Bargain Banned!

I promise you an article that will scrutinize the card in and out, forward and backward, side to side. And, I will tell you that it is NOT broken; that it is a fair and fun card. Also, I will give you a decklist using this card that wins against 70% of the metagame 90%…

I promise you an article that will scrutinize the card Yawgmoth’s Bargain in and out, forward and backward, side to side. And, I will tell you that it is NOT broken; that it is a fair and fun card. Also, I will give you a decklist using this card that wins against 70% of the metagame 90% of the time.

This is all a lie.

But, it sounded nice, didn’t it?

First of all, let me say that Bargain is not banned, and it probably won’t be. If Bargain were to be banned, the DCI would have done it by now. Everyone who plans to competitively play with a Bargain deck already has all of the card that they need, so if Wizard$ of the Coa$t wanted to ban this card for monetary reasons, they would have already. But, it’s not banned because it’s not broken. Let’s take a look at this, shall we?

First of all, for those of you who don’t know, Yawgmoth’s Bargain is a better (yes, as a matter of fact, I DID say better) Necropotence. It’s a black enchantment for 4BB (but who ever casts it?) that let’s you draw a card in exchange for the most abundant resource in Magic: life … all at the speed of an instant! This card, when coupled with Skirge Familiar, Blaze/Soul Feast, Academy Rector, Yawgmoth’s Will and a few other cards spells nearly instant doom for your opponent. "Bargain deck" has become a common phrase in Type II, almost like "Moby Dick" was after the writing of the book of the same name.

So why, you ask, if this card is so powerful, is it not banned? (Wow. I didn’t know I could make sentences so complicated. At least who/whom wasn’t in there. 🙂 Well, I shall attempt to elaborate upon that.

What does Bargain need to go off? Well, it definitely needs Yawgmoth’s Bargain. In the case of Soul Feast Bargain, it also needs Skirge Familiar, Soul Feast, Radiant’s Dragoons, Exhume, Soul Feast, and Yawgmoth’s Will. (Of course, this is one version of the many of the deck, but bear with me.) My weird version of Bargain needs Bargain, Skirge Familiar, Heart of Ramos, Grim Monoliths/Voltaic Keys, Renounce, and Blaze (and a couple of Teeth (not Tooth’s!) of Ramos and Yawgmoth’s Will can’t hurt). That’s a lot of cards! Of course, with the major advantage of Academy Rector, finding Bargain is twice as easy, and with Vampiric Tutor, it’s thrice (it is a word) as easy!

So, what’s the real problem? Rector. I’ve seen Bargain cast only once, and it was when my opponent was REALLY stalling out. The Rector is used to get Bargain into play 99% of the time. Also, Rector is used in Sneak decks, and I’ve even seen it in a white deck once. Well, twice if you count the WW version of Bargain using Relentless Assault. So, what’s the solution to this problem? Ban Rector! But, I’m not here to naysay; I’m here to support. So, let’s leave the poor Rector alone … for now. 🙂

There’s another reason that Bargain isn’t broken. There are many answers. To name a few, there are: Arcane Laboratory, Disenchant, Eradicate, any form of Counterspell, Shock, Cursed Totem, Ivory Mask, and a green horde. In case you weren’t paying attention, that’s some from every color, and even an artifact! If you pulled any of these cards against a Bargain Deck, they’d have to go manual with the Skirge/Dragoons, and I hear that that’s not the most effective way to win.

But, the main reason that Bargain is not broken is the same reason that an Oath deck that I heard only vague references to (because I don’t keep up with Extended very well) wasn’t broken: you can’t just pick it up and play it.

I know my deck very well. I know pretty much what to keep and what to mulligan; I know when to cast what, and how to most effectively use all my spells to get the best performance out of them. I know my deck well, so I can get the best use out of it. Now, the Soul Feast deck has only one Yawgmoth’s Will, and my deck has only one Blaze. I went to a tournament with my Bargain deck once and came up against the one deck that I hoped beyond hope that I wouldn’t have to play: Permission. I managed to go off fourth turn with him having four lands untapped. I knew that the longer I waited, the less chance I’d have to win, so I had to try for it. I was VERY careful, and I managed to Blaze for 20 before I cast Yawgmoth’s Will. He countered with Rewind. CURSE THAT CARD! But, that’s okay. I composed myself and continued my turn. Using every card at 110% maximum utility to Blaze again for 20 THAT TURN. I bet you can guess what happened. That’s right: Rewind. Sigh. But, if I had been up against any other card, I would have won.

The point? To be good with Bargain, you have to really know your stuff. You can’t just pick it up and win. You have to know what to Tutor for, when to go off, and how to use your cards to the utmost efficiency. I mean, I’ve seen a player discard a GRIM MONOLITH to Skirge Familiar for B. ALWAYS cast Grim Monolith. He did this several times. Now, he happened to win, but he could have pulled off a MUCH easier win if he had used his cards to their utmost efficiency.

So, why is Bargain not banned? Because to create the card advantage it needs to win, it needs to get into play first, and the disruption of any of the key cards could cost victory. Also, to use Bargain to its utmost, players have to be pretty good and know the deck very well. So, we find that Bargain is not broken.

But it’s still the best deck around.

Daniel Crane
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