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Sealed Deck 1: Courtney's Boys

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If you've been keeping up with Gary Wise's "Wise Words" column here on the Sideboard, you're aware that he's playing in this event with Neil Reeves and Bob Maher.

Wise and Maher are both Pro Tour champions, with Wise's win coming in this very format two years ago with Potato Nation. But it is Reeves, whose southern brashness makes him the PT's version of Bubba Sparxx, who has the potential to make this team great, as opposed to very good, and his two teammates know it.

As they opened their sealed decks, Reeves claimed that the natural break for most card pools is U/W, U/G, and B/R because blue is the deepest color. In any event, he said, the decks usually make themselves evident within a minute or so.

That wasn't the case with the cards Courtney's Boys opened here. Yes, there was plenty of goodness, including Master Apothecary, Upheaval, Fledgling Dragon, and Mirari. But the presence of Psychatog and Balshan Collaborator meant that blue/black had to be given serious consideration, and the lack of decent green two-drops meant the green deck would never be as aggressive as they'd like.

They laid out all five colors by mana cost to see which ones would cover each others' weaknesses. They started by making a black deck that splashed a few blue cards and a red/green deck full of fatties and burn. Because their white was very defensive (Apothecary, Teroh's Faithful, Vengeful Dreams, and the like), they knew green and probably red wouldn't work with the white. So white got the rest of the blue cards.

Bob, who was working on the red/green deck, wasn't happy with it, so Gary suggested pairing the red with black and giving the blue threshold-enabling cards to the green deck so that it could take full advantage of the Werebear, Metamorphic Wurm, and two Springing Tigers. That plan was quickly nixed: the red/black deck had all the removal and the blue/white deck got a lot weaker once the green deck plundered the blue. Plus, the Collaborator and the 'Tog were on the bench.

The next attempt featured a red/white defensive deck that could stall the game considerably, but could only win with Beloved Chaplain, a few pingers, and a couple two-power fliers. The resulting blue/green Upheaval deck looked good to me, but they didn't like it. Had they tried moving Mirari to the spell-heavy red/white deck, they may have been happier, but that was never considered. So they ended up going back to what they originally decided.

With Mirari certainly going in the black/blue deck, they had to find more spells to make it worth it. The pair of Aether Bursts were moved from the blue/white deck, giving the Mirari six good spells to copy, which seemed like enough. And now the deck had crazy Faceless Butcher/double Gravedigger/double Burst/Mirari synergy.

Even with two Aven Cloudchasers, Reeves insisted that the blue/white deck have the Compulsion because it wanted to find Upheaval. No one could argue that.

Burning Wish was a late addition to the red/green deck due the abundance of utility sorceries in its sideboard: Earth Rift, Flash of Defiance, Venomous Vines, and Acceptable Losses being some of note. Keep Watch was put into the blue/white deck as a potential combo with Vengeful Dreams. But other that that, the decks were pretty much done.

Even though Bob worked on the red/green deck, Reeves on the blue/white, and Gary on the black/blue, they all shifted one seat when it came time to decide what to play. Gary got the red/green and Reeves the black/blue. After a few small tweaks to fit personal taste, they registered and were ready to play.

If the red/green deck doesn't run into anything too defensive, they should be able to do well. I expect a 2-0 from them with these decks.

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