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The Road to Tourneyland: YOU make the Sealed Deck
By Mark Ortego
February 19, 2005
The Road to Tourneyland: YOU make the Sealed Deck
By Mark Ortego

Okay, it should read “I made a sealed deck” :rolleyes:

This is pretty basic, I cracked opened 1 Tournament Pack of Champions of Kamigawa and two Betrayers of Kamigawa Boosters. I will now take exactly 30 min. to build a deck and then I’ll post all of the cards I got along with my deck list. Now you’re just going to have to trust me when I say I took no more than 30 min. to make a deck….

12:51 p.m. Go!

1:19 p.m. Done!

UWr Spirit Control

Land (16)
10 Island
2 Mountain
4 Plains

Creatures (13)
Brutal Deceiver
Callow Jushi
Hundred-Talon Kami
Kabuto Moth
Kami of the Palace Fields
Moonlit Strider
River Kaijin
Ryusei, the Falling Star
Soratami Savant
Teller of Tales
The Unspeakable
Soratami Mirror-Guard
Waxmane Baku

Spells (11)
Cage of Hands
Call to Glory
Devouring Rage
Eerie Procession
Genju of the Falls
Honden of Seeing Winds
Psychic Puppetry
Reach Through Mists
Ribbons of Reikai
Toils of Night and Day (2)

SB://
~Blue Cards:
Azami, Lady of Scrolls
Counsel of the Soratami
Ninja of the Deep Hours
Peer Through Depths
Ribbons of the Reikai
Reduce to Dreams
Student of Elements
Teardrop Kami

~Red Cards:
Akki Rockspeaker
Aura Barbs
Battle-Mad Ronin
Brothers Yamazaki
Frostling
Frost Ogre
Hanabi Blast
Kami of Fire’s Roar
Kumano’s Blessing (2)
Ogre Recluse
Soul of Magma

~White Cards
Bushi Tenderfoot
Indebted Samurai
Silverstorm Samauri (2)
Vigilance

Let’s assume for a moment that only Red, White & Blue cards were available to me and we’ll go from there.

In tournament packs the rare cards are right after the lands and the information sheet. So I get there asap and found Bomb #1 – The Unspeakable and Bomb #2 – Ryusei, the Falling Star. The third rare from the tournament pack was Azami, Lady of Scrolls, not a bomb, per se, but good for drawing cards. It was ultimately the triple blue in its cost and the 0/2 p/t that changed my mind.

So Blue and White with a smidget or red were looking very good. Again, assuming only red, white & blue were available. I have always been of the mind that creatures with evasion are a good thing. So looking at my flying creature choices I thought I was doing pretty good. I had 9 flyers and one with trample (now I KNOW that’s some good):

Flyers:
~Kabuto Moth {2W}– a 1/2 Spirit that has “Tap: Target creature gets +1/+2 u.e.o.t.”
~Hundred-Talon Kami {4W}– a 2/3 Spirit w/Soulshift 4
~Kami of the Palace Fields {5W}– a 3/2 Spirit w/First Strike and Soulshift 5
~Teller of Tales {3UU}– a 3/3 Spirit w/ the triggered ability of whenever I play a Spirit or Arcane spell, I can tap or untap target creature.
~Soratami Mirror-Guards {3U}– a 3/1 Moonfolk Wizard w/ Pay 2, return a land to my hand: Target creature with power 2 or less is unblockable.
~Soratami Savant {2UU}– a 2/2 Moonfolk Wizard w/pay 3, return a land to my hand: Counter target spell unless its controller pays 3.
~The Unspeakable {6UUU}– a 6/7 Spirit w/Trample and the triggered ability of when it deals damage to a player I can return an Arcane card from my graveyard to my hand.
~Ryusei, the Falling Star {5R}– a 5/5 Dragon Spirit that has the triggered ability of when it hits my graveyard from play, it deals 5 damage to each creature without flying.
~And lastly, Genju of the Falls {U}– an Enchant Island that when I pay 2 the Island becomes a 3/2 Spirit u.e.o.t

In the “good blocker” category is:
~River Kaijin {2U}– a 1/4 Spirit
~Moonlit Strider {3W}– a 1/4 Spirit that has Sac: target creature I control gains protection from the color of my choice u.e.o.t.
~Brutal Deceiver {2R}– a 2/2 Spirit that has 1: Look at the top card of my library & 2: If the top card of my library is a land card BD gets +1/+0 and First Strike u.e.o.t.

And in the “Creature Utility” category:
~Callow Jushi {1UU}– a 2/2 Human Wizard that has the triggered ability of whenever I play a Spirit or Arcane spell I put a “Ki” counter on it. When there’s two counters on it I flip it and it becomes Jaraku the Interloper a 3/4 Spirit that has when I remove a “Ki” counter, target spell is countered unless its owner pays 2.
~Waxmane Baku {2W}– a 2/2 Spirit that has the triggered ability of whenever I play a Spirit or Arcane spell I put a “Ki” counter on it. I can pay 1, remove “X” counters, I can tap “X” target creatures.

On to the Spells.

Card Advantage:
~Honden of the Seeing Wind {4U}(Legendary Enchantment Shrine)– Draw a card for each shrine I control.
~Eerie Procession {2U}(Sorcery – Arcane)– Tutor for an Arcane card
~Reach Through Mists {U}(Instant – Arcane) – Draw a card.
~Ribbons of the Reikai {4U}(Sorcery – Arcane) – Draw a card for each Spirit I control.

Creature Control:
~Cage of Hands {2W}(Enchant Creature) – Enchanted creature can’t attack or block. I can return it to my hand for 1 & white.
~Psychic Puppetry {1U}(Instant – Arcane) – Tap or untap target permanent. Splice onto Arcane for {U}.
~ (2x) Toils of Night and Day {2U}(Instant – Arcane) – Tap or untap target permanent, then tap or untap another target permanent.

Combat Tricks:
~Call to Glory {1W}(Instant) – Untap all creatures I control. Samurai’s I control get +1/+1.
~Devouring Rage {4R}(Instant – Arcane) – Target creature gets +3/+0. If I sac a spirit creature and it gets +3/+0 for one I sac.

Whew, and that was just about the cards I picked. I think there’s a lot of synergy between the triggered abilities that have to do with playing Spirit and Arcane spells and having three of those creature spells.

In fact, I have 10 Spirit creature spells and 6 Arcane spells. That’s 16 times that I could use those triggered abilities. The Callow Jushi for counter magic is okay but the Teller of Tales for tapping or untapping of creatures is excellent. The Waxmane Baku is cool too, as I can tap a lot of creatures by removing “Ki” counters that got there from playing Spirit and Arcane spells.

Cage of Hands just “ROCKS” here in this environment. So little surprise that it was a “key” card that made me think more about using white. So with two Toils of the Night, a Psychic Puppetry (with Splice), and what the Teller of Tales and Waxmane Baku do I certainly have the ability to “Rain” on someone’s parade.

I’m not that good at “Sealed” deck building but even I can recognize what kind of an impact “Combat Trick” cards can have on the game. Call to Glory to block what may seem like a game ending “Alpha Strike” from my opponent or an unblocked creature of mine and I use Devouring Rage for that extra point of death. Actually, I guess the two Toils and the Puppetry card can be considered C-T cards, too.

“Card Advantage” Now there’s a term that I’m still not sure of what the exact definition is. I first heard that it meant when you draw more cards than your opponent, then I heard it meant you use one card to wipe out 2 or more cards your opponent has and at least several other definitions. But here, I mean the drawing cards definition.

Honden of the Seeing Winds has always been a “First Pick” in drafts in my area. I’ve seen it work well for those who picked it. I thought the same for this, so I put it in.

Now, some of you may have noticed the “ALMOST” combo with having The Unspeakable, Reach Through Mists, Peer Through Depths but not having Sift Through Sands made me cringe. But I wanted the RTM because of its Arcaness. So IN it went.

Eerie Procession. This is one of those cards that the “Scrubby” sense in me attempted to dismiss. Why? See, that’s just it, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the same reason I passed a Hammer of Bogardan in a draft way back in the winter of `98. I just couldn’t see its obvious potential. But the “template” of tutoring for a card and therefore thinning your deck is a Good Thing TM (or so I was once told).

Creatures

How could I pass up Ryusei, The Falling Star? I have many flyers so I’m not that worried about this guy going to the graveyard. A board sweeper for sure. The Unspeakable was a must because of its “Fatty” status and of its triggered ability of bringing back an Arcane card from my graveyard to my hand when damage is dealt to an opponent.

The Soulshift brothers Hundred-Talon Kami and the Kami of the Palace Fields had great triggered abilities in the way of Soulshift and they are flyers.

Kabuto Moth just makes sense; it flies, pumps and is a spirit.

Wizards made it into the deck because of their abilities. The Soratami Mirror-Guard has pay 2, return a land to my and target creature with power two or less is unblockable. This can be very good especially if I use Devouring Rage on the unblockable critter. Ouch! My two counter magic creatures come in the way of Soratami Savant which has pay 3, return a land I control to my hand and it counters target spell unless it’s owner pays 3 and the other creature is Callow Jushi a “Flip” card from betrayers that gains a “Ki” counter anytime I play a Spirit or Arcane spell which I mentioned before that I have 16 spells that fit that description. If you have two or more “Ki” counters on it, it flips and has remove a “Ki” counter and it counters target spell unless its owner pays 2.

The Genju of the Falls is practically like a creature that I COULD label it as such. Anyway, it becomes a 3/2 Spirit (fits theme) at instant speed. The rest of three creatures, River Kaijin, Moonlit Strider and Brutal Deceiver are fill-ins and are good blockers.

At a glance here’s the mana curve:
1cc: X – X
2cc: X – X
3cc: X – X – X – X – X – X – X – X – X
4cc: X – X – X
5cc: X – X – X – X – X
6cc: X – X
7cc: n/a
8cc: n/a
9cc: X

Not bad, I can start doing stuff on turn three, I have five creatures at the 3cc but I have the Genju in the 1 drop spot but I can’t start using it until turn 3 anyway.
Alright, now to what I didn’t play and maybe sound or not sound reasons as to why. Oh, before I forget I remember I said I only took 30 min. to build this deck so I have been resisting the urge to fix any mistakes (obvious or not) I have made.

Blue Cards:
~Teardrop Kami {U}– a 1/1 Spirit that has “Sacrifice: Tap or untap target creature” I should’ve played him, he would’ve made a nice addition to my 1cc slot.
~Student of Elements {1U} – a 1/1 Human Wizard “flip” card that flips whenever it gains flying and becomes a 3/3 and has all creatures I control have flying. Not bad, but I had no way of giving it flying. It could’ve been an okay 2 drop but I had decided to go with red for a third color and I had to make room.
~Ninja of the Deep Hours {3U} – a 2/2 Human Ninja w/Ninjutsu {1U} and the triggered ability of “Whenever ~this~ deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card.” Cripe, this would’ve been perfect to match up with Soratami Mirror-Guard!!!! Just more proof that I didn’t cheat on “time” to build this deck. :rolleyes:
~Azami, Lady of Scrolls {2UUU} – a 0/2 Human Wizard. The Unspeakable was worth it but not this Lady. I could’ve been wrong because my main color is blue and I was playing Wizards in addition to the Lady herself.
~Reduce to Dreams {3UU}– A Sorcery that Returns all artifacts and enchantments to their owner’s hands. Hmm, good multiplayer card but that’s about it. Maybe a good sideboard card against Affinity (if you LIVE to turn five).
~Peer Through Depths {1U} – An Instant – Arcane that lets me Impulse for five but only for a Sorcery or Instant card. I have had to put too many good creature cards on the bottom of my library. Eerie Procession was better.
~Counsel of the Soratami {2U}- A Sorcery that has you drawing two cards. Maybe I should’ve put this in the deck but at the time it started to seem that I was having too many draw a card options.
~Ribbons of the Reikai {4U}- A Sorcery – Arcane “Draw a card for each Spirit you control” I liked this one but I thought only one copy was enough.

White Cards:
~Bushi Tenderfoot {W}- a 1/1 Human Soldier “flip” card that has whenever it deals damage to a creature that sends it to the graveyard I can flip it to become a 3/4 Human Samurai with First Strike and Bushido 2. I have YET to see this actually happen. Maybe through “Gang” blocking or using the Kabuto Moth ability or Devouring Rage but that would be stretching it. As with the Teardrop Kami it could’ve helped fill-up my 1cc slot.

As you’ll later notice in white and red I had several Samurai at my disposal. Couple that with Call to Glory and my deck could’ve had better synergy.

~Indebted Samurai {3W}- a 2/3 Human Samurai with Bushido 1 and the triggered ability that has this creature get a +1/+1 counter when another Samurai goes into the graveyard. Forget the whole “should’ve played Samurai” thing for moment, this guy is a better blocker than the Moonlit Strider.

~(2x) Silverstorm Samurai {4WW}- a 3/3 Fox Samurai w/Bushido 1. It can also be played at Instant speed. The double white in its casting cost made me uneasy about putting this in the deck. Maybe a mistake? Maybe not.
~Vigilance {W}- Enchant Creature card that gives Vigilance to enchanted creature. A Good card for sure but I had to make tough choices.

Red Cards:
~Aura Barbs {2R}- Instant – Arcane. Each enchantment deals two damage to its controller then each creature enchantment deals two damage to the creature it’s enchanting. This is a reach: a combo with The Unspeakable, Cage of Hands and this card. Maybe? I didn’t think this could fit in my deck.
~Hanabi Blast {1RR} – Instant. 2 damage to target creature or player but I had to return it to my hand and discard a card at random. Since I was only slashing red (and only a tidbit at that) I didn’t see it as viable.
~Kumano’s Blessing {2R}- Enchant Creature – I could play it at instant speed. Read this closely: If a creature dealt damage by enchanted creature this turn is put into a graveyard, remove it from the game instead. I messed up on this one, I should have put it in my deck. It’s a “Combat Trick” card if ever I’ve seen one. I just didn’t read it carefully and therefore dismissed it right at the onset of reading red cards. Did I mention that I had TWO of these? Oh well, live and learn.
~Soul of Magma {3RR}- a 2/2 Spirit with the triggered ability of “Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, ~this~ deals 1 damage to target creature.” Again, two red in its casting cost was not enough for me to use it.
~Ogre Recluse {3R}-a 5/4 Ogre Warrior with the triggered ability “Whenever a player plays a spell, tap Ogre Recluse” I could’ve used him, his cc wasn’t so bad and I have known that opponents haven’t always played spells every turn but alas I thought he would be bad for my deck.
~Kami of Fire’s Roar {3R}- a 2/3 Spirit that has the triggered ability “Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, target creature can’t block this turn.” I messed up. I should’ve splashed a smidget of white instead of red. This guy fits perfectly into my deck theme of Spirits & Arcane spells.
~Frost Ogre {3RR}-a 5/3 Ogre Warrior. A good mid-sized “Fatty”. If I went more red I would’ve played him.
~Frostling {R}-a 1/1 Spirit that has “Sacrifice ~this~: ~This~ deals 1 damage to target creature.” Even for the way I DID play the colors there was certainly room for him (more proof that I didn’t cheat and only took 30 minutes to build this deck). Bad proof, but proof nonetheless. :sad:
~Battle-Mad Ronin {1R}-a 1/1 Human Samurai w/Bushido 2. It attacks each turn if able. Again, if I’d’ve gone more red he’d’ve made more sense. (how ‘bout those grammar short-cuts, eh?)
~Brothers Yamazaki {2R}- a 2/1 Human Samurai with Bushido 1. Since I didn’t have two copies the rest of the text doesn’t matter. Yet another Samurai :sad:
~Akki Rockspeaker {1R}- a 1/1 Goblin Shaman that has the triggered ability “When ~this~ comes into play, add {R} to your mana pool.” Just didn’t fit the theme of my deck.

Alllllll-righty then! There it is, my “sealed deck”. I would really like to play it against something, anything actually. Maybe I will. Don’t know when or where, though.

What’s that you say? Oh, “What about Green and Black?” with my head starting to hang low I will reveal these cards below:

Black cards:
~Sickening Shoal (You know what it does and do I have to go any further?)
~Stir the Grave (bring back a creature from my graveyard to play)
~Devouring Greed (Devouring Rages brother only for 2 Life Loss)
~Pull Under (-5/-5 to target creature)
~Skullmane Baku (Waxmane Bakus brother but for –X/-X)
~Bile Urchin a 1/1 Spirit when sac’d target player loses 1 life.
~Rag Dealer a 1/1 that removes 3 cards in a graveyard from the game
~Deathcurse Ogre
~Gibbering Kami a 2/2 flyer w/Soulshift 3
~Nezumi Ronin a 3/1 w/Bushido 1
~Cruel Deceiver
~Skullsnatcher for {1B} a 2/1 Rat Ninja with Ninjutsu {B}

Green Cards: (as head hangs even lower)
~Gale Force
~Mark of Sakiko
~Kadoma’s Might
~ Gnarled Mass a 3/3 Spirit
~(2x) Matsu-Tribe Sniper {1G} a 1/1 Snake Warrior Archer that has “Tap: ~This~ deals 1 damage to target creature with flying” and has the triggered ability “Whenever ~this~ deals damage to a creature, tap that creature and it doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step.” And I had TWO of these!!!!!!! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!
~Order of the Sacred Bell (Bald Monks Ahoy!)
~Orochi Ranger a 2/1 Snake Warrior
~Orochi Leafcaller
~Orochi Eggwatcher the “flip” card that produces 1/1 snake tokens.
~Child of Thorn a 1/1 for {G} that when sac’d it gives target creature +1/+1
~Dripping-Tongue Zubera
~Kami of the Hunt
~Venerable Kumo {4G} a 2/3 Spirit that can block flyers and has Soulshift 4

I know, I have strong Green and Black and I messed up, or did I?

Okay, NOW for the title: YOU make the deck!

Let me know what you liked and didn’t about my deck choices and/or what you would have done differently. Maybe even create an entirely new deck.

~Mark O.
ortegoc@aol.com

Read More Articles by Mark Ortego!

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