A Masters Edition 30-card-sealed winning deck

Alright – I missed the drafts, okay? Sealed is really not my favorite, and 30-card sealed especially is an abomination. However, I had never played with any of the Masters Editions before, and I was curious. Also, I feel I should support limited events with older editions so that they do not die out due to a lack of interest.

This was the first time I built a 30-card sealed (actually, I didn’t, but we’ll get to that in a moment), and I was unsure how to proceed. Obviously, I had to play Black and Green, aka “the color containing my playables) – there was almost nothing in both Blue and White, and I didn’t even have a single playable artifact creature, which I believe is rather unusual in this format (one booster from each Masters Edition, in case you don’t know). This was my pool:

1 Aysen Bureaucrats
1 Order of the Sacred Torch
1 Lesser Werewolf
1 Winter Blast
1 Healing Salve
1 Plains
1 Orcish Farmer
1 Elite Cat Warrior
1 Vodalian Knights
1 Disenchant
1 Urza’s Tower
1 Righteous Avengers
1 Drift of the Dead
1 Detonate
1 Wild Aesthir
1 Staff of Zegon
1 Bestial Fury
7 Swamp
1 Mountain
1 Mindstab Thrull
1 Sengir Vampire
1 Slashing Tiger
1 Roots
1 Elven Lyre
1 Heavy Fog
1 Death Speakers
1 Enervate
1 Baron Sengir
1 Brainstorm
1 Crimson Kobolds
1 Stampede
2 Mountain
1 Word of Undoing
1 Krovikan Sorcerer
1 Errantry
1 Sivitri Scarzam
1 Chain Lightning
1 False Summoning
1 Benthic Explorers
1 Forked Lightning
1 Yavimaya Ancients
1 Armor of Faith
1 Ashnod’s Transmogrant
1 Pyroblast
1 Soul Shred
1 Hasran Ogress
1 D’Avenant Archer
1 Goblin Caves
6 Forest
1 Sleight of Hand
1 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Spinal Villain
1 Oubliette
1 Gangrenous Zombies
1 Illusionary Wall
1 Young Wei Recruits
1 Fumarole
1 City of Brass
1 Nicol Bolas
1 Weakstone
1 Tracker
1 Active Volcano
1 Sea Serpent

I was really glad that I had the City of Brass (not just because that’s the only card in my pool worth anything), because without it , I would effectively have been forced to either play a really bad BG deck or play with old times sealed mana (5-5-4 with double-colored mana in two colors and even at lower costs). With it, I decided on BG splash R for Forked Lightning. After some deliberation, I also put Fumarole in. This was the deck:

2 Mountain
1 Mindstab Thrull
5 Forest
1 Sengir Vampire
1 Ashnod’s Transmogrant
1 Lesser Werewolf
1 Gangrenous Zombies
1 Slashing Tiger
1 Fumarole
1 Forked Lightning
1 Tracker
1 Roots
1 Oubliette
1 Hasran Ogress
1 Elven Lyre
1 Yavimaya Ancients
1 City of Brass
1 Elite Cat Warrior
1 Young Wei Recruits
6 Swamp
1 Soul Shred

I didn’t use the Chain Lightning, because I wanted to keep the red splash small due to all those double-colored mana costs, because I already had a lot of removal (my deck’s only real strength), and because I thought 3 damage wouldn’t be enough to deal with the real bombs I expected to see in that format anyway. Well, let me put that shorter: I didn’t play the Chain Lightning because I was an idiot.

I played 31 cards because I really couldn’t do with 13 lands, but 14 lands in 30 cards were just too many – that’s like nearly 19 lands in a 40-card deck! The smaller the deck, the harder it becomes to get the right percentages of overall mana and colored mana, since you cannot play half cards. Adding a card can be a workable compromise.

My first opponent played WG, opening with Order of Leitbur and 3 Plains – quite a good start against me, since my early game and removal both are mainly black-based. However, he didn’t have a good follow-up for a long time, and I was able to gum up the board and let his Order grow Roots without dropping too low. I was a bit irritated when he played Feast or Famine on my Elite Cat Warrior using his Fellwar Stone – I never saw a Swamp from him in both games! Just when I had the upper hand in a ground stall and with my Sengir online, he dropped a Forcefield and slowed the game down to a crawl. I saved a bit removal and got ready to deck him, while pecking at him with the Sengir when I didn’t risk too much, but at some point he just conceded – I’m not really sure why.

I sideboarded into a three-color deck, introducing Chain Lightning and Detonate in exchange for Gangrenous Zombies and Young Wei Recruits. In the second game, he was a bit land-shy, but I didn’t have too much pressure, collecting removal in my hand. On four lands, he finally dropped a Fellwar Stone and played Sylvan Tutor for Serra Angel. I decided to Detonate the Stone, since I already had taken a good chunk out of his life total and would be able to keep attacking for the foreseeable future, and I wanted to capitalize on his obviously slow hand. The Serra did hit the table with the help of an Astrolabe, but my Sengir matched it, and when he attacked into the Vampie with me having Elven Lyre active, I blocked and only saw… Lightning Blow! When I sacced the Lyre, he conceded. Hm.

My second opponent was BW. His first play was a Mishra’s Factory. I went all in going first, with Ashnod’s Transmogrant, Hasran Ogress and more curve creatures, allowing the Ogress to hit us both until it traded with the Factory, setting him back a turn. A bit later, a White Knight showed up for him, but I now had my green creatures on the board, and he conceded soon (again, this was a bit prematurely, I feel) Yes, I won that one with beatdown…

After sideboarding, I once again had Chain Lightning and a little more Red. My removal kept the board favoring me, and when he tried Feast or Famine on my Elite Cat Warrior (deja vu!), I just sacrificed my Transmogrant to save it and make the cat even bigger, prompting him to concede.

In the finals, I met an excellent UW deck. I still cannot believe how many flyers and creatures with horsemanship he had! Cloud Dragon, at least two Screeching Drake, Spotted Griffin, Shu Elite companions, Wu Elite Cavalry – and the card which killed me: Lu Xun, Scholar General. I got rid of it once, but it returned via False Defeat and drew him about 12 cards. I was able to kill every other threat of him for a while, in the end hoping to deck hin, but he managed to defeat me with just one card left in his library. The game might have gone different, if I had been able to access GG for my Slashing Tiger and the ability of Tracker, but I didn’t, and that the City was my only source for green mana didn’t help either.

However, I knew that after sideboarding, I could virtually not lose if I drew my mana and my spells in a sensible ratio, because I could bring in Winter Blast, Spinal Villain, Active Volcano, Pyroblast and of course Chain Lightning, killing everything he could muster and some. I took out my cheaper black creatures (except for Mindstab Thrull, which I didn’t draw the whole tournament, by the way), the Lyre and the Transmogrant, and things went as planned in both games, although he managed to put my Spinal Villain in a Serra Bestiary – even with False Defeat, Heal and Word of Undoing this was just too much for him. He also made a terrible misplay once, when I was a little flooded and attacked with Elite Cat Warrior and Lesser Werewolf into two Screeching Drake, double-blocking the werewolf instead of the cat, so that with BB open I could kill one of his drakes without losing a creature., but since I started to draw myself out of my flood afterwards, I would have won anyway. Also, his time was running out (I might have won in time, but he conceded with less than two minutes left in a terrible position). His deck was clearly better than mine, but the amount of hate I had for him was just ungodly.

So, I won, which means I actually had a lot of fun! To be honest, if I had gone 1-2 or so, I would have hated that tournament – 30-card-sealed is silly, the Masters Editions are barely stomachable even in draft, and 20 tix is really a lot to pay for an entry fee. As things stand, though, I won 6 boosters on the first try, so I will certainly do at least another draft. Also, while the format is pretty random, I get the impression that this is doubly true for most players in these queues (albeit admittedly I only saw a small sample) – I’m certainly not good anymore, but these guys seemed really bad, with each of them walking into an on-board trick once, and two of them conceding with enough time on the clock when I was myself not at all certain I had those games in the bag…

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One Comment on “A Masters Edition 30-card-sealed winning deck”


  1. A little later I realized that in this queue first place actually won me 6 boosters, not just 4 (I corrected that in my post) – that was nice!

    However, I also realized that, other than with drafts, I could NOT use these boosters as product for another tournament, but had instead to pay 20 tix again – that was not nice at all! But okay, I could sell those boosters for tix.

    I joined two more queues and went 2-1 in each of those. I’ve had enough now – gameplay in this format is really terrible, and although I had at least reasonable card pools each time, and both matches I lost were close 1-2s, I still felt pretty helpless and not in charge of my own fate. I am going to sell the boosters I won (a total of 14) to get most of the tix I spent back and save those for a time when I will be drafting again, probably when Guidcrahs comes out, although I cannot rule out that the drafting bug will bite me again before that.


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