever they were attacking me with.

The one card I wasn't overly happy with was Adventurous Impulse, and I ended up replacing it after round three with a copy of Broken Bond. You seem to get a lot of enchantments and artifacts running around, so I would recommend maindecking one copy of this.

Speaking of artifacts... the one match that I lost was in round 4, against a red/white opponent running Siege-Gang Commander and Helm of the Host. That combination of cards was just brutal. I was never able to draw artifact removal in time before the opponent had a horde of Goblins they could fling at my creatures. It was not a fun match, but I look forward to trying this combo at some stage!

That's all for this week. Have you played any Dominaria sealed? What do you think of it? Let me know below!