1800 or Bust!: IBC? Don’t give me IBC!

All in all I hate Invasion block constructed, and it’s Apocalypse that’s done it.

Until recently, I’ve been totally ignoring IBC as a format. I’m not likely to go to PTQs over the next few months, and I wasn’t planning on going to GP: London either. My experience of the Invasion block was limited to the breadth of new options we have as Type II builders: Being able to build two-colour decks with a splash of a third more reliably; being able to make two-colour, non-aligned decks with the wealth of new cards Apocalypse has brought us.

Now I have a new job and I know that I’m getting paid this month, I decided to pop along to GP: London. Hell, some of my friends will be there, it gives me an excuse to head over to London for a night on the town and I get to meet – and possibly even play against – some of the best players in the world. Why wouldn’t I go?

So last week, instead of asking everyone where their latest Type II creations were, and bemoaning the lack of interest, I put together six IBC decks: Four from Kobe and two from Dallas. They were R/G, Dark Solution, U/B/R control, U/W/R aggro, U/W/G aggro control and U/W/R control.

That took a while.

Once they were built up, Tarik and I picked one each and we started playing.

After a few games, I noticed that I was always drawing and having to rely on pain lands. Okay, I was using a U/R/W, but I seemed to have to use my Shivan Reefs and Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forges[/author] all the time. I picked up another deck and started playing that only to find that I’m relying on land that come into play tapped and Yavimaya CoastsTemporal Spring can be so cruel. Finally I picked up the U/B/R control deck and had an easier time, but found myself mana screwed more often than I’d like.

Is it just me? Do these decks hate me personally? Or is it the fact that many of these decks run eight painlands and no life gain? Absorb is nice, but not if you’re using two Reefs and a Forge to cast it!

Where did all the two-colour decks go? What’s wrong with U/W? They have Rout, Absorb, Repulse, Meddling Mage, Exclude, and any number of worthy creatures. Does it really need Red or Black too? Look at G/W for a minute. Okay, no one seems to be playing it (and there must be a reason for that) but it has aggressive creatures and a stable mana base; surely that’s worth something these days. R/B gets a showing but doesn’t seem to do too well and B/U doesn’t have the mass removal a control deck really needs (unless you count Wash Out and Tsabo’s Decree) and doesn’t seem to be fast enough to make an aggressive deck.

All in all I hate Invasion block constructed, and it’s Apocalypse that’s done it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Apocalypse – it has too many good cards for me not to, but the interaction it has with Invasion and Planeshift is enough to make me scream!

It’s long been a widely-held belief that Wizards is now making decks for us, showing us the way we should be going by printing cards that work very well together in an obvious way. They’ve also made it possible for us to play pretty much any colours we like together, but will they stop there? Will they make four and five-colour decks the next phase? Will anyone EVER be able to play a mono deck again?

Bring on Odyssey. It’ll have gold cards in it (as we know Finkel’s invitational card will be in the block) but hopefully it’ll have a few more wacky artifacts and some good spells that only require one colour of mana to cast them. Remember artifacts? Remember Wildfire and Tinker? Now we see Static Orb, Tsabo’s Web, Millstones and Chimeric Idols; back then, there was a whole horde of brown cards to be scared of. Flashback and Threshold sound interesting and I can’t wait for the mandatory versions of Disenchant, Counterspell, Stone Rain, Dark Banishing, and Giant Growth that they’ll print.

I’ve actually been having more fun playing Top Deck Magic recently. Our latest version is to take a Type II deck with plenty of creatures in, take out the land, shuffle and start playing. You’d be surprised how much more quickly Fires can go off when you’re playing Saproling Bursts on turn one!

Hey ho – guess I’ll have to knuckle down and find a deck I like if I’m going to play at GP: London. It’s tempting to just go along and try to do some reporting, but R/G is calling me. It’s only two colours and you win by turning creatures sideways – sounds good to me.

I was going to build up some Type II decks this week, to give me a chance to try to build a fun deck for just before Masques rotates out, but IBC got me mad and turned me off Magic. I’d like to play a whole bunch of my favourite cards – I may even wheel out a version of Good Spells, as almost all of the spells in the deck will rotate out. We’ll see.

Cheers, Jim.

Team PhatBeats.