1. 5-color is usually your best build in Sealed

More often than not, your pool does not contain enough cards to build one of the 10 main archetypes. This is caused by the set being too synergy-centric. Unless you are lucky, any GW Tokens, RB Aggro, UW Artifacts, etc., have too many filler cards that don’t fit the strategy.

On the other hand, there are numerous fixers in the format. The solution is simple: grab all of your removal, premium cards, midgame blockers (such as Cathodion), and most importantly good ways to close the game—done. You have now registered a better deck than everyone who tried to make their 3 Rusted Relics work with 8 artifacts.

2. Bouncelands are overrated in Draft

From what I’ve heard and seen, people want to first-pick bouncelands. They’re overrated in this format, because the good draft decks are all very linear archetypes. The only nonlinear archetype is domain—a deck that wants multiple Tribal Flames and Matca Rioters. Playing a bounceland sets you back 2 turns in your quest to hitting all 5 land types, which means even in the deck where you are likely playing 4-5 colors, picking up a lot of these lands is not even that good.

Now, when I say linear archetypes, I mean that:

  • Card advantage is not as important as accomplishing the game plan of your deck. Don’t get me wrong, I will ALWAYS play an on-color bounceland. An extra land drop at little to no cost is great. But if you have too many, then it can start to affect your curve development. With that said, if I didn’t have any in my color combination, I wouldn’t mind playing the 1st off-color bounceland, maybe 2nd depending on my deck.
  • Your deck will need key cards to function, not like a normal draft where you can pick any 2-drops, 3-drops, some removal, and so on. My perspective is that you have to prioritize premium cards that you would always play no matter the archetype: Mulldrifter, Dismember, Lightning Bolt, bomb rares, and mythics. If those are not present in early packs, prioritize defining archetype cards such as Cranial Plating, Goblin Fireslinger, Selesnya Guildmage, Tribal Flames (or any domain card), Waxmane Baku, Bloodshot Trainee, Agony Warp, Incandescent Soulstoke, Cytoplast Root-Kin, Nest Invader, and Kozilek’s Predator. Doing this, there’s a chance your first 8 picks will look like this:

Don’t worry, if you follow signals, you will see what‘s open and end up with a solid deck:

Yes, I really did finish with this after the 8 picks you saw above.

3. Ideal color combinations in Draft

  • Red/black aggro
  • Green/white tokens
  • Red/green domain
  • Blue/green splash black proliferate
  • Artifacts, either blue/white or red/white

Every other ones can definitely be good, but often lack synergy and are too slow.

4. Archetype overlapping cards should be taken highly

I can’t stress this enough, Nest Invader and Kozilek’s Predator not only are two of the best cards for the two token decks, but also make the main deck of every green strategy. Even if you don’t need the mana, the chump blockers are effectively a minimum of 2 life points each. Same goes for the common removal. I won’t talk about uncommons—just never pass Dismember unless you took a rare or mythic.

5. Top 4 commons of each color

White

Blue

Black

Red

Green

Sunspear Shikari is close to Court Homunculus as the 4th best white common.

Tribal Flames is also close to 4th in its category, mostly because it’s great in domain, but most importantly because it can be a bad Shock in any deck.

Colors by number

  • Green has 7 bomb rares/mythics, red and black 6, white 5 and blue 4.
  • Red is at the top of the great uncommons with 6, black and green just behind with 5, white has 4 and blue 3.

Ranking the Colors

Blue is by far the worst color in this set.

Green and red both vie for 1st place, but green wins by virtue of the fact that Nest Invader and Kozilek’s Predator are stellar in every deck, which is not true of Goblin Fireslinger and bloodthirst friends.

Black and white both have very specific deck dependent powerful cards, however both still provide 2 solid removal spells at common.

I hope these facts will help you build a better deck in Vegas, see you there!