Sealed Pool Exercise-Theros
GP Sydney 2013 TOP 4
GP Auckland 2012 11th
Won a PTQ when he was 13.
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With my PTQ a week away, I’ve decided to put aside Theros draft and instead go through a Sealed Pool today. This was the Sealed Pool I opened;
The first step is to separate all the unplayable cards and sort out the playable cards by Converted Mana Cost to give a better idea of what it will look like.
The white we opened was relatively strong. The stand out cards were Phalanx Leader and Spear of Heliod, both of which are excellent and considered as “bombs”. We also opened some good Heroic enablers such as Hopeful Eidolon and Observant Alseid. The glaring problem with white was it was relatively low on playables and the two best cards were both double-white in CMC which meant they would be hard to splash.
The blue had four great cards in the form of the 2 Nimbus Naiad, Triton Tactics and Sea God’s Revenge. All four of these cards are amazing and I’d definitely want to play them. Nimbus Naiad is especially good in sealed as there isn’t much removal and games tend to go longer then in draft so flying is truly amazing. Problem with blue was other than these four cards, there really wasn’t anything else that stands out which means it will have to be more of a splash color. Luckily all these four cards are singular blue in CMC and are late drops which makes it easier to splash.
The black was relatively weak. The main cards were Hero’s Downfall, Gray Merchant of Asphodel and 2 Sip of Hemlock but all of them are double-Black which makes it hard to splash and other then that black was really bad unless we go UB and utilize the Returned Phalanxs but the problem was neither blue nor black seemed deep enough to make a deck out of just those two colors.
We opened a very strong aggressive red pool. We have a number of solid two and three drops as well as double Coordinated Assault which are amazing in combat but also to enable Heroic. The problem with this red pool was that it’s very aggressive and doesn’t have too much reach in the lategame which meant it would have to be paired with white as all our other colors we opened are too slow to pair with red.
Our green was fairly strong with Voyaging Satyr, Nessian Asp and Mistcutter Hydra to be the stand out cards. The main appeal in green was it has a good curve and some sweet combat tricks and removal such as Savage Surge and Time to Feed respectively. The green is also relatively broad which means it could pair with nearly any color other than red although pairing it with blue seemed the most appealing due to the double Agent of Horizons and the Staunch-Hearted Warrior to go with the 2 Nimbus Naiad
Both the multi-colored cards we opened are playable in their respective color combinations. Colossus of Akros is fine in Sealed as the format is much slower but since none of our colors are slow and grindy, it is unlikely we will play it. Guardians of Meletis is a solid sideboard card against aggressive decks.
The next step was to try put together every playable deck. I decided to start off with Blue-Green as it seemed like the obvious deck;
This deck looked okay but the main issue was that the removal was very weak. Time to Feed seems very bad here and it may even be incorrect to play them at all as all our creatures are relatively small which means we will have to trade two for one just to deal with any given threat. The main point that stood out about this deck was the very good curve.
Since I opened both Traveler’s Amulet and Nylea’s Presence, it seemed like three colors could be possible especially with blue being very easy to splash. I decided to try a BUG deck next as I liked the concept behind the Blue-Green deck but wanted more solid removal to go with it.
The manabase of this deck seemed pretty awkward but other than that the deck seemed solid. Having access to three solid removal spells makes the deck much better positioned in sealed as you need to be able to deal with potential opposing bombs. Although I do think this BUG deck is better than the original Blue-Green deck, neither of them stood out and seemed good enough.
Since white seemed to be one of the best colors we opened, I decided to try a White-Green deck next.
This deck faced some of the same problems as the Blue-Green deck in the sense that the removal is very weak as Time to Feed isn’t very good here either. Like Blue-Green though, this deck had a very good curve. I decided that this deck definitely needs the blue splash as a way to get more value out of the Agent of Horizons and also to give it a better angle as Nimbus Naiad works well with the other Bestow creatures in white by essentially making a big flying creature that the opponents won’t be able to outrace. Since we don’t have good removal, the idea is to go “over the top” of our opponent’s creatures with Bestow. Here is the bant deck:
This deck seemed very good and better than any of the other green-based decks we’ve built so far. It still has a good curve but also a much better lategame then either of the two-color decks due to the large number of Bestow and Sea God’s Revenge. Although this deck lacks removal, it can easily go over the top of our opponent with Bestow and Spear of Heliod. The manabase does look clunky but I expect it plays out much better than it looks as you don’t need a blue source till turn 4/5 and although Phalanx Leader is double white, it’s usually not a turn two play anyway as you want to cast it once you have more creatures in play so you can abuse it as an anthem effect.
Finally, I decided to try the aggressive Boros deck. Both my red and white were fairly strong so I expected I could make a strong deck out of it. This is what I came up with;
This deck seemed very powerful. It has a very aggressive curve and a number of solid removal spells. It also seems great in combat as we have double Coordinated Assault (which works amazingly well with Phalanx Leader) as well as Spear of Heliod
Overall, both the Bant deck and the Boros deck look real good and much better than any of the other decks. I’m not sure which one is better but if this was a real event, I would submit the Bant deck and sideboard into the Boros deck against any slow matchups like UB Control as the Bant deck seems to be more “solid” and can fight any matchup while the Boros deck is designed to prey on slower decks and may have a hard time against green-based creature decks as they often have bigger creatures then you like Nessian Courser and Nessian Asp
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned some lessons on Sealed Deckbuilding for Theros. I wish you all the luck in your upcoming PTQs and hopefully some of you can get the PT invite that you’re all seeking! After the PTQ next week, I will be focusing more on Standard in preparation to GP Melbourne so expect more constructed articles from me for the next few months. As usual if you have any questions or feedback (doesn’t necessarily have to be about this article), feel free to comment here or tweet me @mtgzen!
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