Format: Sealed Deck w/ 3 Packs Scars of Mirrodin and 3 Packs Mirran or Phyrexian Faction of Mirrodin Besieged, Player’s Choice
The past weekend’s pre-release Sealed Deck tournament was unique in the sense that players got to take up arms in favor of their desired faction in the Mirran/Phyrexian War. After looking Besieged over thoroughly, Cards N’ Dice and I came up with the decision to go Mirran. For those who didn’t catch that cast, I’ll briefly explain why.
1.) We Don’t Like Infect: It’s not that we have anything personal against the ability, but after our experience with Scars we thought it was more gimmick than game-ender. There were very few Infect decks at the top tier of the prize payout, and frankly it seemed unstable and without any serious gas.
2.) Stability Wins Games: And Phyrexia or “the Infect faction” was seriously lacking in the stability department. Phyrexian mages were choosing a potentially much faster game in exchange for weaker creatures with higher mana costs.
3.) Removal: There isn’t much sophistication (generally) to Limited strategy. You throw out the biggest guys you can and hope they smash the opponent’s face in. Sure, you incorporate some combat tricks and efficiencies to throw the opponent’s math off, but a big Alpha Strike for the win is probably going to be at the heart of your game plan. So, with everyone looking for the best, bombiest creatures they can find, it’s apparent that Removal is going to be vital. Phyrexia seemed to get the short end of the stick here, save for some halfway decent black spells.
After our analysis of the set, Cards and I decided to look towards R/W for our salvation. They had the best beaters, the best bombs, the best abilities and the best removal suite out of Scars. We also thought the color combination would be best suited for outpacing and destroying Phyrexian Infect, which we assumed would saturate the field. So, would our metagame predictions come true?
To a degree…
I went 3-1 (7-4 on games), and while I only played one Phyrexian (to whom I unfortunately lost) other players were reporting an incredibly heavy Phyrexian presence.
Without further ado, here’s the deck I built for the tourney, followed by a brief description of the matches I played:
R/W Beats (40 cards)
1x Loxodon Partisan
1x Oxidda Scrapmelter
1x Salvage Scout
1x Spin Engine
1x Leonin Relic-Warder
1x Hero of Oxid Ridge
1x Razorfield Rhino
1x Gold Myr
1x Wall of Tanglecord
1x Accorder Paladin
1x Bladed Sentinel
1x Dispense Justice
1x Sword of Body and Mind
1x Accorder’s Shield
1x Bladed Pinions
2x Divine Offering
1x Concussive Bolt
1x True Conviction
1x Sphere of the Suns
1x Galvanic Blast
1x Frantic Salvage
1x Golem Foundry
ROUND ONE: vs. R/W Metalcraft
This was “almost” a mirror, except his deck had dug into a lot of the cheaper white metalcraft guys whereas mine was more midrange. Game one was an absolute stompfest for him. I had to mulligan down to 5 in order to see a land, which he promptly blew up with the combo of Crush + Liquimetal Coating. Props by the way for the awesome combo. He continued to blow up my feeble attempts to mana up by turning all his artifact hate into land hate. I scooped when the embarrassment became too much.
Game 2 saw me out of the gate fast with an Accorder Paladin and Memnite to swing for 5 on turn 3. It was a trick I only got to use once since his Call of the Master took out both creatures on the next swing. He never managed to recover from the deficit though, and eventually I won out.
Game 3 was a full-on metalcraft battle. We were both trying simultaneously to build to that magic 3 artifacts while keeping the other player off his. Oxidda Scrapmelter and Divine Offering and Leonin Relic-Warder kept me ahead of the race while I built up to Razorfield Rhino. Wall of Tanglecord held off an angry Auriok Edgewright, allowing me time to set up metalcraft with my Rhino and crash with Concussive Bolt on my next turn for the win.
ROUND TWO: vs. R/W Beats
Again, this was “sort of” a mirror, but I seemed to just have gotten the better end of the stick in terms of my pulls. There’s not much worthy of note. I dropped my first game due to another bad land pull, but cleaned the second and third up handily. His sealed pool was so artifact light I had to side out Divine Offerings in favor of beaters to keep them from being dead cards.
ROUND THREE: vs. U/W Fliers
No joke, that’s the best way I can categorize this deck. It played a blue or white flying creature most turns. I won against it handily.
ROUND FOUR: vs. G/B Infect
So here it was, my chance to prove myself and my theories against Infect. Oddly, the only one I’d have that day. First game, MANA SCREW returns and rears its ugly head. Second game I utterly smashed my opponent with Sword of Body and Mind…on a Bladed Sentinel…with True Conviction in play. You haven’t lived until you’ve milled a Limited opponent for 20 in one turn to win the game. Third game I was mana flooded and lost the game against a full board of Infect creatures with a solitary Myrsmith in play.
So, was I wrong about the format? I don’t think so. Sure, I lost to Infect, but I built an incredibly stable deck out of R/W using its exceptional removal that allowed me to 3-0 the first three rounds. On top of that (cop out incoming) I DID experience the ultimate Nexus of Bad Luck Mana during games one and two so….
With the draft coming up this weekend, I’m still going to recommend R/W, if only because the majority of the field will be gobbling up Infect. You should be able to pick up some really good picks uncontested. Or maybe not. I quit.