"I think I built my deck wrong."
That sentence can be heard coming from the mouths of players as they try to figure out what went right or wrong at any sealed deck event. And the truth is, the initial version of any deck (which is the one published and played) is not as important as the ideal build. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes eight rounds of playing to determine what that build is. You never stop learning in Magic.
As the first day of Grand Prix Philadelphia drew to a close, I had the opportunity to ask several competitors who played in feature matches throughout the day the question: Now that you've gone through the entire tournament, how would you have built your deck differently? I received a number of very interesting answers! You can reference back to the decklists in the match coverage as necessary.
Zvi Mowshowitz: "I would have cut Glory Seeker, the Daru Encampment and Righteous Cause for a mountain, Nosy Goblin and another card. The Glory Seeker was awful—it was a 2/2 on the board and unlike morph creatures my opponents always knew what they were dealing with. I also could have used another goblin for the two Sparksmiths in the deck, since I only had them and the Taskmaster."
Ken Krouner: "The only change I would have made was to play Backslide instead of Slipstream Eel. I sided in the Slide for the Eel every single game."
Matt Linde & Brock Parker: Both of these players were generally happy with their decks, and both played off-color morphing creatures to add to their creature count. They agreed that they should have run the highest casting cost off-color morph creatures possible in order to better fuel their Erratic Explosions.
: "My deck really didn't have any ways to break through in a stalemate. I didn't have a Dirge or a Wave, but my removal spells were incredible. The only change I would have made would have been to run with the Spitting Gourna
as another late game beefy creature to go with the Barkhide Mauler
and Treespring Lorian
Dave Humpherys: "I built my deck black/red to be as aggro as possible, and everyone I showed the deck to agreed it was built as best as possible. I played every black card I had, and all but four red cards—the only red card I might have added would have been the Wave of Indifference. I thought that two Dirges would be enough to break through, but a surprising number of my opponents were playing black. I also could have played green for Wirewood Savage and Contested Cliffs—the Cliffs were especially appealing with the three Anurids. I just already had a tight mana base, and I'd need to have added two forests to the deck to run the Cliffs, plus add the Cliffs themselves. I might have made that change, but I wouldn't have been happy with my mana."
Ben Rubin: "I think I picked the right colors and mana base, I just had a couple of cards that weren't that great. Riptide Entrancer and Everglade Courier did not perform—I only had one or two other elves, so the Courier was especially bad, and I only ran five islands so I could never unmorph the Entrancer—and he always got blocked anyhow. I would have played Doom Cannon and Sage Aven instead of those two—neither is very exciting to me, but they were better."
Eric Froehlich: "I really liked my deck as it was. I think it was the right choice to run off-color morph creatures, because I had like ten other morph creatures in my deck, and my opponents never knew which ones to block."
Dave Price: "I wouldn't have changed a thing. Not a thing."
Mike Pustilnik: "I played weak white when I could have played strong blue. Every game I sided in nine blue cards and six islands. Dave Price showed me how I should have built my deck.
Dave Price's Pustilnik Build
Mike Pustilnik's retooled deck
Gab "The Juggernaut" Tsang: "I wouldn't have changed a thing."
And folks, with Gab Tsang finishing a perfect 8-0 on day one, who are we to argue?