King of the Scrubs: A tale of an M11 Sealed Deck

Hello again, you seekers of all things Magic the Gathering Limited! M11 has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me this month but before I get to my MTGO M11 Pre Re Sealed deck I wanted to share a few thoughts about the Swiss queues. The Swiss queues, for those of you who don’t know, are an alternative to the single elim 8-4 and 4-3-2-2 draft queues on MTGO. In the Swiss queues you get to play all 3 rounds but only win one pack per match win. So the payout is not as good (obv.) but the play value is much, much higher. Were you sure you drafted an amazing deck and only lost the 1st round due to terrible draws/screw/flood? Well, you get that chance in the Swiss queues. That and you just plain get to play more Magic for you money! However, and it’s a pretty big however, the skill level in the Swiss queues isn’t exactly what you would call “great.” Matter of fact, my first few Swiss drafts felt like I was cheating. But you know, sometimes you need an ego boost… All I’m trying to say is that if you want to have fun playing as much Magic as you can without feeling that terrible “punch in the gooch” pain when you crap out of Round 1 of an 8-4 with your 4xFlameslash, Drana, 3xVendetta, 3xImp, etc. deck, then give Swiss a try and have a good time. Just don’t tell your l,337 Magic buddies you’re slumming in the Swiss queues. Unless you’re like me and proud to be a scrub! That reminds me of a joke: How is playing MTGO Swiss queues like riding a moped scooter? They’re both a lot of fun, but you don’t ever want your friends to see you doing it! Ah, the classics…At any rate, here’s my first Swiss draft, with comments!

Here’s the deck I ran.

I ended up with 5 levelers so I only ran one of the Teachers. Essence Feed made the cut to help power out the two Eldrazi. The deck could be very explosive or play the long game and then drop fatty Eldrazi. I went 3-0 with it and had a blast the whole time. Seriously, play Swiss.

M11! Core set!! WOOOO!!! Ok, so I’m not actually all that excited about the new core set (or any core set, for that matter) but it’s here and I guess we should play it some. Don’t get me wrong, as core sets go, M10 and M11 are amazing but just aren’t up to the same level as a well designed “Expert” set, like RoE. I don’t know if RoE is just amazing or if it feels so amazing because ZZW was so un-fun. But after only 3 months of RoE, we are pushed into M11…and that makes me sad. There’s not a lot of room for interesting archetypes to draft, just lots of fliers/fatties/removal, oh and BOMBS! Wow, the Titans cycle is just straight up insane. Every single one of them is ridiculous. The Green one being the one you want to pull most for the $$$ value. Grave Titan is 2nd in MTGO Tix value. The other 3 don’t come close in value, but the Limited play value of the other 3 is right up there and probably better than Primeval Titan. I’m calling it right here. For Limited play, Inferno Titan is the best of the bunch. The 3 damage when it comes into play along with the 3 if you get to swing is pretty close to unbeatable. In at a close 2nd is Grave Titan. However, in a vacuum, I guess the Grave Titan is better because he brings a couple of his zombie minions along to play…or eat brains.

17 creatures! Oh boy…this is going to be an interactive deck to play!
I’ve played, no less than, 6 GW decks in M11 Limited (both RL and online). It’s become so awful that I WILL NOT play Green and White together! I don’t care how many Cultivates gets passed my way!! Sorry, I get a little worked up. Let’s talk about the deck. It basically built itself. The other colors were just too thin. Red did have a Magma Phoenix, but nothing else that makes you want to play Red…like removal. Black suffered from the same fate. Blue had 2xMana Leak but that was pretty much it as far as exciting Blue cards. The curve is really good with 2xLlanowar Elves to help speed me into Turn 3 Juggernauts and turn 4 Packleaders. If I didn’t get the sweet mana excel draw, I had very solid 2 and 3 drops that are pretty good at racing. News Flash! Crystal Ball is amazing! Seriously, it goes in every deck, always.

Here’s how the tournament went. I’m going to try some shortcuts when describing how the matches went, to save time and energy. Let me know if it works or not.

Rnd 1, Game 1

My first 7 are Plains, Forest, Crusader, Condemn, Inspired Charge, Axe, Packleader. I threw it back. Much too slow and draw dependant. My next 6 are better with 2xForest, Plains, Companion, Packleader, Juggernaut.

T1- I play a Forest and my opponent plays a Mountain.
T2- (D) Llanowar Elves, play Forest and mana elf. I could play the 3/2 but a T3 Jugger/maybe T4 Packleader is a much better start. My opponent plays another Mountain and passes.
T3- (D) Excommunicate, play my Plains and tap out for Juggernaut. Unfortunately my opponent has a Lightning Bolt to kill my Juggs. For his turn my opponent plays another Mountain and casts a Fiery Hellhound.
T4- (D) Warlords Axe, play Garruks Companion and pass the turn. On his turn my opponent plays a Forest and enchants his Hellhound with Shivs Embrace and hits me for 4. (Me-16, Opp- 20)
T5- (D) Cloud Crusader, cast Excommunicate on the Hellhound and swing with both my dudes. (Me-16, Opp-16) My opponent draws and replays his Hellhound.
T6- (D) Triskelion (land would be nice), swing with my Companion while my opponent fires another Lightning Bolt at my 3/2. I cast my Axe and pass the turn. For his turn my opponent swings with the Hellhound and pumps it 3 times. (Me-11, Opp-16)
T7- (D) Expanse, swing for 1 and pass. My opponent does the same thing as last turn. I fetch a Plains at the end of his turn. (Me-6, Opp-15)
T8- (D) Infantry Veteran, play Crusader and swing for 1. My opponent does nothing and passes the turn. (Me-6, Opp-14)
T9- (D) Crystal Ball, tap out to play Packleader and pass the turn. My opponent plays another Mountain and a Packleader of his own and passes the turn.
T10- (good grief) (D) Awakener Druid, play it and swing with my new treefolk. He takes it and drops to 10. I play my Veteran and pass. For his turn, my opponent taps out to play a Spined Wurm, lays down a Swamp and passes the turn.
T11- (D) PLAINS! Play it and tap out to put Triskelion into play, drawing a Forest thanks to my Packleader. I swing in the air for 2 (Opp-8). My opponent swings with the team, I block his Packleader with mine, I chump the Wurm with my Veteran and I put the Triskelion in front of the Hellhound. When he pumps, I respond by killing the Hound with 2 of the Triskelion counters. I then take a Lava Axe to the face, dropping me down to 1. However, my opponent left himself open for a counter swing for 10.

Whew…that was a marathon.

Rnd 1, Game 2

I keep my 7 of 2xForest, Plains, Companion, Juggernaut, Inspired Charge, and Excommunicate.

T1- My opponent plays a Mountain and passes the turn. I (D) Forest, play it and pass.
T2- My opponent plays a Swamp and passes while I (D) Plains, play a 2nd Forest and my Companion only to have it Doom Bladed at the end of my turn.
T3- My opp plays a Forest and passes while I (D) Awakener Druid, play it and pass.
T4- My opp puts another Swamp into play and taps out for a Nether Horror. I (D) Wild Griffin, play a Forest, swing with my 4/5 treefolk/Forest and cast the Griffin.
T5- My opp plays a sad Gravedigger, with nothing to dig up and swing with the Horror. I (D) War Priest, Excommunicate the Digger and swing for 7. (Me-16, Opp-9)
T-6- My opp chooses to Lava Axe me instead of recasting his Digger and passes. I (D) White Knight and swing with just the treefolk and the flier. He chumps the 4/5 and takes 2, taking him to 7. I tap out for Big Juggs! Too much?
T-7- My opp plays his Digger and gets back the Horror. On my turn I won.

Like I said, not a lot of interacting with my opponent, but the Excommunicate was very solid this round.

Rnd 2, Game 1

I think I’m playing a girl (prsgrr1) which is pretty cool because Magic needs the ladies. She wins the roll and chooses to play first. She keeps her 7 as do I. Expanse, Plains, Forest, Veteran, Packleader, Axe, Basilisk.

T1- She puts a Plains while I (D) Wild Griffin and play my own Plains and my Veteran.
T2- She plays another Plains and casts a Squadron Hawk that fails to find a twin. I (D) a Forest, play my Expanse and pass.
T3- My opp puts a Forest in play, swings for 1 in the air and casts Blinding Mage. I (D) Crystal Ball, drop a Plains and cast my Griffin.
T4- My opp enchants her Hawk with Holy Strength and swings for 2 (Me-17, Opp-20) and passes. I (D) Elves, play a Forest, swing for 1 (after she taps down my flyer) cast the Elves and Axe.
T5- She only attacks for 2 again (Me-15, Opp-19). I (D) Crusader, tap out and cast Packleader. Missed swinging for 1! I’m such a bad player…
T6- My opp swings for 2 again (Me-13, Opp-19) and plays a White Knight and an Ornithopter. I (D) Forest, put it in play, swing with a pumped 3/3 Griffin and play Basilisk, (D) Plains.
T7- She enchants her Knight with Armored Ascension and I lose. Bring in the Plummets!

Rnd 2, Game 2

I choose to play first, the good news, both sided in Plummets, the bad news…no land. My next 6 are better. 2xForest, Plains, Companion, Triskelion. prsgrr1 ships her first 7 and keeps the next 6 as well.

T1- I put a Forest on to the battlefield and pass the turn. She plays a Plains and an Ornithopter.
T2- (D) Excommunicate, play another Forest and my Companion. My opp plays another Plains and the twin-less Hawk.
T3-(D) Plains, play it, swing for 3. My opp puts an Expanse into play and swings for 1. (Me-19, Opp-17)
T4-(D) Siege Mastodon, play a Plains, swing for 3. Pass. She fetches a Forest. Swings for 1 and casts Cultivate, fetching up 2 Plains. Somebody has an Armored Ascension in hand. (Me-18, Opp-14)
T5-(D) Wild Griffin, swing for 3, cast Wild Griffin. My opp casts the prognosticated Armored Ascension on the Hawk and swings for 6. Then casts Blinding Mage (Me-12, Opp-11)
T6-(D) Llanowar Elves, swing for 5, Excommunicate the Hawk, cast the Elves. My opp recasts the Hawks and passes. (Me-12, Opp-6)
T7-(D) Condemn, swing for 2, cast Basilisk. My opp plays Palace Guard. (Me-12, Opp-4)
T8-(D) Packleader, Swing with 2/2 that eats the Ornothopter, cast Packleader. My opp plays another land and casts Platinum Angel (boo).
T9-(D) Plains, cast Trisky, swing with Basilisky, and shoot down Mage. My opp casts another Blinding Mage and enchants her Angel with Dryads Favor (forestwalk) and swings. (Me-8, Opp-1)
T10-(D) Serra Angel, (D) Forest, swing for 2 Griffin. (Me-8, Opp- -1) She attacks with Plats and I Condemn it. I should have got in a few more points of damage last turn because she gains 4 life that puts her up to 3 total.
T11- I win because she can’t tap or block enough of my guys.

That went long, but it is Sealed so…off to game 3!

Rnd 2, Game 3

We both keep our 7 but mine is a bit shaky. 2xPlains, White Knight, Wild Griffin, Serra Angel, Duskdale Wurm, Basilisk.

T1-We both play Plains. (D) War Priest of Thune.
T2-We both play White Knight. (D) Triskelion.
T3-My opp plays and 3rd Plains and Ornithopter. (D) Plummet and play my War Priest.
T4-My opp plays a Forest and casts Assault Griffin[card]. (D) [card]Plains, swing for 2 and cast Wild Griffin. (Me-20, Opp-18)
T5-My opp casts Cultivate and gets 2 more Plains (hmm…), swings with his 3/2 Griffin into my 2/2 Griffin and I’m very happy to trade. (D) Forest! Swing for 2 and pass. (Me-20, Opp-16)
T6-My opp casts Palace Guard and passes. (D) Juggernaut, cast Juggernaut.
T7-My opp Excommunicates Juggs and casts Blinding Mage. I draw and recast Juggs.
T8-My opp gives Holy Strength to her Thopter and hits me for 1. (D) Plummet, kill her Thopter and don’t do anything else because my Juggernaut gets blinded by the light.
T9-My opp doesn’t do anything and I (D) Crystal Ball and cast it.
T10-My opp plays Packleader and I scry and see Excommunicate and Expanse. I choose to draw the bounce spell and drag the game on longer.
T11-My opp replays Packleader while I try to find a regular land to play but don’t. I use the Expanse to get my 5th land.
T12-My opp swings for 4 and I take and casts Squadron Hawk. (D) Plains! and cast Basilisk. (Me-15, Opp-16)
T13-My opp swings with both Packleader and Hawk, I block the Packleader with my Basilisk and I suppose she didn’t want it to survive because she used Giant Growth to finish of my Basilisk. I scry a land to the top so I can cast Serra and have Plummet mana up. (Me-14, Opp-16)
T14-My opp casts Spined Wurm and passes while I scry a 2/1 flyer to the top. (D) Stormfront Pegasus, swing with Juggs (no blocks), cast Triskelion and kill the Blinding Mage. (Me-14, Opp-11)
T15-My opp casts another Blinding Mage and swings for 1 in the air. I scry a Crusader to the top of my deck. (D) Crusader, swing with Serra and Juggs, Juggs trades with the Wurm. I cast the Crusader and leave Plummet/scry mana up. (Me-13, Opp-7)
T16-My opp enchants her Palace Guard with Armored Ascension but does not swing, at the end of her turn I shoot it down from the sky. (D) Siege Mastodon, swing for 5 after shooting the Hawk down wth my last Trisky counter. I cast my Pegasus and pass. No need to overextend.
T17-I win! Jeez…GW on GW=boring! If you actually read all that, thank you and I’m sorry. Round 3!

Rnd 3, Game 1 (vs. Biervampir71, maybe the best MTGO name ever!)

Bier sends his 7 back in favor of the next 6, I keep my 7 of Expanse, 3xForest, Plains, Packleader. Land heavy but my deck wants 5 lands to really work so here’s to hoping I don’t rip 4 lands in a row.

T1-My opp plays an Island and I (D) Plains, play my Expanse.
T2-My opp puts a Mountain in play while I fetch up a Forest. (D) Condemn, play a Plains and War Priest.
T3-Opp plays an Island and Cloud Elemental. (D) Plains, swing for 2. (Me-20, Opp-18)
T4-Opp casts Gargoyle Sentinel (love that card!) and swings for 2 in the air. He missed a land drop, so I got that going for me. (D) Infantry Veteran, play Plains and cast the Veteran. (Me-18, Opp-18)
T5- Opp swings for 2 in the air and casts Scroll Thief. (D) Inspired Charge, swing with War Priest and offer up trade with his Gargoyle, he takes the trade after I pump with my Vet. I play a Forest and cast Packleader. (Me-16, Opp-18)
T6-Opp swings for 2 in the air and casts Conundrum Sphinx. (D) Triskelion, swing for 5 with my Packleader, play a land and Trisky, (D) Basilisk. (Me-14, Opp-13)
T7-Opp swings with both flyers, I choose not to shoot down the Elemental with my Triskelion, he names Mountain for the Sphinx and I name Plains. I hit but he reveals an Island. Sending it to the bottom of the deck. He plays an Azure Drake and passes. (D) White Knight, play a Plains and Greater Basilisk. (Me-8, Opp-12)
T8-Opp swings with the team, I shoot down the Elemental with my Triskelion and Condemn the Sphinx after stacking it’s ability. We both wiffed and put cards on the bottom of our decks. I could used that 6/4 Wurm. He then burns my Packleader to death with Chandras Outrage. (D) Plains, swing with the team, cast White Knight and hope he doesn’t have any more burn. (Me-4, Opp-12)
T9-He did. Bolt to the face after 2 from the flier. Ouch.

Rnd 3, Game 2

We both keep our 7, mines shaky on the play with 2xForest, Axe, Packleader, Basilisk, Triskelion, Crystal Ball. Probably should have sent this back but it’s been a long tournament and that last game got to me. Classic King of the Scrubs.

T1-I put a Forest into play while Dracula puts a Mountain on the field.
T2-(D) Plains, put it into play and Bill Compton puts an Island into play
T3-(D) Plummet, put a Forest on the field and cast Crystal Ball. Ed Cullen plays a Mountain and passes.
T4-(D) Plains after scrying a 6/4 wurm to the bottom of my deck. I play the Plains and my Axe. Bela Lugosi (this is fun) plays an Island and casts Foresee.
T5-(D) Expanse, fetch a Forest and pass. Spike (from Buffy, good pull, huh?) plays a Mountain and passes. I scry and ship a War Priest and put Awakener Druid on the top. We are just setting the world on fire! His grip must be insane…
T6-(D) Awakener Druid, play it and swing with a beefy treefolk. Nosferatu (not a very timely vampire name but I’m running out of ideas), puts another Island into play and casts Aether Adept and bounces my treefolk. Adept is so good. I scry away a mana elf and keep a Forest on top.
T7-(D) Forest, play it, and tap out for Packleader. Lestat (Oh, I’m back!) burns my poor Packleader to death with Chandras Outrage and passes the turn. (Me-18, Opp-16)
T8-(D) Excommunicate, play a Forest, and cast Triskelion. Blade (I’m proud of that one) plays an Island and taps out for Ancient Hellkite. I’ve never been so happy to see someone cast a giant dragon! Plummet is sooooo tech! Trisky kills Adept at the end of the turn.
T9-(D) Condemn, Plummet the Dragon, equip the Axe to the Awakener and swing for 6. Morbius (pull from my Marvel comic past!) Pyroclasms my board. I should have equipped the axe to my Triskelion.
T10-(D) Basilisk, play it and pass. Alucard (clever, no? no.) casts what seems like a desperate Sleep. I scry away 2 lands.
T11-(D) Plains, cast White Knight and equip the Axe to him. My opp (Alucard was my closer) casts Sphinx and passes. I ship a land and a 1/1.
T12-(D) Pegasus, bounce the Sphinx, swing with both guys, my Knight gets Outraged (#2). Equip Axe to Basilisk. Opp recasts Sphinx. (Me-16, Opp-7)
T13-(D) Forest (should have scryed first) Swing with Basilisk, he blocks and bolts it to kill it. I cast my Pegasus and equip it with the axe. My opp plays an island and passes. I scry a land away and set up to draw…
T14-(D) Cloud Crusader, swing with my 5/2 Pegasus and cast Crusader. My opp casts Preordain and then packs it in for Game 3.

Rnd 3, Game 3

We both keep our 7, I keep 2xForest, Plains, Elves, Crystal Ball, Plummet, Crusader.

T1-Opp puts an Island into play. (D) Wild Griffin and play a Forest and Elf.
T2-Opp plays a Mountain and casts Preordain. (D) Forest, play Plains and Griffin. But his life is short lived as it gets bolted out of the sky.
T3-Opp plays an Island and Scroll Thief. (D) Plains, I play it and Crusader.
T4-Opp plays another Island and Sphinx. (D) Plains, Plummet the Sphinx and cast Crystal Ball.
T5-Opp casts Sleep and hits me for one and draws a card. (D) War Priest after scrying during my upkeep. Cast the Priest and play a Forest. (Me-19, Opp-20)
T6-Opp casts Foresee and casts Lightning Bolt #2 to kill my Priest. Hits me for 1 and draws another extra card. (D) Basilisk, swing for 3 and cast my Basilisk. I scry a Triskelion to the top.(Me-18, Opp-17)
T7-Opp casts Cloud Elemental and passes. (D) Triskelion, swing with both Crusader and Basilisk. He blocks my Crusader with his Elemental and they both looks at each other awkwardly. I cast Triskelion and attempt to shoot the Elemental but he responds with Fling to finish off my Crusader. (Me-18, Opp-14)
T8-Opp shoots down Triskelion with Chandras Outrage. I probably should have shot the Thief and offered up a trade or at the very least I should have chumped with my elf…Too much card advantage. (D) Axe, cast it and equip it to Basilisk and swing for 6. (Me-15, Opp-6)
T9-Opp casts Adept and bounces my Basilisk and swings for yet another extra card. I recast Basilisk and pass. (Me-14, Opp-6)
T10-Opp casts Water Servant and Azure Drake and passes. (D) Condemn, equip Axe to Basilisk and swing. He chumps with Adept. (Me-14, Opp-6)
T11-Opp swings out with the team, I cast Condemn on his Servant only to have it Canceled, I chump the Thief and Plummet the Drake. He then casts Prodigal Pyromancer to chum my 6/6 Basilisk next turn. (D) Packleader, swing with Basilisk, he chumps I cast Packleader. I’m feeling pretty good as he only has 1 card in hand. (Me-10, Opp-6)
T12-Of course that card was another Adept. He bounces my Packleader and I’m at 4. (D) Awakener Druid, cast it and swing with my Basilisk. I guess that was greedy…
T13-Because Cap’n Drawlikeachamp casts another Outrage on my Druid and kills me next turn.

I can’t be too mad, he did have infinite card advantage that game but 2xAdept, 2xLightning Bolt, at least 2xOutrage, 2xAdept and Sphinx, Dragon, Sleep…pretty outrageous pool sir! Yea, he ended up winning the whole thing.

Gotta focus here and 3-1.

Round 4 went very well. I’m going to claim that I kept land heavy hands because I knew my opponents deck had 2xMind Rot and 2xSpecters but the truth is that I was tired and I got lucky…yes, I got lucky. Especially in game 2, how’s this for a rip?

No turn by turn, I’m sure you’ve had enough…I know I have. So, 3-1! W00T!! Where’s my prize support!? What?!!? 4 packs!!?? 30 tix and terrible prize support. I’m pretty sure that’s my last Pre-Re on MTGO. The Release events are 24 and you get 3 packs for going 2-2! Um, maybe a bit unbalanced?

I hope you enjoyed my little tournament. My deck was pretty solid, nothing outstanding, just solid dudes and a couple of tricks. It took a pretty ridiculous deck to beat me so all in all, a good day of Magic with no sad tales of mana screw/flood. Matter of fact, I even had a few epic rips and I’ll take em!

Join me next time when I hope to have a couple of drafts to talk about. I have a couple M11 drafts in the tank already but none of them really “popped” if you know what I mean. While I’m at it, is there a Limited play subject that I haven’t covered yet that you’d like me to give a crack at writing up? I’d love the suggestions.

Thanks for reading my 4000+work opus, or at least skimming it!!


  1. I’ll admit I didn’t read all of it, but I did read most. I might take your Swiss tip, but I’ve always worried it may be a incredibly difficult to draft a good deck there exactly because the other players are often less than great. Signaling would be so hard. But I guess getting passed cards that shouldn’t be passed makes up for it.

    About the article style: Maybe a ‘decision point’ type of explanation would be better? I.e. ‘Match 1 I was paired against X/Y and we were trading blows in the early game, when this came up: …”.
    It might make the read a little more exciting because you get nearly all the same information but it’s boiled down to the good parts for your and my convenience.
    Just a suggestion of course, if other people like it like this then ignore it of course.

    And I agree with you on M11 being a little boring. But RoE is just over and we have to accept that :(

    Oh and grats on doing well in your events =)

  2. Pre release isn’t worth it unless you 4-0 or want the promo, release events definitely pay better.
    Good job. Round 2 opponent seemed to be a newer player, ornithopter and holy strength, singleton squadron hawks… But some nice bomb creatures like the serra and platinum angels hmm

  3. Really nice and detailed matchs, i like it, cause it passes down all the experience and helps identify what cards can turn matches.

  4. Thanks for the comments guys. To be honest, it’s A LOT of work to break down a Sealed match. Draft is hard enough but Sealed games go longer….much longer…and sooooo much typing. I know a lot of people don’t want to read that much (I know I don’t) but I do try to give reasons why I did X and not Y. I think that’s the point of the blow by blow and why I do it.

    I had the opportunity tonight to help 2 brand new Magic players at my local shop in Jersey (after winning…man, I felt dirty after) but they were really receptive and that makes teaching much more fun. Honestly, every vet Magic player should be trying to teach. We always need more Magic players! I was really lucky tonight at the shop and Zwick was not…he flooded game 1 and was scrwed game 2 against me in the 2nd round. His deck was better. :)

    I did this a little in a past article but I think that focusing on specific board situations is a better way to approach Sealed Deck. I’ll leave the play by play for Drafts. However, I was rather proud of my vampire humor. :)

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