KTK: Deckbuilding process for team sealed

As mentioned previously, I’ve been experimenting with the deckbuilding process for team sealed. Here’s the process we currently use, along with some other things we tried along the way.

With some previous pools, I’d asked each teammate to sort 2 of the colors into must play, solid, filler, and chaff. Unfortunately, my teammates had widely varying standards of what belonged in each category even when we all agreed on roughly how good an individual card was. Instead, I found that it was more effective to do the categorization as a team. My preferred method is to have one person (whoever has the most experience with the format) do the categorization and have the other teammates chime in if they disagree strongly. (It’s not worth voicing minor disagreements since there isn’t enough time and since the main goal of doing this as a team is to have consistent categorizations across the colors.)

After that, we look at the must play cards, the solid multicolor cards, and the lands to determine which decks we want to play, keeping in mind that allied-color lands can only be used by one of the wedges, and that most pools appear to have a R/G deck, a B/W deck, and a Sultai morphs deck. Once we figure out which decks we want to build, each player takes the cards that would usually be used by their deck. In the typical configuration, the R/G player takes all the red cards, Alpine Grizzlies, and Savage Punches. The B/W player takes all the white cards, the aggressive black cards, and any warrior tribal cards, and usually also takes any Mardu or Abzan bombs. The Sultai morphs deck takes all the blue cards, most morphs in its colors, and all copies of Secret Plans, Trail of Mystery, and Ghostfire Blade, and sometimes also takes Abzan bombs if the pool has the manafixing to enable that.

Once we know which decks we’re building, each person picks the deck they’re most comfortable playing*, and builds that deck independently, negotiating with teammates for cards in shared colors. Usually it is obvious which deck should get a card, but there is sometimes some debate over which deck should get Debilitating Injury or Throttle. Once the decks are built, we divvy up the sideboard cards. Again, it is usually obvious which deck should get a given card, but we do try to split up countermagic and Dutiful Returns so that each deck has some outs to board sweepers, and we also try to share enchantment removal so that decks can side it in against Secret Plans, Trail of Mystery, and the various Ascendancies.

If there’s enough time left, we do quick sanity checks of each others decks, in case someone missed a card that they should be playing or that should be in their sideboard. We also check that the land ratios seem correct.

Once the decks are finalized, we register our decks, since deck registration is actually a relevant skill in team sealed; it also allows me to reconstruct our pool/decks later for analysis/discussion. We use the individual sealed deck checklists since I haven’t been able to find the team sealed deck checklists online (please let me know if you have a link to them). Then each person takes a photo of both their deck and their deck registration sheet, in case they forget their original deck configuration after sideboarding during a match.

* Seats A and C are interchangeable, but I tried to figure out which deck is most likely to get played in seat B so we could plan our decks accordingly. My expectation is that teams will put their strongest player in that seat so they can provide advice to both their teammates easily. This seemed to hold true at the World Magic Cup where team captains were usually in seat B. However, what deck is the strongest player most likely to play? Strong player often prefer control decks, but that would leave player B with less time to provide advice to his/her teammates. So would they play an aggressive deck instead, or would they perhaps take whichever deck was considered the weakest since they might have the best chance of pulling out a win with it? I don’t know, but I’d love to hear if anyone else has an opinion on this or has actually looked at the numbers.

One Response to KTK: Deckbuilding process for team sealed

  1. sameer says:

    The Fate Reforged deck checklist is also available at http://wpn.wizards.com/en/resources/rules-documents now.

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