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By: hipuncle, Matthew Pearce
Feb 09 2008 11:53pm
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Empty Sealed Deckbuilding - Part 1

Lorwyn Sealed is the single best Limited format ever…
 
No really, I’m serious!  Lorwyn Sealed IS the single best limited format ever. Unlike its draft counterpart, it’s not archetypal. Mana screw is a lot less prevalent then that of previous format, if the deck is built properly. Bombs are only what you make of them not guaranteed wins. Plus in what other environment can you play Chandra, Austere Command, Cloudthresher, Mournwhelk, and Aethersnipe all in the same deck. (Yes I have done this before!)
 
To further prove that Lorwyn Sealed is premiere, take a look at the top eights of the Sealed Events in the PE section. Noticed something? Yeah, a lot of the names seem to repeat from one event to another. This tells me either they hack, or this is a very skill intensive environment. I am inclined to believe the later.
 
In Lorwyn Sealed 80% of event is won in the first 20 minutes!
 
Deck Building:
           
In spirit of the future Morningtide release coming to I will use and example that includes it. It is a Sealed Pool that I have built for practice. Now this one is a standard Sealed Pool (only two Morningtide packs, not three). When it comes to the fundamentals of deck building, the lack of an additional pack will not matter. However, if you play in a release event online, you will probably need to take even more heed of the Class affects.  For example: How would your deck handle a turn one Prickly Boggart?
 

White

1 Shields of Velis Vel
1 Coordinated Barrage
2 Forfend
1 Goldmeadow Stalwart
1 Wispmare
1 Kinsbaile Skirmisher
1 Plover Knights
1 Hillcomber Giant
1 Wellgabber Apothecary
1 Avian Changeling
1 Kinsbaile Borderguard
1 Meadowboon
1 Stonybrook Schoolmaster
1 Burrenton Bombardier
1 Shinewend
1 Changeling Sentinel

Blue

1 Distant Melody
1 Familiar's Ruse
1 Whirlpool Whelm
1 Disperse
1 Silvergill Adept
1 Pestermite
1 Aethersnipe
2 Tideshaper Mystic
1 Amoeboid Changeling
1 Silvergill Douser
1 Waterspout Weavers
1 Inspired Sprite
2 Mothdust Changeling
1 Fencer Clique
1 Floodchaser

Black

1 Morsel Theft
1 Ghostly Changeling
1 Warren Pilferers
1 Black Poplar Shaman
1 Dreamspoiler Witches
1 Nightshade Stinger
1 Facevaulter
1 Weirding Shaman
1 Frogtosser Banneret
1 Final-Sting Faerie

Red

1 Giant's Ire
1 Roar of the Crowd
1 Thundercloud Shaman
1 Changeling Berserker
1 Flamekin Brawler
1 Mudbutton Torchrunner
1 Axegrinder Giant
1 Adder-Staff Boggart
1 Spitebellows
2 Fire Juggler
1 Lunk Errant

Green

1 Incremental Growth
1 Woodland Guidance
1 Recross the Paths
1 Hunt Down
1 Heal the Scars
1 Imperious Perfect
1 Oakgnarl Warrior
1 Elvish Branchbender
1 Lys Alana Huntmaster
1 Leaf Gilder
1 Elvish Eulogist
1 Warren Scourge Elf
1 Bramblewood Paragon
1 Winnower Patrol

Multicolored and Lands

1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Auntie's Hovel
1 Howltooth Hollow
1 Vivid Marsh

 
Now this is a beast of a deck to build. It seems every color is solid, yet, not one of the colors seems to jump out at you. After all, Black has Weirding Shaman, Red has Thundercloud Shaman, Green has Imperious Perfect, Blue has the depth, and White has, well we will get back to white.
 
All in all this is a solid example…
 
Step 1 – The Stupid
 
The first question I always ask in Lorwyn Sealed is how stupid can I be? No I am not trying to insult myself. I am asking how much off color mana availability do I have. How many colors can I play and still have a solid deck. In our example we don’t have a lot of mana fixing. There are Vivid Marsh, Auntie's Hovel, and the two Tideshaper Mystics.
 
Now even with four mana fixing items, this deck is comparably week in the mana fixing field. I would play Tideshaper Mystic, but not without powerful synergy with its creature type. As it does not net a new mana source, or survive a Peppersmoke, it should be a last ditch option at best. Auntie's Hovel is obviously limited in its mana fixing. So this just leaves us with Vivid Marsh, which is a solid option.
 
What does this mean? Well this means I can’t go to stupid with this deck. I can only go two colors with a solitary splash color. Anything more and this deck would not be solid, and mana screw or color screw will happen.
 
Why do you want to check for this first? Take our deck above. If I had to chose a color that has more bombs then any other I’d have to pick Red. Spitebellows, Thundercloud Shaman, and Changeling Berserker are all very powerful, Axegrinder Giant, Torchrunner, and Roar can be great, but that is where that color ends. That’s six cards.  There is not a lot of splashability there either. Gotta give them up; for now.
Changeling Berserker
         
On the flipside, where blue does not have the game winners, it has the depth. Almost every card in blue has some playability in the right build…
 
Step 2 – The Start
 
Question two - Where should we start? Given our flexibility we need to pick a deep color to start with. As mentioned Blue has the depth, but what if I did not tell you that already. What defines depth? After all white has as many playable cards as blue does. Depth has to be defined in both Quality and Quantity.
 
Quantity. This is where it is good to know our flexibility. If flexibility is as tight as it is in our deck, then we need our base starting color to have at least 10-12 Playable cards - this can include Artifacts. This way our second color does not have to be as deep and we don’t have to splash any more then three cards if we play a third. Obviously that number can go down the more flexibility we have.
 
Quality. Quality should be defined in card advantage, synergy, and creature control. Blue is strong in all three of these fields. It has a good number of changeling creatures to go with solid enablers in, Inspired Sprite, Silvergill Douser, Silvergill Adept, and Distant Melody. In creature control you have the hat trick of Bounce Spells, in Disperse, Whirlpool Whelm, and Aethersnipe. White, on the other hand, has very weak synergy within itself. While it does have good changeling creatures, it does not have the enablers to support it. Likewise it only has Coordinate Barrage as control.
 
This should be proof enough…
 
So Now that we have our starting point lets build a frame
 

1 Distant Melody
1 Whirlpool Whelm
1 Disperse
1 Silvergill Adept
1 Pestermite
1 Aethersnipe
1 Amoeboid Changeling
1 Silvergill Douser
1 Inspired Sprite
2 Mothdust Changeling
1 Fencer Clique

Silvergill Adept
 

Notice that not all of the playable blue is in there (though that is a lot of cards). I do this because, unlike popular belief, it is better to add cards in the end, then to subtract them. In adding cards you get to pick the best card for your deck that is left, focusing on the positive. However in subtracting cards, unless it is a clear choice, you will have to focus on the negative of multiple cards left in your deck. Simple rule of psychology, if you focus on something happening, you are more likely to perceive it happening during a game.

Now Lets do a little Quick Analysis of our Frame. 12 Solid cards. Good bounce spells. Nine Creatures, five Merfolk, six Faeries, six Wizards, four Instants, three Changeling. The changelings are cheap. Better for global effects, worse for when you play affects. Good low curve, giving plenty of spots for higher costing cards.
 
 
Step 3 – The Service
 
Question 3 - How can I help this? This next step is where there a lot of mistakes are made. People want to skip it. They will have two separately strong colors and they will throw them together. Except their second color will not have any synergy with the first. Which would be great if every game you would draw all of you’re A color or all of you B color. You won’t.
 
To exemplify this lets take a look at green. Where Red is the most bombish color, you would be hard pressed to find seven cards that are more affluent together then the green elves. Imperious Perfect, Incremental Growth, Bramblewood Paragon, and the Huntmaster are all amazing. Patrol, Leaf Gilder, and Branchbender are powerful when coupled with the above cards also. Recross the Paths is just ok. Now look at this with the Blue. (I’ll complete the splash for this example.)
 

1 Distant Melody
1 Whirlpool Whelm
1 Disperse
1 Silvergill Adept
1 Pestermite
1 Aethersnipe
1 Amoeboid Changeling
1 Silvergill Douser
1 Inspired Sprite
2 Mothdust Changeling
1 Fencer Clique
1 Waterspout Weavers

1 Incremental Growth
1 Imperious Perfect
1 Elvish Branchbender
1 Lys Alana Huntmaster
1 Leaf Gilder
1 Bramblewood Paragon
1 Winnower Patrol

1 Avian Changeling
1 Burrenton Bombardier
1 Changeling Sentinel
Leaf Gilder
 
What you have here is a solid base deck. This deck could take you to the top eight. There is some favorable synergy. The elf token generation works well with the distant melody. The bounce can give you combat tricks, protect your perfect, or clear blockers. Land will become useless later on so you would be good to discard them to the Sprite or fling them with Branch Bender. This is probably the second best deck you could build with this pool.

But only the second best!

I apologize for the length of the article. I promise to conclude this, on the next article. Then I can start sharing some real life examples. I would love feedback. Including feedback like you should include more pictures.


Thank You,
            Matthew Pearce (hipuncle)

1 Comments

nice article by nickxramsey at Mon, 02/11/2008 - 07:30
nickxramsey's picture

i really like the article. in the next one could u include how you would choose your lands foryour mana-base? i believe alot of players get mana screwed in games they couldve won had they picked the correct number of the right basics.....

 sidenote- i nver sit across from matt pearce in a limited game and feel like im going to win!