[Interim Managers note: Marcos is a regular writer at PureMTGO.com. While we are transitioning and getting new content creators (to go along with the great ones we already have), we may need a guest to step in last minute. Marcos specializes in online play, and is one of the most consistent sealed deck players I know. I hope you enjoy the article, you can find the rest of his work here.]
So before I talk about my Sealed pools and my play in the Qualifiers itself, I’d first like to address the Theros Limited Qualifiers. As you may know, the Theros Limited Qualifiers cost 30 Event Tickets or 6 Theros boosters and 6 Event Tickets. The Qualifiers ran every 3 hours, were 5 rounds each, and had a maximum of 64 players with prizes going out to those with 9 match points (8 boosters), 12 match points (12 boosters, 2 QPs, invite), and 15 match points (15 boosters, 4 QPs, invite). I knew these Qualifiers would be popular since mostly everybody loves Limited, but I underestimated how popular these Qualifiers would be. The EV in these events was very good, which was something that threw me off guard until I did the actual numbers.
Each qualifier gives invitations to 12 people (2 5-0s, 10, 4-1s) so a little over one-fifth of the participants will make a profit and get an invitation. The real kicker comes to the amount of people that will have at least 3 wins in each qualifier: 30. A little under half of each Qualifier will make their entry fee back + profit all the cards they open, which means if you have a higher than 50% win rate in Theros Limited you could basically play Sealed for free if you consistently 3-2. This has led to a lot of Qualifiers maxing out hours in advance of their starting time, much like Standard daily events do now. In fact, as of this time (2:24 a.m. 1/19/14), the next 4 Qualifiers are booked in advance.
Basically what I want to say is this: These were good value events and I’ll be sad to see them leave, and if you didn’t play in them then you missed out!
Having said all that, let’s talk about my Qualifiers themselves. I did 5 Qualifiers, with 3 recorded and 2 off camera. For the sake of keeping the article as short as possible, I’m going to playlist the recorded Qualifiers and just talk about the pools that I opened but didn’t record.
Theros Limited Qualifier 1
Theros Limited Qualifier 2
The second Qualifier I did was not recorded. It was late at night and I would not be able to talk as loudly as I would like to. I’m going to post the pool with the rares to the far right of the screen, the sideboard/unplayable in the sideboard, and the rest of the pool in the maindeck.
You can immediately discount Red and White as playable colors because the colors are really shallow and don’t have enough going for them. I did take notice Divine Verdict and Heliod’s Emissary in White as potential splashes. This leaves us with Green, Blue, and Black as the colors to make our Sealed Deck. I looked at Blue Black, but it really didn’t have a lot going for it. Shipbreaker Kraken was basically the only we could win the game, and while Griptide and Sea God’s Revenge are both powerful, the deck couldn’t really take advantage of the bounce. I looked at Green Black as a possible deck but it wasn’t as powerful as Green Blue.
Blue just has so many high impact cards and Green can take advantage of the bounce that Blue offers. So I was set on Blue Green but I noticed that the deck didn’t have any removal. We were missing Time to Feed and Dissolve (Dissolve can be removal by countering a bomb) and I wanted more interaction so I decided to splash both Divine Verdict and Heliod’s Emissary. In the end, I had more Green than Blue so it was almost like I was splashing both Blue and White in the deck. Given the way my final build looked, I think I should have gone GBu or GBw so that I could play with the more balanced color in Black. This is my build I used for the Qualifier:
Theros Limited Qualifier 3
Theros Limited Qualifier 4
For the 4th Qualifier I wasn’t able to record as well, so once again I’m going to show you the pool and talk about how I built it and what I would do differently. For reference, here is the pool:
As you can see, Blue and Red are off the table to begin with because of how shallow both colors are, so we’re already left with Green, Black, and White as colors we could potentially play. I knew I was going to play Green because of Bow of Nylea, Nessian Asp, and Leafcrown Dryad so I had to choose between Black and White. At this point, I must have just zoned in on Favored Hoplite and Fabled Hero because you can easily see that Black is the better color than White is. That being said, I didn’t see it then and just built Green White from the get go. I didn’t think twice about considering Green Black. This was definitely a mistake on my part, but hindsight is 20/20. So I built Green White and went with it, and I also boarded into White Black for a game or two because I needed the double Sip of Hemlock to deal with bombs. This is definitely a case where you shouldn’t get blinded by your rares and just play the best colors, which in this case would have been Green Black. For reference, here are the Green White and White Black decks I played:
Theros Limited Qualifier 5
It only took me five tries to get qualified for the Theros Limited Championship! Each of my first four qualifiers were disappointing 3-2s and I finally managed to take the qualification after starting 0-1 with an incorrectly built pool to rattle off four straight match wins using two to three different decks. So, what I’ve learned is that in this format it’s definitely okay to draw first even if you are an aggressive deck. Your aggressive deck can still get a one drop into two drop and put pressure on your opponent, but getting that extra card and being a little more consistent will help you during your games. Another thing of note is that the aggro decks are hard to come by. I had two attempts at an aggro deck and both attempts were sub-par decks that really needed to nut draw to win; the average draw was so lackluster that you were just setting yourself up to lose with it. My aggro decks really needed a good amount of heroic cards to be able to contend well in the early game, and I simply didn’t have the cards for that. If I had realized that sooner I might have built a different deck during my fourth attempt and perhaps performed better than I did. Regardless, I think one thing you can take away from Theros Sealed is that decks are unlikely to curve out, drawing first is mostly correct, and your aggro decks needs a good mass of heroic and cheap creatures to actually be viable.
With all that said, if you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below. Next week I’ll be back with my report on the Theros Limited Championship and begin talking about Born of the Gods spoilers!
Thank you for reading and watching!
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