This past weekend, Toronto hosted a major Tour Stop featuring two distinct Super Qualifiers: a thrilling Ravnica Remastered Team Sealed event and an intense Modern Super Qualifier.
The Team Sealed event was a showcase of strategic depth, culminating in a triumphant victory for Liam Kane’s team. Coming off a strong finals appearance in Montreal last week, Liam’s skills were instrumental in their success.
His effective team dynamics were evident, and I seized the chance to discuss his experiences and strategies at the event.
KYT: Liam, can you tell us about your experience teaming up with David Booker and Christophe Vaugeois, especially since you’ve had success with them in previous tournaments?
Liam: Teamed with David Booker and Christophe Vaugeois, we played together at the last Team Sealed tournament in Toronto, the Wilds of Eldraine 10k run by 401 last year, and we split the finals of that event, so we had to run it back. They’re both great players and good friends so I was really happy to do so.
After the Montreal trios with DMac where we split finals but weren’t officially champions, we decided to play this one out for the glory.
KYT: What’s your take on the play experience of Team Sealed, particularly with the Ravnica set? Did it meet your expectations in terms of gameplay and deckbuilding challenges?
Liam: Team Sealed is always a pleasure to play regardless of the set, I would’ve preferred LCI Team Sealed but I thought RVR exceeded my expectations yesterday. It was a lot of fun despite being a pretty unbalanced set overall.
The deckbuilding challenge was added difficulty from the high density of multicolour cards and the blue being extremely weak in most pools. You needed to be creative in order to build 3 decks that could each win matches. Team draft in top4 was tons of fun as well, just great formats you don’t get tons of opportunities to play.
KYT: From your experience, what would you say is the key takeaway from Team Sealed formats, and do you have any specific tips for deckbuilding in this context?
Liam: Takeaway is that Team Sealed is the best format. A tip for deckbuilding in Team Sealed is not to be afraid to split more than one colour across multiple decks. It’s not about how many colours you split; it’s about how many cards multiple decks want.
For example, I played a Bant deck while Booker played Boros and Christophe played GB, so both white and green were split. But of the green and white cards in my deck, very few of them were ones my teammates actually wanted. My white spells were defensive in nature which the Boros deck didn’t want, and I didn’t want Christophe’s green fight spells or medium creatures in my ramp/control/populate deck.
Overall just trust your teammates and don’t take it too seriously and you’ll have fun.
In the same Team Sealed competition, another notable Magic player (arguably the greatest Canadian player ever), Alexander Hayne, achieved a top 4 finish. Alongside former National Champion Marc Anderson and Alex Nikolic, their team showed impressive skill.
I spoke with Alexander to explore his thoughts on the tournament’s format and his approach to competitive play.
KYT: Alex, in your experience, what sets Team Limited apart as a skill-testing format, especially in the context of the Ravnica format with its color and guild balance?
Alexander: Team Limited is one of the most skill testing formats. This Ravnica format is kind of unbalanced, with a huge disparity between colours, guilds, and even cards because the power level in 2005 vs 2013 vs 2019 is huge.
KYT: It sounds like you had a memorable time playing with Marc Anderson. Can you share a bit about that experience?
Alexander: I had a lot of fun playing with Marc Anderson again, this time he finally broke the curse. We’ve teamed together twice before and he never performed better than an empty chair would have (if he won, both other players also won so it wouldn’t have mattered) but this time around he redeemed himself with a crucial win.
KYT: How was it teaming up with Alex Nikolic, and what impact did he have on the team’s dynamics?
Alexander: Alex Nikolic aka Chord O Calls is someone I didn’t know as well but he played well and was a chill teammate.
KYT: Can you walk us through the decision-making process in building your team’s Sealed pool?
Alexander: Our Sealed pool had a fairly obvious direction of Izzet, Boros, Golgari with red being the deepest colour, blue being the worst, and a bunch of Izzet and Golgari gold cards. We looked at Gruul and 4 colour good stuff + Izzet but decided Boros and Golgari were better.
KYT: Reflecting on the tournament, could you describe your team’s journey and the key matches that stood out?
Alexander: We lost round 1 to the team of Omar, Fournier, and Edgar but then rattled off 5 in a row to make the top 4, where we lost the team draft to Christoph, Liam, and Booker’s strong squad.
KYT: Team Sealed is a unique format with its own set of challenges and rewards. How do you approach sideboarding and deck construction in this format to gain an edge?
Alexander: Team Sealed is always fun, the challenge of slotting the decks out of a pool and diving sideboards, where there are a ton of options, is cool. And winning alongside friends is great too. I think sideboarding correctly in Team Sealed is a huge place to get edges. Of course, I also savagely outplayed my opponents, but that’s to be assumed.
As the day progressed, the strategic differences between Limited and Constructed formats, key elements of the Pro Tour, captured my attention.
Curious, I asked Alex to share his insights on the unique challenges and strategies of each format.
KYT: Alex, in your opinion, how does the skill set required for Limited, particularly drafting, compare to that of Constructed formats?
Alex: Yes. Limited gameplay is fundamental magic. I think the drafting/deckbuilding skills also are important for card evaluation, identifying synergy and key pieces etc. and you have to learn how to do things in a new environment. Versus Constructed where the games play out similarly and you can kind of just learn through memorization and pattern recognition.
Following the enlightening discussions on Limited and Constructed with Alex, the focus shifted to the Modern Super Qualifier. I caught up with the event’s winner, Pei Sheng, to delve into his Modern journey and the reasoning behind his deck choice.
Izzet Murktide – Pei Sheng Han (1st)
KYT: Pei Sheng, how long have you been playing Modern, and what drew you to Izzet Murktide?
Pei Sheng: I started with Modern around 2015/2016, back when Birthing Pod and Splinter Twin dominated. My introduction was with UR Delver. After the pandemic, I chose Izzet Murktide for its similarities to those early Modern Delver decks. It’s solid, especially with new tempo cards like Ragavan and Dragon’s Rage Channeler. But it’s not a straightforward deck; it requires careful decision-making.
KYT: That’s quite a journey with the deck. What would you say about its playstyle and how it’s evolved?
Pei Sheng: The playstyle is what makes Murktide fun. You’re constantly making crucial decisions based on matchups. I’m glad I could be part of the few who not only reached top 8 with Murktide but also won the tournament.
KYT: In terms of matchups, which ones do you find favorable or challenging for Izzet Murktide?
Pei Sheng: The deck is a bit like old Jund – most matchups start at about 50/50. Your deck build significantly influences certain matchups. For example, Ledger Shredder is great against Cascade matchups because it triggers Connive from cascade spells, allowing you to dig for counterspells. But I felt less comfortable against midrange decks with early large creatures.
KYT: Ledger Shredder seems like a key card for you. How did it perform in different matchups?
Pei Sheng: Ledger Shredder was key, especially against Cascade matchups like Rhino/Living End. It’s not just good against Cascade decks, though. It’s a solid card overall, becoming a threat as the game progresses. However, against fast decks like Domain and Burn, its slower pace can be a drawback.
KYT: Interesting insight. Moving on, how was your experience facing the Living End matchup for the first time?
Pei Sheng: It was my first time against Living End. Game 1 was tough; I couldn’t do much against early aggression. Post-sideboarding, it got easier. I realized the similarities between Living End and Temur Rhino. The sideboard strategy against both is quite similar. Understanding how to use Ledger Shredder effectively was key in making the matchup manageable.
KYT: With the tournament behind you, would you consider any changes to your list, especially the sideboard?
Pei Sheng: For now, I’m satisfied with the main deck. It’s consistent. Sideboarding is more challenging, as it needs to keep up with the evolving format. The only card I’m unsure about is Unlicensed Hearse. It’s slow but effective against Living End and Yawgmoth, so it remains in my sideboard for now.
With insights from the champions of the Toronto event fresh in our minds, we now turn our attention to the upcoming excitement on the Magic calendar.
Gear up for a magical Saturday at the F2F Tour in Vancouver, with a day dedicated to intense competition and community fun. The morning kicks off at 10:00 AM with the Modern Super Qualifier, challenging players to showcase their mastery.
As the day unfolds, join us for the Standard Qualifier+ and the Ravnica Remastered Sealed Challenge, offering diverse ways to play. With Ravnica Remastered Drafts and Commander Pods also in the mix, there’s something for every Magic enthusiast. Don’t forget to register at F2FTour.com for your spot in the action.