Seeded packs really changed the way that prereleases work. Being able to play your prerelease promo results in more decks having amazing rares and more games where the rares matter more than the commons and uncommons. That said, after playing four prerelease flights this weekend I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what's good in Dragon's of Tarkir Limited.
I don't want to post entire sealed pools for my flights, as deckbuilding is pretty different with seeded packs and there won't be as much value from looking at potential options, but I do think it's worth discussing the individual decks with some relevant sideboard cards.
This is my deck from my first flight, for which I selected Dromoka and opened Dromoka's Command as my seeded rare:
This deck was extremely mediocre. Without the Epic Confrontation and Dromoka's Command it would be very difficult to justify playing these colors. I came close to playing a different color combination, but this deck at least has a reasonable mana curve going for it.
I went 3-1 with this deck, losing the final round to a Sunscorch Regent that I couldn't get into Epic Confrontation range in game one, and my opponent playing Lightform on turn three into destroying me with Seismic Rupture on turn four.
Almost all of my games in this event involved clogged up boards, with a bevy of large monsters making most attacks poor. Aerie Bowmasters also did a great job of not only holding the ground, but also invalidating most fliers.
If I had any doubts that Dromoka's Command was amazing (I didn't), this event quashed them. It's not difficult at all to craft a two-for-one with this card, and it becomes much easier with playable enchantments in the mix when playing the card in Standard. I'd make sure to pick up a set of this one if you haven't already.
While playing this flight I spent some time on the Twittersphere and saw a lot of buzz about the sweet exploit deck that people were getting out of their Silumgar pool. I elected to play Silumgar for my second sealed event, but the blue cards in my pool just didn't cut the mustard. Luckily the black was absurd, featuring seeded rare Silumgar Assassin. My red was also very good, with a great selection of powerful commons.
This deck was absurd. Having two Dutiful Attendant is simply unfair. They can be used as a build-your-own-infinite-blocker or to get some free value off of your exploit creatures. I made a really huge mistake to go 3-1 with this deck which probably should've been a pretty easy 4-0.
Many of the exploit creatures are worth playing even if you just have to sacrifice them to their own ability periodically, and pools with creatures such as Dutiful Attendant that gain value from exploiting should explore taking advantage of this powerful mechanic. It also happens to be a great way to answer opposing Pacifisms.
I think I was right putting Silumgar Butcher on the sideboard for this removal-heavy deck, but I would maindeck it more often than not. It might even be right over the Marsh Hulk, which has started to look more and more like Gray Ogre the more that I play this format.
With my first pool showcasing the power of Epic Confrontation and my second having good enough red commons to pull me away from one of my seeded colors, I decided to give Atarka a go for my third sealed flight. This time I mostly stuck to the script.
Where my second deck had great synergy, this deck just had great cards. Fat creatures with Tail Slash and Epic Confrontation can just stop people from ever getting set up. I don't think that this deck had any need to splash a third color, but I didn't have a good 23rd or even 22nd spell and I kind of wanted to be an 18-land deck anyway. With Arashin Sovereign being the type of card that would outright win many of the games that I had played so far in Dragons sealed, it seemed like a reasonable splash.
I went 3-0-1 with this deck, with an intentional draw against a deck with Citadel Siege, Secure the Wastes, Dragonlord Ojutai, and Dragonlord Dromoka. It wasn't difficult to see how my opponent ended up 3-0.
While the record was technically 3-0-1, the store that I was playing at runs their prereleases such that 4-0 players earn free entry into another flight. The sum total of prize packs for two 3-0-1s is the same as one 4-0 and one 3-1, so we split the packs, my opponent conceded to me, and I played in one more flight on Sunday.
Since my best deck so far had been black-red and I hadn't opened a Kolaghan pack yet, I opted for Kolaghan as my final seeded pack. I thought it would be funny to open a good blue-black deck in this pool, but instead I ended up with a very solid red-black deck.
Filling out the last couple slots in this deck was a little tough. Seismic Rupture is pretty obscene, but I stayed away from it on account of already having double Defeat and Mardu Strike Leader being my best card by a mile. It's definitely better than a number of cards that I was playing, but I erred on the side of having it be the best card in my sideboard.
I went 3-1 with this deck, and what was immediately apparent was that Summit Prowler got a lot better. There are fewer morphs that just outclass it and it's an amazing red enabler for formidable, which makes Sabertooth Outrider just nutty. Marsh Hulk continued to suck, but I felt that this deck just wanted one more creature.
My loss was to facing down turn three Pitiless Horde followed up down the line with Temur Battle Rage in running games. That was pretty gross and made me think that maybe a black-red Battle Rage deck with Horde and Master of the Feast could be a real thing in Standard.
This format is definitely at a lower power level than Khans-Fate Reforged Limited. The transition from having a lot of great morphs that flip up for five to a lot of morphs that flip up as x/2s or that flip up for seven really slowed everything down. Having a lot of fat seems essential and removal for the few creatures who can safely attack in board stalls is crucial.
From what I've seen, the great blue-black decks are the best decks in the format, while red has the best commons. If I find myself playing any sealed PPTQs I'll be looking for Dutiful Attendant, Twin Bolt, Tail Slash, Epic Confrontation and Sabertooth Outrider as the cards that I'd be most excited to play.
There are some sealed PPTQs in Minnesota next weekend, but unfortunately I'll be working during them. While this limited format is a step down in power level, I still had a ton of fun playing it, which you may have gathered from the fact that I played 15 rounds this weekend.
Hopefully my experience helps you dive into the format, and for those battling next weekend I wish you the very best of luck!
Thanks for reading.
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter