How to Lose a Sealed Deck Magic the Gathering Tournament
You know what they say, learn from your mistakes. In the many years that I’ve played Magic the Gathering, I’ve made tons of mistakes. Probably every single mistake you could make. So I’d like to take a minute to jot these down so all of you out there hopefully won’t make the same ones I did.
Here are my top 10 biggest mtg sealed deck mistakes for you to learn from:
Relying On One Card
Bombs are nice to have, and if played right bombs can single handedly win a game…but they can’t be the ONLY way your deck wins. What if your opponent kill it as soon as it’s played? Or counterspells it? What if you just never draw it? If I had a nickel for every time I had a bomb card in my deck but never drew it once during an entire tournament… It’s just better to build yourself for an all around good deck filled with your most playable cards.
Forcing Your Favorite Colors
I get it, you love two colors and think those are the best in this tournament. You really want to play them. But sometimes you can’t do that. Those may be the best colors but it you have only low quality, mediocre cards…or just not enough creatures. You can’t automatically play those colors. Magic just isn’t that simple where a certain color or colors always wins. Take time to look hard at your pool, maybe this tournament you will have to play your least favorite colors – but you will give yourself the best chance to win with those.
Not Playing Enough Creatures.
Most good players agree that you should be playing a minimum of 14 creatures in about any limited format. Unless you’re playing a non-creature deck – in which case you will lose 99% of the time in limited. Don’t play non creature “combo” decks in limited, just don’t. Give yourself the best chance to win, you probably have some money on the line, and now is not the time to play weird or casual style decks.
Neglecting or Over-Valuing “Bombs”
Wow, a mythic! I have to play this! No, no you don’t… Just because a card is mythic, or rare, doesn’t mean it’s automatically a good limited card or that it will fit well in your deck. On the flip side maybe you say this: “Wow I opened a (insert awesome green planeswalker)”…but I have all these great red cards and I don’t think green is any good. So I’m not playing that… (and then you lose the tournament). Read up on the set. Learn what cards are actually good and playable for the set in limited format, and gravitate towards the better cards. You may be surprised to learn certain uncommon cards are much stronger than certain mythics or rares.
Forcing a “Strategy” Without the Support
What I see a lot of with these newer sets are the various “themes” or “archetypes”. These could be strong in limited, and are tempting to play, but more often than not you just don’t get enough cards to go “all in” on any of these archetypes – or the one you like best. I believe these archetypes were mainly designed for constructed play, and you are lucky if you can swing them effectively in your sealed pools. Sometimes you just need a mix of “good stuff” to have a deck that wins limited tournaments.
Not Splashing a Third Color When You Should
If you have good removal or bombs in your pool, and not enough in your main colors, you should consider splashing those cards in (hint: you can never have enough removal). Now I’m not talking about mediocre removal, I mean GOOD removal… the kind you would pick highly in a draft for example. Having access to effective removal is well worth adding a few off colored cards and lands to your deck. Just don’t overdo it – try not to “splash” more than 3 or 4 off color cards, tops.
Making Poor Mulligan Choices
Obviously you know when you have one land or no lands you should mulligan… But let’s say you draw 3 islands in your opening hand while playing a blue green deck. Let’s say you have a handful of islands, and green creatures. When you don’t have the right color mana in hand to cast the majority of the cards in your hand, you’ll probably lose from never drawing the lands to play anything. This has happened to me more than a few times, and it’s very frustrating…but 100% your own fault for keeping a bad hand. Don’t let it happen to you. Do the right thing and mulligan!
Splashing Double Mana Cards
If you are going to play that 3rd color, make sure you have the mana base for doing so. Most of the time you won’t be able to play double mana off color cards and shouldn’t add those to your deck. If you aren’t sure how to splash, stay safe and stick with two colors. There is nothing wrong with only playing two colors, provided you have enough decent playable cards in there.
“Splashing” Every Color Without the Mana Base
Look you aren’t going to be able to swing 4 or 5 colors in limited most of the time. Not unless you have some good multicolored lands or creatures that produce any color mana. Even still, it’s going to be hard to always have the right colored mana around to play your cards. You’re going to end up with a few unplayable cards in hand most games. That’s how you lose games.
Taking Advice from Inexperienced Players
I’m not the greatest player in the world, I’m not a “pro”. I have however been playing Magic since 1994 – longer than most people, and I win most of the tournaments I get a chance to play. I’m at least an above average player, which is why I have this blog for newer Magic players or those looking to improve. Here’s the thing. Magic is a highly speculative and competitive game. Everyone thinks they know how to win at it, what cards are best, and they want to share their secrets with you. You can’t believe everything you read from random guys on a Magic forum, You can’t go by everything your buddy says at the local game store. Or even what the store owner says, or whoever the store judge is. Ultimately YOU have to “get it”…and you’re in for a wild ride as it could take months or even years to learn the ins and outs of this ever evolving game.
If you’re reading this post, it probably means you want to get better at Magic and win more limited games. Reading blogs like this one, and watching gameplay videos will definitely get your mind flowing with ideas which help towards improving your MTG game.
Good luck in your next sealed deck MTG tournament, and make sure to watch out for these deckbuilding mistakes!
Any questions or comments? Feel free to drop a message and let me know what you think!