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By: NVOtosReborn, John Mayer
Jan 13 2015 12:00pm
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Welcome to another edition of Crack & Build! This is a series where I like to open 6 packs, talk about what picks I would make in a draft, and then use those packs to build a sealed pool!

You can view older articles here:

Crack & Build #1

On to the packs!

Pack 1:

Disdainful Stroke
Canyon Lurkers
Smite the Monstrous
Sultai Scavenger
Hooting Mandrills
Abomination of Gudul
Singing Bell Strike
Dismal Backwater
Bloodfire Mentor
Lens of Clarity
Burn Away
Mystic Monastery
Raiders' Spoils
Sorin, Solemn Visitor

My Pick:

Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Well, this was easy. Planeswalkers are generally amazing in limited, and Sorin is no exception. He helps when you are slightly behind, and helps break through ground stalls. He is very good on the defensive as well, letting your creatures buff up and gain you life even during the opponent's turn. Had this rare been a bust, I would probably snap off the Mystic Monastery for help with a wide spectrum of mana, or a solid removal spell in Burn Away.

Pack 2:

Whirlwind Adept
Mardu Warshrieker
Defiant Strike
Sagu Archer
Mardu Skullhunter
Efreet Weaponmaster
Thornwood Falls
Jeskai Windscout
Abzan Banner
Arc Lightning
Highspire Mantis
Bear's Companion
Sultai Ascendancy

My Pick:

Highspire Mantis

This is an interesting pick. Sultai Ascendancy is great in the right deck, and would be something you could build around. That said, I don't think it's overwhelmingly powerful, and would essentially be something you'd hope to pick up in a later pack when you were already cemented into that wedge. For me, the pick is between Highspire Mantis and Arc Lightning. I take the Highspire Mantis strictly based on experience, as a 3/3 flyer for 4 mana is extremely efficient in this format whereas Arc Lightning is generally kill a morph and dome your opponent for a point. If there were a lot of X/1s in this format, I'd absolutely slam the Arc Lightning, but as it stands, it's really only good against certain strategies (usually Mardu). As for the rest, Bear's Companion is outstanding, but again, I don't like to force myself into a wedge immediately unless there's a really good reason to.

Pack 3:

Crippling Chill
Ainok Tracker
Feat of Resistance
Awaken the Bear
Molting Snakeskin
Kheru Dreadmaw
Longshot Squad
Jungle Hollow
Unyielding Krumar
Venerable Lammasu
Jeskai Charm
Abzan Falconer
Ankle Shanker

My Pick:

Abzan Falconer

This is rather difficult as well. Personally, I don't think Ankle Shanker is very good. I've never played with or against it, but a 5 mana 2/2 with a marginal ability doesn't really appeal to me. The reason why I say this is that Mardu decks generally want to be aggressive and swarm the opponent with creatures. For 5 mana, you could be casting Zurgo, Roughrider, or flipping up a Ponyback Brigade, all of which sounds better than attacking with a 2/2. If you're behind, this card does nothing. If you're ahead, this card does very little. The only place it's good is when you run into a brick wall and can't push through damage, but I'd rather have something versatile like Arrow Storm in that situation, or an Abzan Falconer to take to the skies and fly over the opposition.

Pack 4:

Wetland Sambar
Valley Dasher
Smoke Teller
Sultai Scavenger
Bloodfire Mentor
Lens of Clarity
War Behemoth
Scoured Barrens
Embodiment of Spring
Act of Treason
Kin-Tree Invocation
Become Immense
Take Up Arms
Trail of Mystery

My Pick:

Trail of Mystery

While I haven't had the pleasure of playing with Trail of Mystery, I've seen it played in videos and it's very good. It fixes your mana quite well, and turns all of your morphs into pseudo Master of Pearls which makes combat an absolute nightmare for your opponent. Other than Trail, I'm a big fan of Kin-Tree Invocation and Become Immense. Take Up Arms can also be outstanding if you manage to pick up Raiders' Spoils or some Chiefs. Of the three, I'd probably take the Invocation, because vomiting a 5/5 onto the table after playing Archer's Parapet is just gross.

Pack 5:

Swift Kick
Rush of Battle
Weave Fate
Sidisi's Pet
Alpine Grizzly
Kheru Dreadmaw
Abzan Guide
Tusked Colossodon
Tranquil Cove
Chief of the Scale
Armament Corps
Mardu Roughrider
High Sentinels of Arashin

My Pick:

High Sentinels of Arashin

Wow. All three uncommons in this pack are first-pickable, and all contain white. It's risky to take this route, but the Sentinels are incredibly powerful on their own, and leave a lasting benefit behind for the rest of your creatures. The second best card in this pack is Armament Corps by a fair margin, and I would be happy to dive right in to Abzan if Sentinels was not present in this pack.

Pack 6:

Trumpet Blast
Salt Road Patrol
Sultai Scavenger
Awaken the Bear
Force Away
Wind-Scarred Crag
Bring Low
Snowhorn Rider
Chief of the Edge
Temur Charm
Witness of the Ages
Rakshasa Vizier

My Pick:

Chief of the Edge

I really enjoy drafting the BW Warriors deck, and we've opened one of the premier uncommons in that archetype. I'm happy to take it and stay relatively open, as Vizier and Temur Charm are not powerful enough for me to jump into three colors right off the bat.

Here's the sealed deck I would build:

I think that the Warrior theme is pretty coherent here, and a lot of the cards have synergy together. I know I said things about Ankle Shanker, but sealed is a different animal than draft, and it pairs really well with the small dorks and things like Take Up Arms.

Until next time!