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How to Navigate the February 2022 Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Sealed and Draft Arena Open: Tips, Tricks, and Sample Trophy Decks

Hey Everyone! I am extremely hyped for this upcoming weekends Arena Open because we get to play two days of a great limited format for some pretty sick cash prizes! We’re going to go over the event details, give you a bunch of tips and tricks for the event, and go over some amazing trophy decks for both sealed and draft.


Event Details

Our magical overlords have deemed it necessary to maintain the increased entry fee while eliminating the lower prizes. So while that big prize looks juicy, but be prepared for that fallback of having to console yourself with that sweet, sweet Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant Phyrexian card style if you have a rough sealed pool.

Even though I’m a huge proponent of Bo3 in general, I think the day one structure heavily favors playing Bo1 for the open. Being eliminated with only one loss makes Bo3 a soul crushing bad beat waiting to happen.


Tips and Tricks

Now that you know what you’re playing for, here are some things to keep in mind as you are navigating through the Arena Open.

  • Sealed is slower than draft because it isn’t very likely that someone is going to open the nuts aggro deck. Also, most people aren’t going to be able to build a two-color deck so they will have a combination of bad mana and tap lands to slow them down.
  • Having more time to set up in sealed tends to make overall power level more important than synergy. As you’ll see in some of the example decks later, you can get away with some pretty crazy builds
  • As you get deeper into the open, your opponent’s decks are going to keep getting better and you have to assume that you are going to have to beat some pretty big bombs. Don’t waste hard removal for tempo purposes unless you are sure it is going to win you the game.
  • Even though it is still important, removal isn’t king in Kamigawa. There is too much value being generated by all of the sagas that continually trading one for one is a losing proposition.
  • There is enough fixing in Neon Dynasty that a lot of sealed decks will end up some combination of multicolor green. If you choose to go down that route, make sure that you have enough value to win through mirror matches.
  • Enchantment removal like Repel the Vile and Fade into Antiquity will always have a target and should be played in the main deck. Even though your opponent might have already gotten some value off of their saga, getting rid of the rest of it can be key to winning. I’m looking at you Behold the Unspeakable .
  • Virus Beetle is one of the key commons in this set. It’s important to know when to hold an extra land and not get wrecked by having to pitch your bomb. The only other heavily played discard is The Long Reach of Night which also requires holding back a single land to avoid getting browned in the middle of nowhere.
  • Imperial Oath is worth splashing. Don’t be the person who still hasn’t gotten the memo on this card.
  • Once you make day two, it switches to traditional draft. The colors are very balanced in this format, so I’d recommend trying the “Drafting the Hard Way” approach and try to find the open lane over forcing anything.

Building Your Sealed

No matter what advice I give you, obviously the first thing you’re going to do when you open your sealed is to check if you won the rare lottery. So, we’ll start after you’ve done the victory lap around the room for your triple mythic open. It’s important to also identify what the “mythic uncommons” are so that you can consider them as a pull into those colors, in Neon Dynasty that includes Behold the Unspeakable, Kappa Tech-Wrecker, Life of Toshiro Umezawa, and Blossom Prancer.

Now that you’ve settled down a bit, the first thing I like to do is to add all the cards that I actively want to play so I have a better idea of how deep each color really is. This prevents you from thinking “my black is really awesome” when you actually have a lot of undesirable cards with a few that really stand out.

The next thing I want to look at is what mana fixing you have available. This can let you know whether you can splash your power cards or if you need to try to build a more aggressive deck to go under the value decks.

Unless your entire sealed is insane, it’s usually pretty easy to eliminate two colors that just don’t get there. Now look over the remaining colors and make combinations of two-color decks to compare which have the best mix of curve and power level. You can also see if any of the combinations are missing something like removal or a way to finish the game.

When you’re comparing the two-color versions, you are probably going to be a few cards short so try to fill in the gaps with splashed single pip removal or power cards. Once you make your final choice, you’re just a mana base away from running the table.


Trophy Decks

We’ll start out with some sweet sealed trophy decks so you have an idea of some quality builds.

Neon Dynasty 4 color good stuff 7-0 Sealed
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $35.06
Limited
best of 3
0 mythic
5 rare
11 uncommon
24 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (1)
1
Repel the Vile
$0.25
Sorceries (2)
Artifacts (1)
Lands (17)
6
Forest
$1.50
2
Island
$0.50
5
Plains
$1.25
2
Uncharted Haven
$0.50
40 Cards
$47.28

This was a 7-0 Sealed good stuff deck by my podcast partner Floridamun. It’s a great example of just play a combination of mana fixing and your powerful cards. As you can see almost everything builds value or helps you get to the point where you can take advantage of that value. This is exactly the type of deck that I want to throw together on Saturday.

Shrines-R-Us
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $16.89
Limited
best of 3
2 mythic
2 rare
8 uncommon
28 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (1)
1
Tamiyo, Compleated Sage
{G/U/P}
$1.49
Instants (1)
1
Master's Rebuke
$0.25
Sorceries (2)
Artifacts (3)
1
Mnemonic Sphere
$0.25
Enchantments (1)
1
The Modern Age
$0.25
Lands (17)
4
Forest
$1.00
6
Island
$1.50
1
Mountain
$0.25
1
Plains
$0.25
1
Swamp
$0.25
1
Tranquil Cove
$0.25
1
Thornwood Falls
$0.25
40 Cards
$27.76

Now this one might be pushing it a bit far on the mana base nonsense, but it was still a 7-0 as the magic gods appreciated all of the worship at the shrines. It might seem insane to put a four pip rare in a five color deck, but typically you want to play it in the late game anyway so you can get away with it. While I don’t think you should go this far, it is another great example of the shenanigans that you can get away with if you don’t have to worry about as many aggressive decks.

Neon Dynasty Traditional Sealed Trophy
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $28.42
Limited
best of 3
0 mythic
2 rare
10 uncommon
28 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (4)
1
Voltage Surge
$0.25
1
Kami's Flare
$0.25
1
Master's Rebuke
$0.25
1
Storyweave
$0.25
Sorceries (1)
Lands (17)
9
Forest
$2.25
8
Mountain
$2.00
40 Cards
$33.84
64 Cards
$19.58

This was a midrange Gruul deck that Draft Lab member Ekil 4-0’d a traditional sealed event with. You’ll notice that while it has the base beatdown plan in it, there are a lot of ways to keep the value flowing with Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Tempered in Solitude, and  Towashi Guide-Bot .

The reason I included the entire pool on this one is to show that in Bo3 you could easily have a transformational sideboard. In this case a much lower to the ground Rakdos deck is possible if paired up against a deck that can outvalue you by a wide margin.

Now that you’ve seen some interesting sealed builds, why don’t we check out some drafts for when you inevitably make day two!

3 Beholds
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $12.19
Limited
best of 3
1 mythic
1 rare
5 uncommon
33 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (1)
Sorceries (5)
Enchantments (5)
1
The Modern Age
$0.25
Lands (17)
8
Forest
$2.00
7
Island
$1.75
1
Plains
$0.25
1
Thornwood Falls
$0.25
40 Cards
$18.84
19 Cards
$5.29

I know what you’re thinking. Why show us this deck, it has three Behold the Unspeakables and that should never ever happen.

3 beholds again
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $6.61
Limited
best of 3
0 mythic
0 rare
9 uncommon
31 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (1)
1
Voltage Surge
$0.25
Enchantments (6)
Lands (17)
9
Island
$2.25
8
Mountain
$2.00
40 Cards
$11.62

Except it happened twice this week. I bring this up because the day two drafts are integrated into the normal traditional queues and there’s a chance something like this can happen. This just reinforces my point that the strategy of finding the open lane is the key to winning day two. If you see something that just doesn’t make sense late, don’t be scared to pivot into some profit.

13 land Mono Red
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $7.76
Limited
best of 3
0 mythic
1 rare
7 uncommon
32 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (10)
2
Simian Sling
$0.50
2
Rabbit Battery
$1.18
2
Ironhoof Boar
$0.50
Instants (7)
3
Voltage Surge
$0.75
1
Kami's Flare
$0.25
2
Seismic Wave
$0.50
Sorceries (1)
1
Explosive Entry
$0.25
Artifacts (5)
1
Ninja's Kunai
$0.25
Enchantments (4)
2
Akki War Paint
$0.50
Lands (13)
13
Mountain
$3.25
40 Cards
$13.08

Now this is the kind of spicy draft deck you came here looking for. TaJoordan has been doing crazy things like this lately because red has been so under drafted. Yes, that is 13 lands. No, we haven’t traveled back in time to Eldraine. If you’re looking for a how new underrated strategy and nothing else is looking open, just burn them to the ground before they have a chance to get any payoff from all that value.


Wrap Up

I hope all of this helped you prepare for the Neon Dynasty Arena Open and I would recommend checking out my tier list here as another helpful guide. Now get out there and take WotC’s money!

You can find me at:


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j2sjosh
j2sjosh

Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

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