32: Frank Karsten’s Sealed Deck Template PLUS His NYC 9/11 Story!

Frank Karsten was inducted into the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour Hall of Fame in 2009 after putting up impressive results and contributing greatly to the Magic community. He has 3 Pro Tour top 8s and 6 Grand Prix Top 8s! He is a writer for ChannelFireball, has a PhD in stochastic operations research and game theory and is a member of the EU Grand Prix coverage team. He lives in Eindhoven Netherlands.

Click to Tweet: I got a ton of value from Frank Karsten when he shared his story on MTG Pro Tutor today! Click here: http://bit.ly/mtgprotutor-ep32

First Set

Tempest set symbolTempest

Favorite Set

Champions KamigawaKamigawa block

(because the Kamigawa block constructed was great)

Favorite Card

Gifts Ungiven

What makes Magic fun for you?

Frank loves the creative and puzzle solving outlet Magic provides as well the opportunity to travel the world and make wonderful friends.

Early Challenge

Frank had to convince his parents and teachers as a 16 year old that going to his first Pro Tour in New York City was a good idea. He successfully did this.

One year later, as a 17 year old, he was back in New York City on September 11, 2001! Thankfully he had a friend that he made through Magic that he could stay with as he waited for the airports to open again.

Level Up Moment

Grasping the concept of tempo opened Frank’s mind to a new way of playing Magic.

Tempo is using less mana than your opponent to affect the board. Killing a creature with a cheaper costing removal spell is a good tempo play.

Damage clocks also plays into tempo.

Proudest Magic Moment

Being inducted into the Magic: The Gathering Hall of Fame

Best Format

Block Constructed is a pet favorite of Frank’s but today his best format is Limited.

Current Standard Deck

Aggro decks are Frank’s go to as of late, but he started out as a control player.

Biggest Mistake Players Make

Too many players blame luck for their losses instead of considering their misplays.

Also, too many players don’t have a plan. They just make random plays.

Frank has seen so many players build their deck with terrible mana bases. It’s an easy fix. Talk to people better than you and browse the internet for good resources.

Evaluation Tips

Frank evaluates a new set once all of it has been released.

He compares new cards to similar, base line cards from previous sets to see if they are good for Limited.

Baseline: 2/2 creature for 2 mana; 3/2 or 2/3 creature for 3 mana; 4/3 or 3/4 creature for 4 mana. If stats are worse than this you should expect some kind of upside. If they fall short and don’t have upside then the card is probably not good.
Four mana or less removal spells are really good in Limited.

Cards that cost 3 mana or less and lands see the most play in Constructed.

Limited Tips

Sealed: Two color decks do better in Sealed because you will have a more consistent mana curve. A good rule of thumb is to have four 2 drops, five 3 drops, three 4 drops, three 5 drops, 8 spells and 17 lands.

Look for two colors that will get you close to this mix.

Drafting: Frank developed the first pick order list and still makes one today for each new set. It serves as a starting guide line when he’s drafting.

Beginner Draft Tip: Pick you colors early and stick with those throughout the draft.

Play Testing

Communicate with teammates. Build in time for discussion so everyone can benefit and improve.

Improvement

To get better at Magic you should expect to invest some amount of Magic. Like tennis, where you need a racket to play, you have to have cards to play at a tournament.

You can have a friend over and play online and then discuss the game so you can get better.

Active discussion is key no matter what format you are studying.

Interview Links

Channel Fireball

Draft Sim

Magic: The Gathering Online (MTGO)

Connect With Frank

Twitter: @karsten_frank

Like What You Hear?

If you like the show, head on over to iTunes and leave an honest Rating & Review.

Let me know what you like and what I can do better so I can make the show the best it can be and continue bringing you valuable content.

I read every single one and look forward to your feedback.

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