I rarely play Teams. Most tournaments I attend run Teams at the same time as my favorite category other than T2-2P, Booster Draft, so I rarely have the chance. In the last 3 years after 2012 Nationals, when the esteemed Matt Brinkman and I ran a pair of 154-card monstrosities to capture 3rd place, I believe I played the category twice in tournaments: 2013 MW Regionals and 2014 Nationals, with little success in either. I was also not originally planning to play this year, but when my brother Justin decided that his success in the previous two days would suffice and he could step in as judge, I ended up teaming up with his planned partner, Martin Miller. Which is something like the Redemption equivalent of Venus Williams coming to you and saying that she will not be participating in a doubles tournament, so you can go ahead and team up with Serena.
After using the same deck for Type 2 2-player at Nationals 2013 (1st place) and 2014 (2nd place) I figured I would find something new for the 2014-2015 season.
I had a chance to sit down and talk with Friday’s Type A winner from Nationals, Forest Isbell. I’ll share his comments below and then follow with his deck list.
During Day 2 of Nationals 2015, I judged both the T1-2P and T2-2P categories. As the ‘main event’ each year, I decided to interview those who made the Top Cut and get their thoughts on the state of the meta in this game. Top Cut was determined after 7 rounds of Swiss-style gaming, with the top 8 players moving on to a single-elimination bracket (with a third place game added) to determine an overall winner.
After their matches, I asked them each the same questions, and here were their responses.
At 2015 Nationals, I ended up winning the Sealed Deck category with a slightly unconventional deck (relied on defense and lasting to end-game for a close win). I ended up with a 6-0 record, but only a +8 Lost Soul differential (won 2 games 5-3 and 4 games 5-4). As such, I could not afford to make a single mistake, and I was going to have to do so against the top player left in each round, who I could not rely upon to make mistakes either. After a lot of thought, I put together a list of things that I would say to players wondering how to avoid mistakes in Sealed, though a lot of this applies to constructed categories as well.