Hi everyone! Wizards challenged us to test our skills in the MTG Arena decathlon. It’s a series of events that culminate in a finale where you can win a bunch of goodies, including a full set of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty and an exclusive Jace, the Mind Sculptor avatar. The first stop of the Decathlon is the first time on MTG Arena that we try out a combined Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow sealed event.
- Duration: December 18, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. PST to December 20, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. PST
- Format: Phantom Sealed: Three packs each of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and Innistrad: Crimson Vow
- Admission fees: 2,000 Gold or 400 Gems
- Ends after: 7 wins or 3 losses, whichever comes first
- Correspondence structure: Best of one matches (BO1)
|7 wins||3,000 Gold + Decathlon token|
|6 wins||3 packs|
|5 wins||2 packs|
|3 to 4 wins||1 pack|
|0-2 wins||No reward|
|Entrance reward||Arena Decathlete Sleeve|
The packs awarded during Decathlon events can come from legal sets in History, Standard, and can even include the new Alchemy: Innistrad packs:
- Alchemy: Innistrad Pack: 20%
- Standard box: 40%
- Historical scenery pack: 40%
You can participate in Decathlon events as many times as you want, but you can only get one Decathlon token for each event. You also need to get three different tokens to be able to make it to the final, so plan to play other events if you want to get your hands on some of those final prizes.
Although it is relatively cheap to participate in these events, you don’t get any currency back until you get 7 wins, which can turn into quite a bit of cash. On the flip side, if you just enjoy the sealed experience, it’s a steal compared to normal events with the caveat that you can’t keep any cards you open.
Build your seal
No matter what advice I give you, obviously the first thing you’re going to do when you open your seal is check to see if you’ve won the rare lottery. So we’ll start after you’ve gone around the victory lap in the room for your triple Mythic Rare open.
Now that you’ve settled in, the first thing I like to do is add any cards I want to actively play so that I get a better idea of how deep each suit actually is. It keeps you from thinking “my black is really great” when you actually have a lot of junk cards with a few that really stand out.
Next thing I want to look at is how much mana patch you have. This can let you know if you can use your power cards or if you should try to build a more aggressive deck.
Unless your seal is foolish, it’s usually pretty easy to remove two colors that just don’t make it. Now look at the remaining colors and make combinations of two color sets to compare which ones have the best mix of curve and power level. You can also see if any of the combinations are missing something like removal or a way to complete the game.
When comparing the two flush versions you will likely be missing a few cards, so try to fill in the gaps with single pip removal or power cards. Once you’ve made your final choice, you’re just one mana base away from ruling the table.
Tips and tricks
- Set-specific wins tend to be worse in combined formats, as cards are split between the two sets.
- Black was one of the first two colors in both sets, so it should be the first color in this event.
- Seal is slower than Draft, so you’ll have more time to draw cards and play your splashed cards.
- Evolving Wilds always makes a difference in your deck. Don’t think about it too much, just put it in.
- Think about which cards will work best with cards from the other set, for example Necroduality with all the zombies in Midnight Hunts.
- Individual exploit cards will be better than they were in VOW due to the addition of Rotten Tokens. Being able to sacrifice an accessory token instead of an actual card is a huge difference.
- While it’s tempting to try and build the Festival Crasher and Kessig Flamebreather deck, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get a sufficient combination of each with spell density to make it worth it.
Top 5 commons of each color
The traveling minister gets the nod for me as the greater white common as it changes the entire flow of the game for one mana. The accidental life gain while dealing extra damage is a huge payoff for such a small investment and should play just as well in a mixed format.
Fierce Retribution is unconditional six-mana removal while still offering the possibility of Doom Blade to an attacker. The pricey side isn’t as big a drawback in the sealed as it is in the draft, increasing it and making it a candidate for splashing.
Lunarch Veteran offers both an accessory life gain and a card benefit by returning as a flyer. He was a huge outperformer at MID and I don’t see that changing here.
Search Party Captain is not difficult to play for two or three mana offering a card advantage and a bear. This type of “free” creature plays very well in seals and improves in multiples.
Imprisoning Sigarda is a good card as long as your opponent doesn’t play an exploit or ways to take advantage of the trapped creature. While there are only half as many Exploit Packs available, there are new cards like Ecstatic Awakener that will always cheer them up. This should still be great against any non-Dimir deck.
Organ Hoarder was Midnight Hunt’s “Myth Common” and he’s going to be just as crazy alongside VOW. This is another card that I would happily add to almost any deck that can support it.
Revenge of the Drowned acts as an instant speed suppression plus a free zombie. It would be a very playable card without the 2/2 bonus, but now that the Rotten Chips can be mined it has even more value.
Flip the Switch is one of the best limited tempo counters we’ve seen in quite some time. Even late in the game it’s never completely dead because you still get that zombie.
Falcon Abomination provides an evasive creature with an additional body on the ground for the low cost of three mana. This can lead to great starts like Olivia’s Midnight Ambush round 2, Hawk Abomination round 3, Skaab depot round 4 sacks your free zombie to collect Midnight Ambush from Olivia.
Syncope may seem controversial here, but you have to remember that the Seal is slower and more likely to revolve around whoever has the most powerful cards. Suppression is everything, and the ability to respond to anything is much stronger when you don’t have to worry about getting run over so quickly.
Dry Bleeding is the unrestricted removal spell of choice among these sets. Instant speed, hits everything, indestructibly bypasses and exiles himself in a format full of disturbance. The only downside is the difficulty in splashing it.
Diregraf Horde is a total beast that reduces seven power points while destroying your opponent’s graveyard. While there are only half of the flashback spells, there is still a lot of disruption and recurrence in VOW to hit. Diregraf Horde was responsible for an insane amount of Midnight Hunt bad beat stories.
Ecstatic Awakener might be a little worse than it was in MID with less Rotten Tokens floating around, but still plays great with some of the VOW exploit fodder like Doomed Dissenter and Wretched Throng.
Diregraf Scavenger is just a miniature of Diregraf Horde, which means it’s still a great card and losing life with Death Touch can make life miserable for your opponent.
Defenestrate and Eaten Alive sort of lump together as a great removal with one downside. They are still very good and will still make your deck if you play black, but the downsides are real.
Abrasion is just a great, effective removal spell that covers up troublesome artifacts. It’s always been great in limited and I don’t see that changing here.
Flame-Blessed Bolt could be even better with MID in the mix with even more disturbing creatures floating around. There are times when this card alone wins Tempo Battles, making it an easy inclusion in any red deck.
Burning the Cursed causes the flesh of the water to rise out of the water in the five red mana elimination competition. This is pretty close to hardcore removal, but unfortunately misses some of the bombs like Dreadfeast Demon.
The Falkenrath Celebrants should play better in a seal than in a draft as you have more time and less blood production which makes for a draw two. Just a great high end card that I would consider a solid splash in a game that needs card selection.
Moonrager’s Slash is still just an effective suppression spell, whether or not you can flip it at night.
Shadowbeast Sighting will actually give VOW UG self-molding cards a relevant payoff to hit. Just a strong creature that comes back for a few seconds. I think it will play better in this combo since VOW has much better green cards than MID.
The value of Weaver of Blossoms increases in Sealed as it offers an easy way to splash powerful cards. I’ll be happy to play as many of these as possible in any green deck.
Flourishing Hunter is easier to play in the slower sealed formats and provides a huge body with a life gain stabilizing the game thrown in the case.
Eccentric Farmer is still a great card, but goes down a bit as VOW lacks any payouts to hit. It is still an acceptable organism which almost always replaces itself.
Wolf Strike is the bite spell of the set and as long as you have decent creatures it’s almost three mana instantaneous speed suppression. Just be extra careful when playing this as a rash can be devastating.
This should be a really fun experience since it is almost a pseudo preview of this combination of sets. Hopefully this guide will give you a head start in this race for Decathlon’s first medal.
If you have any questions let me know in the comments below.
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