In this installment of PauperMatters things will be a little bit different. While I’m gathering results with Illusory Tricks, I decided to try my luck at some sealed.
With the two ticket Tuesdays going around, this was the perfect setup for that.
Before we go much further I would like to tell you a story. The last time I had a sealed pool in front of me, it was December 2012, Grand Prix Lisbon, triple Return to Ravnica format. I was never very good at sealed, I consider myself an ok player, but the science of building a deck out a sealed pool was never my strong point (as you will see later). The GP went ok, I made a 5 - 4 record failing more to luck than to skill or pool.
Oh, I forgot to mention, my pool had these guys in it:
Yeah, I oppened some bombs!
At that point I stopped playing paper magic regularly and decided to focus more on magic online, and with that I embraced Pauper and never looked back. Until today.
I still remember some tips from the pros when it comes to sealed deck. For those unaware there’s a simple rule that you can apply to almost all sealed formats to influence your deckbuilding in a positive way. It goes by the name of BREAD. BREAD stands for Bombs, Removal, Evasion, Attack, Defense.
This means that you should prioritize the cards in your pool in that order.
Play your bombs, play removal, because in sealed it’s all about combat. Prioritize creatures with evasion (flying, intimidate, deathtouch), attack and defense.
Also, when I approach a sealed deck (at least when it comes to core set sealed) it usually involves a couple of known archetypes that historically work.
UW Fliers - A classic in core set sealed, it takes creatures with evasion from blue and white, coupled with white removal and blue bounce, and card drawing ability. It normally comes in two flavours, the more aggro/tempo oriented, with little flying creatures. And the more controllish version, with walls and big beaters.
BR removal/sacrifice - this archetype couples black and red removal spells to kill your opponent blockers. Recently this archetype has evolved to house a sacrifice theme, in which you steal your opponent creatures and sacrifice them to your own effects, or sacrifice your own creatures to obtain the benefits.
Can you see the interactions?
UG tempo - this is one of my favourites because it’s not that much played and it’s pretty easy to get good results with it. You pair green beaters with blue tempo spells like Time Ebb and Disperse. Creatures like Deadly Recluse and Giant Spider really shine here.
Other good archetypes include GR aggression and UB control with loads of removal.
These are my favourite archetypes to play, but it’s a question of what’s in your pool, you have to be sensitive enough to see what colors are stronger and deeper in order to choose the best combination!
With all this in mind, I present you this week article:
What not to do in Core Set Sealed!
Without much thinking I jumped into the first “Two ticket Tuesday” queue I see. 2 minutes later I have my pool in front of me:
I sorted cards by rarity (one of the advantages of playing in mtgo) and verified that I have no bombs at all, with the best cards being Indestructibility, Doom Blade and Volcanic Geyser. Overall pretty disappointed with this pool.
The green is non existent, red is just a bunch of overcosted vanilla creatures. I also felt that blue and white were not deep at all. Black was probably the best color in this pool.
The first deck I looked at was this black and red concoction:
Well, I was not impressed, it has some nice removal cards with Doom Blade and Volcanic Geyser that can also end a game, but the creatures were underwhelming. I didn’t had a single Act of Treason to go with the Tenacious Dead and the Blood Bairn. Double Corpse Hauler and an Accursed Spirit are both pretty playable also.
I was not very happy with this deck, but I could come back to it.
Next I tried to sketch up a UW controllish deck:
The plan was to slow down the game until my little fliers (very little) could take care of the situation. Banisher Priest was a good fellow to have, and Claustrophobia was also a good one. Having to play Pillarfield Ox and Siege Mastodon were not what I wanted, but hey, sometimes you just have to!
All in all, this UW deck seemed a little bit better and with a more defined plan than the BR one, so I made some last minute changes ( Sliver Construct became Essence Scatter ) and only later I realized that I wanted Sensory Deprivation in the main. Deck submitted, not really happy with it, but it’s sealed deck, you’re never quite happy with your it!
As usual I took some notes. On to the races:
G1 I drew a thousand lands and he has Academy Raider with Lightning Talons. He also played an Accursed Spirit to add insult to injury, while I'm playing Suntail Hawk.
G2 I had a slow but with Rod Of Ruin which can save me. He is stuck on 3 lands. I use Rod of Ruin on all of his creatures (that included Academy Raider, I'm starting to really dislike this guy). When he finally starts drawing land he's way behind and I take the game with fliers.
1 - 1 - Let's see how the final game goes!
G3 we both start slow, which is good because this way I can play my cards! He sided in Smelt just because of rod of ruin and he gets it, which is not good news for me.
At some point I can read in my notes: " Fleshpulper Giant, is this a card?"
I have my defenses up, but only Charging Griffin on the sky, his clock is faster and I ended up losing to Accursed Spirit + Dark Favor + Corrupt. If I had a faster clock earlier on I could have taken the game, but my creatures were really lackluster.
The pool was overall bad in my opinion, and this guy:
I hate him!
I didn't let the result affect me, as I jumped right into the next queue! 3 minutes later I had a complete new pool in front of me:
At first glance this pool seemed a bit more balanced, with all colors having a decent representation. A quick sort by rarity showed me Domestication, (Jace’s Mindseeker) and Fiendslayer Paladin. A decent start so to speak.
Blue was deep and strong enough with both rares, two copies of Claustrophobia, Time Ebb, Water Servant and Phantom Warrior. The only question was what color should I pair with blue?
None of the other colors seemed deep enough to pair with all this blue, both white and green had a lot of cards but few creatures, which invalidated my UG tempo or UW fliers plan.
Are those 3 Sentinel Sliver? Manaweft Sliver? Predatory Sliver? Oh boy!
Yes, I know that without at least a couple of Predatory Sliver this deck is not playable, but man, I have to do this. It’s too fun to pass. A couple of minutes later I had this monstrosity
Three color Sliver in sealed? Sign me in! Without thinking I submitted the deck and never looked back! On to the tracks:
G1, I’m mana screwed but I have a real strong, fast start with double Sentinel Sliver. looks like i'm against UG tempo.
Super fast start + Show of Valor wins me the game.
G2 mulligan to 5 with wrong colors of mana. Plains and only green creatures. A couple of turns later:
I insisted, because if I could play that Giant Spider I had a decent chance.
A turn later I was at 1 life, guess what I drew?
Yep, that’s me!
G3 Lost because his deck is way better, but I still was able to put up a fight. It’s hard to win with a deck like this against double Briarpack Alpha and multiple tempo plays like Time Ebb. It's a shame, but his deck was really good!
After this 'devastating' loss it was almost time to go to bed, so I didn’t join another queue. All in all I had a blast in the two ticket Tuesday queues. And I recommend them to everybody wanting to have a good time. To me, Magic is supposed to be fun, and for two tickets, it does not get better than this. Probably next Tuesday I’m back, and this time I will be a bit more competitive, now that the rust is almost all gone.
Summing it up, after today I have 3 golden rules that will probably help me and everybody else when in Sealed deck:
Rule 1 - Open good pools!
Rule 2 - If you have a good pool, play something else in that pool that’s not good, like slivers!
Rule 3 - No matter what format you’re playing, open Pack Rat!
Until next time, may you have
in your pool, really good underrated card!
Also, enjoy some of my other articles:
Pauper Challenge #1 - Affinity
Pauper Challenge #1 - Boros Landfall
Pauper Challenge 3 - BorosKitty vs Illusory Tricks