Sealed in Dominaria
- Christian Seibold
Sealed in Dominaria is very different from previous sets. It requires a basic understanding of the Limited format in Magic the Gathering. Christian brings his 15 years of experience to bear in order to help readers understand some ways to successfully build sealed pools in Dominaria.
Wizards over-rewarded aggression with abilities like exert, overpowered vehicles, imbalanced creatures, and bad removal spells. The result was that games were decided too fast and the player who curved out better with their early creatures won. Interaction really suffered and this is what Magic is about if you ask me. After reading the spoilers of Dominaria, the nostalgic feeling was definitely there, and I was really excited playing my first draft or building my first sealed pool. I started my first magic online sealed on pre-release day and immediately fell in love with the new set. Old school magic was back! Games went long, it was all about card advantage, saving your removal spells, and making good decisions. I won 4 trophies pretty fast and was the leader for a week. Last week I played GP Bologna and it was a blast. We finished 23th place and had some really great matches that weekend. In this article, I want to talk about what Dominaria sealed is about and how you should build your sealed decks.
Dominaria Sealed - An Overview
Since many of you have already been playing Dominaria sealed or read articles about it, I don't want to go too into the details of what the play of Dominaria sealed is like. Still, here are some short notes of what's important in Dominaria:
- The format is very slow, which means that you should not play bad early drops because you are afraid of dying. Building aggressive decks is most of the time wrong and you should try and put better late game cards into your deck.
- The format is often decided by powerful cards, so you should make sure you are playing bombs and removal spells to answer bombs.
- Do not worry about splashing even if your mana base looks too risky. Since the format is very slow, you usually have got the time to find your mana sources.
- Play or draw depends on your deck and on your opponent's deck. If you are playing multiple colors and got early removal spells, then you are fine on the draw. If you've got Planeswalkers, you should play first. If your deck is very ready for the late game with bombs and card advantage you should go first to make sure you do not die too quick. I choose to draw about half of the time with my decks.
- Playing 18 lands is correct most of the time. With four uncommon value lands, kicker spells and expensive bombs you, rarely flood out. Losing a game due screwing happens more often than losing a game due flooding. You can of course play fewer lands if you get cards like Llanowar Elves or Skittering Surveyor in your deck.
- You want to play one Disenchant effect in your main deck most of the time, because cards like Icy Manipulator, Helm of the Host or In Bolas's Clutches are very powerful.
White looks pretty average here. It offers some early creatures, evasive threats and Blessed Light, which is a very good removal spell in sealed, because it can get rid of any creature or enchantment at instant speed. Even though white has no bombs here, I can see playing the color on its other strengths.
Blue is light on cards, but two Academy Journeymages is quite the find and two Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitives cooperate well with other creatures with 1 power/toughness. I like Divination in sealed, as it's a straight up 2 for 1. Blue could work as a supporting color, but is not that impressive on its own.
Outside of a single Eviscerate, there is no reason here to play black. Maybe the one Eviscerate is splashable, depending on the available fixing. Otherwise, the color seems mostly unplayable in this pool.
Red is also mostly unplayable. Haphazard Bombardment is a good card, but not a bomb. Wizard's Lightning is good, but red is just missing too many playables and is, therefore, unplayable.
Green has two good rares with Territorial Allosaurus and Steel Leef Champion, but is lacking playables. two Grow from the Ashes would offer splashing one or two colors, but this pool did not show many good splashable options here. I would rather pass on green in this pool.
Land, Artifact, Multicolor
Jhoria, Weatherlight Captain is the only strong muticolor card here, but red/blue was not playable at all in this pool. Weatherlight and Blackblade Reforged are great rares. Luckily they are colorless and therefore they make every color combination much better.
|8Island||1Academy Drake||1Blessed Light|
|2Aven Sentry||1Deep Freeze|
|1Benalish Honor Guard||1Triumph of Gerrard|
|1Danitha Capashen, Paragon||1Blackblade Reforged|
|1Kwende, Pride of Femeref|
|2Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive|
First of all, it's pretty rare to build a two-color deck in Dominaria sealed. Splashing is pretty common because you're usually going to want to play all your bombs and removal spells. Also, you are lacking in power level if you are just playing two colors most of the time. In this sealed pool, splashing seems less than ideal. First you do not have any dual lands or Skittering Surveyors, which would help to fix your mana. Second, the power level of this deck is already quite strong, so taking the risk of being color screwed is not worth it here. Third, the options at splashing are pretty poor. Green does not offer you cards to splash, black only has a single Eviscerate and while red would offer Wizards Lightning, Haphazard Bombardment, and Jhoira, I don't think they are worth splashing here. All of them are good cards, but there is none of them is hard removal or a bomb. Jhoria does not look that good when you cannot play her early, which is a bit true for Wizards Lightning, too. If the pool would offer a second Eviscerate, splashing black could definitely work, at least in post board games against bombs.
Deciding to play W/U is not too difficult, since red and black are pretty much unplayable and green does not offer enough cards to be worthwhile as a non-splash color. While green has some strong cards, it is hard to pair it with either white or blue and even though two Grow from the Ashes would offer you splashing other colors, you do not have cards to splash as mentioned before. In the end W/U looks like it has a good gameplan and works well together.
The two strongest cards are obviously Weatherlight and Blackblade Reforged. Especially the legendary equipment is really broken in this deck because you're playing five legendary creatures which cost four or less. When you are playing Weatherlight, you really want to make sure you've got enough creatures with power three in your deck. Dauntless Bodyguard and Relic Runner are nice early drops, because they are useful in the late game, too and work well with Tetsuko. The more I played the format, the more I liked the Unicorn. Because opponents tend not to play many early drops, the Unicorn gives you quite a lot of life and also works nice with your equipment. Two Aven Sentry, an Academy Drake, a Pegasus Courser, two Tetsuko, and a Weatherlight give you numerous ways to get through. Two Academy Journeymage and a D'Avant Trapper make sure you can get rid of annoying blockers like Mammoth Spider. With that many early drops, Triumph of Gerrad is worth playing even if it sometimes falters against removal. Your only outs for removing creatures other than bouncing or tapping comes from Deep Freeze and Blessed Light, which is mostly where this deck's issues come to the forefront. Two Divinations are pretty good here even if the deck looks kind of aggressive. Games still can go long and drawing two cards helps you to find your powerful rares or removal spells. Usually, I tend to play 18 mana sources in sealed, but this deck doesn't really have that many expensive spells outside of Blackblade Reforged. Divination helps you to find lands as well. You don't have many sideboard options, but bringing in Bloodtallow Candle is an option for extra removal and sometimes Rescue is OK against many removal spells. Overall, I think this deck is a 7 out of 10.
The first sealed pool taught us one important lesson: No matter how you build your pools, you should always keep your eyes open for other options. In Dominaria, you will find yourself often building very grindy Sealed Pools playing multiple colors, but sometimes it is better to keep things simple. The most important thing in limited is that your deck has to make sense and the W/U deck here has a good gameplan. Next time we look at another sealed pool - a really special one. Make sure you don't miss it!
Thanks for reading,
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.