It’s good to be back! I’ve been on vacation with my girlfriend for the past few weeks, so I haven’t had the time to write about Magic or even play it. Now that I’m back I’m excited to catch up on the new format!

Magic writers do “What’s the Pick?” articles all the time, but rarely do you see someone venturing out to build a sealed pool in written form. Today I wanted to try just that to see how well it would work in this medium. Bear with me, since there may be some kinks I need to work out.

Let’s start by opening our pool and gathering some initial thoughts:

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First of all, I’m noticing that this pool is kinda mediocre. Only one color, blue, is particularly deep. The rest of the colors are lacking in depth of good playables, which means that if we don’t play blue we’ll probably end up playing some bad cards. Also, we have literally zero fixing outside of a single Manalith, which is very unusual for Hour of Devastation. That means that we’re going to have a hard time splashing, even if we’re playing green. Oh yeah, and most of our rares suck.

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On the other hand, every color has at least something good going for it. Black and white have quite a few zombie- and desert- matters cards, enough that they can lay the groundwork for a synergistic deck if one exists. As we already mentioned, blue has lots of depth, and something about triple Spellweaver Eternal gets me jazzed. Not to mention double Unquenchable Thirst! Red has some nice (splashable!) removal as well, and green’s got the top of the curve covered.

Now that we’ve looked at our colors, what archetypes do we have available?

Temur Midrange
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This is the deck where we get to play our most powerful cards. Samut, the Tested is maligned as one of the worst Planeswalkers ever, but she is still very good in limited. Finishing with Scaled Behemoth and such is impressive, but we’re going to have trouble in the early game, leaving open some avenues for an aggressive opponent to punish us. Also, as I mentioned earlier, our fixing is terrible, making our unavoidable red splash a little worrisome. This is especially true with the tension between our manabase and playing enough Deserts to support the cards that care about them. On closer inspection, this deck is sadly little more than a pile of unrelated cards. Granted, that’s often okay in Sealed, and those cards are powerful enough individually that I might still play them if I can’t find anything better.

W/B Zombies

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This deck makes good use of our three Zombie payoff uncommons, which it’s certainly got a high enough Zombie count to support. The problem is that while the synergy is there, both colors are pretty light on good playables, and we end up needing to round out our deck with some pretty terrible cards. (Note that our white is so bad on its own that pairing it with back is its only shot at seeing our maindeck.) On the other hand, it’s got a consistent curve and some nice synergies, both of which are less important in Sealed than in Draft but is still important if you’re trying to be aggressive. Ultimately, though, those factors are going to have a hard time convincing me to play so many bad 4-drops.

U/B Tempo

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I almost missed this deck, to be honest. Owing to our trio of 2/1 Prowesses in blue, I tried pretty hard to build a blue-based tempo deck but ended up pretty frustrated. White was too crappy for anything awesome to come together, and regretfully so was red. Defiant Khenra just isn’t a good enough 2-drop to get me excited. At that point, I wasn’t even going to try to make black work, especially since blue-black had always been the control deck in triple Amonkhet. But then I noticed that my Accursed Horde still worked on our copies of Spellweaver Eternal, and I tried out this build.

Boy, does it look sweet. Not only do we have that cute Zombie synergy, but we have four awesome Desert triggers with enough Deserts to actually make them work. We’ve also got a bunch of effects you want to see in a tempo shell, such as Winds of Rebuke, Decision Paralysis, and Imaginary Threats. On top of that, our curve is excellent, and between Aerial Guide and Merciless Eternal, we’ve got quite a few ways to force through damage. Weighing all the factors, this unique and exciting deck is what I’m going to submit, and I can’t wait to play some games with it.

For some Hour of Devastation draft action, read this article from Jonah Gaynor here.

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