KTK: PTQ Sealed Pool #2

We had another Sealed PTQ in Seattle this weekend and I did a lot better this time (6-3) despite misbuilding the pool. How would you have built this pool? (The pool is also posted on TappedOut, for those that find that easier to work with.) Post your build in the comments and I’ll do the same later this week.

Artifact
Abzan Banner
Cranial Archive
Jeskai Banner
Mardu Banner
2 Temur Banner

White
Defiant Strike
Erase
Firehoof Cavalry
Herald of Anafenza
Jeskai Student
Kill Shot
Mardu Hordechief
Siegecraft
2 Smite the Monstrous
Take Up Arms

Blue
Cancel
Crippling Chill
Embodiment of Spring
Force Away
2 Glacial Stalker
Kheru Spellsnatcher
Riverwheel Aerialists
Scion of Glaciers
2 Singing Bell Strike
Taigam’s Scheming
Treasure Cruise
Weave Fate

Black
Disowned Ancestor
Kheru Dreadmaw
Krumar Bond-Kin
2 Molting Snakeskin
Rakshasa’s Secret
Rotting Mastodon
Ruthless Ripper
Sultai Scavenger
Unyielding Krumar

Red
Arc Lightning
Arrow Storm
Barrage of Boulders
Bloodfire Expert
Bloodfire Mentor
2 Bring Low
Canyon Lurkers
Dragon-Style Twins
Horde Ambusher
Hordeling Outburst
Mardu Heart-Piercer
2 Mardu Warshrieker
Shatter

Green
Dragonscale Boon
Hardened Scales
Heir of the Wilds
Highland Game
Hooting Mandrills
Incremental Growth
Longshot Squad
Naturalize
Savage Punch
Seek the Horizon
Windstorm
3 Woolly Loxodon

Multicolor
Abzan Charm
Anafenza, the Foremost
Flying Crane Technique
Icefeather Aven
Mardu Roughrider
Ponyback Brigade
Snowhorn Rider
Temur Charm
Winterflame

Land
2 Blossoming Sands
Scoured Barrens
Swiftwater Cliffs
Wind-Scarred Crag

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One Response to KTK: PTQ Sealed Pool #2

  1. sameer says:

    This was a really tough pool to build. There were a number of good cards spread across different colors and wedges, and not a lot of manafixing to go with them. I eliminated black quickly and deciding that I had to play red for the removal it offered, which meant that the only wedges I could play were Temur or Jeskai.

    The Temur deck had several problems. It had great creatures, but more than half of them were morphs so there was a glut at 3cc, and the deck looked like it might not function well if it didn’t get to 5 mana to pay morph costs. It also lacked good manafixing: it had only 1 dual land, didn’t really want to play the 2 Temur Banners because it already had a lot of morphs to play on turn 3 (and because Banners aren’t particularly good), and didn’t want to rely on Embodiment of Spring for manafixing because the blue was more of a splash. Perhaps this analysis was incorrect and I could have built a R/G deck that splashed blue for Temur Charm, some morphs, and some late game cards like Riverwheel Aerialists and Treasure Cruise, and perhaps the Temur Banners could have served primarily as ramp that let me cast my morph creature face up.

    Jeskai was tempting because it offered Flying Crane Technique, which is as good a win condition as any. However, many of the white cards in the pool were early drops, and there wasn’t enough manafixing for Jeskai to ensure that I would be able to do that, so I ended up cutting the creatures and the Defiant Strike, leaving Kill Shot, 2 Smite the Monstrous, and Flying Crane Technique. I wasn’t too keen on splashing the situational white removal given the lack of manafixing, and Flying Crane Technique seemed underwhelming in a deck with 12-13 creatures, so I cut those too so I could have a more consistent manabase.

    The deck I registered was U/R:

    Creatures (13):
    – 2cc: Horde Ambusher
    – 3cc: Bloodfire Mentor, Bloodfire Expert, Canyon Lurkers, 2 Glacial Stalker, Kheru Spellsnatcher
    – 4cc: Mardu Heart-Piercer, 2 Mardu Warshrieker, Scion of Glaciers
    – 5cc: Dragon-Style Twins
    – 6cc: Riverwheel Aerialists

    Spells (9):
    – 2cc: Force Away
    – 3cc: Arc Lightning, Cancel, Crippling Chill, Winterflame
    – 4cc: 2 Bring Low
    – 5cc: Arrow Storm
    – 6cc+: Treasure Cruise

    Lands (18): Swiftwater Cliffs, 9 Mountains, 8 Islands

    After 2 matches, I realized that this deck didn’t do very much before turn 3, and was not very good against an even remotely aggressive start; if my opponent had a creature and a removal spell, I was usually unable to recover. It also didn’t have ways to deal with bombs if it didn’t counter them, had only 1 evasive creature, and had 1 other bomb (which was relatively fragile and tended to die immediately). Also, I was consistently underwhelmed by the pair of Bring Lows, since I I was often spending 4 mana to kill 3-mana morphs, and I usually couldn’t kill them once they unmorphed.

    After starting 1-1 in matches, I took another look at the pool to see if there was a color combination that had more cheap creatures. White had Herald of Anafenza and Jeskai Student, green had Heir of the Wilds and Highland Game, and black had Disowned Ancestor and Ruthless Ripper. I also noticed that Abzan, which I’d dismissed because the black cards in my pool were unimpressive, offered 3 dual lands, an Abzan Banner if necessary, 3 cards that could win me the game (Herald of Anafenza, Anafenza the Foremost, and Incremental Growth), and a number of removal spells that could deal with bombs. I built the following deck so I could switch to it for games 2/3:

    Creatures (14):
    – 1cc: Herald of Anafenza, Disowned Ancestor, Ruthless Ripper
    – 2cc: Heir of the Wilds, Jeskai Student
    – 3cc: 3 Woolly Loxodon, Mardu Hordechief, Krumar Bond-Kin, Anafenza the Foremost
    – 4cc: Longshot Squad
    – 5cc: Hooting Mandrills, Sultai Scavenger

    Spells (9):
    – 1cc: Defiant Strike
    – 2cc: Savage Punch
    – 3cc: Kill Shot, Abzan Charm, Abzan Banner
    – 4cc: Dragonscale Boon, 2 Smite the Monstrous
    – 5cc: Incremental Growth

    Lands (17): 2 Blossoming Sands, Scoured Barrens, 6 Forests, 4 Plains, 4 Swamps

    I switched to this deck for games 2/3 unless I was facing a control deck or required countermagic (for Duneblast). I went 6-7 in games with the U/R deck, and a far more impressive 7-3 with the Abzan deck. The 40-card transformational sideboard (often with a Windstorm in place of the Dragonscale Boon) allowed me to go 6-3 in matches, but I expect I could have done better if I’d started with the Abzan deck and sided into the U/R deck against some opponents.

    Some friends to whom I showed the pool/builds thought the U/R deck should have played Embodiment of Spring, which seems correct but which hadn’t occured to me because I think of it as a U/G card. They also thought the Abzan deck should have played Highland Game and an 18th land over Disowned Ancestor and Abzan Banner, which I also agree with since black is a splash color. They pointed out that I hadn’t considered R/W, which might actually have been a reasonable color combination since the red removal could deal with small creatures and allow me to save the white removal to deal with larger creatures. That version would need to splash a handful of blue cards to get to 22 playables, but seems viable otherwise. I like that build better than the U/R build I started with since it has a better early game and more removal for opposing bombs, but I still prefer the Abzan build: in addition to having better win conditions, it also allowed me to underrun slow opponents, had large creatures that were difficult to deal with, and had 2 deathtouch creatures that made it difficult for opponents to underrun me if I had a slow start or to counterattack on the ground.

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