Ask Ken, 04/16/2004

I noticed your plea for short Constructed questions, and I just wanted to ask you: If you had to update a Three Deuce decklist for Type 1.5, what would it look like?

Welcome back to another edition of Ask Ken. I’m your host, Ken Krouner. I think we all learned a valuable lesson on Wednesday: Even people who seem to know everything can make mistakes. That’s right, the several thousand letters I received pointing me in the direction of Duplicant as an obvious answer to Darksteel Colossus sure made me feel silly. However, I don’t agree that cards like Barter in Blood and Death Cloud are effective answers to this card. As I pointed out, the deck runs cards like Vine Trellis and Solemn Simulacrum that makes these cards sub optimal. But enough dwelling on my mistakes, it’s time for a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter comes to us from Kaleb Mullin. Kaleb writes:

Kartin’ Ken,

I notice your plea for short Constructed questions.  I should mention at this point I am one of those 1.5 freaks.

Question 1:

If you had to update a three deuce deck list what would it look like?

Question 2:

Would the following belong (and what would they replace)?


Wooded Foothills


Living Wish

Optional bonus question: (worth 10 points extra credit)

What other decks do you like for 1.5?

With many thanks for letting me on your talk show,


P.S. I know there are discussion boards for this kind of thing, but that isn’t really a substitute for a definitive answer from The Source, now is it?

Thanks for the e-mail, Kaleb. There was a time when 1.5 was my favorite format. Sadly, as there isn’t much support for this format, I haven’t had a chance to play it in a while. What I can speak on is the power of Three-Duece. This deck was a great go-to deck in Extended, as it had a little something for every deck out there. If I had to build it today in 1.5 it would look like this:

4 Lightning Bolt

2 Swords to Plowshares

4 Kird Ape

4 Wild Mongrel

4 Mogg Fanatic

3 Troll Ascetic

3 Exalted Angel

4 Rancor

4 Cursed Scroll

4 Tithe

2 Seal of Cleansing

4 Wooded Foothills

1 Windswept Heath

2 Treetop Village

4 Savannah

3 Taiga

4 Plateau

4 Wasteland


4 Dwarven Blastminer

2 Seal of Cleansing

1 Swords to Plowshares

4 Pyroblast

4 Armadillo Cloak

The main deck and sideboard could be tinkered with for your specific metagame, but creating this deck has actually made me want to play 1.5 again! I love many of the cards in this deck and the first competitive deck I ever played involved Kird Ape, so I am truly glad to see him making my list.

If I were to build a version with Skullclamp it would look more like this:

4 Mogg Fanatic

4 Jackal Pup

4 Savannah Lion

2 Dwarven Blastminer

2 Crimson Acolyte

3 Exalted Angel

4 Lightning Bolt

2 Swords to Plowshares

2 Seal of Cleansing

4 Tithe

3 Rancor

4 Skullclamp

4 Wooded Foothills

1 Windswept Heath

2 Treetop Village

4 Savannah

3 Taiga

4 Plateau

4 Wasteland


2 Dwarven Blastminer

2 Seal of Cleansing

2 Swords to Plowshares

4 Pyroblast

1 Exalted Angel

4 Armadillo Cloak

As I don’t have time to test, I can’t tell you which is the better deck, but I encourage you to try them out and let me know. I would avoid using a card like Living Wish in either deck. While they are both aggro-control decks, they have a low curve and want to use all their resources as they draw them. These decks aren’t much for setup.

On a more serious note, the deck I like the best is this one:

4 Crookshank Kobold

4 Kobolds of the Kerr Keep

4 Crimson Kobolds

4 Ornithopter

4 Auriok Steelshaper

4 Genesis Chamber

4 Skullclamp

4 Carnival of Souls

3 Consume Spirit

4 Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrublands[/author]

4 Caves of Koilos

4 City of Traitors

4 Gemstone Mine

1 Phyrexian Tower

3 Flooded Strand

3 Polluted Delta

1 Plains

1 Swamp


1 Island

2 Brain Freeze

4 Peacekeeper

3 Perish

4 Chill

1 Juzam Dzinn (hey, it is 1.5)

And those are my thoughts on 1.5.

The source on every format under the sun,


That’s gonna do it for this week. I’d like to thank my Thursday guest star Osyp for filling my rather large shoes (that’s right, ladies). Join us Monday, when I explore where the line is between being a rules lawyer and being a competitor. G’night Everybody!

[email protected]


Hello everyone, it’s Osyp here to help pick up the slack for my good friend KK. When Ken asked me to take over his column for a day, I figured that since it was a blatant take off of my old Ask Joe Black column, I might as well help him out. This was difficult for me, as Ken actually answers”real” questions for some reason, so I was forced to actually read through several emails in order to find one I thought was interesting. Needless to say, I was surprised when I stumbled across this little gem from everyone’s favorite German Juggernaut.

Hey Ken,

I just read the one with”living from PT money.” I didn’t reply in the message board thread, as it’s probably better kids think they can’t make a living off of Magic. But do you realize that I easily lived only off of PT money and saved quite a bit over the past few years? What you probably forgot in your math was the fact that I didn’t have to pay for my flight and hotels the last three years, that helps?:)



Dear Kai,

Oh you loveable tramp. Tomi Walamies once told me that the German sense of humor is a lot like the American judicial system, you laugh at it but for all the wrong reasons. Kai makes a good point though, if kids really knew how easy it was to make a living off of Magic, it would probably cause many kids to drop out of school and pursue the dream. You’d be surprised to here some of the lucrative careers some Pro Magic players have turned their backs on in order to do what they love most.

Frank Karsten: One of the Netherlands top Pros, Frank used to be a professional model, appearing on the cover of over seventeen Hardy Boys novels, including their best selling”The Treasure of the Pirate’s Ghost.” Modeling became too hectic for Frank however, and he gave it up to pursue a career in Magic full time.

Brian Kibler: Everyone’s favorite dragonmaster gave up his one-man broadway show”Everything’s coming up Kibler: My Life Story” so that he could focus all of his attention on the game.

Eric Froehlich: Eric gave up his job as assistant drive through manager at McDonalds in order to hone his skills at Magic and become the best he can be.

Sadly, Eric was forced to return to his job at McDonald’s after several disappointing finishes. Oh well, two out of three ain’t bad.


Osyp”Joe Black” Lebedowicz

Tune in tomorrow as Ken”Ankles” Krouner returns to discuss 1.5, the format, not his rating on Hot or Not.


Wow, you keep comin’ back for more, don’t you? I’m your host, Ken Krouner. I took some heat yesterday for my jab at Rob and Darwin. I assure you it was all in good fun, but there is a good explanation why it was in there. I’m petty! I know you’d like me to sit here and run down all my faults, but this column is only supposed to be one page long, so with that in mind, I am gonna answer a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter comes to us from Dave Headley. Dave writes:

This is the first time I have sent an email asking a question because I can usually find an answer somewhere in the forums, however I have been unable to this time. I plan on taking Cemetery to Regionals however I have been having problems against a certain deck – Tooth and Nail – how on earth does one get rid of a Darksteel Colossus? I know there is Altar’s Light, but surely there is something else that would avoid having to add in plains to the deck. Well if you have any suggestions or anything of the sort email me back or make an interesting article about it on StarCity, since I am sure other people playing BG are having similar problems.


Well Dave, I have noticed two problems right off the bat. First of all, you are playing B/G Cemetery! Second of all, you are approaching the problem incorrectly. The entire point of Darksteel Colossus being in that deck is that you can’t deal with him. The only real way of dealing with a card like that is to stop it from ever hitting play. Since you aren’t going to be able to add counterspells any easier than you could add White, I think discard is your best option, with land destruction coming in second. While Green and Black are the second-best colors at destroying land, they don’t really compare to Red. Cards like Chittering Rats, Ravenous Rats, Chain of Smog, Unburden, and/or Pulse of the Dross may be your best hope at preventing this guy from being in your hair.

Keep in mind I have not tested this matchup or even this deck. I am imparting knowledge here based only on theory, but I can tell you this much. If this method doesn’t work, and you expect to see a significant amount of Tooth and Nail decks, I recommend a different choice for Regionals.

The source for Constructed theory,


Remember kids, no matter how versatile you think your rogue deck is, it will always have problem cards and problem decks. For instance, Black/Green Cemetery will have problems with decks like Affinity, Goblins, Tooth and Nail, Mono-White control, and Slide. So be careful when bringing them to a tournament like Regionals, as you might just face one of those decks. Join us tomorrow when a special guest columnist will answer one of your burning questions! G’night Everybody!

[email protected]


We’re always hard at work here at Ask Ken to bring you the answers to the tough questions like,”Is it true that after asking multiple times for an apology, you never heard from Rob or Darwin after actually writing it?” Yes this is true, but no one actually sent that in, so I think it is time for a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter comes to us from Jason Choi. Jason writes:

I have a question. Last pack in a MMD draft I’m playing Black and Green. I open my Darksteel pack to find an Essence Drain, Echoing Courage, and Pristine Angel. Should I take the Pristine Angel in the goal to”hate draft” or take something else? (keep in mind I’m not rare drafting)


Well Jason, thanks for the e-mail. If you are familiar with my body of work, it is likely that you know how much I hate hate-drafting and why. As a little refresher course, you add less value to your chances in a draft by hate-drafting than taking a card for you deck and sometimes for your sideboard.

That being said, there is an exception to this rule of no hate-drafting. Of course, when this rule comes into play, it is technically no longer hate-drafting. Every so often, a card comes around that is so powerful that taking it isn’t technically hate-drafting, since you will be playing the card. I believe Pristine Angel to be one of those cards. Essence Drain is awesome and Echoing Courage is good, but neither will outright win you the game the way the Angel will.

It is somewhat hard to actually judge without seeing the cards you had drafted so far, but my gut tells me you should not only draft the Angel, but also play it.

The source for advanced draft strategy,


Thanks for tuning in again. Join us tomorrow when I tackle a specific problem for a specific deck, who says I can’t get into detail? G’night everybody!

[email protected]


It’s a brand new week here at Ask Ken, and we sure are glad you decided to join us again. I’m your host, Ken Krouner. As much as we like to change things up here, one thing that remains constant is answering a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter comes to us from Michael Jacob. Michael writes:

Type Two looks pretty bland to me. It seems to me that all the best decks at the moment are from a single block and maybe a foursome of cards.

Goblins – Onslaught block with skullclamp

Affinity – Mirrodin block with naturalize (optional)

Astral Slide – Onslaught block + wrath/(matrix optional)

Tooth and Nail – Mirrodin Block + Akroma (urzas are optional)

Is this block vs block metagame because of the overall weakness of 8th and legions to constructed play, or is it because both block’s mechanics require over half your deck devoted to them to get any appreciable affect? (Affinity needs a lot of artifacts, goblins need twenty others to be playable, rift/slide needs 20+ cyclers, clamp needs a ton of cheap creatures). Is it both?

Is there a new deck out there that takes the best card from all the available sets and meshes them together?

Thanks for the letter Michael and thanks for having two first names, you are part of a rare breed that can change their name at a moment’s notice with a mere comma.

I think you hit the nail on the head. The blocks created such powerful synergy with their mechanics that it is difficult to build an effective deck without devoting all your resources to making the deck work. In formats where abilities are this powerful, synergies will always be more powerful than a deck of all the most powerful cards in the set.

This holds true for Limited too. That is why a devoted Cleric deck (Onslaught Block) or Affinity deck (Mirrodin Block) could easily handle a deck full of bomb rares.

The source for defining formats,


Thanks for hangin’ with me for another day. Join us tomorrow when I delve into an interesting pick in Darksteel. G’night Everybody!

[email protected]