Here’s what I have to say about the format. Stay a while, and listen!

This past weekend we had ourselves a good ol’ PTQ doubleheader. With PTQs on Saturday and Sunday, myself and some others from the Hipsters of the Coast crew were ready to do battle. Shout-out to Monique Garraud for giving me a ride both days, being a total badass mom with snack provisions, and for dealing with my generally inappropriate car banter for two days straight.

Saturday I went 5-3 with a mediocre UW deck. My powerhouse cards were Dictate of Heliod and Ornitharch. The rest of my deck was filled mostly with otherwise cheap creatures, two bounce/tempo spells, and not much else. Despite starting the tournament 3-0, I didn’t like my chances of making top 8, the reasoning of which is as follows: This is a slow format. This is a bomb-dependent format. This is a format where two-power creatures and other generally small ground creatures get out-classed or killed very quickly. Removal is cheap and plentiful.

I built the most consistent deck my pool provided, but not the most powerful one. With some pools this will be the correct choice; with others, like mine, it will not be. The reason it was wrong for me to build my deck this way is that because of how (in my opinion) I see the format. My UW deck would not stack up well against bombs or removal, or decks with big creatures—basically, any good decks I would be playing against. Sure enough, as my games played out, I would end up winning nearly every game I drew Dictate of Heliod or Ornitharch, but would struggle to win most others as my creatures simply could not amass 20 points of damage together before my opponents stabilized. This is why green is the best color in the sealed format.

Green’s creatures do two things. First, they make many small creatures your opponents play obsolete. Then, once you are ahead, they are big enough to win the game, each one often being enough of a threat that it needs to be answered. The majority of the removal in this format is for small creatures, not big ones. Green’s creatures don’t require you to draw additional cards to turn them into powerhouse threats (unlike heroic creatures). Cards that are good on their own are typically the best cards.

Had I been able to reason this well during my deck-build I would’ve ended up building a BG deck that had Courser of Kruphix, Bow of Nylea, Eater of Hope, Nessian Asp and three solid removal spells. The problem with this deck was that it only had 19 playable cards in BG and I would’ve had to splash three to four blue cards or play 18 lands. I’m typically a very conservative player with my manabase, but in this tournament being too conservative ended up with me building the wrong deck for my pool.

As for the next time I play this format, later this month in GP DC, I will do everything I can to build a deck with a green creature base and blue and/or black support. The BUG colors are the best by far in this format and I find red and white to be extremely underwhelming. The main reason for this is, first and foremost, creatures—which, being the most important card type in Limited (and pretty much all formats of Magic these days), are too small in red and white. The second is that combat tricks are not good.

Combat tricks are better in draft when it’s easier to scrulpt your deck; but this sealed format is too grindy and based around large threats for combat tricks to be good. They are usually bad top-decks; are not threats in and of themselves; and decks need to have threat density. And again, with the large amount of cheap removal available it is simply too easy to get blown out. I declined to play any combat tricks either day of the PTQ save for Crypsis, which I consider a very versatile card that can also be a combat trick in some situations.

The top tables of both PTQs this weekend were littered with G/x decks. UG decks won the last two limited GPs. If your future pools give you a green deck vs. anything else, play the green deck. This will usually be a no-brainer.

Sunday was the day of the second PTQ and I was much happier with my pool except for one thing: I played zero rares in my deck. In a format that is very much about powerful cards and threats this is usually not a good thing; however, it just goes to show you the power of UG. To be fair, Hour of Need (the best card in my deck) has an uncommon symbol but is actually mythic rare in power level.

My deck:


My rares:


Nothing flashy, nothing fancy. Just high threat density. I of course was gifted with good draws for most of the swiss, played tightly, and ended up 6-0 and was able to double draw into top 8.

I ended up drafting a decent GW deck but ultimately made a bad pick in pack two, of Nyxborn Wolf over Glimpse the Sun God, which definitely cost me a game and ultimately the match.

At the end of the day I was very disappointed and felt like this was my PTQ to lose—but, having top 8-ed two PTQs and being one game away from top 8-ing a third this season, I figure I have to be doing something right and am confident that with the continued support of my MTG friends (who are all awesome except for Matt Jones) I will get there someday soon.

I hope this article has given you some insight into how I see the format, and I hope to see you on day two of GP DC!

World-renowned punster Hugh Kramer is also a skilled Limited Magician. He’ll share his thoughts on each format as it rears its ugly head, and continue his analysis well after the format fades into the darkness of rotation. Hugh was able to single-handedly drive Matt Jones from the Limited format with his love of the Spider Spawning archetype in Innistrad Limited.

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