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By: HydraLord, Charles Sutphin
Mar 02 2008 12:03am
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I think there will be some time in the shadowed future when Morningtide will be released online. In this future time, there will be Morningtide release events. And it will be good. Many a sealed deck will be cracked open and many a fist will be pumped when people open Countryside Crusher. But say you aren’t satisfied with your ten to fifteen ticket rare. Say you want to win the event. Better learn how to build that sealed deck quick, sonny. Having played a fair amount of Lorwyn and Lorwyn + Morningtide sealed in real life, I have several thoughts on the format. I will incorporate these into discussing a sample pool that I ran at FNM last week.

White

1x Goldmeadow Dodger
1x Order of the Golden Cricket
1x Daily Regimen
1x Goldmeadow Stalwart
1x Cenn’s Tactician
1x Neck Snap
2x Ballyrush Banneret
1x Avian Changeling
1x Soaring Hope
1x Cloudgoat Ranger
1x Wizened Cenn
Ballyrush Banneret

These white cards are quite solid. Really, they’re pretty sick. I really want to play all of these cards except for Soaring Hope, Goldmeadow Dodger and Daily Regimen, although even that will get boarded in against removal-light decks. I have an excellent early game here. There are five bears, one of which only costs one mana. Two of them also accelerate things out. Also, (Couldgoat Ranger) with Wizened Cenn? Sounds like a murdering. There is one problem though. What kind of cards are we going to combine with these? They are mostly quite Kithkin-intensive. That makes is somewhat hard to get maximum value out of Wizened Cenn and friends. We do have several Soldier-themed cards though, so if there enough of those, we’ll still be in business.
 

Negate
Blue

1x Inkfathom Divers
1x Sentinels of Glen Elendra
2x Dewdrop Spy
1x Sage of Fables
1x Ringskipper
1x Negate
1x Streambed Aquitects
1x Disperse
1x Surgespanner
1x Aethersnipe
1x Pestermite
1x Distant Melody
1x Nevermaker 

Here again we have some very powerful cards, though they are less exciting at face value due to a lack of tribal synergy. Surgespanner is obviously very powerful, though it would be better if we had a good way to abuse it. The rest of the creatures are pretty solid, though not necessarily remarkable. The only other one that I want to point out is Sage of Fables. I don’t know if you’ve ever played this guy. It’s good. Especially with Ringskipper. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of other soldiers in this pool. That doesn’t bode well for the Sage. What is good is the seven fliers blue has, along with a potential two additional evasion creatures. That’s a lot. Following that up, we’ve got a bounce spell and a giant card drawer. I feel like blue is too good not to run. This is different from white, which was just something I could run. This feels more like I’m committing some of crime by passing up. I’m pretty sure we’ll be coming back to blue.

Also: note the soft lock of Surgespanner plus Nevermaker. Yes, it triggers on leaving play. Enjoy drawing the same card every turn.

Red

1x Giant’s Ire
1x Mudbotton Clanger
1x Boldwyr Heavyweights
1x Seething Pathblazer
1x Consuming Bonfire
1x Faultgrinder
1x Flamekin Brawler
1x Fire-Belly Changeling
1x Shard Volley
Shard Volley

Huh. This is a real letdown. I love a red spell…but not these. The highlights are two removal spells. Shard Volley is very powerful – probably worth splashing for as a solitary red card – but Bonfire is mediocre. After that…what? I think Heavyweights is very exciting, but I don’t think I have the stones to play it. I mean, double red? How am I going to make that much of a commitment to a color with only five other cards I wouldn’t be embarrassed to run? And that’s overlooking the other downside. That’s a lot of overlook. I don’t like it. The one card we get is quite strong, but that’s about it.

Bramblewood Paragon
Green

1x Game-Trail Changeling
1x Elvish Eulogist
1x Bramblewood Paragon
1x Everbark Shaman
1x Bosk Banneret
1x Gilt-Leaf Ambush
1x Guardian of Cloverdell
1x Changeling Titan
1x Woodland Changeling
2x Lys Alana Bowmaster
1x Deglamer
1x Fertilid
1x Fertile Ground
1x Oakgnarl Warrior
1x Lace with Moonglove
1x Battlewand Oak
1x Nath’s Elite
1x Hunt Down

I’m not quite sure what to make of the green cards. Clearly there are strong things to be had here. But is it enough to make the cut? There isn’t a lot of tribal synergy for anything but Treefolk. While Sealed is significantly slower than draft, I’m not willing to stake my life on a 7-drop that I’m hoping to accelerate by a turn. Once you stop looking for tribal synergies though, the color has some definite appeal. Game-tail Changeling and his little brother Woodland Changeling play nice with whatever other theme you have. Gilt-leaf Ambush is a strong trick. I don’t think I need to say why Changeling Titan is sick. Fertilid and Fertile Ground accelerate you while fixing your mana. I love Fertilid, but I don’t think this is a pool equipped to play him. I’m not going to splash for fixing. That just isn’t a recipie for success. (Nath’s Elite) is also good but not great. I just don’t feel like the cards here hold themselves together, nor do the supplement another strategy particularly well.

Black

1x Stenchskipper
1x Cairn Wanderer
1x Nath’s Buffoon
1x Hornet Harasser
1x Violet Pall
1x Warren Pilferers
1x Squeaking Pie Grubfellows
1x Pack’s Disdain
1x Morsel Theft
1x Thieving Sprite
1x Shriekmaw
1x Makeshift Mannequin
1x Marsh Flitter
1x Footbottom Feast
1x Scarred Vinebreeder
1x (Offalsnout)
Offalsnout


No reason that I picked this guy as a picture, I just like this pig looking monster! - Ed.

This is more like it. There are about six cards that I would not be disappointed to first pick in draft. There’s a potential – though limited – goblin theme. There are three removal spells, two of which can also generate card advantage. That doesn’t even count Hornet Harasser. There are three ways to get creatures back from beyond the pale. Ever used Shriekmaw four times? That’s pretty much gg in Constructed. Rebuying it once is insane. Marsh Flitter is also a nice choice. As if this wasn’t enough, Cairn Wanderer is very powerful. Durkwood Boars is basically always good enough. This is a boars which not only fuels all your tribal themes but can gain lots of sick abilities. Remember, he counts your opponent’s graveyard too. Only looking at playable commons, he can gain flying, forestwalk, swampwalk, vigilance, reach, haste, trample, mountainwalk, islandwalk, deathtouch, first strike, and fear. That’s a lot of potential abilities. And those are just the things likely to show up at least, say, every three round. Yeehaw. Oh yeah. Sometimes Offalsnout is good. That’s foreshadowing.

Other
1x Vivid Meadow
1x Vivid Grove
1x Sygg, River Guide
1x Moonglove Extract 

It is highly likely that at least two of these cards will be played in the final deck. I have nothing else to say. Okay, that isn’t quite true. Sygg is awesome with merfolk. Happy?

Okay. That’s the superficial look that you do when you hit “Sort by color.” We’re getting there. But even if we stick to two colors, there are three choices, if not more.  A splash makes it even more complex. We’re going to have to look at some other parameters to figure this out.
 

The Back of the Packs – The Rares

Unsurprisingly, sealed decks with good rares have an edge over ones without. Not an overpowering edge mind you, but its something. So looking at rares to shape your color choices is not crazy.

Surgespanner
Stenchskipper
Sygg, River Guide
Boldwyr Heavyweights
Cairn Wanderer

Of these, as discussed above, only Cairn Wanderer and Surgespanner give me compelling reasons to play them. Heavyweights isn’t good enough, and Stenchskipper and Sygg don’t have the tribal support to make them worthwhile. Four of each plus some changelings across all five colors isn’t really going to get there.

This suggests that we play blue and black. I was kind of getting that sense from the color reviews, weren’t you?

Now we are tentatively in blue and black. That said, it is worth taking another look at the tribally themed cards to see if anything is more worthwhile than we first thought, now that we’ve seen all the colors.

The Tribes

The first tribe that caught my attention was the Kithkin. There aren’t a lot of synergies with just the white cards, but expanding to green and black gives us a potential four changelings, which if nothing else are accelerated by Ballyrush Bannerett. Such a strategy also lets us run lots of aggressive early creatures. While Sealed is usually slower that draft, that often only increases the effectiveness of an early blitz when you can put one together. People are less concerned about it. That said, I feel like this might be forcing a deck together that doesn’t really want to be together. It’s something to think about though. I’m actually kind of excited about the potential of running Bramblewood Paragon and Banneret with Changelings. The more I think about it, the more I like the card quality in a deck like that. Mark it! That’s a potential strategy. We’ll come back to it.

The only other tribe with a significant presence is the treefolk. As I said before, I think they’re a bit pricey to commit to heavily. That said, some of them probably make the cut in that three color shapeshifter deck. Bosk Banneret is clearly good, as is Everbark Shaman. One of the seven-drops may also see play. 

The rest of the tribal cards are weak and relatively sparse. There aren’t enough merfolk to make Sygg worth much. Or are there? Maybe the weird tribal deck could be blue instead of black. These are things which I will look at shortly when I actually put together lists for those decks.

The Decks

First up is the obvious blue/black deck.

1x Sentinels of Glen Elendra
2x Dewdrop Spy
1x Streambed Aquitects
1x Disperse
1x Surgespanner
1x Aethersnipe
1x Pestermite
1x Nevermaker
1x Cairn Wanderer
1x Violet Pall
1x Warren Pilferers
1x Pack’s Disdain
1x Thieving Sprite
1x Shriekmaw
1x Makeshift Mannequin
1x Marsh Flitter
1x Footbottom Feast
1x Moonglove Extract

That’s 19 cards so far. I tend to like running 18 land, so let’s take a look at our curve and see what we should add.

2: S
3: CCCCCSS
4: CCCCC
5: CCCSS
6: C

The curve here is a little bit high. There aren’t a lot of two drops. That makes me a bit leary of the deck, but the card quality is quite high in spite of this. We still need three more cards, ideally cheap creatures. In our colors, Ringskipper is the only choice. Not thrilling by any means, but good enough. Given that, I feel like the rest of the cards should probably be Sage of Fables and Sygg. As mentioned before, the synergy between Sage of Fables and Ringskipper is awesome. Sygg may not be fully operational with a very limited supply of white mana – which the deck will certainly have – but is still worthwhile as an evasive bear that sometimes gets another creature in. Can’t ask for a whole lot more than that.

The last thing to do is figure out the mana ratios. The blue mana requirements are significantly higher than the black requirements. There are no double black cards; there are numerous double blue ones. I therefore would use the following mana base:

1x Vivid Meadow
2x Plains
9x Island
6x Swamp

It is possible that one of those Plains should be a Swamp, but I feel safe with this given that the marginal value of, say, a third black mana is significantly lower than the marginal value of a second white mana. Neither is likely to be used often, but casting and activating Sygg in one turn probably exceeds my demand for casting three black spells in the same turn.

One down. Moving quickly on, I also feel the inclination to try examine the potential W/B deck. As I’ve mentioned in a pervious article, this is my favorite color combination. Even though I know it’s often weak in Limited formats, I still feel inexorably drawn to it. There isn’t any real synergy between the black cards and the white ones, just lots of powerful cards. In that sense it’s a lot like the B/U/w deck from above, except that this iteration will place more emphasis on aggression and early drops. In other words, the curve will look more like Scarlett Johansson and less like…Oprah, perhaps?

1x Order of the Golden Cricket
1x Goldmeadow Stalwart
1x Cenn’s Tactician
1x Neck Snap
2x Ballyrush Banneret
1x Avian Changeling
1x Cloudgoat Ranger
1x Wizened Cenn
1x Cairn Wanderer
1x Violet Pall
1xWarren Pilferers
1x Pack’s Disdain
1x Shriekmaw
1x Thieving Sprite
1x Makeshift Mannequin
1x Marsh Flitter
1x Footbottom Feast
1x Moonglove Extract

Utilizing the same analysis as above:

1: CC
2: CCCCS
3: CCS
4: CSS
5: CCCCS

That’s better. The five-drop slot is a bit full, but I can live with that, especially since Shriekmaw can be cheaper.

Now we are faced with a choice. Again, this deck will probably want 18 land. While there are some aggressive creatures, there are also are also quite a few expensive things. I want to hit my first five lands drops fairly quickly. Another three cards. Realistically, the choice is between blue and green. For the green deck I would probably go with Woodland Changeling, Lace with Moonglove, and Gilt-Leaf Ambush. That doesn’t seem like the most impressive splash really, but I quite like tricks in Limited. If instead I took the blue route, I would run Sygg, Pestermite and Nevermaker. That seems better to me. All it needs now is a manabase.

1x Vivid Meadow
3x Island
8x Plains
6x Swamp

Lots of white, since it’s our early game color and wants a fair bit of WW. Less black, since it is much less important to have a swamp on turn two. Talk to me on turn five. The Islands support the splash color. This is the deck I wound up running. It worked out pretty nicely. Against decks that I thought could handle my early game, I switched into U/B control mode. I went 3-1-1, drawing with a friend round two then losing narrowly to Garruk and Mirror Entity in round five. I shouldn’t even have lost that last round. I punted both games I lost. I somehow brainfarted my way into thinking that Pack’s Disdain only targeted attacking/blocking creatures, a la Coordinated Barrage. God only knows why. It isn’t like I hadn’t played it before. Anyway, I died to a bevy of 6/6 Changelings. That put my pretty badly on tilt – especially since my opponent and I do not get along – which led me to make a complete mess of the third game. Sigh. At least it wasn’t the deck’s fault. 

Before I take off, I am about to forsake most of my senses in the name of maximizing tribal synergies. It could get crazy here, so watch out.

1x Game-tail Changeling
1x Bramblewood Paragon
1x Everbark Shaman
1x Bosk Banneret
1x Gilt-Leaf Ambush
1x Guardian of Cloverdell
1x Changeling Titan
1x Woodland Changeling
1x Fertilid
1x Fertile Ground
1x Battlewand Oak
1x Nath’s Elite
2x Ballyrush Banneret
1x Avian Changeling
1x Cloudgoat Ranger
1x Cairn Wanderer
1x Shriekmaw
1x Squeaking-Pie Grubfellows
1x Warren Pilferers
1x Violet Pall
1x Marsh Flitter
1x Moonglove Extract
1x Vivid Meadow
1x Vivid Grove
9x Forest
4x Swamp
2x Plains

I really don’t know if this deck is good or not. There are certainly a lot of cool things going on, but is that good enough? I think I’m glad I didn’t think of this until I wrote up this article…I almost certainly would have been tempted astray by it.

This doesn’t even cover all the possible decks. There could be some sort of W/U/b aggressive deck. Or W/G. The moral of the story is that Sealed pools are rarely simple. Take extra time to think about what you’re doing. It could pay off big time. 

Charles Sutphin

charles dot sutphin at gmail dot com

4 Comments

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 206.131.49.254 (not verified) at Tue, 03/04/2008 - 13:58
Anonymous (Unregistered) 206.131.49.254's picture

WB has got to be the strongest deck of the three right i mean black is undeniable with a shriekmaw and a makeshift, and white gives you not only early game threats but white siege-gang commander, Cloudgoat ranger!. Blue is underpowered... no card draw and flyers are tight but tempo is better in my opinion.

by HydraLord at Sun, 03/02/2008 - 12:47
HydraLord's picture

Begging is the generally accepted method.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 24.129.85.56 (not verified) at Sun, 03/02/2008 - 02:55
Anonymous (Unregistered) 24.129.85.56's picture

how can I make my fnm do limited?! I get bored of constructed

It is hard to dive into by wannareset1990 at Tue, 07/11/2017 - 08:40
wannareset1990's picture
5

It is hard to dive into conclusions. One has to try it. - Phillip Elden