Last weekend the Generationd20 team ventured to our local gaming store to test our Team Sealed skills against the best of Lincoln, Nebraska. While the results were less than overwhelming, the journey was a lot of fun.
The Pool: Any sealed event hinges heavily on the card pool you open. With 12 boosters spread between three players, the ability to make cohesive, consistent decks was greatly increased. The first thing we looked at in our card pool were the rares. They included Deathrite Shaman, Underworld Connections, Corspejack Menace, Havoc Festival, Hypersonic Dragon, Mercurial Chemister, Detention Sphere, Supreme Verdict, Wayfaring Temple, Grove of the Guardian, Temple Garden, and Blood Crypt. While that showed some powerful top-end in several guilds, we still needed to look at the depth in the various color combinations.
As we sorted the piles, Rakdos began to stick out as a strong color combination. There were two Auger Sprees, two Hellhole Flayers, two Gorehouse Chainwalkers, four Grim Roustabouts, and variety of quality one-of’s (Dead Reveler, Explosive Impact, etc.). The other impressive thing was that there were three Rakdos Guildgates and the Blood Crypt. Because the mana was so good, and the deck was stuffed to the brim with Unleash, we ended up splashing for the Corpsejack Menace. Nick was the captain of the Rakdos squad.
The second deck that came together was a Selesnya populate concoction. We were not flush with populate cards, but did have Selesnya Charm and Call of the Conclave to produce early tokens. That was supported by Rootborn Defense, Eyes in the Skies, Courser’s Accord, and three Druid’s Deliverance’s. With the Grove of the Guardian and two Knightly Valor’s as well, we went for the deck’s upside, despite the concerns over consistency. As expected, BoB! played the Green/White deck.
That left Golgari, Azorious, and Izzet as logical color combinations. Since both Black and Green had been used in the other decks, we quickly ruled out Golgari. From there, it came down to the supporting cards and Azorious greatly outshined Izzet. A lot of the Red left was nigh unplayable and the Izzet specific cards were pretty weak. The Azorious cards included Liev Skyknight, Hussar Patrol, and New Prav Guildmage. The deck ended up being a straightforward UW fliers deck, but with almost no removal and few guys to clog the ground (one Voidwielder and one Hussar Patrol). Because of the complexities with regard to Supreme Verdict and other control elements, we decided that I should pilot the deck. Control is not my comfort area, but I was up for the challenge.
Round 1: “Call clock on your opponent”
My first opponent was playing a Golgari deck that was splashing Red. In game one he started with a Kurozda Guildmage, following by a Dead Reveler, and was applying a lot of pressure. I was able to fill the air with some threats and a timely Detention Sphere shut down the Guildmage. After a few more turns, a Golgari Charm set the Guildmage free and it looked as if he’d be able to attack for lethal. He went gave two separate creatures intimidate and attacked in. My Dramatic Rescue bounced his Dead Reveler and brought me to five life (enough to survive the three dealt by the Guildmage. Since he had spent his mana, he couldn’t recast the Dead Reveler and shipped the turn. I untapped and cast Voidwielder, clearing his board. Two attacks through the air and I was up 1-0 in round 1. By this time, Nick had destroyed his opponent 2-0 and BoB! was down 0-1 and in the middle of game two. Game two was another back and forth affair. It came down to a board state where I had a Vassal Soul and an Azorious Keyrune versus his Dreg Mangler. I was sitting at 8 life and he was sitting at 7. I attacked with both creatures, bringing him to 3 and passed the turn. He drew his sixth land, plopped it into play, and swung with his Dreg Mangler. After damage, he dropped an Explosive Impact on the table and said “You’re Dead.” It wasn’t so much what he said, but the classless, smug delivery that raised my ire. I was already nervous playing in my fourth paper magic tournament ever and an earlier comment by BoB!’s opponent had set the bar for the team’s douchedom. In a complex board state with attackers declared, BoB! asked me how he should block. I suggested blocking with a Kurozda Monitor instead of a Centaur token, because he was representing a Dramatic Rescue and, for whatever reason, I thought he’d bounce the creature. Well, sure enough, the opponent plays it out like I called and then he turns to my opponent and says, “Get a judge. Call clock on your opponent.” It was such a bitchy slap in the face of all things good about team play that it really soured my experience. It just can’t be about fun for some people. Well, the final game was a colossal mana flood and my opponent was casting Annihilating Fire’s to deal with my few threats. It was the only real mana failure of the day, so I can’t complain, but god I wanted to beat that guy. Well, BoB! ended up losing his third game as well and our team dropped to 0-1.