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CardShark Content - Matthew Sablan (10/26/2004)

First and foremost, this is, again, an article for beginners to the realm of team Magic. What I hope to accomplish in this article is to explain the two team limited formats. That is, namely team sealed and team Rochester Draft. After I give you guys a basic overview of what these formats are, I’m going to go into some precursory advice on the team format. This particular article is going to ignore Team Rochester Drafting, as I think Team Sealed formats are slightly more important to focus on. After all, if you don’t win your sealed games, you don’t get to draft.

Before we begin, I suggest you get a copy of the Comprehensive Magic Rules and the DCI Floor Rules. Everyone have your textbooks? Good, then we can start the boring part of the lecture. First, and foremost, to make sure you’re in the right class, I’m going to be discussing Team Sealed tournaments, where the top two proceed to a Rochester Draft. If you do not know what a Rochester Draft is, sit easy and I’ll discuss that, in extreme brevity, when we reach that point of the team tournament.

First, we’ll just be dealing with sanctioned sealed matches here. So Emperor Formats and the like are out. I’m talking about three-man teams. Each three-man team needs a team name, each player’s DCI number, and a place of team origin. If you have any sponsors, you’ll need to state who they are as well. No two teams can share the same name, but you can be sponsored by and come from the same areas.

Next, each player on your team is going to need a letter designation- either A, B or C. You can change this letter designation for each tournament, but when you enter you have to pick your letters. These letters stick to you for that tournament. This letter determines who you play on the opposing team and, if you make it to the Rochester Draft, what order you’ll be picking. Lots of different thought strategies can go into picking each player’s letters. But, for the sake of argument, let’s just go alphabetical by first name with our imaginary teams: Adam, Bob, and Carl and the second team, Amy, Betty, Cindy.

Before you get to play or Rochester Draft, you get to do something even more entertaining. You have to build your three sealed decks. Between your team, you’ll end up with two starter packs from the large expansion and four booster packs, divided somehow between the remaining expansions. Build for yourselves three forty card decks, using the cards you open and any amount of basic lands. Done with that? Good. Now look at your left over cards, these are your team’s sideboard cards. Now you get to divie them up among the three of you. You each have your own personal sideboard, and you never get to dip into your teammate’s cards. Kiss good-bye to Rend Spirit
Rend Spirit
Rend SpiritSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Stephen Tappin
Destroy target Spirit.
if Bob’s got it in his sideboard, because you’ll never get it (though why isn’t it in Bob’s maindeck is beyond me!)

Follow the same logic for building a single person’s sealed deck. Use your strongest cards, but keep the strength evenly divided among all three players. There’s five colors and three of you, I’m sure you can find out some way to share. You’ve got a limited time to build these decks (usually around half an hour to forty-five minutes) so don’t try and over-analyze. As you get better, you’ll be able to, as they say, just do it. The advice I’ve been given is to divide up the colors two to a person, with one person either dipping into three, or taking the strongest single one and dipping into a weaker secondary color. Find out what works with your team and your card pool, and you’ll be steps ahead of most of the other amateurs.

Now onto the actual “playing” a match. If our two imaginary teams were to play each other, Adam would play Amy, Bob would play Betty and Carl would play Cindy. Then you play your games and wish the best for your teammates. I could get into the very complicated matter of explaining tie-breakers, timing and the like, but keep this simple idea in mind: “win your game.” If Adam and Carl lose, oh well. You need to win. Don’t talk to them, focus on your opponent’s deck.

Now that we’re done with the basics, let me go into a few pointers for team Magic. First of all, work with a team who’s play styles complement each other. No reason to have two burn-fiends on the same team who will compete for the good red. People who like big, shiny creatures should also try to stay away from like minded fellows in the sealed team format. There’s only so many dragons to go around kids!

You have more fewer cards to pull from, about one whole entry (three of you means there would be three starters if you weren’t a team.) Therefore, you need to become creative with your cards. Removal and evasion are, as always, at a premium. I would suggest you find a color you have that is deep in both (perhaps Black and Blue) and use that as your split color.

Running a three color deck is, I feel, a generally bad idea. You’ll usually want to either splash situational cards or powerhouses. Why should your W/G player splash a Yamabushi’s Flame? Wouldn’t it help your R/U player more? If you have the mana base, acceleration and ability to run a three color deck, by all means do so. But remember, simplicity is the key in a Sealed Deck environment. There’s a reason R/G beats is a powerhouse, because it is good.

Also, probably the most important thing to running in a team game is to remember you’re a team. So you’ll have to decide how to split the card pool and the reward at the end of the event. Let’s not have any hurt feelings and the like, it is a game, and we are here to have fun. So, until later, with your powers combined, may you win some cool swag.

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