Play Seer like the Champion of the Courtesan Cup

Cover Image
Chase du Pont

After months of intense competition and over thirteen store qualifiers, sorcerers gathered in Baltimore to test their skills against players from across the United States and beyond, including one who flew in from as far away as Russia! This was the community-organized Courtesan Cup and Spring Sorcery Social.

With store champions from all over the country, the event posed a daunting challenge: emerge victorious from a gauntlet of veteran players to claim the Courtesan Cup.

Christian Johnson rose to the challenge, achieving victory one match at a time, using the Seer to foresee his ultimate success. Christian graciously agreed to share with the community what makes his deck, Ragnarök, so particularly potent.

“I think what makes this deck stand out is that it's a true combo/tempo deck. Most Roots of Yggdrasil decks go for high mana and use Roots as a panic button or just a reset that they can recover from better than their opponents, whether it's through card advantage or Bedrocks. Geomancer gets card advantage through Rubble, but Roots isn't integral to its winning strategy. Ragnarök wants Roots almost every game, aiming for it around turn 5, and then uses Roots to drop a threat and restrict the opponent's mana, thus limiting their removal options."

You can view Christian's full deck list, "Ragnarök," on Sorcery TCG’s official deck-building site here.

Deck Inspiration: What inspired you to create this deck? What theme or concept behind this deck do you think makes it stand out?

Christian: I started playing Seer pretty early on. I liked control styles of play, so initially, I thought I'd like Deathspeaker or Enchantress, but neither of them felt right to me. PK (Potatoe Knight on Discord) told me to check out Zalem's Seer control list. It was cool, but it felt hard to close the game out. It was running really high-end spells like Craterize and Major Explosion so popping Roots of Yggdrasil didn't feel amazing, more like a reset button. I started messing around with the list, changing some things here.

Then PK (he's essentially the co-creator on this list; it wouldn't have been nearly as strong without his insight) built a more aggressive version with Petrosian Cavalry. After Roots, it was so strong! From there the list became like Fury Road with a Roots package, but Giantess was impossible to wake up, and the threshold was kind of wonky. Once I replaced them with Amazons the deck was really starting to shine. It has been tuned a lot since then but that's where I realized that Roots supported by an aggressive minion package was a strong concept.

Key Card Choices: Tell us about some of the key cards in your deck and why you included them. How do they synergize with your deck's strategy?

Christian: One of the things I love about the deck is how the spellbook is made up of cheap ordinary. The best cards are the lands because they allow the combo: Seer, Crossroads, Bedrock, Sinkhole, and Roots of Yggdrasil. But after that, the commons are what shine. Amazon Warriors is a beast of a threat that you can drop on turn 5 after popping Roots. It's searchable with Common Sense, it's too big to kill with most burn, and it only requires one threshold. Other Common Sense targets include Sandworm, which is not just a threat but perfect anti-Rootspider tech, and Petrosian Cavalry, which is incredible for pushing damage, establishing a threat, or working as removal. There are finishers like Vile Imp, and removal options like Bury, Firebolts, and Entangled Terrain.

Land Surveyor helps us get through our sites. I don't love blind drawing a site with Land Surveyor, but sometimes you can use it to get the site you want off the top of your atlas after you've played Crossroads. If you need more spells, you can scry a site to the top, draw a spell, and then drop Land Surveyor to get that site into hand. Entangled Terrain can lock up aggro decks for a few turns while you get your combo online. Scorched Earth works to pop your combo late; you can Scorched Earth your own Bedrocks to kill all minions and auras (looking at you, Atlantean Fate) without losing a site, so it's actually good removal as well. Angel's Egg is just a great card, and Atlas Wanderer can move your sites if the opponent tries to turn off your combo with Rift Valley or Earthquake. It's also a killer spell to move their avatar so you can close the game out.

Playstyle Tips: What's the recommended playstyle for this deck? Are there any specific strategies or combos that players should be aware of when using it?

Christian: Essentially, you want to scry your atlas and dig for Roots of Yggdrasil with the plan to pop it turns 5-8 (typically) and drop an Amazon Warriors on a forward Bedrock to push damage and close out the game while your opponent is rebuilding.

How do we accomplish this?

We mulligan hard for roots combo pieces. If your opener does not have 1) Roots of Yggdrasil 2) Sinkhole 3) Bedrock, or 4) Crossroads, ship it. If you have more than one Bedrock ship the extras. You really want to get Roots fast so that you've got the option to go aggressive or to hard reset if you're falling behind. (unless you know your matchup. Against Geo-Roots I want every Bedrock I can get my hands on)

Early game, you scry your atlas aggressively and bottom everything that isn't a combo piece unless you need the threshold THAT turn. Between your scry, mulligan, and Crossroads, you are nearly guaranteed to have Roots in hand by turn 8, but typically sooner. Until I have Roots/Sinkhole, I typically scry atlas every turn unless I know what's on top (like after a Crossroads).

Then, once I have Roots in hand, I scry my spellbook to sculpt my hand. I also often stop at 5 mana and tap my Seer for extra sites that I'll use post-Roots. You ideally want a forward Bedrock so that your Amazon Warriors can push damage immediately after Roots. Matching a Bedrock across from an opponent's is good because it means Amazon hits the turn after it's played.

There are two basic play patterns. You can either hold your minions back and prep for Roots if your opponent isn't pressuring you much, or you can use your minions like you would in Fury Road to fight for the board/damage, all while digging for Roots. If the opponent is a control deck, feel free to get aggressive and push damage, but don't overcommit because even against control you likely want to pop Roots to prevent them from hitting key mana/threshold limits.

Once you have Roots, you can play it in your backline if you aren't worried about counter-play (I.e., Sinkhole, Smokestacks, Rift Valley, Atlantean Fate). Sometimes just seeing Roots throws the opponent off and they stop playing to the board, in which case, just kill them with your minions. If you're ever behind on board, you can always pop Roots.

Protect your Roots location with Bedrocks, as Rift Valley can be problematic. Building your second row to a wall and dropping Roots in a corner with a void between it and your avatar is perfect because it's safe from Smokestacks and Rift Valley; your only weakness being their Earthquake to bring Roots off the corner or Atlantean Fate.

The ideal time to pop Roots is when you are behind on board, have at least one Bedrock in play, and have a big minion in hand (looking at you, Amazon Warriors). Or, if against DS or a Craterize list, just pop it before they hit 6-8 mana. When you pop Roots, you keep all of your mana for the turn (but not threshold), so ideally you pop Roots, play a new land close to the opponent's avatar (ideally adjacent to a forward Bedrock), and drop an Amazon Warrior on it. Then you have mana AND board advantage while you both recover from Roots. This also has the added bonus of turning off the opposing avatar because now it needs to tap and play sites every turn. They often can't deal with your minion because they are set back to 0 mana.

Popping Roots and playing a follow-up land is the greed play, though. You only do it when you have answers in your hand like Earthquake or Dispel so even if they try and stop Roots, you can still pull the combo off. Most games these days, I just play Roots and pop it the same turn so I don't lose to site interaction. The Amazon and Bedrocks are often enough to help you close the game without risk.

Sometimes it's ok to pop Roots when you're not behind on board. This is matchup-dependent. If you're against a control deck or Deathspeaker, you've got Roots, they have 5 mana, maybe a core out, and you could pop Roots and drop a minion, do it. Depriving them of that Grandmaster Wizard and making half the spells in their hand unplayable is completely worth it.

Finally, one of the best ways to recover from Roots is to recognize it early and hold your cores until post-Roots. As a result, if you're doing fine and can afford to take a Dispel, I'll sometimes draw it (rather than bottoming it and looking for a proactive play) when against a deck that I know runs lots of cores.

Popping Roots, dropping an Amazon Warrior, then following that up with walking up and Dispelling the two cores and Philosopher’s Stone your opponent held can completely devastate an opponent. Follow that up with Sinkhole their only land, and the game is yours.

Matchup Insights: How does your deck perform against popular archetypes in the game? Are there any particular matchups where it excels or struggles?

Christian: I wrote up a pretty long primer on so I'd recommend checking that out. I'll reference a few matchups of note.


The Geo Roots combo list from ANZ is a menace, but it's beatable. I'd say it's our hardest matchup, but many of their cards cost 5+ mana, which gives us an advantage if we set it up correctly. Bedrocks are the key here; aim to get 3-4 out (mirror realm). Don't sit on Roots if you have a bedrock advantage. If you have it, you should pop it. Don’t delay, as they have plenty of ways to disrupt our Roots and take over the game. The game plan is the same: get Roots, and pop it when able.

However, don't do it unless you have at least one more bedrock than they do, and ideally two more. Geomancer recovers from Roots so well that we can't afford to pop Roots with only one bedrock, or we risk drowning in their card advantage. Our fire minions are excellent in this matchup because Vile Imps and Kobolds can clear their chump blockers, allowing our fatties to deal damage. Honestly, the more I play against it, the more I think this is our hardest matchup.

Avatar of Air

The high-end AoA lists are easy enough; just go for Roots as you normally would and save a Sinkhole if you can. Always keep two Sinkholes against AoA. They destroy us by dropping Bottomless Pit post-Roots so that we can't hit them or take advantage of our tempo. Thus, you need Sinkhole or Smokestacks.

Against the Birds list by PK/Kevin, this used to be our hardest matchup. The key to winning now is to grab Smokestacks, a new addition. We lose this match when we go for Roots and don’t have Smokestacks because after we pop Roots, they just drop a Bottomless Pit and completely stall us. With Smokestacks, our game plan is back online. If you don’t get Smokestacks, consider holding Roots because if they have the Pit, you really can’t win.

They are too low to the ground, and against an experienced player, they will grab extra sites to punish us post-Roots. Instead, dig for Sinkholes to kill their defensive sites like Bottomless Pit and otherwise scry the spellbook to grab the best minions you can. Entangled Terrain/Earthquake can do work, and overall our minion quality is better, so just scry spellbook and try to out-value them with better minions.


The first time you play BM, you might lose; it’s aggro and intimidating. But after playing this matchup a lot (thanks Count and Jams!), I think it's actually one of our better matchups. Basically, the game plan is the same: dig for Roots, stall as best you can, and don’t overcommit to the board. The difference here is that BM is coming to you. It’s okay to bedrock on your first site because they are going to come up. Mulligan for Gnome Hollows and play it one site up from your avatar.

This often buys you two turns because it shuts off their aggressive Grapple Shot. Use Land Surveyor as chump blockers and feel free to drop a unicorn early to get some damage in or block, but otherwise, don’t commit too much since they are coming to you and you need 2-3 minions for post-Roots. This is because you want to attack with Amazon and still have a blocking minion. After they get to you, pop Roots and drop a warrior, then follow up with a unicorn if possible. They can’t hit you because your blockers are huge. They don’t want to play sites because they are literally on top of you and are taking 5-9 damage per turn.

Their removal is typically double threshold Disintegrate, Polymorph, or Poison Nova, so it's often useless. Count will shrink your warrior and kill it because he’s an evil genius, but it’s a very winnable matchup.


This is a favorable matchup as long as you can find Roots. If it’s one of the last three sites in your atlas, well, that’s unfortunate. Otherwise, it’s very much a favorable matchup. The major issue here is that they will want to hold cores and play them after you Roots. Pop Roots before they get 6 mana if possible, and as soon as you can if they actually get that Grandmaster Wizard off. You don’t want to die to the Jinn combo. Play Gnome Hollows on your avatar or a Root Spider under you if you're not getting your combo off and they are getting a large hand to prevent their Jinn combo. I keep Dispel in my opening hand or keep a Common Sense around to tutor Dispel if I can, so I can blow up their mana rocks after Roots if they play them out. Otherwise, it’s the same as the rest. Typically, this matchup favors us.

Watch it Played!

Golden Eagle Cards has great coverage of the Courtesan Cup Finals, complete with Christian’s commentary over the gameplay. See the deck in action and watch history be made as Christian pilots it to victory at Sorcery's largest event to date.


Congratulations to Christian for his success at the Courtesan Cup! You can find Christian’s full primer on how to play Ragnorok here, including additional match-up insights.

Have you got a deck you’ve been finding success with? We’d love to hear about it! Share your decks in the Sorcery: Contested Realm Facebook group and join the Sorcery Discord community.

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