Seal of Fire - Illustration by Christopher Moeller

Seal of Fire | Illustration by Christopher Moeller

One of the most interesting parts of Magic is its cycles, a group of cards where one appears in each color. It’s a great way to demonstrate how the color pie defines its effects. The Titan cycle from M11, which includes cards like Primeval Titan and Inferno Titan, is a fabulous example of this: by giving us five 6-mana 6/6s with similar ability sets, we really get to see how the color pie functions.

Not every cycle is as flashy as the Titans, who rank among the best creatures ever printed. Some cycles are much more innocuous, slipped into draft sets for Limited players to find. Among these are the seals, a group of powerful enchantments that help interact with the board.

So what’s the deal with seals?

What Are Seals in Magic?

Seal of Primordium - Illustration by Christopher Moeller

Seal of Primordium | Illustration by Christopher Moeller

The seals are a group of cards with a “seal of” naming structure, i.e. Seal of Fire. All the seals are mono-colored enchantments with an activated ability that lets you sacrifice them at instant speed, usually to interact with the board.

#5. Seal of Strength

Seal of Strength

Seal of Strength is a clear callback to Giant Growth, giving you +3/+3 for a single green mana. That’s a fine return on stats, but it’s a bit lackluster overall. Combat tricks are powerful because they’re a trick; your opponent blocks your 2/2 with a 3/3, not realizing their creature will die. When the trick is on the board, it’s a little less effective.

#4. Seal of Cleansing + Seal of Primordium

Seal of Cleansing and Seal of Primordium are practically the same card, so they’re ranked together. Two mana is exactly on-rate for this kind of removal spell. One benefit from these (and many Seals) is the threat of activation. If you play this on turn 2, your opponents won’t want to play their Enchantress's Presence or Aetherflux Reservoir because they know you’ll destroy it. This can buy a lot of time while they look for an answer or try to bait your interaction with a less important spell.

#3. Seal of Removal

Seal of Removal

Unsummon isn’t the strongest of Magic cards, but it’s still quite versatile. Seal of Removal is a great tempo play that can save your creature from a board wipe, spot removal, or bounce an opponent’s expensive creature for to make them waste a bunch of time and mana replaying it. It’s especially effective against equipment or aura decks that invest tons of mana into a single creature.

#2. Seal of Doom

Seal of Doom

Seal of Doom is a little expensive for a Doom Blade, but this is the seal most likely to trade up in mana, and it has the biggest impact on the board. Seal of Doom also has a pretty significant threat of activation. Who plays their Consecrated Sphinx into a face-up Doom Blade?

#1. Seal of Fire

Seal of Fire

Seal of Fire offers you a fine Shock variant. Playing this on turn one grinds a lot of strategies to a halt. Suddenly, the Llanowar Elves isn’t playable, the Goblin Guide can’t attack, and most decks relying on early creatures hit an immediate bump in the road. This isn’t terrible later in the game since it makes multi-blocks difficult, kills planeswalkers, or even takes out your opponent. Sending 2 damage anywhere for isn’t the most broken thing you can do, but it’s a solid play.

Best Seal Payoffs

One of the best seal payoffs is enchantresses. These are cards like Enchantress's Presence or Sythis, Harvest's Hand that draw you cards when you play an enchantment. These work well with the seals because they interact with the board. Blowing up an opponent’s creature with Seal of Doom is a fine one-for-one exchange, but enchantresses make it a powerful two-for-one or better.

Another great payoff is cards that let you get them from the graveyard.

Since the seals sacrifice themselves, they play well alongside Muldrotha, the Gravetide or Lurrus of the Dream-Den so you can cast them over and over. They could even work with spells like Second Sunrise or Replenish to grind your opponents out of the game.

Wrap Up

Seal of Strength - Illustration by Noah Bradley

Seal of Strength | Illustration by Noah Bradley

The seals are a cycle that captures the spirit of the color pie by “sealing” some iconic spells like Shock and Giant Growth within an enchantment, just waiting to burst out and remind your opponents why those spells are so powerful.

A cycle of cheap enchantments that send themselves to the graveyard is an exciting way to get value, and they pair nicely with strategies that want to work to use them. What’s your favorite cycle? What spells would you want to get the seal treatment? Let me know in the comments or on the Draftsim Discord!

Stay safe, and keep healthy!

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