Sealed Deck Practice Decklist: How do you gauge the mana curve of a Sealed Deck?

Beyond Dominia: The Limited Magic Mill: Sealed Deck Practice Decklist: How do you gauge the mana curve of a Sealed Deck?

By Rakso, the Patriarch and Rules Ayatollah (Rakso) on Saturday, January 06, 2001 - 04:08 pm:

I just came home from a Philippine PTQ, and felt frustrated after doing poorly with a good Sealed deck. Below is the message I wrote to the Philippine e-group, and I was wondering if someone was interested in commenting.

Team Ertai is the group of "casual" players from my university, led by my friend Richie Chua who is now #5 (composite) in my country.

----- Original Message -----
From: Oscar Tan
To: p***i@o***
Sent: Saturday, January 06, 2001 11:01 PM
Subject: [dci] How do you gauge the mana curve of a Sealed Deck?

Hello. I don't know how Richie Chua is doing in the Top 8 right now (although he claims he is not interested in a $500 first prize that the DCI will hand over in December at the earliest), but it seems Team Ertai did not do too well. Richie finished 5-1-1 and I was at 4-2-1, but the next guy was Ted Suaco who was at 3-2-2 and placed #33 (Top 32 got prizes). And Richie lost his trade binder (it was a black 4-pocket with Mirage Stupors and some foils at the back, in case of a miracle).

I was frustrated since among the Prerelease, GPQ Kaoshiung and today's PTQ, I think I opened the best deck (no foil rare, though) today. Despite that and the fact that I feel that I did not make any play mistakes today, I was getting mana screwed the entire day. Once, I was in front of a kid (who beat me down with Saproling Symbiosis tokens) with no Islands and five blue spells in hand. Another time, I needed to overrun a tapper deck, but had no red mana for my 3cc and 4cc plays. Heck, the first game, I had trouble finding a Swamp, and half my deck is black!

Maybe I should have mulliganned more aggressively when I saw 5cc cards and only two or 3 land, but half the time, I'd get 4-5 land in the opening hand, but miss one land type, then draw all the spells of the missing color. Or when I got stuck at six mana and got Tsabo Tavoc early.

Not to mention, DeeJ looked over my deck, and used his secret formula to fix the mana. Maybe someone can spot a more subtle mistake in this decklist.

(Some specific questions I was hoping to get answers for:

1) DeeJ, who was beside me, strongly suggested maindecking the Serpent. But I was wondering if I should've maindecked the Rage Weaver or even the Urborg Phantom instead, to get an earlier creature.

2) Should I have maindecked Rage Weaver over Phyrexian Battleflies, which was sided out all the time against 3cc Kavu decks without a lot of flyers?

3) Should I have maindecked Rage Weaver over Viashino Grappler?

4) Should I have maindecked a Mourning instead of Lightning Dart? (Helped a lot against bigger white creatures, though.) Or used the Rage Weaver instead?

5) Is there something wrong with the "mana curve"? I had a little trouble against decks with a lot of smaller red Kavus combined with mana screw.

6) Should I have used Ancient Springs, which produce U and can be sacced for WB? DeeJ didn't and I agreed.

7) Should I have changed the land a bit, like add 1 more Mountain, maybe? A lot of the mid-range creatures are red, though I only needed RR for the Master.

8) What do you do with this deck when your Round 3 opponent puts early Armadillo Cloaks on flyers twice, then plays Wings of Hope on an Ardent Soldier after you use your bounce on the first two?

9) Oh... and would you use Hypnotic Cloud in a deck? What about Traveler's Cloak? What would you have to be lacking, if any, to you use these?)

DECK (by casting cost)

Tidal Visionary
Phyrexian Battleflies (sided out for Rage Weaver 2/3 of the time)

Shivan Zombie
Tribal Flames
Lightning Dart

Urborg Emissary (often cast without kicker against faster decks)
Kavu Scout
Shoreline Raider
Viashino Grappler
Urza's Rage
2 Exotic Curse

Nightscape Master
Ancient Kavu

Faerie Squadron
Phyrexian Reaper

Zanam Djinn
Vodalian Serpent

Tsabo Tavoc
Soul Burn

1 Salt Marsh
7 Swamp
5 Mountain
4 Island

(By color, that's:
4 black creatures, 3 red creatures, 5 blue creatures, 2 B/R creatures, the Master, 3 black removal, 3 red removal, 1 blue removal, and 1 blue/black Recoil)

Unused Pile:

2 Mourning
1 Urborg Phantom
1 Phyrexian Battleflies
2 Recover

1 Scarred Puma
1 Thunderscape Apprentice
1 Maniacal Rage

1 Sway of Illusion
1 Traveler's Cloak
1 Barrin's Unmaking
1 Teferi's Response
1 Phantasmal Terrain

2 Shackles
1 Glimmering Angel
1 Obsidian Acolyte
1 Ardent Soldier
2 Sunscape Apprentice
1 Rampant Elephant
1 Pledge of Loyalty
2 Dismantling Blow
2 Orim's Touch

1 Quirion Trailblazer
1 Canopy Surge
1 Pincer Spider
1 Thornscape Apprentice
1 Llanowar Cavalry
1 Explosive Growth
1 Tangle
1 Wandering Stream
1 Vigorous Charge

2 Sterling Grove
1 Riptide Crab
1 Ordered Migration
1 Wings of Hope
1 Yavimaya Barbarian
1 Fires of Yavimaya
1 Frenzied Tilling

and 1 Troll-Horn (G/R) Cameo

1 Shivan Oasis
2 Ancient Spring
2 Swamp
2 Island
2 Mountain
7 Plains
1 Forest

By Jeroen van Esch on Sunday, January 21, 2001 - 10:52 pm:

Looks pretty fine to me. I would however change a swamp for a mountain. Red is pretty crucial. All your 2cc's require it and a lot of your kill depends on red. If you are relatively creature-light you want your kill to work.

I don't like repulse in this deck. Sure, it's an excellent card, but I guess with your top-heavy mana curve, most of your mana is tapped from turn 3 on. Did you cast it often? I think I'd prefer the rage weaver for either the repulse or the serpent.

I wouldn't use the cloak in this deck. The creatures you want to play it on are virtually unblockable already (either to power/toughness or evasion).

Not so sure on the Ancient Springs... I *think* I'd play it. Sure, sometimes you lose a turn, but often you win 2-3 turns by bringing out the serpent/djinn/tsabo earlier...

By Jeroen van Esch on Monday, January 22, 2001 - 08:23 am:

Forget the Repulse-part. For a second or two I thought about Exclude... Sorry

By Nevyn, the Village Idiot (Nevyn) on Wednesday, January 24, 2001 - 08:56 pm:

I would probably cut the following:

vodalian serpent
phyrexian battleflies
lightning dart


rage weaver

justification: Your mana curve is very high, and should be lowered somewhat. Since you faced several aggresive decks, recover will let you recycle early drops and draw into your land better. I would rather not cut the serpent but he IS your 3rd colour. 18 land is needed since you need double of each colour mana for your important spells or abilities (this makes me cringe, but you do need the squadron).

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