“Broken Or No?”: Ninth Place, GenCon 2003 Type I Championships

In Sweden, Type I is very popular (as is Magic overall). We have two sanctioned Type I events each week in the city I live in; last year’s biggest event had an attendance of about a hundred and thirty, and the largest this year was about a hundred players. Those were both our unofficial Nationals for Type I. So I was well-prepared for GenCon, even though it presented a whole new metagame…

(Note: One evening, I got an e-mail from a certain Swede, recalling threats made in my last column and directed at the Swedish Type I community. It read:”Hi, Finally because of some pressure from my homies, and some talks about Noble Panther. :)”

(Instead of integrating this piece into one of my own columns, as was originally intended, I took the liberty of fixing a fellow non-American’s English and forwarding the piece directly to The Ferrett, who provided the final edits. Incidentally, my initial forecast on Form of the Dragon was off: I thought no one would need a trick enchantment to fetch with Academy Rector with Yawgmoth’s Bargain in print, but it proved to be quite a lock against Suicide Black and its lack of direct damage.- Oscar Tan)

This report actually starts off from well before GenCon. My name is Kenny Öberg, I live in Sweden, and I have a love of Type I.

I learned that there would be two Worlds Masters Qualifiers for the Type I Championships in Denmark and Norway with a tempting first prize:”A paid trip to GenCon.” A couple of Swedes and I decided to go for them.

To make a long story short, we dominated the Top 8s. In Denmark, in Aarhus, we took four out of the Top 5 spots. We were mostly playing GATr and Stax, but one played a Mask hybrid. (I lost in the semifinals. The winner faced a concession in the finals from another Swede because he couldn’t go to GenCon.) In Norway, we took six places in the Top 8… And this time, I finally got the trip by splitting in the finals with yet another Swede.

You see, in Sweden, Type I is very popular (as is Magic overall). We have two sanctioned Type I events each week in the city I live in; last year’s biggest event had an attendance of about a hundred and thirty, and the largest this year was about a hundred players. Those were both our unofficial Nationals for Type I.

GenCon presented a whole new metagame, and the dust hadn’t settled down from the restriction of Gush. Aggro was not an option: That much was clear. After testing a lot of different decks every day until GenCon, it came down to either Stax, Rector Trix, or a Metagamed U/B/g Control deck. I felt the potential of being able to go broken early on in the game was increasingly important, so my own design of the control deck got cut. Stax plays a Prison-control style, but I prefer to be able to say”No” to an opposing key spell.

In the end, Rector Tendrils felt like it had a whole lot of potential:

Rector Tendrils, Kenny Öberg, Ninth Place, GenCon Type I Championships

Blue (15)

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

1 Timetwister

1 Mystical Tutor

4 Brainstorm

3 Impulse

4 Force of Will

Black (14)

1 Necropotence

1 Yawgmoth’s Bargain

3 Duress

4 Cabal Therapy

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

2 Tendrils of Agony

White (4)

4 Academy Rector

Mana (27)

4 Dark Ritual

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Emerald

1 Sol Ring

1 Lotus Petal

1 Mana Crypt

1 Mana Vault

3 Gemstone Mine

4 Polluted Delta

1 Flooded Strand

3 Underground Sea

2 Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrubland[/author]

Sideboard (15)

1 Balance

3 Phyrexian Negator

3 Seal of Cleansing

3 Orim´s Chant

1 Form of the Dragon

2 Blue Elemental Blast

1 Mind Twist

1 Island

As the format tilted tiwards the conclusion that”going off” was important, it also became important to stop that. Thus, I couldn’t leave Force of Will out even though I ran a lower blue card count due to Tendrils of Agony.

One of the deck’s biggest strengths is that you never give your opponent any new hands with the Rector-based combo, and you want to manipulate your deck with as small interaction as possible from you opponent. Draw Sevens destroy that, and I ran only Timetwister. I also chose to run a lower land count, but added Impulses for manipulation to minimize my chances of getting flooded.

A hundred and eighty-three players competed at the first World Championships of Type I, and there would be eight rounds of Swiss.

Round One: Travis E Lee

I lost my first-round score sheet, so I don’t remember any good details about this match. Hope I don´t mix these games up.

Game One

I opened up with Duress followed by Cabal Therapy, taking down a Meddling Mage. I sealed the game with a Rector Tinkering up a Bargain.

Game Two

Hard to remember this game, but I won when he failed to get a second colored mana source in his second turn, getting only Wastelands and such.

The first round went by quickly. I went out to look at the field. There was lots of Keeper, Sligh, and a few of Control/Combo decks. It looked like a very healthy metagame


Round 2: Ward N Allen (Playing Bloody Suicide)

This started out stiff with a fifteen-minute deck check, so we chatted for a bit; Allen seemed like a really nice person.

We finally got our decks back. Sadly, there were some troubles with my opponents sleeves; he had mixed up new sleeves with older ones. He got only a warning since they were randomly placed, without pattern. So we can play.

Game One

I started off with a Cabal Therapy naming Force of Will. What I saw were Wastelands and two Sinkholes. He starts his parade to destroy my mana. I got stuck at one land, then during three consecutive turns I sat with a Academy Rector and a Dark Ritual in my hand, lacking the last mana source. He played a Phyrexian Negator, then finished me off with two Lightning Bolts.

Game Two

I boarded in my Form of the Dragon, Mind Twist, Balance, and the Island.

I opened with an Underground Sea, but he played a Wasteland, a Black Lotus, and Blood Moon. I responded with a desperate Brainstorm, but didn’t find a Force of Will. I looked at my pale Mountain and played Draw-Go for some turns.

He played a Hypnotic Specter with Dark Ritual, but could not find a second black mana source. (He had a couple of fetchlands and a Badlands in play.) I had three lands in play and drew a Mox Jet; I played it and Ritualed twice to cast Form of the Dragon. Next round, I shot down the Hippie as he tried to get multiples into play. The following turn, I played a Black Lotus and Yawgmoth’s Will, refilling my hand with three Force of Wills and another blue card.

Game Three

I mulligan into total brokenness: Mana Crypt, Black Lotus, Academy Rector, Balance, land and a sixth card. He opened with just a land.

In my first turn, I forced him to discard down to two and fetched a first-turn Bargain. I was not able to find Tendrils of Agony or any Tutor, but I was able to Rector out a Form of The Dragon. Drawing eight cards each turn, shooting for five damage, and having a Moat in play is some good.


Round 3: Matthew A Decker-Maurer (Playing Mono Black Suicide)

Game One: I won the die roll, and Matthew took a mulligan. I played a land, a random Mox, two Dark Rituals, and a hard-cast Bargain, then proceeded to win my next turn. He was holding Wasteland, Swamp, Null Rod, Duress, Nantuko Shade, and a Carnophage, so in my next turn I play a huge YawgWin and a Tendrils of Agony.

Game Two

I boarded the same as against the Bloody Suicide.

We both kept our hands and he started with a turn 1 Necropotence. He kept his life high and drew carefully with his Necro. I played a fetchland and Duressed him my first turn, taking Chains of Mephistopheles. He played a Hypnotic Specter and refilled his hand. He drew no discard in the next two turns, but got an army out and attacked my mana with double-Sinkhole.

Before my last turn, he put me at one life and Necroed himself from five down to four. I was holding a Dark Ritual and a Tendrils of Agony. Unfortunately, I didn’t prove my topdecking skills, and my Black Lotus remained in my deck. On to the next game!

Game Three

I drew two lands, Black Lotus, Academy Rector, Mind Twist, Brainstorm, and two other cards, and opened with a turn 1 Rector. He Wasted my land and I played Brainstorm next turn, giving me a Will, Mox Pearl, and a Dark Ritual. He destroyed my last land and I had no plays.

He continued to play out an army of creatures, and finally my Rector was facing two Carnophages, a Negator, and a Nantuko Shade. Now, I was sitting with a Cabal Therapy in my hand, with the Will and Ritual still there, but I failed to find a mana source in five or six turns. Matthew thought about attacking for some time, since an attack would bring me down too low to make use of Bargain.

In the end, he decided to attack. I chumped the Shade and started searching for my MVP – the Form of the Dragon that he didn’t see in our second game. Since Mono Black decks have problems dealing with enchantments, he died after four turns. My only permanents were a Mox Pearl and the Form, but who needs those anyway?


Round 4 Scott R Lipp (Playing Combo-Burning Wish)

Game One: I take a mulligan, and he opts to keep. He started slow, with only a land. I dropped a Gemstone Mine, played a Dark Ritual, and then a Necropotence. It resolved; I drew ten cards.

He played a card drawing spell on his next turn; in mine, I played some artifact mana and a Timetwister, then Duressed his new hand. He revealed Regrowth, Defense Grid, Timetwister, Memory Jar, land, land, and a Mox. I took the Timetwister and drew six cards off my Necro.

Now, I stood at two life after fetching twice. He only Regrowthed his Timetwister the next turn, and passed. I played a Time Walk and only managed a twelve-point Tendrils of Agony. I drew eight more cards. I had a Mana Crypt in play while at four life, and I got hurt by my Crypt.

At one life, I had some chances to find a solution: I played two spells, then found a Mystical Tutor and a Brainstorm. I played the Mystical Tutor, getting a Dark Ritual, shuffled my library, and then I Brainstormed, holding only a Tendrils in my hand. The Ritual would net me total of five mana and be the fifth spell this turn (my opponent was at ten life from the last Tendrils) – but to my surprise, there were no Dark Rituals in my top three cards. I had put it into my graveyard. I called a judge and explained the situation, but I got a game loss.

I would have won for sure. Bitter but true. We go on to the next game.

Game Two

I boarded in the Negators and the Mind Twist.

I started with a turn 1 Negator, and the chase was on. He manipulated his deck with a Brainstorm; in my second turn, I dropped a Rector to give the Negator a buddy. He joined the beatings for two turns. My opponent resolved Time Spiral and Wheel of Fortune, but only managed to Scroll Rack for six, totally tapped out. With about seven tapped artifacts in play, he died in my next attack.

Game Three

He started with a turn 1 Duress, and I hand him a hand full of brokenness: Necropotence, Ancestral Recall, Yawgmoth´s Will, Mystical Tutor, Brainstorm, Mox Jet, and a Underground Sea. He picks the Necro. I played my Ancestral Recall, and it gave me a Black Lotus.

After considering the possibilties for a long time, I played:

Black Lotus

Mystical Tutor (for Dark Ritual)


Mox Jet

Dark Ritual (Four mana floating)

Yawgmoth’s Will

Dark Ritual, Black Lotus (Six mana)

Mystical Tutor (for Tendrils of Agony)

Ancestral Recall

Tendrils of Agony for twenty-four

I got a first-turn kill after geetting Duressed first turn.

This is Type I. Broken things happen.


Round 5 Phillip Trump

Game One: I won the die roll, but took a mulligan. My six cards included Underground Sea, Dark Ritual, and Necropotence. I drew seven cards and passed. He Wasted my land. In my next turn, played a Yawgmoth´s Will that ended with a Tendrils for twenty-two. I had no mana to play Duress or Cabal Therapy, so I thought very deeply before sideboarding.

Game Two: I asked him in a comical way what he was playing. He answered,”You can never guess what I play” – and he was right, since I had guessed wrong. But I boarded in three Negators, just because it felt right.

We both kept our hands and he went first. I took the lead with a turn 1 Negator, answered by his turn 1 Force of Will. He dropped a third mana and passed; I played a second Negator, and it resolved. He played some card manipulation and dropped another land next turn. I untap, draw, and attack, bringing him to thirteen.

End of turn, he played a Intuition and revealed what he was playing: PandeBurst! Next turn he got the combo in the graveyard and Frantic Searched, trying to get to his Replenish. The Negator brought him down to eight the next turn. Then I played Academy Rector, which got Mana Drained. He untapped, noting that he would not like to die to mana burn.

He drew, then slammed the topdecked Replenish onto the table in triumph! Sincerely, I played a Force of Will and removed my last card from my hand: Another Force. Two turns later, the Negator got him.

Close game.


Round 6 I@n S DeGraff (Goblin Sligh)

This was it. The winner here gets a safe place in the Top 8 by drawing twice in the last rounds. I@n had a friendly attitude, and told me he was playing Sligh. What followed was two games filled with an unbelievable travesty.

Game One

I won the die roll and kept my hand. I@n chose to mulligan once. I started off with a turn 1 Necro, drawing six cards. He played a first-turn Mox Ruby and two Goblins. In my next turn, I played Mox Sapphire, Brainstorm, Black Lotus, fetched a Sea, Duressed him (he revealed Siege-Gang Commander, Barbarian Ring, and a Bloodstained Mire) and I Tendrils of Agonied for ten and drew twelve cards.

What I had left in my hand was unbelievable: Mox Jet, Dark Ritual, Impulse, Brainstorm, a land, and seven totally dead cards. I discarded down to seven and passed. He untapped, attacked, and played a land. In my next turn, I played an Impulse which gave me another Impulse and among three lands. I then Brainstormed and drew Gemstone Mine, fetchland, and a Mox Pearl. I put two lands back on the top, and removed them with Necro to be able to dig even deeper with my last Impulse. When I looked at the cards, I knew that I would not win unless my opponent made a small but crucial play error. Nevertheless, you should play out the games if there is still a possibility of winning.

I took a Vampiric Tutor, search for”the” Yawgmoth´s Will, and Necro for one, going down to three. He attacked with his two 1/1s and sacrifices the Fanatic.

As expected, he didn’t forget about the Fanatic.

Game Two

I boarded in two Blue Elemental Blasts, Mind Twist, and a Balance.

In the second game, my opening hand contained land, Duress, a fetchland, Therapy, Mana Vault, Black Lotus, Brainstorm, and Impulse. I led off with some crazy deck manipulation, but my deck gave me almost nothing but mana. I played two Brainstorms that game, but it did not matter: The Impulse even put three lands on the bottom of my library, and the last Brainstorm gave me three mana producers! All my draw steps gave me mana, except for the two Blue Elemental Blasts. It took him seven turns to kill me, since I stripped two Goblin Piledrivers with the Therapy after taking a look with Duress. He beat down with two Goblin Lackeys, followed by a Raging Goblin, a Goblin Grenade, Chain Lightning, and finally two Barbarian Rings.


Round 7 Kevin N Cron (Stacker)

Here was yet another match where the winner would receive a safe spot in the Top 8.

Game One

I mulliganed away a slow hand, but at least got Brainstorm and Impulse. Kevin started with a first-turn Goblin Welder. I Brainstormed; he played a Sphere of Resistance. From here, the game was an uphill battle; I lost so much tempo, and Sphere is the key card for Stacker in this matchup. A Karn, Silver Golem hit the table and killed me in two attacks.

Game Two:

I boarded in two Blue Elemental Blasts, three Seals of Cleansing, Form of the Dragon, Mind Twist, and the Island.

He mulliganed, and I comboed in my second turn for Bargain. My life total dipped, but I didn´t find any Tutor, Tendrils, or Rector. However, I Impulsed and Brainstormed into a Form of the Dragon. I sacced my Lotus, tapped Mana Vault and Mana Crypt, and sealed the game.

Game Three

I got a good opening hand, keeping a second-turn kill with disruption backup. He mulliganed once and kept. He opened with Mox Mox, Mana Crypt, land, and a Windfall for my seven. I didn´t have a Force of Will, and my new hand had only one mana producer – a land. On top of this, he played a Welder and a Sphere of Resistance.

Broken? Definitely.

He didn´t have any threat, so in some turns the Welder went beatdown and I played topdecked lands. Soon, Academy Rector was within casting range, which would search up Form of the Dragon and save me. He found Wheel of Fortune and got the push he needed to finally finish the game.

Is this all about getting broken?


Round 8 Ketil Aukrust (Playing TnT)

Game One: I got a”normal” opening hand, and without facing any disruption I managed a turn 2 Rector for Bargain, with one black mana floating. I Bargained for full force, and played a lethal Tendrils of Agony.

Game Two

I boarded in Form, Seal of Cleansing, Mind Twist, and a Balance.

He mulliganed once, and started with a Mishra’s Workshop and a Black Lotus. He sacced it for blue mana, then played Time Walk and Juggernaut. In his extra turn, he attacked and played a land and a second Juggernaut. In return, I play Academy Rector and pass. The Juggernaut attacked into my Rector and I searched up my Form of the Dragon. Taking to the skies, I won in four turns.


I had the next best tiebreakers in the Swiss (the other one was already in the Top 8), so if someone would make it into the Top 8 with a 6-2 Record, it would be me. I didn´t know every single result that happened in the top tables, but it would require someone in a safe place being paired down and losing. I knew there were some down pairings, but the results were unknown.

But there it came… My finish was ninth! I was fine with it, since it mostly depended on good luck and bad luck, since I chose to play a combo deck. No one would come out of this field and into the Top 8 without having luck on your side the whole way.


I think that Rector-based combo decks have much potential and are more redundant than past combo decks. The core of disruption and counters makes it resilient to sideboard cards. However, it suffers the same problem as any other combo deck: Close to 50% of the deck space is used for mana, and that means a higher fizzle rate. But most of that gets overshadowed by the frequent broken starts. I have now made some changes and the tournament gave me lots of insight… But I was suprised by the surprisingly high number of play errors, even at the top tables.

Final Words

Overall it, was a very good tournament scene, and my opponents were friendly. We put in a lot of work in Sweden so as not to miss the Type I Championships. Finish ninth is not fun, but neither is it bad.

Finally, I would thank you readers for following me and hope you enjoy and love the game as much as I do.


  • Rune Horvik and Midgaard, for holding the WMQs.

  • Wizards, for putting up a bigger Type I tournament.

  • My opponents: You were fun guys to play against.

  • Starcitygames.com for coverage of the Championships; they did a great job.

  • Getting 9th place.


  • The”single” line to Badge Registration caused you to miss the whole first day of GenCon. If so, you know who you are.

  • Getting 9th Place.