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This article is as much for my benefit as it is yours. After reading Alex Brown's absolutely excellent articles on drafting, I'm starting to realize that my predetermined methods, just like Alex's, may not be the best way to go.
So what I've got here is a sealed deck that I opened at a PCQ in Louisville a bit ago. My intention with this article is twofold. I want to share this with you to give you insight into how I might go about building a sealed deck, but I also want to share it with you so that you can tell me where you might have done things differently, not only in build choices but also in general method. Is there a more efficient way to look at a sealed deck? Is there a feature of the deck that stands out to you that I seem to overlook? Hopefully, when you point out in the forums what I should do differently, you'll pick up things that you yourself could be doing differently, and we'll all help each other suck just a little bit less at this game.
I'm going to try very hard to tell you not only the decisions I made, but also why I made them and the assumptions I made while I was building. I can't tell you whether or not this is a good sealed deck to write this article with--as a rule, I am completely awful at deciding whether my sealed decks are good or bad and so I've stopped trying. But as an exercise, a random sample is probably the best way to go.
I'm hoping this isn't just a sealed deck exercise. I've tried to write down everything I was thinking when I was building the deck. Please read through and stop at each point where I list cards to see if you'd be doing the same thing.
That said, let's take a look:
When I get a sealed deck, the first thing I do after verifying contents is sort all the teamstamped cards, both character and non-character, into teams. This gives me an idea of the resources I have to work with. I tend to think of sealed decks in terms of teams because it's very rare to open an archetype deck rather than just a solid pile of cards.
Here is my 70-card pile sorted by team:
Connie Webb, Knight
Surveillance Pawn, Army
Christopher Smith <> Peacemaker, Obsessed Outlaw
Gabriella Raza, Knight
Amanda Waller, Queen
Valentina Vostok <> Negative Woman, Bishop
Annihilation Protocol <> OMAC Robot, Army
Huntress, Reluctant Queen
Traitor to the Cause
Brother I Satellite
Chay-Ara <> Hawkgirl, Eternal Companion
Prince Khufu <> Hawkman, Eternal Warrior
Stargirl, Courtney Whitmore
Kendra Saunders <> Hawkgirl, Eternal Heroine
Ted Grant <> Wildcat, Golden Age Pugilist
Richard Tyler <> Hourman, Man of the Hour
Sand, Sanderson Hawkins
Carter Hall <> Hawkman, Eternal Champion
Jay Garrick <> The Flash, Golden Age Speedster
Power Girl, Earth 2
Black Adam, Ruthless Hero
Madame Xanadu, Cartomancer
Nightmaster, Jim Rook
Blue Devil, Dan Cassidy
Manitou Dawn, Spirit Shaman
Ibis, Prince Amentep
Rose Psychic, Ghost Detective
Dr. Occult, Richard Occult
Blue Devil, Big Blue
Nightmaster, Demon Slayer
The Phantom Stranger, Fallen Angel
Collecting Souls, Magic
Mystical Binding, Magic
Cheetah, Feral Feline
The Calculator, Noah Kuttler
Dr. Light, Furious Flashpoint
Dr. Polaris, Force of Nature
Zazzala <> Queen Bee, Mistress of the Hive
Sinestro, Villain Reborn
Dr. Psycho, Twisted Telepath
Baddest of the Bad
Ragdoll, Resilient Rogue
Amadeus Arkham, Architect of Insanity
Lois Lane, Earth 2
Obsidian, Todd James Rice
Bart Allen <> The Flash, Impulsive Speedster
Jaime Reyes <> Blue Beetle, High-Tech Hero
Death from Above
Forbidden Loyalties, Team-Up
Justice United, Team-Up*
Removed from Continuity
Watch the Birdie
Amulet of Nabu, Fate Artifact
Helm of Nabu, Fate Artifact
*Justice United is teamstamped but it's also a generic team-up, which means it could end up in any deck you build. Therefore, it's a generic card.
Here is the space where you're supposed to think.
Having done that, I look at two things: which two teams put together the strongest curve, and which teams have the best noncharacter cards.
Checkmate is a bit light on characters, but all eight characters are at least playable. Their costs are spread from 1-6 weighted toward the early part of the curve, their 5-drop boosts into a 7, and they have a search card. There's also a Knight Armor
, which is one of my favorite cards in this sealed format. Checkmate looks promising.
JSA has no playable plot twists. Double Play
is awful and Living Legacy
is only good with three characters in your entire Sealed pool (and one of them is Blue Devil). However, they have quality drops at every cost except 5. A solid curve is much more important in Sealed than it is in draft because no one is going to have any sort of gimmick in Sealed--it's going to be curve-on-curve, and having the goods curvewise is the best play. So JSA is looking good initially also.
I will admit right from the outset that I'm prejudiced against Shadowpact--they are a constructed team or occasionally a draft team. They aren't a sealed team. Their cards all require a synergistic deck that you will almost never actually open in a sealed deck.
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