How I Won $1,000 In The Limited Arena Open

Andy “Icky” Ferguson broke a dry spell and made the money at last weekend’s Limited Arena Open. He shares his journey, including the surprising common all-star that powered his Sealed deck.

Seed of Hope
Seed of Hope, illustrated by Gaboleps

After a dry spell, I was finally able to cash out some more sweet, sweet Wizards of the Coast (WotC) bucks from the Arena Open this weekend. Here are the highlights of how I made it to the money.

Day 1 Sealed: 4-0

I’m still on the fence about whether I prefer Best-of-One or Best-of-Three for Day 1 Sealed. Both have their pros and cons. I went with the Best-of-One option Saturday, and was able to pilot the following deck to a 4-0. 

View the deck on 17Lands.

It was a pretty straightforward pool, with Sword of Once and Future doing a lot of the lifting. The one consideration I had was whether to include the blue splash for Baral and Kari Zev. The deck doesn’t have many instants or sorceries, but I was happy with the choice nonetheless. If I had already used my cheap spells, Sword of Once and Future could recast them to get the First Mate Ragavan token.

Seed of Hope was very good in this deck, and I would have likely played two if I had the opportunity. Helping to dig for win conditions in Sealed is paramount. Seed of Hope was an all-star at finding Sword of Once and Future; Keruga, the Macrosage; or Invasion of Ikoria, which tutored for Keruga 100% of the time.

Check out the pool in its entirety, if you want to look at some other options.

Day 2 Draft #1: 4-0

This draft had a few interesting points, which I’ll outline below.

I love Norn’s Inquisitor, and will rarely pass one at Pack 1, Pick 1. It’s important to note that I’m passing two solid Azorius cards, as well as an Ephara’s Dispersal. This will put players to my left in blue, and I’m much more inclined to pick up other archetypes until further notice.

Pack 1, Pick 3 gives a solid direction (or potential splash) with a nice Elephant Cleric in Quintorius, Loremaster.

During Pack 1, green had looked a little open, so Ozolith, the Shattered Spire Pack 2, Pick 1 was incredibly tempting. I went with a more disciplined approach, taking a second copy of Norn’s Inquisitor, which becomes exponentially more powerful for each copy beyond the first.

Pack 2, Pick 4 Rampaging Raptor is a great signal that red is open (it always is). From here, the rest of the draft is pretty straight forward, leading to the final build.

While I normally like Shivan Branch-Burner in Boros, it was my last cut. This deck didn’t really need a finisher, and was already incredibly mana-hungry with all the Incubator tokens, transforms, and Quintorius, Loremaster activations. In addition, having two Hangar Scroungers meant that I’d be discarding almost every land I find, making it harder to cast.

View the draft log to see my pick-by-pick progress.

Day 2 Draft #2: 3-2

My second draft was a tough one, and I probably could have navigated it a bit better. I felt like I set myself up well, but it’s possible the cards I was looking for just weren’t opened.

Pack 1, Pick 1, I went with Invasion of Amonkhet, one of the best uncommons in the set.

Trying to support that first pick, I had been taking blue cards. With two Protocol Knights and a Wicked Slumber, I already was leaning towards Azorius Knights. Wheeling a Pack 1, Pick 10 Invasion of Xerex seemed perfect.

This is the pool going into Pack 3. I was able to snag some black dual lands to support the gold cards. Pack 3 was largely unexciting.

I went through a few iterations of the deck, but I believe this is the best build going into Game 1.

View my second draft deck and its draft log.

At the end of the day, I fell one win short of the top prize, yet still walked away with $1,000. I had some great matches, and made sure to learn from every loss!

Lose and Learn, Learn and Win!