Thursday, 30 July 2015

MTG: My GP Dallas Sealed Build

Link to deck and pool

(If anyone knows a good way to show the pool in a more organized manner, so it's easier for readers to step through the process along with me, please let me know).

After verifying that everything was registered correctly, my initial impulse was to try a UW build - this was probably motivated by the Thunderclap Wyvern, particularly with the triple Aspiring Aeronaut. However, I've been listening to advice on how to build sealed pools for a while now, and they almost universally talk about weeding out your unplayables first. So I was disciplined and did this.

My next order of business was to try to figure out what color(s) I was certainly not playing, so I could spend the rest of my time more efficiently. This was not as easy as I had hoped - and certainly more difficult than when online, surprisingly because it's not as easy as you'd think to lay all the cards out, particularly in your limited amount of space. Still, it only took a minute or two to throw out red. Red definitely has some very good cards in it - Avaricious Dragon, Acolyte of the Inferno, Akroan Sergeant - but it wasn't too long before I realized the depth simply wasn't there, particularly as none of my other colors really stood out as being particularly deep.

Then I started laying out different potential builds. I remember I looked at UB briefly, because I realized the curve there was REALLY terrible - there were like two cards with CMC<3, and I don't think you can get away with that in this format. I definitely looked at the UW I was interested in. This definitely had more early presence, from the white 2-drops. But ultimately, I felt that the curve was still too wonky. If you lay it out, you see a HUGE glut in the 4-drop slot: 2 Ampryn Tactician, Tower Geist, 2 Suppression Bonds, Separatist Voidmage, 3 Aeronaut, Charging Griffin, and the Wyvern is fully 11 cards! And there are a few which are more expensive still. Importantly, I felt like I needed to play really all of these, as that was the power/reason to play the color combination, and I wasn't too high on other playables. And while Tactician combos with the Aeronauts, and Wyvern with half the deck, I still felt like this wasn't going to be enough.

So I basically realized that Blue wasn't going to be a playable color either, really, because it was too high on curve, but it took me a good chunk of time to get there. This left Green, White, and Black. I was drawn to all of these colors, and I laid out each of the three decks for quite a while. I knew I wanted to play both Foundry of the Consuls and Rogue's Passage, since I had written already about the lack of mana sinks in the format, which led me to think I probably also wanted 18 lands. Of the three, GW looked fine, but not at all exciting to me. I spend the most time considering BW and BG.

The advantages of BW were that it had, I think, a little bit more power, and most importantly, more removal. Double Suppression Bonds with double Unholy Hunger means there would often be a spell to take care of a key opposing threat. Ultimately, I didn't go for it, mainly because I thought I would have problems with the mana. Both Knight of the White Orchid, and especially Consul's Lieutenant want you to have WW by turn 2, and for that you want at least 9, and more preferably 10 or really 11 sources. But Unholy Hunger and Kothophed both want me to have double black, and with that many white sources, I would be pinched there. I think this still may have been the right build, probably pitching the Rogue's Passage, and going with 9 Plains and 8 Swamps.

The build I ultimately went with is pretty close, though. Leaf Gilder is a pretty nice 2-drop itself. Outland Colossus is pretty well a bomb, definitely capable of winning games on its own. Undercity Troll is pretty close to being as good as the white two drops, maybe even better - it's VERY good. Didn't have tons of removal, but a decent amount. And this build definitely had the most Card Advantage, between Read the Bones, Macabre Waltz, Llanowar Empath, Valeron Wardens. Ultimately, the deck is a bit weak to fliers, and the bottom few cards are less than stellar, but I think it's fairly solid.

Let me know what you think. Should I have gone with White? Did I build my mana correctly (I kind of wonder whether I should have one more swamp and one fewer forest)? Should Yeva's Forcemage or some number of Alchemist's Vials be in the deck? I'm really unsure still, and would like your input.

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