Please be aware that we are in the process of updating the primer for 2023 based on feedback from 2022 and our own playtesting.

What’s Included?

Each player receives a sealed pool consisting of:

7 unique packs from among these sets

March of the Machines
Phyrexia: All is One
Brother’s War
Streets of New Capenna
Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
Strixhaven
Ikoria
Zendikar Rising
Kamigawa Neon Dynasty
Throne of Eldraine

1 pack of each

Dominaria United
Dominaria Remastered
Commander Legends
Lord of the Rings
Mystery Booster

2 packs of

Battle for Baldur’s Gate

How it works

The spirit of this event is fun and casual. We’re here to support wonderful charities and make memories. In that spirit, please participate in trading in good faith, please play with respect, and please make friends!

Most Standard Commander Rules apply, modified by the MSTR. Find them here. Exceptions are listed below:

Deck construction & trading 

  • Players are given a pool of 14 packs. Some of those packs are semi-randomized. 
  • In pods of four, players will have 75 minutes to trade amongst their card pools and construct a commander deck. Please note that while players are free to make trades amongst themselves in whatever way seems fair to them, offering another player money or outside compensation is strictly forbidden. Additionally, the event cannot guarantee any sort of trade-back agreement; players should assume that all trades are final.

Deck size 

Players will build a 100-card singleton deck consisting of 99 cards + your commander, or 98 cards + your commanders in the case of Partners/Background. A 101st card may be added in the event that your deck meets the requirement to include a companion.

Continuous construction

Continuous construction rules will be in effect for this event. Players may freely exchange cards between their deck and sideboard, provided that they continue to adhere to all other deckbuilding rules. Please note that players may only trade between sealed pools during the designated deck construction time. Players may not trade with other players to improve their deck or sealed pools in between play rounds. Doing so may result in a warning or a disqualification. Note that should you inadvertently become aware of your next round opponents’ deck(s), it is considered bad form to “pre-sideboard” for that particular matchup.

Companions, lessons, wishes 

In constructed EDH, cards that reference “cards you own from outside the game” (your sideboard) don’t function. In Commander Sealed, however, these cards function as they would in any limited event, with your unused sealed pool serving as your sideboard. Cards used from your sideboard must still adhere to the singleton rule (if there is a card with that name in your deck, you cannot get it from your sideboard), and must adhere to your commander’s color identity.

Companion is a mechanic that was introduced in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. Assuming that your deck meets all construction requirements of a given companion, this card can serve as a 101st card that begins play in your sideboard which you may pay 3 mana to put into your hand any time you could cast a sorcery.

Lessons debuted in Strixhaven. They are a card subtype that interacts with the Learn mechanic allowing you to put them into your hand from the sideboard. (e.g. Poet’s Quill and Introduction to AnnihilationSee the Comprehensive Rules for more information.

Wishes are cards or abilities that search for cards “outside the game” and put them into your hand. (e.g. Karn, the Great Creator) Their function is similar to Lessons and Learn, in that they can acquire cards from your sideboard. All of these cards function in Commander Sealed. 

Banned cards 

Like any other Limited event, if you crack it, you can play it. That means that cards that are usually banned (e.g., Braids, Cabal MinionChannelHullbreacherLutri, the SpellchaserPrimeval TitanTinker; and Upheaval) are all legal for play in Commander Sealed!

“Playtest” cards

Again, if you crack it, you may play it. Mystery Booster “Playtest” cards will be legal for this event. 

Color identity 

Each card has a color identity consisting of any mana symbols that appear anywhere on the card (except in reminder text.) For example; Alesha, Who Smiles at Death is a red creature with a Mardu (red, white, and black) color identity. All colors of a hybrid mana symbol count towards color identity. 

As in ordinary Commander, each card in your deck must adhere to your Commander’s color identity. In addition, any cards you intend to use in your “sideboard” must adhere to your Commander’s color identity (see Companions, Lessons, and Wishes above).

Singleton 

Unlike a typical sealed deck, your deck is limited to one copy of any given card regardless of how many copies of that card are in your pool. With the exception of basic lands, no two cards in the deck may have the same English name. Some cards (e.g. Dragon’s Approach) may have rules text that overrides this restriction.

Planeswalkers 

While legendary, Planeswalkers are not legendary creatures, and cannot be the commander of your deck. Certain planeswalker cards that state otherwise such as Grist, The Hunger TideJeska, Thrice Reborn; and Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools are exceptions to this rule.

Partner and background

If you choose partners to be your commanders, or a legendary creature with “Choose a background” your deck will be the combined color identity of both of your commanders, or your commander and your background. Both will begin the game in the command zone. Your deck will be 98 cards + your Commander(s)/background, rather than 99 cards + your Commander. Each player has access to up to two copies of Prismatic Piper or Faceless One, regardless of whether or not those cards show up in their sealed pool.

Starting life total

For Commander Sealed 2023, players will begin their games at 30 life instead of 40. This is a change from previous years to help games end in a timely manner.

End-of-round procedure

There are 75 minutes allotted to each game. (note: this is a 15-minute decrease to each round based on feedback we received at last year’s event.) When time is called any pods still playing will receive some sort of emblem or device to ensure the game ends speedily. In years past this device was a Havoc Festival Emblem. We are currently playtesting alternative options based on feedback we received in 2022’s event, as well as our own experiences playing and running the event.

Deckbuilding Basics, Reminders, and Tips

Land count 

You need lands. Many people start with 40 lands and subtract 1 for every 2 ramp effects in the deck. Your mana curve will also affect how many lands you’ll want to run. Most decks average around 36 lands. 

Ramp 

Creatures and artifacts that tap for mana, or spells and effects that get you more lands onto the battlefield, are a deck-building basic. Depending on your mana curve, you’ll probably want 5-15% of your deck to get you ahead on mana. 

Color fixing 

This is a function of ramp. In Limited your access to colors is much more restricted. Keep that in mind when building a deck with two or three colors. 

Card draw 

It’s important to include cards that generate card advantage; either increasing the number of cards you have access to or the quality. 10-15% is a good rule of thumb when building a deck. 

Wincons 

Games don’t end without them. We’re trying to keep games around 90 minutes, so make sure you include ways to close out the game. 

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