AMONKHET TEAM SEALED
This year was my fifth straight year of attending Grand Prix Sydney and I would definitely rate this one somewhere in my top five favourite GP Sydney’s ever. This GP was my first time ever playing team sealed (three players make three sealed decks and compete against other teams) so I was pretty excited going into the event. I convinced my roommate Jack and my good friend Pascoe to team up with me on the condition that I could sit in the middle and tell them what to do at every opportunity (what’s more fun then playing three magic games at once!). Now we were not able to do as much practice as I wanted to going into the event, Jack and Pascoe both work full time plus have other obligations which made it very hard to get us all together, also I’m quite lazy sometimes and didn’t want to put pants on and go test.
So we headed into the event with little preparation HOWEVER we did settle on our team name being PB&J (our initials and also the order in which we sat). Jack was quite proud of himself when he told me this name; I didn’t want to admit it at the time but it was a pretty good name. Myself and Jack went down early on the Friday to sell some cards and maybe jam a side event or two, Pascoe joined us after he finished work for the day. I managed to sell enough cards to be able to afford my brand new computer (which I’m writing this article on, expect many more to come) plus I was able to win a draft side event with a nice Red White aggro deck. Our goal for the event was to just enjoy ourselves and if we started putting up some results then day two would be nice. I’ll run down how our rounds went after I talk a bit about the three decks we built.
We were given our pool of cards by the judge and immediately checked it against the list of registered cards and we noticed several errors. After fixing this with the judge we moved onto our rares. Oh boy did our rares suck… now here is where it would be great if I had a list of them to show but due to circumstances I’ll explain later I don’t have the full list. But let’s just say that out of the 13 rares/mythics we had (twelve from the boosters and 1 foil mythic), we had a Kefnet the Mindful, Glyph Keeper, Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun, Dusk//Dawn (which all ended up in my deck), some cycle lands that we did not play, a few artifacts we did not play and a Foil Nissa, Steward of Elements which did not fit in any of our decks.
Deck 1: Pascoe’s GR beatdown
This deck was focused on getting down early threats and attacking with them as quickly as possible. It was, in hindsight, probably our best deck. It didn’t have any insane bombs but it was very consistent and Pascoe was a great pilot of the deck.
Deck 2: My UW Fliers
During deck building it was pretty obvious we were building a UW deck thanks to a nice assortment of UW cards we had with synergy. I think we may have been a bit too focused on the UW and may have missed a potential UG deck splashing white. My deck was pretty decent at playing flyers and had a nice late game, however it had very little removal which was a huge problem. Having to rely on Essence Scatter made me play very conservatively and Dusk/Dawn wasn’t too great in my deck of three power flyers.
Deck 3: Jack’s BG Zombies
Jack’s deck was also pretty average. While it didn’t have any insane bombs, it had a decent curve and had some really good spells to help his creatures. Supernatural Stamina was a big feature of the deck. He also had Cartouche of Ambition to help race any aggressive decks.
We sit down for our first set of matches and our opponents point out that both teams are wearing matching colours (me and my opponent are both wearing red jackets etc); we have a chuckle and get straight into our matches. I quickly lose game one to a fast RW aggressive deck, Pascoe also loses his game one but Jack keeps us in it. I side out my Kefnet the Mindful ( a common theme of the day) and bring in some low drops. I manage to get game two when my opponent gets stuck on mana but Pascoe loses his game two and we are already down by one. Jack wins his match so now it’s tied at 1-1 and the pressure is all on me to win this third game and start our day off with a win (I love the pressure). My teammates huddle around me and suggest lines of play, I disregard what they are saying because all I want to do is jam. I go all in and suit up a Sacred Cat which gains me enough life and is enough of a threat to kill my opponent in a few turns. Great start to the day!
I recognise one of our opponents from this round so we have a quick chat before we get to battling. I’m hoping to avoid an aggro deck but sadly I am up against an incredible RG aggro deck that is built around Insult Injury and Glorybringer. Safe to say I die pretty quickly in two games without a chance, but because I die so quickly I am able to turn and help Jack with his tough match against a big GW deck. Pascoe crushes a UB durdle deck in two games and this time all the pressure is on Jack but unfortunately he is not as lucky as I claim to be and loses to big dumb creatures.
Last round was just a blip on the radar and we are ready to climb our way back up the standings. All I need to do is avoid the red aggro deck and I have a chance…. well that didn’t happen and I lost to RG Glorybringer once again. So now I turn and help Pascoe and Jack once again. Jack is able to win his match up thanks to a great Supernatural Stamina on a Soulstinger to trade for two creatures, then follows it up with Cartouche of Ambition to seal the game and make Pascoe need to win the decider. Sadly Pascoe can’t handle the pressure and for some reason loses the match. He tells me he lost because of mulligans and drawing seven lands in a row, but I tell him he should have just killed his opponent first, he corrects me by pointing out he didn’t have any creatures (good point Pascoe).
Alright, we are a bit down on ourselves and I am absolutely exhausted (two hours sleep before an event is not recommended) but we rock up to our match to find we are versing our website’s very own HARRISON!! (read his articles, he is really good). This lifts my mood and I’m so excited to finally play some good magic, until I find out I am once again versing GR Glorybringer…. I mean… COME ON. I put up a fight and we have some great matches but Harrison destroys me in two matches. Pascoe is able to defeat a dreadful control deck (Harrison’s words) and all the pressure comes down to Jack to win the zombie mirror. Once again we lose out to a sick bomb, Jack’s opponent casts Vindicate on Jack’s only green source in all three games. It took some incredible play from Jack (and a handsome advisor next to him) to take it to game three but unfortunately the combination of Vindicate and flooding meant we took our third loss of the day.
Now we still have a chance to make day two if we just win the next five rounds in a row… we weigh the pros and cons but that only lasts about two seconds before we decided to drop and go get a decent lunch and try to enjoy the rest of our weekend. As soon as we decided to drop we handed our decks to Jack to dispose of (or sell) because we couldn’t bear to be near them again. While our main event didn’t end the way we wanted it to, we did end up having a great weekend (well I did, Jack had a mediocre weekend). We got to jump into a bunch of drafts, of which I managed to win three. Turns out I am pretty decent at this draft format (PLAY AGGRO!!), by winning the drafts I had enough points to buy a box of Kaladesh (I opened Aetherworks Marvel AND Smuggler’s Copter…. feels bad) plus I also received three ceramic mugs which now proudly sit on our kitchen bench as I don’t really use mugs.
Overall it was a pretty decent weekend. There were certainly some low points during the weekend (main event, dodgy hotel, no sleep) but having some great friends by your side is always going to help and they were definitely part of the high points of the weekend (winning draft, selling cards, good food with mates). If you ever get the chance then I can’t recommend team sealed highly enough, being able to play magic with your friends is incredibly fun (even when you’re losing). Who knows when we will ever have another team limited event here in Australia but if it ever does happen again be on the look out for PB&J.