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April 21, 2017

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Daily Dose of Amonkhet – Testing for Amonkhet Prerelease

Welcome to the Daily Dose of Amonkhet where today I’ll be going through the thought process behind building your prerelease deck this weekend. I’ll start by showing you an example of an Amonkhet sealed pool that you’ll be getting from your prerelease kit. I’ll then go through my though process on how I go from starting sealed pool to final deck for the prerelease.

The first thing you should do for any sealed event, including the prerelease, is to open all your packs and sort them by colour. You don’t need to worry about rarity at this point (although it is fun to see what rares you got), just sort them into piles of colour, and have a pile for multicolour, artifacts, and lands. So, let’s have a look at what my pool looks like.

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So now that you have all the cards organized by colour piles, what I like to do is go through each pile and just keep what I would call “playable” cards. These are cards that I’d be happy to play with in my deck. For example, As Foretold is a valuable Mythic Rare from the set, but isn’t the best card to be playing in a Limited format, so it won’t make the cut. I often try and find cards that will offer me value, great creatures, combat tricks, and removal spells. Eliminate all the narrow cards, like ones that only destroy artifacts, as you can always sideboard those cards in after game one if necessary. Remember that in Sealed format, all your remaining cards that aren’t in your main deck are considered your Sideboard. Now that I’ve gone through and separated the playable cards, let’s have a look at how the card pool looks.

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So, after this process we’ve gone from 83 cards down to 56. Since your deck will most likely have only 24 cards, there’s still a ways to go. Let’s look at the colour breakdown of the cards:
– 12 white cards
– 8 blue cards
– 7 black cards
– 11 red cards
– 13 green cards
– 4 multicolour cards
– 1 artifact card

At this point I have a look to see if there are any colours that I can eliminate from the process. This is done by checking the strength of each colour individually. White seems very strong with some powerful creatures, a removal spell in Compulsory Rest, and a combat trick as well. Although blue only has eight playable cards, I find that these are all good cards I wouldn’t mind having in my deck. Black seems to be the weakest colour by far, with no huge threats, limited removal cards, and average creatures. Due to this, I’ll eliminate Black from the deckbuilding process.

The Red card pool is a little bit of an illusion in the fact that it does have five removal spells, but not much else to offer. Despite all the removal, I think I’m going to have to pass on the Red card pool. Green offers a multitude of powerful cards to use in Limited. It has some great combat tricks, which can be used a pseudo-removal spells. It has some large ground creatures, which can be very difficult to deal with in a Limited environment. All four of the multicolour cards are very playable and it works out that they’re currently in the three colours we’re still interested in. I’m going to drop the artifact card, as I would rather have a do something card that can affect the board a little bit more. Now that I’ve made these changes, let’s have a look at my new card pool.

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We’ve now narrowed down the card pool to 37 cards, which is a lot closer to our goal of 23 to 24 cards. Now comes the hard part of getting down to the deck you’ll be playing in the event. At this point, there are two options, either play two colours or three colours. Three colours allow you to play the best cards of each colour as well as your powerful multicolour cards. If you play two colours, you’ll have a better chance of casting your spells as you only need to worry about two colours of mana instead of three. Most games of Limited, in my experience, run longer than the typical constructed format, and I believe that Amonkhet won’t have many aggressive strategies. I’m going to go with a three-colour strategy for this deck to utilize the most powerful spells.

Next you want to make sure you have a nice selection of creatures vs. spells for your deck. If you have too many creatures, then you won’t be able to deal with your opponent’s threats or break a creature stalemate. If you have too many spells though, you won’t be able to get enough creatures on the battlefield to block with. Another thing to consider is your mana curve. You want to be able to build your deck so you don’t have only low-casting cost or high-casting cost cards. If they’re all too low, anything played in the mid-to-late game by your opponent will overpower your creatures. If they’re all too high, then you won’t be able to get cards onto the battlefield quick enough to defend. Using this information, let’s see what I decided to remove from the pool of 37 cards.

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You should build a 40-card deck at this point, with some basic lands to fill up to the 40 cards needed. I have a superstition of always building a 41-card deck at prerelease events, something that’s completely against what everyone will tell you, so to keep true to myself I’ll make a 41-card deck here. First, check to see if you have any non-basic lands that would fit in the deck, which in my case would be Evolving Wilds. I’m going to stay away from Grasping Dunes as I’m playing three colours and it would be hard to play a land that doesn’t tap for any of the three colours that I’m playing. To get the basic lands I need for a deck, I count the total mana symbols for each colour in the deck.

White – 12
Blue – 9
Green – 10

Since I need 17 lands total, and Evolving Wilds takes up one of those spots, I’ll ratio the lands I need based on the mana symbols in the deck. So that would leave me with the following lands for the deck.

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So, there you have it, an Amonkhet Sealed deck ready to go for the prerelease. Hopefully this will help you in some of the decisions you’ll have to make when you open your prerelease kit this weekend. I hope everyone has fun this weekend, and I look forward to seeing you next week on the Daily Dose of Amonkhet where I’ll turn my attention to the new Standard season with some Deck Techs!