Hey, the local card tourney is running a sealed deck tourney this week. I've only played once before, so could someone give me some general tips?
Here is what you want in your deck.
The first thing I do when I open the cards is deal them into six piles- each color plus one for gold and artifacts. I look at each pile one at a time and set aside the cards that I know I will not use.
Now I go back to the first color and put all the creatures on top. The top card is the easiest to cast creature, followed by the next easiest and so on. Something with double colored mana cost is harder than single if the total is the same. Think whether or not you will be using the kicker when you order them(kavu aggessor:no, battlemage:yes). I do that for each pile.
At this point I try as hard as I can to eliminate a color. This entire pile gets put with the previously eliminated cards. Take the gold cards that go with that color and put them out also. If you can take two colors out right now, do it.
Many people I know stuggle getting rid of two colors. Here is the deal- unless you play green as your main color and have several mana helpers, you CANNOT play four colors. If you have harrow and quirion elves and nomadic elf and quirion trailblazer, but very few quality green cards, you CANNOT play four colors.
Hopefully there are now five piles left. Three colors, the gold/artifact pile, and discard. At this point I try to figure out which color will be minor. It is nice if you can play just two colors, but usually there aren't enough good cards. The minor color tries to not have double colored mana costs, or early game cards. The best example is rogue kavu. If red is major, he is fine since he can be played and attack for three big points early. On the other hand, if red is a minor, then you often won't have a mountain to cast him until several turns have gone by, and then he isn't so good. More often than not, the major colors are determined by creatures. You have to play with your good guys, even if you are forced to give up a color with nice spells in it.
You simply have to cut the deck down as much as you can. 41 cards, okay but they better be good. 45-46, pull it apart and try again. Some people argue that they don't want to get decked. I argue that I would rather draw my good cards and kill them. Two weeks ago during the finals of a sealed tournament, I had Darigaaz in my deck and he had one way to kill it. His deck was five cards bigger than mine. His answer turned up two turns too late and I won.
The last thing I'm going to mention about building is land. I almost always play 17 out of 40. The only thing else I will consider is 18/41. This is the other reason for keeping the deck small. The bigger those numbers get, the larger chance of having to mulligan often. Play every sac land you have in your colors. Play lairs if it has two or more of your colors. When counting your land of each color, the dual land only count for one type, the other is just a bonus.
Sorry that got kind of long winded, but that is a description of my deck building process. One other thing, when you get to choose, unless you have a lot of quick creatures, going second is better. I think the eighth card is nice, but getting seven after a mulligan is huge.
I use this exact same process, except that I'll make 12 piles. Five of them correspond to the normal 5 colors of Magic. The things that go into these piles are mono colored spells without kickers or with kickers that don't involve off-colored mana. One pile is for artifacts and lands.
The other six piles are for the gold colors. I'll arrange the five normal piles in the same pattern as on the back of a Magic card and put artifacts in the center. Any two-colored gold cards go in between their main colors. So, for example, Llanowar Knight goes in between G and W on the pentagon pattern. Thornscape Battlemage would go in the R/G pile, because more often than not, you won't be paying the W kicker. The last pile is for 3-colored gold like Darigaaz, or, more likely, Darigaaz's Charm.
After that I separate out unplayables like, oh, Insolence, and don't ever look at them again. Marginally playable cards stay in at this stage. Then, I go through and process all my "colors" in the same way JoeTzu does.
I find this tells me which colors have the most depth. Applied to my sealed deck at GP: Detroit, I got almost the exact deck JoeTzu built out of my cards, so I guess it's a good method. :-)
Sometimes I think I am intelligent and then someone else just blows me away. I never thought of putting the piles in a pentagon for the colors. That makes viewing the gold so much easier. A simple and obvious thing that escaped me.
any type of damage prevention and life gaining works wonders in sealed deck tourneys. with envasion, the apprentices help alot...especially the ones that could tap other creatures. green/white life gain and tap creatures works well. if you happen to pull a glimmering angle, PLAY IT or any other creature that can't be the target of spells or abilities.
i played a 2 color deck, and going anymore than 2 colors is not a good thing unless you can support them all. nothing is worse than having a good sealed deck and getting mana screwed every time.
Wow Kamikaze, what bad advice. I would never follow these instructions for sealed deck. Although I agree that Glimmering Angel is a good card, it is not the greatest card in Invasion limited. You have to evaluate the best possible deck you could make.
If you open one Glimmering angel and the rest of white is weak, meanwhile other colours have broken cards, you have to go with the better deck, not the better single card. We're talking Glimmering Angel here, not Rout.
As for sticking to 2 colours, this is usually a bad idea. Look at the Invasion Apprentices, and the Planeshift Charms. How can you *not* splash a third colour in this environment? Two main colours with a third to splash is quite reasonable.