11/5/2012 Feature "Price of Progress: Grading Homework"

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This thread is for discussion of the feature article "Price of Prgoress: Grading Homework", which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
This Deck was built in 0:07:37

Total Deck Size: 40
18 Lands
---------------
1 Island
7 Mountain
8 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate


17 Creatures
---------------
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Lobber Crew
1 Perilous Shadow
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Sewer Shambler
2 Splatter Thug
2 Tavern Swindler
1 Tenement Crasher
1 Volatile Rig


5 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Blustersquall
1 Electrickery
1 Launch Party
1 Traitorous Instinct


With such strong red and black cards but few removals, I went for an aggressive Rakdos deck.  I put in 18 lands coz with such strong cards, I want to minimize the chance of losing due to mana screw.  Blustersquall is in there just in case I stall and needed a falter effect.

This Deck was built in 0:03:01


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
5 Island
5 Mountain
5 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate



16 Creatures
---------------
1 Desecration Demon
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Hover Barrier
2 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Lobber Crew
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
2 Splatter Thug
1 Stealer of Secrets
1 Tenement Crasher
1 Voidwielder



7 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Blustersquall
1 Cancel
1 Electrickery
1 Guild Feud
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Launch Party

Midrange deck that can be aggresive to get our powerful 4 mana bombs, or slow down and ping players to death 

With a sealed pool so lite on removal, the game plan is to win by making sure your creatures are either always better then his, or always a threat 

You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!

This Deck was built in 0:04:34


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
1 Island
6 Mountain
8 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate



17 Creatures
---------------
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Lobber Crew
1 Perilous Shadow
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Sewer Shambler
2 Splatter Thug
2 Tavern Swindler
1 Tenement Crasher
1 Volatile Rig



6 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Blustersquall
1 Chemister's Trick
1 Cremate
1 Launch Party
1 Traitorous Instinct

 I think the two best decks to build out of this pool are Azorious or Rakdos. I chose Rakdos after seeing how little removal was in the pool. Launch Party and Assassin's Strike are basically it. The Rakdos deck gets to use both of your removal spells, has an agressive curve, and can win through both agression or a late game finisher. Splashed blue because the last few cards were just too unplayable without it.

Specific cards of note:
- Frostburn Weird: This card is great even if your only one of the two colors and is amazing if you are both. Works on both offense and defense.
- Lobber Crew: Another card I think should go into any red deck (and sometimes even get splashed for); it gives agressive decks reach and can be a win condition in a slower deck.
- Volatile Rig: I was unsure about playing this, since it could potentially ruin your game plan by killing all your agressive creatures. I think in this deck it should be played as a finisher to get in the last points of damage: if they don't block it, it kills them. If they do, there's a chance it still kills them.
- Blustersquall & Chemister's Trick: These two cards fill similar roles; they either let your agressive guys get in on the next turn, or buy you time to win with a finisher. There are better cards in blue to splash for (Voidweilder), but I felt that they were too slow, while these two cards advanced your agression plan (the one that needs the most help)
- Cremate: I like to run this main deck. Sometimes you get lucky and it matters, but at worst it just cycles for B.

I think the Azorious deck would work as well, its actually very similar. It has an agressive flier plan backed up by powerful finishers. It really just came down to the removal for me. 

Pool seems pretty weak. Izzet aggro has a good curve and decent card quality.

This Deck was built in 0:18:51

Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
8 Island
7 Mountain
2 Izzet Guildgate


17 Creatures
---------------
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Crosstown Courier
2 Frostburn Weird
2 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Lobber Crew
1 Runewing
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
2 Splatter Thug
1 Stealer of Secrets
1 Tower Drake
1 Vassal Soul
1 Voidwielder
1 Volatile Rig


6 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Chemister's Trick
1 Downsize
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Inspiration
1 Traitorous Instinct

Copying out of the Respond Via Email window since it does not seem to work(?):

Dear Nate Price,
 Regarding your article "Price of Progress: Grading Homework":

I've taken quite a liking to the Sealed format and I really like this series, keep up the good work! I look forward to getting into some of the more advanced stuff, eventually.

This week's Sealed deck builder is interesting! In this format, I really have a weak spot for aggressive white-blue decks and I quite liked the look of the relatively low curve they looked like they could provide. Ultimately, though, I think the pool is lacking a few ways to make smaller guys relevant (such as Teleportal and Dynacharge - which would also have made the triple Seller much better). The single Ethereal Armor and Swift Judgment is probably just short of being good enough. That build ended up looking like this in my hands (notable exclusion Sphinx, which might be wrong!):
This Deck was built in 0:06:00

Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
7 Island
8 Plains
2 Izzet Guildgate


15 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Crosstown Courier
1 Fencing Ace
2 Frostburn Weird
2 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Judge's Familiar
1 New Prahv Guildmage
1 Selesnya Sentry
1 Stealer of Secrets
1 Sunspire Griffin
1 Tower Drake
1 Vassal Soul
1 Voidwielder


8 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Dramatic Rescue
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Inspiration
1 Righteous Authority
1 Swift Justice
1 Traitorous Instinct

... There's two Abyssal Persecutors in the pool, though! So perhaps Rakdos is the right way to go, even if it looks short a few playables? I decided to give it a shot and it's actually looking really solid - it has a ton of 2-drops as well as a Lobber Crew which makes Rakdos doable. It ended up looking like this:

This Deck was built in 0:08:50

Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
9 Mountain
8 Swamp


18 Creatures
---------------
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Lobber Crew
1 Perilous Shadow
1 Rakdos Ringleader
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Sewer Shambler
1 Slitherhead
2 Splatter Thug
2 Tavern Swindler
1 Tenement Crasher


5 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Electrickery
1 Launch Party
1 Pyroconvergence
1 Traitorous Instinct

Obviously, cards like Slitherhead, Perilous Shadow, Pyroconvergence and all of the 6-drops are not that impressive, but none of the cards are outright bad. I decided to put in the Pyroconvergence for reach (it also makes Slitherhead, Shred-Freak and Ringleader a little less unexciting) but perhaps the deck simply wants an 18th land instead. Cremate could go in too if you just want a cycle instead of one of the other marginal cards.

I like the Electrickery with three first-strikers and a trampler, and actually think it's pretty decent in Sealed. Having a maindeck answer to Pack Rat is also fine even if it is unreliable. In the end, I think the color consistency of this build as well as the raw power of the rares in the 4-drop slot makes this build slightly better than the Azorius build.

Preparing for the M14 Prerelease - New article up! IN THE TANK - my very own blog for rambling about Magic!

Lands
7 Island
6 Mountain
2 Plains
2 Izzet Guildgate

Creatures
1 Bloodfray Giant
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Hover Barrier
1 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Lobber Crew
1 New Prahv Guildmage
1 Runewing
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
2 Splatter Thug
1 Stealer of Secrets
1 Tower Drake
1 Voidwielder

Spells
1 Blustersquall
1 Cancel
1 Electrickery
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Inspiration
1 Mizzium Skin
1 Righteous Authority
1 Traitorous Instinct

U/R I found the other colours to be very mediocore, except for a couple of white spells for a splash.

This Deck was built in 0:07:52

This pool was interesting. Rakdos and the Desecration Demon definitely pulled me to playing BR, but by themselves didn't seem consistent enough for me. Put Azorius midrange instead. The early game is good with two and three drops, dips a bit, but the two Isperia Skywatch and Sphinx of Chimes should be able to close games out. Three Seller of Songbirds I thought was great for two bodies early in the game. 


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
10 Island
7 Plains



18 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Fencing Ace
2 Frostburn Weird
2 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Judge's Familiar
1 New Prahv Guildmage
1 Runewing
3 Seller of Songbirds
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
1 Stealer of Secrets
1 Tower Drake
1 Vassal Soul
1 Voidwielder
1 Volatile Rig



5 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Cancel
1 Dramatic Rescue
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Righteous Authority

EDIT: Also, did it over with 5-color good stuff and the results seem interesting. 3 gates and 2 Axebane Guardian make it seem feasible. 


This Deck was built in 0:11:54


Total Deck Size: 40
16 Lands
---------------
4 Forest
4 Island
1 Mountain
2 Plains
2 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate
1 Selesnya Guildgate



19 Creatures
---------------
2 Axebane Guardian
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Desecration Demon
1 Doorkeeper
1 Fencing Ace
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Hover Barrier
1 Judge's Familiar
1 Lobber Crew
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Runewing
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
1 Stealer of Secrets
1 Trestle Troll
1 Voidwielder



5 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Blustersquall
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Launch Party
1 Righteous Authority


 

This Deck was built in 0:10:46


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
1 Island
6 Mountain
8 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate



18 Creatures
---------------
1 Batterhorn
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Lobber Crew
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Sewer Shambler
2 Splatter Thug
2 Tavern Swindler
1 Tenement Crasher
1 Volatile Rig
1 Voidwielder 



5 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Blustersquall
1 Chemister's Trick
1 Launch Party
1 Traitorous Instinct

Base Rakdos splashing blue for Blustersquall, Chemister's Trick, and Voidwielder. I don't want Perilous Shadow in an agressive deck, I want to use my mana to drop guys every turn until I finish with Blustersquall or Chemister's Trick.

This Deck was built in 0:03:31


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
7 Mountain
8 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate


18 Creatures
---------------
1 Batterhorn 
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon 
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Lobber Crew
1 Perilous Shadow
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Sewer Shambler
2 Splatter Thug
2 Tavern Swindler
1 Tenement Crasher
1 Volatile Rig


5 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Chemister's Trick
1 Launch Party
1 Skull Rend
1 Traitorous Instinct

worry about the double red in the 2 drops, but red/black are definitely the strongest colors in this pool.
with a little splash of blue for chemister's trick to wreck opponents board and Blustersquall to help end the game.

 

I went U/R, but after looking at your builds I see how the Rakdos pool might have been better than I gave it credit for.


Total Deck Size: 41
18 Lands
---------------
10 Island
6 Mountain
2 Izzet Guildgate



17 Creatures
---------------
1 Batterhorn
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Doorkeeper
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Hover Barrier
1 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Lobber Crew
1 Runewing
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
2 Splatter Thug
1 Tenement Crasher
1 Vassal Soul
1 Voidwielder
1 Volatile Rig



6 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Cancel
1 Chemister's Trick
1 Codex Shredder
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Inspiration

Embrace imagination.

Lord of YMtC | Ten Rounds Contest Winner

Solphos – A fan set with a 'combo matters' theme

Fool's Gold – The second set of the Solphos block

The number of people who took Black/Red/splash Blue is slightly comforting; however, I still don't think I know what I'm doing.

1 Island
9 Mountain
9 Swamp


1 Bellows Lizard
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
1 Drainpipe Vermin
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Lobber Crew
1 Perilous Shadow
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
2 Splatter Thug
2 Tavern Swindler


1 Blustersquall
1 Cremate
1 Downsize
1 Electrickery
1 Traitorous Instinct

I decided that I'd just stop at 4-drops, because I wasn't particularly happy with anything above that anyhow.  That didn't leave me with an impressive bomb set (Desecration Demon and Rakdos, Lord of Riots), but I decided Rix Maadi Guildmage and the splash of Blustersquall were almost good enough to work with.  Traitorrous Instinct may not be a real bomb, but I like "steal their creature" stunts.

On the other hand, I'm not sure about Perilous Shadow (It can attack, but it's not great) or the Tavern Swindlers, and I think I may have gone overboard with land.

This Deck was built in 0:27:17

Total Deck Size: 40
18 Lands
---------------
1 Island
6 Mountain
9 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate


18 Creatures
---------------
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Lobber Crew
1 Perilous Shadow
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Sewer Shambler
2 Splatter Thug
2 Tavern Swindler
1 Tenement Crasher
1 Volatile Rig


4 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Blustersquall
1 Launch Party
1 Traitorous Instinct

18 land because you want to pump your creatures/guildmage etc and get your four-drops out. I was looking at izzet, trying not to get 'trapped' by Rakdos (the guy) and just ended up taking out blue cards as I trimmed down. Base aggro deck with finishers and lobber crew helps get Rakdos out. Not much evasion so this deck hopes to be on the front foot !
I like being defensive in RTR, so the blue walls and frostburn wierd looked good, all having 4 or greater toughness. Bluen and white ovvered bombs of sphinx and righteous auth.

This Deck was built in 0:07:25
 
Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
8 Island
7 Plains
2 Izzet Guildgate
 
 
15 Creatures
---------------
1 Doorkeeper
1 Fencing Ace
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Hover Barrier
1 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 New Prahv Guildmage
1 Runewing
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
1 Stealer of Secrets
1 Sunspire Griffin
1 Tower Drake
1 Vassal Soul
1 Voidwielder
 
 
8 Other Spells
---------------
1 Cancel
1 Chemister's Trick
1 Downsize
1 Dramatic Rescue
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Inspiration
1 Righteous Authority
1 Sphere of Safety

This Deck was built in 0:09:34

Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
8 Island
7 Mountain
2 Izzet Guildgate


17 Creatures
---------------
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Crosstown Courier
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Lobber Crew
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Runewing
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
2 Splatter Thug
1 Stealer of Secrets
1 Tenement Crasher
1 Tower Drake
1 Vassal Soul
1 Voidwielder
1 Volatile Rig


6 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Chemister's Trick
1 Electrickery
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Inspiration
1 Traitorous Instinct


There wasn't enough good cards to support a pure Rakdos deck. With green and white being very weak that leaves us with Izzet. Splashing black would be akward with no mana support, and the good cards in black require double black anyway. The deck works by getting in for early damage while the opponent tries to stabilize. Eventually, you'll end the game by playing  Blustersquall , Chemister's Trick, or Sphinx of the Chimes. The deck has Inaction Injunction, Traitorous Instinct, and Voidwielder besides the mass falter effects wich makes the Crosstown Courier, Volatile Rig, and Stealer of Secrets much better.

This Deck was built in 0:14:30


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
8 Island
7 Plains
2 Izzet Guildgate



14 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Crosstown Courier
1 Doorkeeper
1 Fencing Ace
1 Hover Barrier
2 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Judge's Familiar
1 New Prahv Guildmage
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Stealer of Secrets
1 Sunspire Griffin
1 Vassal Soul



9 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Cancel
1 Dramatic Rescue
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Righteous Authority
1 Sphere of Safety
1 Swift Justice
1 Traitorous Instinct

Yes, Rakdos makes for an amazing bomb, but, I don't know. When I isolated sorcery, artifact, instant, and enchantment spells... For some reason, I saw a tug I liked more, with the even low mana curve in white blue, with a very nice amount of stall, and card draw. Though, I still feel like there was something I could have done differently here. Personally I felt like there was a nice availability of the enchantment subtheme, but does it really go far enough here? I suppose, in retrospect I should swap out the Sphere of Safety for the voidwielder

This Deck was built in 0:23:34


Total Deck Size: 40
19 Lands
---------------
8 Island
4 Mountain
5 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate



14 Creatures
---------------
1 Desecration Demon
1 Doorkeeper
1 Drainpipe Vermin
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Hover Barrier
2 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Lobber Crew
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Runewing
2 Splatter Thug
1 Stealer of Secrets



7 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Cancel
1 Cremate
1 Downsize
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Inspiration
1 Traitorous Instinct

Really didn't wanna put Rakdos in here given that the deck is mostly u/r, but in the end my inner Timmy couldn't resist.

This Deck was built in 0:03:25


Total Deck Size: 40
18 Lands
---------------
2 Forest
9 Island
6 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate



17 Creatures
---------------
2 Axebane Guardian
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Doorkeeper
1 Fencing Ace
1 Hover Barrier
2 Isperia's Skywatch
1 New Prahv Guildmage
1 Rubbleback Rhino
1 Runewing
3 Seller of Songbirds
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
1 Vassal Soul
1 Voidwielder



5 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Dramatic Rescue
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Righteous Authority

Blue/Black/Red had great bombs but very thin on removal. White/Blue/Green seemed more intuitive with the elements of detain, bounce, defenders, and big finishers. The splash of green was for the Axebane Guardians and the Rubbleback Rhino with hexproof. If you have two to three defenders out Axebane Gaurdian can ramp into Isperia Skywatch and Sphinx without much difficulty.

Have you read Ishmael? "Teacher seeks pupil, must have an earnest desire to save the world."

This Deck was built in 0:13:24


Total Deck Size: 40
18 Lands
---------------
2 Island
6 Mountain
8 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate



17 Creatures
---------------
1 Bellows Lizard
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
1 Drainpipe Vermin
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Judge's Familiar
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Runewing
1 Sewer Shambler
1 Slitherhead
2 Splatter Thug
1 Tavern Swindler



5 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Downsize
1 Electrickery
1 Launch Party
1 Traitorous Instinct

At first glance, I figured an aggressive R/B/u would be best.  I kept the cmc below 4, and just got as many aggressive creatures as possible.  There is little removal, so the idea is to go out fast and win the early game, with Downsize and Blustersquall being the plan B if we get to midgame.

Im actually thinking a W/U deck is more viable though, and will go play with that now. 

This Deck was built in 0:06:44


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
7 Forest
4 Mountain
6 Swamp



18 Creatures
---------------
2 Axebane Guardian
1 Batterhorn
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Korozda Monitor
1 Lobber Crew
1 Perilous Shadow
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Sewer Shambler
2 Splatter Thug
1 Tavern Swindler
1 Trestle Troll
1 Volatile Rig



5 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Chorus of Might
1 Giant Growth
1 Launch Party
1 Traitorous Instinct


A special build where Axebanes help the manabase and Rakdos gets on the board  by early creatures Or lobbercrew/Rix Maadi guildmage.  Rakdos and Desecration Demon are obvious win conditions, where Volatile Rig can help them out.

I decided against going for Black and Red mostly due to the lack of removal in there. The only thing that'd be possible with so little removal is an extremely aggressive Rakdos deck, which I don't think is justifiable given the relative lack of quick creatures. I simply think such a build would be so susceptbile to even the slightest form of mana problems, stall or bad draw that it wouldn't even be fun. Hence, I was left with W/U/G, which is even more appealing during the circumstances since there are quite a few combat tricks (Common Bond, Giant Growth, Swift Justice etc.) as well as semi-removal (Blustersquall, Dramatic Rescue, Inaction Injunction). While the fixing isn't stellar, I actually went for all those colours. I feel that the Axebane Guardians and the combat tricks are perfect for the deck, so I really wanted to include them.

So the plan is very simple:
1. Clog and stall the ground with defenders and semi-removal.
2. Take to the air and use combat tricks to punch through extra damage AND keep the fliers alive.

The defenders are perfect for the deck; the Guardians serve as decent blockers and allow me to run only 16 lands, the Hover Barrier fends off most creatures (including fliers) and Doorkeeper fits the magic number of 4 - for only two mana Doorkeeper manages to block more or less all 2- and 3-drops without dying. The Azorius Arrester is great whenever he hits the field, allowing damage to be punched through and serving as a chump blocker. He can also be returned for additional effect. Voidwielder also passes the magic number and makes an immediate impact, which is crucial for late drops. Inaction Injunction, Dramatic Rescue and Blustersquall works as substitutes for removals with additional effects: they offer some sort of advantage/2-for-1.

The early fliers are pretty straight-forward. The Runewing and two Skywatches are 2-for-1:s, where they hopefully can be used for damage but nevertheless offers some sort of advantage. I took two Skywatches and decided against including Sphinx of the Chimes for this very reason: I want my late drops to have an immediate impact on the game, and being able to detain might very well prove to be the difference between getting those last few points of damage through and not. I also chose not to include the Sunspire Griffin because it is hard to cast (which also applies to the Sphinx) and defensively oriented. Had it been 3/2 it would have been great. However, I'm not so sure that it was the right call to omit it. Seeing as the fliers are quite few the battle tricks and populate cards are vital to the deck, both keeping them alive and hopefully punching through some extra damage. Righteous Authority makes a lowly 1/1 Bird a must-remove, lest it provide me with card advantage AND a potentially massive flier.

The Seller of Songbirds qualify in between these two categories; on the one hand, they are chump blockers, and on the other hand they provide me with absolutely necessary token fliers that I can populate.

As you might notice, there are 41 cards in the deck, and this is due to the fact that I simply couldn't figure out what to cut. Feel free to help me!

This Deck was built in 0:16:06


Total Deck Size: 41
16 Lands
---------------
3 Forest
7 Island
5 Plains
1 Selesnya Guildgate



15 Creatures
---------------
2 Axebane Guardian
1 Azorius Arrester
1 Doorkeeper
1 Hover Barrier
2 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Judge's Familiar
1 Runewing
3 Seller of Songbirds
1 Tower Drake
1 Vassal Soul
1 Voidwielder



10 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Common Bond
1 Dramatic Rescue
1 Druid's Deliverance
1 Giant Growth
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Righteous Authority
2 Rootborn Defenses
1 Swift Justice

9 Mountain
7 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate

1 Assassin's Strike
1 Launch Party
1 Pyroconvergence
1 Skull Rend
1 Traitorous Instinct

1 Batterhorn
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Hover Barrier
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Lobber Crew
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Sewer Shambler
1 Slitherhead
2 Splatter Thug
1 Tenement Crasher
1 Volatile Rig

I disagree that "There's a lot of power in this Sealed Deck pool".  A few expensive and strong cards in each color, that's it.  The cheaper spells that really make your deck are borderline at best, not to mention a serious lack of removal.  Azorius with green splash is the obvious choice with the more reliable plan of fliers, tempo cards and smooth mana requirements.  In a pre-release it's the obvious choice because I'll win my first 1-2 matches and grab my booster prizes. 

But I am assuming it's an 8-person draft and I'm actually trying to win.  I need a deck with enough power for the final match even if it might mana-screw on the way.

This is a red-black mid-range deck, I am going to walk right into the "trap" that you advised against throughout your article.  Most cards don't need explaining; the deck plan hopes to "stay in the race" until either Descration Demon, Rakdos himself or Pyroconvergence comes out.  Pyroconvergence is a shaky card but then again I have 8 multi-colour spells and a serious lack of real removal.  As for splashing, it is only advisable if you don't have enough playables, absolutely the case here.  My big splash is hover barrier, a very weak card but also my only "out" when I face big bomby fliers or daggerdome imp loaded with scavange.  Voidwielder omission is not an accident, my curve is too high to support it.


This Deck was built in 0:10:00


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
2 Island
7 Mountain
6 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate



15 Creatures
---------------
1 Bellows Lizard
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
1 Drainpipe Vermin
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Lobber Crew
1 Rakdos Ringleader
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Slitherhead
2 Splatter Thug



8 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Cremate
1 Electrickery
1 Guild Feud
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Launch Party
1 Pyroconvergence
1 Traitorous Instinct


Mainly Red/Black, but it is not too hard to splash in blue with the two guildgates.  

Black/red/blue like a lot of people. I went with a bit more blue than some other folks did, especially because the detain mechanic and tapping down enemy creatures work well in an aggro deck. The goal is to apply early pressure with the Rakdos cards to get the opponent low, and then use any of the larger creatures (Desecration Demon, Sphinx of the Chimes, Rakdos, Tenement Crasher), tricks (Blustersquall, Chemister's Trick, Traitorous Instinct, Inaction Injunction), or direct damage (Pyroconvergence and Lobber Crew) to close the deal. Chemister's Trick can also serve to force a single creature into a bad attack (i.e. pseudo-removal). I'll also keep in mind that my scavenge creatures can be used on my opponent's unleash creatures to keep them from blocking if I need to punch through a little more damage.


The deck is removal-light, and if I know my opponent also has relatively expensive bombs, I would substitute the Assassin's Strike in for the Runewing. Against a Selesnya deck, I'd substitute the Voidwielder (who is removal against creature tokens) in for the Runewing. The upside of being removal light is that it's creature-heavy. Most creatures in the deck should trade up, and overwhelming an opponent with threats can be a big help.


This Deck was built in 0:04:14



Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
4 Island
2 Izzet Guildgate
5 Mountain
6 Swamp

17 Creatures
---------------
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Judge's Familiar
1 Lobber Crew
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Runewing
1 Sewer Shambler
1 Slitherhead
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
2 Splatter Thug
1 Tenement Crasher

6 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Chemister's Trick
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Launch Party
1 Pyroconvergence
1 Traitorous Instinct

Black Red Aggro - splashing Blue for Squal and Trick to hopefully force through the last damage.

Not sure if I should be running assissin's strike?

This Deck was built in 0:21:17


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
8 Mountain
7 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate



18 Creatures
---------------
1 Batterhorn
1 Bellows Lizard
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
1 Drainpipe Vermin
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Sewer Shambler
2 Splatter Thug
2 Tavern Swindler
1 Tenement Crasher
1 Volatile Rig



5 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Chemister's Trick
1 Electrickery
1 Launch Party
1 Traitorous Instinct

I went with a mid-range grixis build.  While the mana is a little rough, the curve is really good.  If you don't stumble on mana and curve out your opponent will not be able to keep up.  I orginally wanted to run just rakdos, but the card quailty just wasn't there to make a whole deck out of it. But we had 2 izzet guildgates and 2 frostburn weirds, and a voidwelder adding blue to the deck seemed possible and better for the deck as a whole.
This Deck was built in 0:06:46


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
2 Island
5 Mountain
8 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate


19 Creatures
---------------
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Catacomb Slug
1 Desecration Demon
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Sewer Shambler
1 Slitherhead
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
2 Splatter Thug
1 Stealer of Secrets
2 Tavern Swindler
1 Tower Drake
1 Voidwielder


4 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Blustersquall
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Launch Party

First time here, looking to get into MTG more.

Been reading pretty much every article, but I have not a clue if my line of thought makes any sense.
Whatever, here's a UWr flyers type thing, designed on a relatively low curve.

Noob's Flyers

This Deck was built in 0:20:53


Total Deck Size: 40
18 Lands
---------------
10 Island
1 Mountain
5 Plains
2 Izzet Guildgate



15 Creatures
---------------
1 Azorius Arrester
2 Frostburn Weird
2 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Judge's Familiar
1 New Prahv Guildmage
1 Seller of Songbirds
2 Splatter Thug
1 Stealer of Secrets
1 Sunspire Griffin
1 Tower Drake
1 Vassal Soul
1 Voidwielder



7 Other Spells
---------------
1 Blustersquall
1 Downsize
1 Dramatic Rescue
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Inspiration
2 Mizzium Skin

This Deck was built in 0:19:37 Total Deck Size: 40 17 Lands --------------- 10 Island 7 Plains 16 Creatures --------------- 1 Azorius Arrester 1 Fencing Ace 2 Frostburn Weird 1 Hover Barrier 2 Isperia's Skywatch 1 Judge's Familiar 1 New Prahv Guildmage 1 Runewing 1 Sphinx of the Chimes 1 Stealer of Secrets 1 Sunspire Griffin 1 Tower Drake 1 Vassal Soul 1 Voidwielder 7 Other Spells --------------- 1 Blustersquall 1 Cancel 1 Downsize 1 Dramatic Rescue 1 Inaction Injunction 1 Inspiration 1 Righteous Authority


I felt that although there were some nice things in RB, UW seemed a more logical choice.  This provids us with much needed fliers.  I originally included a millstone theme, and the enchantment theme, but felt that neither were strong enough to include in the final deck.  Nice curve, little to no removal , but some great flying advantage.  One thing I struggled with is whether to keep the Seller of Songbirds.  Ultimately, I felt that could be a weakness to my ground defenses.


Rakdos had two rare bombs, the devasting guildmage, three very aggressively costed unleash creatures and reasonable - although not outstanding - support. I usually like to splash a third color where I have the fixing, and Izzet is the obvious choice. Its not absolutely necessary, and there's plenty of merit in keeping the Izzet splash for the sideboard. The two cards which most fit the Rakdos build are Chemister's Trick and Blustersquall, which allow you to play through decks which stall the board, and because they are late game cards I would be happy to run 'just' the izzet guildgates as mana fixers.


This Deck was built in 0:10:03


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
Mountain
Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate



18 Creatures
---------------
1 Batterhorn
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Desecration Demon
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Grim Roustabout
1 Lobber Crew
1 Perilous Shadow
1 Rakdos Shred-Freak
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Sewer Shambler
2 Splatter Thug
2 Tavern Swindler
1 Tenement Crasher
1 Volatile Rig


5 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Electrickery
1 Launch Party
1 Blustersquall
1 Chemister's Trick

For perhaps the cost of one more island in your land pool, you could bring in the Izzet Staticaster from the sideboard against those pesky flying decks.

Speaking of which...

For more controlling options, the 'Azorius Skies' build was interesting. Sphere of Safety is not a card I normally rate, but if I am playing an attrition strategy, and running two other enchantments (fencing ace and seller of secrets are justification enough to play ethereal armor) I could actually see this working in the deck. I didn't go overboard with the duplicates notwithstanding sphinx of the chimes - the fact that he is a 5/6 flyer for is enough.

If the opposing deck has too much removal, then mizzium skin and cancel can come in over the enchantments. Against a flood of X/2 rakdos creatures, there are two 2/1's in the sideboard that can come in. There is a small milling suite against a mirror.

I like the flexibility that the Azorius deck has to offer but it lacked any real power cards like the Rakdos build.

This Deck was built in 0:09:53


Total Deck Size: 40
17 Lands
---------------
9 Island
Plains



17 Creatures
---------------
1 Fencing Ace
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Hover Barrier
2 Isperia's Skywatch
1 Judge's Familiar
1 New Prahv Guildmage
1 Runewing
2 Seller of Songbirds
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
1 Stealer of Secrets
1 Sunspire Griffin
1 Tower Drake
1 Vassal Soul
1 Voidwielder



6 Other Spells
---------------
1 Dramatic Rescue
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Inaction Injunction
1 Inspiration
1 Righteous Authority
1 Sphere of Safety

As much as I wanted to fit in Rakdos, Lord of Riots I felt like his casting restriction might be a problem, and when it wasn't he would just be "win more."  Not sure this is the optimal build, but it's what I came up with...

This Deck was built in 0:16:18

Total Deck Size: 40
20 Lands
---------------
5 Island
5 Mountain
8 Swamp
2 Izzet Guildgate


14 Creatures
---------------
1 Desecration Demon
2 Frostburn Weird
1 Lobber Crew
1 Perilous Shadow
1 Rix Maadi Guildmage
1 Runewing
1 Sphinx of the Chimes
2 Splatter Thug
1 Stealer of Secrets
2 Tavern Swindler
1 Voidwielder


6 Other Spells
---------------
1 Assassin's Strike
1 Electrickery
1 Inspiration
1 Launch Party
1 Skull Rend
1 Traitorous Instinct

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