Coerced To Compose About Compulsion

Daniel’s mad for Torment – and he goes crazy over blue’s new sifting card!

Well, I suppose it really wasn’t a coercion, so to speak, but you gotta respect alliteration!

As my avid readers know, I’m all for Torment. This expansion is the first one about which I’ve been so excited that I built decks around cards from it before it was legal. Usually, I wait around to see what’s good and incorporate the good cards into my decks. However, Torment is a great set – not because of its bombtastic rares (of which there really aren’t any), but rather because of the overall flavor and power of the set, especially with interactions among cards.

As I play more and more with Madness cards, I get a greater and greater respect for R&D. This mechanic is truly golden – not because it’s anything spectacularly creative, but because of the card interactions it evokes. For instance, I now finally”get” Wild Research! It wasn’t so great when it came out, for it was just biding its time for madness to come out. I’m working on a secret tech Wild Research deck (about which you have not read), but if I ever decide to disclose the information (read: get around to getting a deck put together), it will be in a different article.

Aside from Wild Research all of a sudden becoming a viable card, Compulsion is the best of its cycle in Torment. At first, this card didn’t seem like anything much… But now, after playing with it, I’m totally hooked. For those of you who are as yet unenlightened, allow me to enlighten you:




1U, Discard a card: Draw a card.

1U, Sacrifice Compulsion: Draw a card.

My friends, welcome to the new Fact or Fiction.

Why do people play with Opt? It’s cheap card-draw that lets you search a little deeper to find what you need. Compulsion does the same thing, only it does it all the time! But the true beauty of Compulsion is its interaction with Madness cards. With Obsessive Search in hand, Compulsion reads: 1UU, Draw two cards. Basking Rootwalla in hand, you get a card and a creature for only an investment of two mana. And, if you’re already going the blue-green route, Arrogant Wurm becomes sick.

However, by far the greatest card to combine with Compulsion is Circular Logic. Allow me:

Circular Logic



Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1 for each card in your graveyard.

Madness: U.

So with Circular Logic in hand, during the late game, Compulsion reads: 1UU, Draw a card: Counter target spell. You know that that would never see print, yet here it is.

Now, the key phrase in the above example is”late game.” Compulsion isn’t strictly a late-game card, but that’s definitely where it shines. First of all, in the deck I’m about to show you (and, I’m sure, many other decks as well), Compulsion works very well with Circular Logic in the late game. Additionally, when you have a ton of mana on the board, Compulsion lets you get rid of extra lands or useless spells in search of good cards. It also functions as a way to search for counters, should you be left with none in hand. Finally, you might actually find yourself using its second ability to search desperately for an answer or to get a card in hand to fuel a second Compulsion (which are never bad to draw, as you can discard them to the first copy or play them for later use).

I said that Compulsion is the new Fact or Fiction, and I wholeheartedly stand by that as long as we’re talking late game in the right deck. But for fear of decking oneself or a dislike of discarding cards, I feel that many will probably ignore this card and stick with traditional card-drawing methods. However, to address both of those concerns, I offer an extremely fun deck that may not be Tier 1, but it’s not strictly casual either. Let me give you the decklist, and then I’ll explain further:

Compulsive Control v1.2 (Designed by Matt Eddleman)

4x Counterspell

4x Circular Logic

4x Absorb

4x Sleight of Hand

4x Compulsion

4x Fact or Fiction

4x Dwell on the Past

3x Temporal Spring

3x Wrath of God

2x Serra Angel

4x Adarkar Wastes

4x Coastal Tower

4x Skycloud Expanse

4x Yavimaya Coast

4x Elfhame Palace

1x Treva’s Ruins

3x Island

Now, I have to give Matt Eddleman (who you’ve heard me mention before) full credit for this deck. When he first saw Dwell on the Past (a new version of Gaea’s Blessing), he was hooked. I liked it, but I wasn’t convinced that it was as good as Matt said it was. Then I played against this deck.

Dwell on the Past is a sorcery for G that lets you shuffle up to four target cards from any player’s graveyard into that player’s library. I guarantee you that this card is insane in this deck. There are twelve counterspells in the deck… But if, every time you cast Dwell on the Past, you put a previous Dwell on the Past and one answer card (like Wrath of God or Serra Angel), you get two more counters. Not only does this let you reuse your counters, but it also increases your counterspells to other card ratio, especially as you discard chaff from your deck.

So here’s the basic scenario: You start by filling your graveyard with Sleight of Hand, Fact or Fiction, and counterspells. You Wrath threats away and Spring/Counter permanents that are hard to deal with. Once you get Compulsion out (and after Fact or Fiction proves how broken it is, especially in this deck), Circular Logic becomes your best friend. Dwell on the Past lets you perpetually out-counter other control decks (unless they somehow manage to counter all four Dwells – for if even one gets through, all countered copies can be shuffled back). Eventually, you win either by Serra beats or simply decking your opponent by drawing infinite cards.

Now, I’ve had some problems against beatdown decks, and aggro-control is probably this deck’s toughest matchup, but I guarantee you that if you get this deck to work, you will have so much fun. Just to see the look on your opponent’s face when you cast Dwell on the Past to get another Dwell and three Absorbs is priceless. Additionally, casting Dwell on the Past on your opponent makes Serra Angel vs. Mystic Enforcer a much better-sounding deal in the early- to mid-game.

As far as sideboarding goes, I haven’t taken this deck to a tournament, so I don’t have a ‘board put together… But you have all the options of white, blue, and green, which is a huge variety. Gainsay, Kavu Chameleon, and Sacred Ground are all viable options against control, as Hibernation, Worship, and Bind (hey, it’s a green card that stops Deed) are options against more aggressive decks.

Overall, this deck is a blast to play, especially with the broken Compulsion shuffling useless cards into your library while Dwell on the Past progressively makes every card in your deck worthwhile and inexhaustible. I suggest that if nothing else, you pop this sucker into Apprentice or Magic Online and give it a whirl. I’m sure you’ll be compelled to play it more than once.

Okay, okay, with that terrible pun, I’d better depart for this week. Until next time!

Daniel Crane

[email protected]

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