General Sealed Strategy Guide: Getting to Grips with M21
Welcome! This article is an accompaniment to MTG Arena Zone’s Limited Tier List, linked above, and Reviews, which I co-author. I refer to my grades for specific cards frequently here, so it may be worth having the tier list open as you read this.
While the examples, descriptions, and specific information are geared towards M21, most of what I’m describing is overall Sealed strategy, so you can apply the concepts I describe and advice I give to any set. However, you do want to be careful, since there might be some specific considerations that this doesn’t cover for other formats e.g. planeswalkers in War of the Spark warped its Sealed format to be somewhat faster than normal, since being able to pressure them was critical for many decks, so you needed to be better prepared for aggro there.
Table of Contents
- The Key Differences between Sealed and Draft
- Analysing your Pool
- a) Sort by best cards in each colour
- b) Decide which colours look best
- c) Look at your mana base and build decks
- d) Improve your builds and prepare for the games
- Thanks for reading! I’ve updated my Limited Tier List a bunch on the fly so far, and am planning to do a full written update soon, so stay tuned.
- S: Ridiculous bomb: has a huge immediate impact on the game and threatens to dominate it if unanswered. (Luminous Broodmoth, Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate, Kiora Bests the Sea God)
- A: Very powerful card: approaches bomb status, pulls you strongly into its colour. (A+: Shark Typhoon, A: Auspicious Starrix, A-: Blood Curdle)
- B: Great playable: happy to pick early, pulls you into its colour. (B+: Lavabrink Venturer, B: Fire Prophecy or Farfinder in pack 1, B-: Rumbling Rockslide or Farfinder in pack 2)
- C+: Good playable that rarely gets cut. (Gust of Wind, Boot Nipper, Raugrin Triome)
- C: Fine playable, sometimes gets cut. (Excavation Mole, Glimmerbell, Neutralize)
- C-: Mediocre playable or decent filler, gets cut around half the time. (Savai Sabertooth, Convolute, Raugrin Crystal)
- D: Medium to bad filler, gets cut a lot. (D+: Frenzied Raptor, D: Serrated Scorpion, D-: Tentative Connection with 0-1 sacrifice outlets)
- F: Mostly to totally unplayable cards. (In most but not all formats: Blazing Volley maindeck, Inspire Awe, Field of Ruin)
The Key Differences between Sealed and Draft
Sealed is slower, often much slower
That might seem like a basic and unimpressive statement, but it’s actually the principal difference – the entire dynamic and makeup of the Sealed format changes because of this, and I’ll describe both what those factors that lead to this slowness are and the many effects of being slower.
- The basic reason is that opening packs doesn’t tend to give you as good a curve as drafting – it’s harder to have the 2s and 3s necessary to beat down well, and it’s often a bigger cost to give up any good high end you’ve opened, since you just won’t have as many good cards available as in Draft. This all makes it much harder for the aggro decks you build to be as good as other decks – if you miss a curve play for other decks, it’s usually not devastating, but doing so will often lose you the game in a dedicated aggressive deck. Additionally, throwing away your great 6 and 7 drops because you want to beat down will often not be worth it.
- Sealed decks tend to have a much less focused gameplan than Draft decks, because decks are less synergistic (for reasons I get into later) and because it’s so good-stuffy – one of the best and most common Sealed strategies is just to see what cards you’ve opened that are exceptionally powerful, and the deck which incorporates the most will be your best one. Sometimes people take it too far and give up too many good cards or amazing synergies for one Bomb, but in general you should be willing to sacrifice for your most powerful cards.
- Sealed decks, more so than Draft, end up including cards they don’t necessarily want to play to reach playable count. This is just because you won’t open all the tools necessary to build your deck in as cohesive a manner as you want, but it’s fine because other decks will have their duds too!
Slow, schmo! Why does it matter so much?
- Value is king in slower formats – because you have so much more time to do things in Sealed, the games end up a lot more attritiony and eventually the player who is able to best use their mana in the late game will end up taking the game too. On this basis, some cards go from pretty unexciting in Draft to good in Sealed, like unconditional counterspells (since they will cleanly stop your opponents’ big value plays, while most other kinds of removal won’t stop powerful enter-the-battlefield abilities or harder-to-answer permanent types), durdly value artifacts and enchantments that take ages to do anything, cards that are normally bad but act as good mana sinks etc. I would be pretty excited to play a card that’s reasonable to begin with e.g. Idol of Endurance if I had enough 2s and 3s; clearly it is harder to get enough 2s and 3s in Sealed, but I think you’re happy to play that card with fewer than in Draft, because you have so much more time to play stuff off it.
One of the differences which best illustrates Sealed being a mostly separate format is that cards like Double Vision and Teferi’s Ageless Insight, which I gave pretty bad grades to in Draft, are actively great in Sealed – I think Double Vision approaches bomb tier if you have a bunch of spells, including some good ones, and is a huge draw into Red. For Ageless Insight, you’re happy to incorporate more card draw into your deck since that’s one of the best ways to break an attrition game, and the requirement of drawing three cards with it over the course of the game (in my Blue set review, I said drawing three extra cards was about where I’d be happy with Insight) is much easier to reach, purely because the game is likely to go on so much longer. Decking can be a concern for slow Blue decks, and I’ll talk about that a bit later.
There are limits though – I still don’t consider a card like Chromatic Orrery, which is unplayable in regular Draft, better than say a D – Orrery takes so long to do anything and has such a weak payoff that it’s mostly garbage here too. However, given that I gave that card an F in Draft, clearly I do think it’s better in this format, and I think some decks with a lot of mana sinks may want it.
- There’s the meta consideration that people have known this for decades about Sealed – the expectation is that Sealed will be slower, and people will plan for that. The logic is simple: if you’re only going to run into decks that are really good at beating down 1 in 10 games, why not be better prepared for the other 9 and just write those off? While to some degree it’s true: I don’t think you need to be as well-prepared for being beaten down and it’s fine to have three 2 drops instead of four or five, as a draft deck would want, I also think times have changed in this regard. Creatures have just gotten better and better, and it’s less common to have poorly-statted creatures lying around unless they have a powerful effect, and I do think Limited sets of recent years are much more powerful. This means that while Sealed is slower, it’s not as much slower as it used to be, because even if people’s curves aren’t fantastic, if their creatures are hitting for 4 instead of 3 and all of their cards are good, you’re going to die faster. So, you can be greedier, but I would still recommend you have a good anti-beatdown plan and prepare for a range of decks; have a good mix of efficient cards and cards that are good at other things.
Aggro is actually better than in Draft if your sealed pool has a good curve, or has the right tools aggro needs like a good selection of efficient removal and burn – people won’t be well-prepared for it at all, so even if you’re taking a substantial hit on power level to have a solid aggro deck, it’s often worth it. If your opponents are skimping on 2 drops, you’re getting much further ahead when you have a great curve-out, and they often will never recover. If your opponents are cutting cards like Shock from their deck, your 2 drops will live longer and output more damage.
Don’t force bad aggro decks if you’re giving up really a lot, say your average card quality is much worse, or if you don’t have the necessary curve, though! It’s important not only to have the 2 drops, but for them to be good at beating down – cards like Seasoned Hallowblade and Daybreak Charger are far better pulls into aggro than Alpine Watchdog, say. One of the most important aspects of building an aggro deck is reach (not the mechanic!) – how are you going to win the game once your opponent has stabilised? Aggro decks need ways to break through board stalls, and luckily M21 has a lot of burn to facilitate that; burn tends to be the best solution, but evasion or ways to stop your opponents from blocking, like Destructive Tampering (that card sucks so you better be desperate) can work too. Remember that your opponents are more likely to be able to stop your burn, since there will be more counterspells floating around in Sealed, so cast your spells at awkward times, bait with other spells, don’t slam into open mana… if your spell is going to win the game then do the best you can to make sure it resolves.
- Consistency is strong in Draft, but in some ways it’s even more important here – this is why I made the point about unconditional counterspells. Conditional ones will fall off much more often in Sealed, because so much of the game comes down to topdeck mode. A card like Convolute doesn’t get much better in Sealed than in Draft, but that’s for other reasons – Convolute isn’t too bad a topdeck in Draft, since 4 mana is enough that it will often still counter what you want to. In Sealed, people will routinely have eight or nine lands in play; you really won’t be able to rely on Convolute in the late game, and you’ll be forced to wait until they double spell before even being able to get it out of your hand. You might think a card like Miscast is more playable in Sealed, because people will have more expensive instants and sorceries, but I’d say it’s even worse since it’s such a terrible topdeck.
That being said, some situational cards with common situations do get a bit better e.g. Sealed does tend to have more artifacts and enchantments (especially since many of them are slow sources of value) and Sealed is slower so you have more time for them to draw into those, so a card like Return to Nature is a bit better as a maindeck option – I’d probably put it in the low D+ range in M21 and play the first copy over some filler cards.
Looting can make it so playing situational cards isn’t quite so bad – if I had like four looters, I might consider putting Duress in my deck, for example, since it also has more targets in Sealed, and that helps alleviate its awfulness as a topdeck. That being said, the games will be going on longer so you’ll flood out more, so you’ll still have plenty of fodder to pitch to your looters; looters are just nuts in Sealed, much better than in Draft, and I think a card like Teferi’s Protege shoots from C to B-.
- Splashes tend to be better in Sealed because of this – the games go longer, so the card in your hand is more likely to eventually do something. You’re also naturally incentivised to play more lands because you’re playing more expensive cards, and having more lands eases your fixing. That means not only should you splash more, but your opponents will be too, so you should be watching out for common splash cards in your games (like, say, Pacifism and Rumbling Rockslide in Ikoria). M21 doesn’t tend to have great fixing outside of gainlands, so pay attention to the ones your opponents are playing, as they’ll be the main indicator of splashes – e.g. if you’re seeing Scoured Barrens in their Selesnya deck, that’s a pretty strong indicator that they probably have access to some black removal, like Finishing Blow. In M21 specifically, a card like Cultivate goes from just okay in the Draft format, since it tends to be on the faster side (I reduced my grade for it to C+ on that basis) to really good in Sealed, and it’s far easier for splashes to be worthwhile when the cards you’re playing to enable them are good anyway.
- Tempo is less important, because the decks that can best exploit it are less frequent. So, it matters less if you miss a drop on your curve, if you get colour screwed for a turn or two (land screw matters more though, since more of your cards will be expensive and you’ll be less able to deal with the big cards your opponents play), if you’re on the draw rather than the play, etc because you’ll be more likely able to come back if your opponents aren’t capitalising on the pressure as much. M21 Draft tends to be quite fast, at least compared to recent formats, but I expect the Sealed format to be still on the slower side, though Red decks will still have access to a lot of burn, which you will need to be prepared for.
- You can afford to have more high end yourself than in Draft – a card like Spined Megalodon goes from a C in the pretty fast Draft format, since you really can’t afford to play too many 7 drops and there’s competition for it, to more like a B- in Sealed, because while you still can’t afford to play literally every 7 drop you have, you can get away with 2-3 7 drops and a couple of 6 drops on top, especially if you have some ramp. Spined Megalodon’s hexproof is a colossal boon in this format, where people will be playing more expensive and awkward removal – a card like Secure the Scene, which is only like a C+ in Draft, is more like a straight B in Sealed.
- Decking happens more often than in Draft, and if you’re a slow Blue deck that draws a lot, a card like Epitaph Golem actually starts to become very appealing in Sealed. It’s also not unreasonable to board up to more than 40 cards if you’re playing a slow Control mirror in best-of-three, though that’s more of a tip for prereleasing than Arena, since Sealed is almost always best-of-one on the latter. If you feel like your deck has exceptionally good control tools but really struggles to win in a reasonable time period, and you don’t have Epitaph Golem, you can try to play 45 cards maindeck, but usually it won’t be worth it, since you’re less likely to draw your bombs and those last 5 cards need to be decent. All this shouldn’t really be necessary in M21 though: there’s so much good high-end available in Blue, and a card like Spined Megalodon is pretty hard to stop, so you should be able to kill them before decking most of the time.
For this reason, I think Teferi’s Tutelage soars from B- to an A, approaching bomb status, in M21 Sealed. Tapping out for a 3 mana Enchantment is less damaging, you’ll have more card draw naturally, and decking tends to happen naturally a lot more in Sealed anyway; the slow removal-heavy decks will tend to get crushed by Tutelage. If you fear Enchantment removal, you can even hold it till you can draw a bunch of cards on the same turn, so that the damage is done by the time they remove it.
- Tricks are usually worse in Sealed, since the situations where they’re good are less frequent and where they’re bad more so. They’re less frequent because the board states don’t come up as much and because they don’t really handle bombs very well – your opponent is far less likely to risk a bomb by blocking a smaller creature, say, and because you’re less likely to be on the aggressive/in a commanding position because you’ll have more expensive cards and clunkier stuff – tricks are generally far worse on the defence than offense. They’ll be bad more, because your opponents will be likely to have more lands in play/be using their mana less effectively, and therefore have the ability to blow them out more with instant speed removal/countermagic. Tricks are still good when you have a deck that’s good at attacking though, and sometimes you’ll still need to run them since you’ll have less removal; M21 doesn’t tend to have too many great tricks, but Invigorating Surge or Ranger’s Guile can still be fine inclusions, though certainly worse.
Sealed is more bomb-oriented, more of a prince format
Everyone will have more bombs than in Draft, since the bombs in Draft usually get taken first pick, so you only get 3-5 shots at the rare bombs (since people will sometimes pass off-colour ones, although never in pack 1 and it’s still often easy and worthwhile to pivot in pack 2) as opposed to the six in Sealed. Building around your bombs is usually the best way to go, because the format is lower power than Draft, and people tend to open less removal than they would be able to draft in packs. This prevalence changes the format quite a lot – in Draft, rares are very much an afterthought and you’re looking for commons and uncommons that ascribe your deck meaning and synergise well with each other. Once you have a couple of cards you want to build around, you weight your picks a lot towards those, and rares are just a nice thing to have but you won’t get the really good ones that often. In Sealed, because you have six guaranteed, and chances are you’ll have at least one good one, the quality of your deck often lives and dies on those opens. That being said, there are some uncommons that approach bomb status, and those can really save you if you get some bad pulls, or you can just have a lot of removal and other ways to handle opposing rares; it’s just important to be cognisant of bombs and have a plan for them, whether that’s draw your own, kill the bombs, or kill your opponents through them!
Sealed tends to have bigger creatures, partly because of slow and partly because of the bombs, so cards like Legion’s Judgment are higher value, although you still don’t want too many – I might play two of that kind of effect (so other big creature-only removal spells count towards this) if I didn’t have much other removal, maybe three at most if I also had some looting. On the same basis, small creature removal like Shock is worse – it just won’t have as many high value targets, and the efficiency and tempo won’t be as important as in Draft. Shock is still decent, but I’d put it at about the low C+ range here (whereas it’s a solid B- in Draft), and wouldn’t play too many.
Decks have less Synergy
In Draft, people often aren’t picking within the same synergies as each other, and cards with good synergies tend to take a hit on power level, so they’re not as high priority, so the decks that want them don’t have as hard a time finding them. In Sealed, it’s pure luck, and it really depends on how many cards there are in the set that do a specific thing: how well that synergy is supported. In general, you’re just not that likely to open specific cards that work well together in Sealed, so many decks won’t be synergistic at all, unless that synergy is so prominent that it’s less a specific deck and more a theme that really just defines the set, like Mutate in Ikoria. Sealed tends to be much more good-stuffy – for the most part, you try to find the build that squeezes in as many of your best cards as you can. and synergy is an afterthought.
That being said, it’s not irrelevant by any means; it’s easy to tell when you have the synergies in Sealed because all your cards are right in front of you, so if you do happen to have a bunch of lifegain sources that are good enough to play anyway for your Griffin Aerie then sure, you absolutely should play it. That won’t be average case though, and I suspect Griffin Aerie is quite bad in the format overall, since it’s hard to get enough lifegain for it even in Draft, and harder still here. That being said, you need fewer enablers than in Draft, purely because games will go longer so you’re more likely to draw into your lifegain sources eventually – for Griffin Aerie specifically, I would need to trigger it twice to be happy, so I might play it with 6 decent enablers in Sealed, especially if some of them could trigger it multiple times (and more like 7-8 in Draft).
It’s harder to have a lot of 4 power creatures for Furious Rise in Sealed, but the effect is extremely powerful and the downside of having to spend 3 mana to not affect the board is mostly gone. That means that Furious Rise is overall even better in Sealed: I would be happy to play it in any deck with 4-ish 4-power creatures (or three and +1/+1 counters to put on my 3-power creatures) because it has infinite potential and, over the course of the game, your opponent will probably be forced to trade removal for each one (and you’ll often draw a card first since it’s an end of turn trigger). I would even splash Furious Rise a significant portion of the time, which I’m more hesitant to do in Draft.
Remember that synergies aren’t just about supported themes! If you have Pack Leader and Alpine Houndmaster, you should usually be playing that Alpine Watchdog, and if you happen to have 4 Skeleton Archers then Alchemist’s Gift does get significantly better. It can be even more simple than that – if you have a lot of 2/2s, your deck might have a serious weakness to 4/4s and 6/6s so it could be worth running a 2/3 or 3/3 over the sixth or seventh 2/2, even if that 2/2 is generally better, just so you can double block stuff better (although curve considerations would probably throw up a more important red flag here anyway…).
So how do I know which cards are good?
If synergies are less important, you need to look at card evaluations, hence the Limited Tier List and Reviews, but the concepts I’ve described are generalistic, so you can really use the ratings of anybody you trust, or better yet apply your own experiences as your knowledge of the format grows. Do take grades with a grain of salt since they’re usually intended for Draft rather than Sealed (and holistically, Tier Lists have some problems with them anyway, some of which I talk about in the Introduction of the Reviews), but there’s a lot of crossover between the two formats and hopefully I’ve given you a good overview of the key differences so you can adjust the grades yourself as you go.
Good cards in Draft will be good cards in Sealed; how good and how many you want to include might change, but it’s very rare for a card to be straight-up bad in Sealed if it is good in Draft. On the other hand, some cards are bad in Draft but much better in Sealed, like some of the examples I gave above; if you’re not sure then read over my criteria again and consider whether any of it applies to this particular card.
Don’t use BREAD!
I say this next part to provide insight, not disparage anyone. If you don’t know what BREAD is, well, you’re better off not knowing, but here’s an explanation.
BREAD is an obsolete over-generalisation, and I find that far too many people still use it for Sealed; it’s simplistic and discourages good card evaluation. The hierarchical aspect is actively a hindrance because it teaches you faulty methods; you should not think in terms of valuing bombs over removal, removal over evasive creatures, evasive creatures over regular creatures, etc because draft is far too contextual and nuanced, and that sort of hierarchy fails all the time in modern Magic. Removal being better than creatures and worse than bombs isn’t generally true anymore because in general, creatures have gotten a lot better and spells have gotten a lot worse since Bread’s conception. A lot of creatures tend to adopt other roles, or be good at other things, and it’s very easy for a creature that has a powerful effect but isn’t quite a bomb to be better than a removal spell these days; you can find countless examples from my tier list itself. Bomb is in itself a pretty weird term – it isn’t always clear when things are bombs or not, and they don’t have to be to be better than removal.
BREAD was a more useful heuristic when most cards in packs were bad – if all but four or five cards in a pack are unplayable, it becomes a lot more valuable to be able to quickly categorise the cards that are generally better, and Limited card evaluation was a path more or less untraveled in the old days anyway. BREAD’s sole use these days is for new players to find out what the terms that make up the acronym mean, so they can better understand discussions.
Analysing your Pool
Here’s the process I use for building sealed decks, step-by-step:
a) Sort by best cards in each colour
First, separate all your best cards from the rest of the pool; the ones you really want to play and will plan around. These include your rares and mythics, but I would also include the best commons and uncommons, in the A range and higher. On Arena, I like to just add them to my deck so I can look at them. After you’ve taken those in, add the good to really good cards – the cards you’re very happy to play.
b) Decide which colours look best
What colours look best is a quality vs quantity assessment – remember that you only need 22-23 cards and your goal is to reach that number with the maximum overall deck quality. Lands are still worth something – this is a format where if you’re a slow deck or one that’s playing several colours and end up with 22 playables, that’s actually probably better than playing the 23rd.
Sealed is all about tradeoffs – the questions that crop up a lot are those along the lines of “should I play Green because I have a bomb
It’s difficult to quantify this, but Limited rating scales up. What I’m about to say next is conjecture to some degree, because giving accurate numbers is impossible; again draft is too contextual, but this should still provide a useful baseline if you’re not sure how much a card of a certain power level is worth as compared to other cards.
- A mid-tier S is worth approximately two mid-tier As.
- A mid-tier A is worth approximately two mid-tier Bs.
Okay now that we’ve done those two, B vs C+ and beyond are much murkier, and really just dependent on playable counts – a B is roughly worth two C+s, but at this stage you really need to consider what you’re giving up. If your 23rd card is just a C+ anyway (so your deck is great), then the decision is obviously very simple. Generally, it’s also much better to have a B and a C than two C+s – let’s say a C+ is worth x; if that’s the case then a B is worth 2x and a C is worth 0.5x- if you go through the maths, B + a C will be worth 2.5x vs two C+s will merely be worth 2x. If you use this formula for your calculations, that might give you an estimate of what you’re sacrificing to play a colour; again I’m generalising, so this isn’t word of law!
The ranges between the tiers can be quite large; obviously a low S might be only worth 1.5 mid tier As, or 1.2 A+s. I separate grades using +s and -s as different tiers, so high C and C+ do not mean the same thing as I refer to them here – a mid-tier C+ is worth x as I am using it, while a high C might only be worth 0.7x or so and is worse than a low-tier C+.
c) Look at your mana base and build decks
I think a lot of people don’t put as much time into this step as they should. I recommend you build several decks; it sometimes won’t be obvious how decks compare to each other, and that’s the best way to visualise the decision. This is the stage where you’re looking at your fixing and considering splashes, or if you can even play three colours.
I did one of my earliest articles on Limited mana bases and splashing which might help some of you. Bear in mind that Arena Cube is much more punishing to colour screw (though still much less than Constructed), so you need to have a better mana base to splash – an 8/7/3 mana base with one fixer really won’t cut it here; you want two or three.
Can I splash? The two cardinal rules:
Click here for an article I wrote that explain a lot of the maths behind splashing in a simple way, and teaches you how to use an extremely useful tool for mana base construction.
- Is my fixing good enough? The better your fixing, the more you can splash – if you can splash two colours relatively freely, then go nuts – this usually means three or four sources for 1-2 cards; four is better if your main sources aren’t that demanding but you can get away with three. If you have as many as 5 or 6 sources, you can even splash earlier game cards i.e. I would not splash Lightning Strike often on three sources but I would on five. If your mana base is better, then the risk is lesser so you can afford to do greedier things (but remember that playing too many taplands has its own costs, especially for more tempo-oriented decks…). You can only really splash cards with a single cost outside your main colours e.g. it’s impossible to splash 3BB in a Simic deck, but you can splash 3BG, because needing two sources of mana at the same time is incredibly hard while splashing – the number of sources you need on average soars from 3-4 to 6-7 (7-8 in Draft, but Sealed is slower so you can incorporate a little more risk). The article I just linked goes over this in more detail.
- Is the card actually worth splashing? Remember that cards you splash likely won’t be played on curve, so they need to be good in the late game and they need to be good enough to incur some risk to your mana base. BREAD logic doesn’t work – removal is not worth splashing just because it is removal; it has to be removal that fits those two parameters. Relatedly, is the card you’re splashing significantly better than the card you would be putting in instead? It needs to be, or it needs to fill a hole in your deck i.e. if your Simic deck isn’t good at removing stuff, that makes splashing Secure the Scene, usually just an okay card, a lot more appealing.
If the answer to these questions is yes, then can splash but also remember considerations like being an aggro deck, where splashing is far worse, or whether you have lots of double or triple colour cards. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should! In M21, fixing isn’t great outside Green; you will often have to open a bunch of gainlands in the same colours for it to be worth it, but when you do and you have good splashes, that can propel your deck from weak to great by itself.
d) Improve your builds and prepare for the games
Whichever deck is standing out to you as the best is the one you should spend the most time on, but you should really be looking to improve all the builds you’ve made if you have time. For inspiration, I have a Limited Spotlight article here where I go through and consider possible improvements for a bunch of my decks in other formats; I may do a follow-up for M21 soon.
Go through your reserve cards. Look for synergies, see if there’s any swaps you can make, consider your curve. The best card in your pool might be better than the worst card in your deck; you might notice 7 or 8 sources of lifegain and then a card like Griffin Aerie becomes more promising etc etc.
Arena gives you infinite time so think it over a bit. Consider how this deck will play out. Are certain cards good in general but lacklustre for that plan? Is it worth switching those out for cards that are good for that plan? Don’t take huge power hits to do this, but if you’re an aggro deck then that 6 or 7 drop is a lot worse, could you remove it and instead have one less land so you can put in another reasonable playable? This is where format concerns come into play too. Ask yourself lots of questions; I know for some people that this is a lot less natural than for others, but you can always write them down/brainstorm them with friends if necessary. Self-reflection is the key to self improvement, and I provide Limited coaching with a major focus on this aspect; check out the details here if you’d like me to teach you my deckbuilding methods in-person. I also have an article on the subject here.
In Sealed outside of Arena, this is where you consider how you’re going to sideboard in certain matchups but you can also consider possible switches if things don’t work out. Doing all that ahead of time will make everything you do in-game much faster and less stressful – if there are cards you’re not really happy to be playing, identify them either in your mind or on a piece of paper, and vary it up if they’re not playing well/you do need to sideboard.
I fell in love with Limited ever since I began in New Phyrexia over nine years ago. With a particular fondness for flashback and cube drafts, I’ve drafted more sets than I can count on every platform through wildly different eras. On Arena I draft infinitely, having profited 30k or so gems from it at this point, and have made top 100 mythic many times. Self-reflection and critical analysis are paramount to Limited improvement, and I try to focus on teaching and enhancing those aspects in my articles, and in each session of the Limited coaching service I provide.
Check out all my articles here or follow me on Twitter for regular updates!
Thanks for reading! I’ve updated my Limited Tier List a bunch on the fly so far, and am planning to do a full written update soon, so stay tuned.
Enjoy our content? Wish to support our work? Join our Premium community, get access to exclusive content, remove all advertisements, and more!