This weekend will feature two Grand Prix: Metz and Indianapolis, and both will be Hour of Devastation Sealed Deck.

Today I’ll go over a tough Sealed pool that I recently opened in a Magic Online League, and all the various and possible builds.

First things first: this is a format with fantastic mana fixing, so you can get crazy with your decks, and if you have good fixing (which you will almost always have), don’t be afraid of splashing all your bomb rares or premium removal spells.

Aggressive decks don’t get rewarded much because Hour of Devastation creatures are great at blocking. Your deck should always have a plan for the late game.

Let’s now get down to business.

The Pool:

White

Cartouche of Solidarity
Djeru’s Resolve
God-Pharaoh’s Faithful
Binding Mummy
Compulsory Rest
Oketra’s Avenger
Saving Grace
Dauntless Aven
2 Sandblast
Sunscourge Champion
Unwavering Initiate
Vizier of Deferment
Cast Out
Tah-Crop Elite
Angel of the God-Pharaoh

Blue

Proven Combatant
Cartouche of Knowledge
Cunning Survivor
Seeker of Insight
Strategic Planning
Unquenchable Thirst
2 Countervailing Winds
Hekma Sentinels
2 Tragic Lesson
Ominous Sphinx
Pull from Tomorrow

Black

Vile Manifestation
Without Weakness
2 Wretched Camel
Banewhip Punisher
Blighted Bat
Cartouche of Ambition
2 Moaning Wall
2 Soulstinger
Torment of Venom
Scrounger of Souls
Razaketh’s Rite

Red

Kindle Fury
2 Blur of Blades
Nimble-Blade Khenra
Fervent Paincaster
Khenra Scrapper
Minotaur Sureshot
2 Open Fire
Thorned Moloch
Trial of Zeal
Emberhorn Minotaur
Pursue Glory
Sand Strangler

Green

Life Goes On
Shed Weakness
Rhonas’s Last Stand
2 Ambuscade
2 Beneath the Sands
Devotee of Strength
Pouncing Cheetah
Sidewinder Naga
Watchful Naga
Hour of Promise
Rampaging Hippo

Artifact

Hollow One
Manalith
Luxa River Shrine
Graven Abomination
Bontu’s Monument
Traveler’s Amulet

Multicolor

Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun
Shadowstorm Vizier
The Scorpion God
Appeal // Authority
Struggle // Survive
Farm // Market

Non-Basic Lands

Desert of the Indomitable
Survivor’s Encampment

The first thing to do in Sealed is lay out the rares and the premium cards:

I’m happy to have The Scorpion God on my side this time, as the Gods are broken Limited cards, a clear design mistake, ending games whenever they appear. I’m still holding out hope that if I keep bringing this up, they won’t print cards like this again.

The rest of the rares aren’t fantastic. Hour of Promise has a lot of potential, though unfortunately, as you might have noticed, we only have 2 Deserts in the entire pool, so it becomes a very poor Explosive Vegetation.

On top of these, the first thing that should grab your attention is the huge amount of removal you have:
Compulsory Rest, 2 Sandblast, Farm // Market, Cast Out, Unquenchable Thirst, Banewhip Punisher, Torment of Venom, 2 Open Fire, Trial of Zeal, Struggle // Survive, Sand Strangler, and 2 Ambuscade!

Next it’s time to take a look at green to see if you have enough fixing to support all that powerful removal, and particularly The Scorpion God.

You have a bunch of Beneath the Sands and Hour of Promise, and you also have Manalith, Traveler’s Amulet, and Survivor’s Encampment. So I would say that you are well fixed.

Having only 2 Deserts really hurts, not only because of Hour of Promise, but also because of Sand Strangler, which goes from a 4.0 to a 2.0 card.

OK, let’s throw down the first deck.

1) Jund

Green was necessary because of its ability to let me splash The Scorpion God and Banewhip Punisher, as well as 2 Ambuscade and a Rampaging Hippo. Red has an insane removal package, so I opted to merge these two first.

The deck that emerges is a good red-green deck splashing black, with some mediocre creatures, not a great top-end curve (other than the obviously great The Scorpion God), and some great removal.

The deck played out well enough—my removal package was great and gave me enough time to jump into the late game where my Hippo and Scorpion God reigned supreme.

2) 4c Midrange

Since my fixing is good, I figured that I could even try four colors.

I could be mainly green and have both red and white for their many removal spells, and black for the two overpowered cards.

The deck has very few creatures and all the removal in the world, making Ambuscade pretty bad.

Overall, the deck was a disaster. Other than mana problems the white removal spells were clunky, and I got buried by embalm and ethernalize, a huge problem for removal-heavy decks.

Also, as you may know, Sandblast and Farm // Market aren’t very good against Walls.

3) Red-Black

The easiest build might have been red-black—we already know that red is pretty good, and black isn’t terrible, so maybe it’s worth making your mana base better to play The Scorpion God without any issues.

I should have probably played another Moaning Wall over a Camel because of its synergies with Vile Manifestation and Hollow One, and don’t like playing Sand Strangler with only 1 Desert.

The deck played out all right, and it played the aggressive role well.

I didn’t try this version much, just a couple of games, and they were not played against a great opponent/deck.

All in all, it seems like a safe build.

4) Mardu

At some point I also realized that green wasn’t necessary in order to play tri-color—the fixing is fine with Traveler’s Amulet, Manalith, and Survivors’ Encampment.

So why not merge together the colors with the highest number of removal spells as well as your two premium black splash cards?

The deck played out fine. It’s not as aggressive as most R/W decks because I don’t want to be aggressive in Sealed and I don’t like bad 2-drops.

Again, Sandblast isn’t the best removal spell, but even Ambuscade doesn’t shine if your deck doesn’t have enough creatures.

I ended up going 2-3 in the League, flooding a lot and trying each of these decks. I liked the Jund version best.

I won the games where I drew The Scorpion God (one) and lost the ones where my opponent played The Locust God (two).

The lesson I learned was to always play Gods if you open them, and to always play a removal if it’s a way to remove them. Note that there are very few: Puncturing Blow, Desert’s Hold, and Final Reward.

I also learned that you need to be very well fixed to play 4 colors, and that 3 colors might just be as good with a bit more stability.

I never want to be aggressive and I may put my opponent on the play if I’m sure they are a control deck, though if I win the die roll game 1 I will still play first.

I wish you good luck at GP Metz or Indianapolis! May the Gods be with you!