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Modern Masters 2015 Sealed Practice


The Modern Masters 2015 hype is heating up and the release date is getting ever closer. Today I'm going to take a look at a simulated Sealed pool for the format and talk through how I would build the deck. Let's get started.

The general plan will be to separate the pool out by color then sort by rarity within each color to keep track of any bomb rares I hopefully opened. I will follow up by looking at each individual color to see if any colors are automatically in or automatically out of consideration based on their strength and depth.

But before I start thinking about the rares in my pool or what kind of deck I'm going to build, I want to look at my lands. Having a good selection of lands can grant the ability to safely play three or more colors while having poor nonbasics can force me to build a two color deck. This makes a difference in how I'm going to look at the pool when I know what restrictions or liberties I have to take into account.

Lands

Blinkmoth Nexus [MM2]Boros Garrison [MM2]Evolving Wilds [MM2]Evolving Wilds [MM2]

I'm quite sad to see only a single bounce land since they're quite excellent, especially in sealed. The Blinkmoth Nexus will be a nice utility land if my manabase isn't too taxed to support a land that produces only colorless mana. On the other end of the spectrum, the two Evolving Wilds help enable splashing off-color spells.

It's worth noting that the land cards in the pool aren't the only consideration when building a manabase. Spells like Rampant Growth or Sphere of the Suns can often enable a wider range of versatility than might be suggested by looking at the nonbasic lands alone.

White

Hikari, Twilight Guardian [MM2]Kor Duelist [MM2]Apostle's Blessing [MM2]Apostle's Blessing [MM2]Sunlance [MM2]Waxmane Baku [MM2]Waxmane Baku [MM2]

While all of these spells are good, the small number of them means that white is available as a supporting color at best and probably not even that. Furthermore, none of these cards are powerful enough to warrant splashing white.

Blue

Mulldrifter [MM2]Helium Squirter [MM2]Helium Squirter [MM2]Mana Leak [MM2]Telling Time [MM2]Telling Time [MM2]Somber Hoverguard [MM2]Somber Hoverguard [MM2]Steady Progress [MM2]Thoughtcast [MM2]Thoughtcast [MM2]Vigean Graftmage [MM2]

Blue is a bit more interesting than White here. I like Mulldrifter and Mana Leak as value spells, and the combination of the three good Graft creatures with Steady Progress.

Unfortunately that adds up to only six cards unless we including the Telling Times which aren't bad but also aren't great. Telling Time is generally worse than Anticipate which doesn't always warrant main deck inclusion in the current Sealed format of Dragons of Tarkir.

The Somber Hoverguards and Thoughtcasts could be worth revisiting if the artifacts available are quite strong, but these don't represent an incredible payoff for being in that archetype.

Black

Spread the Sickness [MM2]Bloodthrone Vampire [MM2]Bone Splinters [MM2]Bone Splinters [MM2]Dread Drone [MM2]Ghostly Changeling [MM2]Instill Infection [MM2]Nameless Inversion [MM2]Plagued Rusalka [MM2]Shrivel [MM2]Thief of Hope [MM2]Vampire Lacerator [MM2]

At first glance Black looks a lot deeper, but most of its parts work much better in a deck built around their synergy: either Spirits or tokens or proliferate counters. Besides Nameless Inversion, the spells here really want me to have a game plan that supports them before they warrant inclusion.

Red

Wildfire [MM2]Worldheart Phoenix [MM2]Goblin Fireslinger [MM2]Inner-Flame Igniter [MM2]Soulbright Flamekin [MM2]Wrap in Flames [MM2]

At only six cards, red is extremely short in cards in this pool. I would consider splashing Wildfire but the double red mana cost makes it an awkward splash.

Green

Primeval Titan [MM2]Noble Hierarch [MM2]Scute Mob [MM2]Mutagenic Growth [MM2]Pelakka Wurm [MM2]Aquastrand Spider [MM2]Commune with Nature [MM2]Commune with Nature [MM2]Gnarlid Pack [MM2]Kavu Primarch [MM2]Kozilek's Predator [MM2]Kozilek's Predator [MM2]Matca Rioters [MM2]Rampant Growth [MM2]Rampant Growth [MM2]Scion of the Wild [MM2]Sundering Vitae [MM2]Sylvan Bounty [MM2]Thrive [MM2]Tukatongue Thallid [MM2]Tukatongue Thallid [MM2]Vines of Vastwood [MM2]

After trudging through four disappointing colors, we finally find a reason to be happy. Three great rares and a good selection of commons and uncommons mean that green is going to form the large portion of our final deck. Since we have Primeval Titan, Noble Hierarch, and two Rampant Growths and two Evolving Wilds, I will very likely end up playing or splashing one (maybe two) more colors so I'll check out the multicolored cards next to see if there's anything exciting there.

Multicolored

Ethercaste Knight [MM2]Pillory of the Sleepless [MM2]Restless Apparition [MM2]Dimir Guildmage [MM2]Agony Warp [MM2]Vengeful Rebirth [MM2]Boros Swiftblade [MM2]

The only green card here is Vengeful Rebirth which could definitely make the cut in the right deck so I'll set it aside next to the green cards for consideration. None of the other cards here are worthy of a double splash of non-green colors.

Colorless

Lodestone Myr [MM2]Artisan of Kozilek [MM2]Darksteel Axe [MM2]Etched Oracle [MM2]Etched Oracle [MM2]Expedition Map [MM2]Alloy Myr [MM2]Alloy Myr [MM2]Cathodion [MM2]Cathodion [MM2]Copper Carapace [MM2]Copper Carapace [MM2]Glint Hawk Idol [MM2]Runed Servitor [MM2]Rusted Relic [MM2]Sickleslicer [MM2]Skyreach Manta [MM2]Sphere of the Suns [MM2]Ulamog's Crusher [MM2]Wayfarer's Bauble [MM2]

Seeing Lodestone Myr makes me want to at least look at White/Blue artifacts so I'll do that later.

The two Etched Oracles could be interesting if I have enough fixing to expand from base green to a five color domain deck, so I'll definitely look at that. Expedition Map, Wayfarer's Bauble, and Sphere of the Suns would all be helpful if that ended up being the game plan.

Considerations

At this point, I have four possible directions that I can take my pool:

  1. White/Blue Affinity with Lodestone Myr
  2. Mono Green or something close to it
  3. Green splashing one color (probably Red with Vengeful Rebirth and Wildfire)
  4. Five Color/Domain with Green as the base

Deck Option 1: White/Blue Affinity

Taking just a cursory look at White/Blue affinity tells me that I don't have nearly enough reason to abandon all my green bombs in favor of Lodestone Myr and a few much less powerful payoff cards. This idea is pretty unrealistic.

Deck Option 2: Mono Green

All of these decks start with the good green cards so I'm going to build mono green first and then take a look at what it's missing and whether it needs a splash of the other four colors to make it better.

 

This deck is quite single minded. The mana ramp is plentiful and good, and the Commune with Natures acts as extra copies of your early creatures and your win conditions to help prevent flooding. This deck's weakness is an extreme lack of removal (or any interaction whatsoever), and the fact that it's playing some suboptimal cards. As I consider adding other colors in, I'm going to want to know if they can fix those issues.

Deck Option 3: G/x

Neither white nor blue shore up this deck's need for removal so either black or red will be the splash color if it exists. Splashing black for Spread the SicknessNameless Inversion and potentially a Dread Drone, or splashing red for Wildfire and Vengeful Rebirth are both worthy of consideration. Black gives access to the direct removal we need while red provides powerful cards that each act as removal but don't always reach out and kill the thing you need them to. I feel like the black splash is more realistic so let's look at that deck.

This is effectively the same as before, but with the two black cards in over the two subpar two drops. One could argue that Nameless Inversion doesn't kill enough creatures I really care about to warrant splashing, but I think it and the mana fixing are good enough to include it. I also like the wombo-combo of using it to kill my own Cathodion to net a single mana.

Deck Option 4: Five Color Domain

The Five Color Domain deck was an interesting thought, but taking a second look shows it to not be that great. The payoff would be the ability to play Mulldrifter, two Etched Oracles and Skyreach Manta, which isn't enough of a payoff to offset the risk of wrecking the mana base. Interesting enough, I think I can and should still splash Mulldrifter in Deck 3, adding in Sphere of the Suns for both ramp and fixing. Let's take a look at the final result.

Final Deck

This deck has a strong top end with verifiable bombs, ramp to help get there, and a bit of removal and card draw to help get to the end game. Playing even a single Commune with Nature might be ambitious now that the creature count is at 13, but it still seems necessary here. Blinkmoth Nexus is also a bit bold in a technically 3-color deck, but the splashes are light enough that I think the colorless land won't hurt too terribly. If I built this deck at day 1 of a Grand Prix, I wouldn't be terribly excited, but I wouldn't lose hope just yet either.

Conclusion

Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG how you would have built the pool differently. I'm getting excited for playing this set personally as well as watching all the exciting tournaments featuring it that are upcoming.


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