Everyone is writing about Worldwake right now and we probably have at least another week or two of reading about the impact of the set in Standard, Extended, Sealed, Draft, Legacy, EDH, Type 4, Mental Magic… the list goes on.
This article is more focused on deckbuilding in the new sealed format. Any type of Magic player has the opportunity to run in this format over the next couple weeks whether it be release events this weekend, release events online two weeks from now, or maybe most importantly (at least for me) the Last Chance Qualifier for Pro Tour San Diego on February 18th in sunny Southern California.
I ran in two flights on Saturday and went 3-0-1, 3-1 with a sole loss to a pretty oustanding black deck featuring Sorin Markov and Butcher of Malakir among other fun things. My decks had some pretty slick cards as well; but I’m not 100% sure if I built my decks correctly, and that’s what this piece is going to try and figure out. I welcome and encourage any type of suggestion or criticism in the comments section. Like I said I’m looking to grind into the Pro Tour in two weeks so any help is appreciated.
Here’s a look at my first pool (a * denotes Foil):
BLACK – 14
Dead Reckoning x2
Guul Draz Vampire
Ruthless Cullblade *
BLUE – 13
GREEN – 11
RED – 15
Goblin Shortcutter x2
Quest for the Pure Flame
Rotting Terrain x2
Stone Idol Trap
Apex Hawks x2
Arrow Volley Trap
Lightkeeper of Emeria
Join the Ranks
Journey to Nowhere
Rest for the Weary
ARTIFACT – 8
LAND – 6
I got to build across from my good friend Andy Roman in Flight 1 which is a great advantage in a Pre Release since you can talk about building and card choices and what not; since you really haven’t had any time to truly evaluate the cards before this point. Right away I knew that Black and Green were out (there were no black cards in my first pack at all), and that I would definitely be playing Blue or Red. The only decision I had to make was whether or not to run one of those with White. White was really lacking creatures even though it had some good ones with Evasion. All Five creatures I would run with White had either first strike or flying. There wasn’t a good chance of me playing Kabira Evangel or Devout Lightcaster since I had such little allies nor enough White to warrant a WWW casting cost. The only thing white gave me that I loved was Journey to Nowhere.
After a second glance at everything I decided that I was definitely playing Blue as my best cards were clearly Living Tsunami and Rite of Replication. 11 of my 13 Blue cards were striaght up good, and I ended up playing that many. I then do what I normally do when building a sealed deck, which is put my Blue cards in the middle by curve and the Red and White cards above and below to see how the decks would look. It became pretty clear when I had nine solid Red creatures as well as Searing Blaze and Stone Idol Trap which I felt was a pretty strong bomb even though Andy sorta disagreed. Turns out it was, especially when I got to say “I’ll Rite of Replication my Stone Idol token.” Leaving me with a permanent 6/12 trampler on the board (since the instant says “exile it at the beginning of your next end step” instead of the instant indicating the token has that text.
I went 3-0-1 with the following deck, choosing to Intentionally Draw in the final round so my opponent and I would each get six packs instead of eight and four.
Normally I run 18 land but I only curve to 5 (considering I’ll never cast Stone Idol Trap for 6), I had nearly no landfall and I have Living Tsunami, so I went with 17.
Some limited analysis of the new cards.
Treasure Hunt – I am pretty underwhelmed by this card, especially on turn 2. If you cast it on turn 2 on the draw you’re automatically discarding if you had no one drop. A couple of times I hit 3-4 cards off of it and most of the time I ended up discarding a land or two. One time it was huge though when I had 5 lands in hand and 2 spells I ran it just to discard and I drew 3 more lands and could dump 5 lands to my graveyard. That seems pretty rare.
Mysteries of the Deep – this card was great, even if I was wasting a turn playing it to draw 3.
Searing Blaze – Might as well just say sorcery in this format, but it’s a pretty good sorcery.
Stone Idol Trap – a total bomb. won me several games including a gunsling vs. Darwin Castle.
Hedron Rover – Was really good, a 4/4 attacker for 4 was really solid all day.
Halimar Depths – was always really, really good for me. Bouncing it every turn with tsunami was even better.
Grotag Thrasher – not great stats but he can really open up a clogged board for him and some friends.
Deathforge Shaman – Another game winner. This cycle of guys who multikick for their color are all really strong, this guy is good; the black version is great.
Vapor Snare – Unfortunately I never cast this card but it seems quite outstanding with a limited drawback, especially in a deck with a lower curve like the one I ran. Does not combo well with Tsunami.
Here’s my second card pool (again, foils have a *):
BLACK – 17
Agadeem Occultist *
Bojuka Brigand x2
Guul Draz Spectre
Guul Draz Vampire
Kalitas, Blood Chief of Ghet
Nimana Sell Sword
Scrib Nibblers x2
Soul Stair Expedition
BLUE – 13
GREEN – 17
Vines of Vastwood
RED – 12
WHITE – 13
ARTIFACT – 5
LAND – 6
I’m definitely interested in analyzing this pool because I most hastily built it. I kid you not, that the kid I was stuck sitting next to spelled so bad that I thought I was going to vomit all over my packs while waiting to open them. That and, interestingly enough, I opened both Sphinx of Jwar Isle and The Bloodchief of Ghet in my FNM draft the night before, played U/B and split in the finals of my pod. Now I have them both again not 24 hours later. Weird.
I had enough playables in Blue that because of the Sphinx I should run that color. Depending on how much you devalue the Bloodchief, you could consider going green here, but there just aren’t enough playables. I just put a list together and I struggled to get to 20 and I don’t want to run two Enclave Elite. Black just had way too much power with Heartstabber Mosquito, Guul Draz Spectre, plus it gave me a really strong ally subtheme due to the synergy with Agadeem Occultist, Halimar Excavator and Hedron Crab.
A quick aside about milling in limited: normally I think milling with just a crab that’s going to maybe hit for a few isn’t that great, but with the excavators you’re not milling 3-6 cards anymore. With six allies and the crab I had the potential to mill 20 or so cards per game, meaning that I’m no longer just changing my opponent’s next draw, I’m actively stripping their deck. That coupled with the Occultist’s ability to steal creatures and Guul Draz Specter stripping their hand, I was actively attacking their deck; so I went for it.
I end up with a pretty decent curve but very light on creature removal. My goal was to hopefully mill enough good cards to let my bombs do the talking. That went pretty well as I went 3-1 losing only to an absolutely ridiculous deck aforementioned.
Some takes on the cards here:
Agadeem Occultist: Sadly I never got to use his ability because he was a lightning rod for removal due to all my milling/allies, but if I ever tapped him it was going to be GG.
Tideforce Elemental: I love tappers, even bad ones (sup Vectis Dominator). This is going to be one of my favorite cards in limited in the near future. He was always oustanding be it on offense or defense.
Dead Reckoning: This card was extremely impressive. At one point an opponent of mine Heartstabbered my Kalitas and his friend said “that’s how they do it on the pro tour!” It was pretty embarassing when I Dead Reckoning’d his Machete equipped Flyer next turn and my board was soon Kalitas, Sphinx and vampire tokens.
Aether Tradewinds: Not very exciting but it gets things done.
Halimar Excavator: I’ll take a 1/3 for 2 in Blue, especially if I can swing more allies. I liked him all day.
Bojuka Brigand: These guys were great when I kept hitting allies but when a 3/3 comes down and they can’t even chump it kind of sucks.
Dread Statuary: I loved this guy, especially with grim discovery. He got into the red zone, he defended intimidators, and he killed guys the rest of my team couldnt. I’d run him anytime I have him.
Enclave Elite: Pretty dumpy, I sided the second one in against Blue for the Hedron Crab a bit. My friend Andy really liked multikicker but I didn’t use it much and found it pretty underwhelming when used to add +1/+1 tokens against me, and only really good with the guys who multikick for one color to make you discard or burn or gain life.
My initial thoughts on Worldwake was that it was going to be mainly inconsequential, and I think mainly that was right. I hadn’t considered the fact that it would be super fun, and I walk away from these events with the realization that it is. I’m sure winning certainly helped that feeling, but I enjoyed playing almost every card I laid on the table on Saturday.
I really feel like I want to be blue at the LCQ in San Diego. It is really easy to clog up the ground with white and blue but I think blue has a little bit more trickery with cards like Into the Roil and Whiplash Trap to get you through it. It’s already tough getting through Kraken Hatching, and Calcite Snapper one-ups it. I’m also in love with Tideforce Elemental. But really, I would follow your bombs because there are so many of them in this new set.
I will say this about draft: I think the draft format is going to be defined by allies. There are so many allies now it frightens me to the point that I don’t know if I want to draft much if I’m going to be fighting over allies for three packs; but we shall see.
BobbySapphire on MTGO