High Treason Against Type I

Is it just me, or has the Type One community seemed particularly irate these past few weeks? Some advocates of Type One have been whining more than my four-year-old sister when she wants cheese. What is all of the hullabaloo about, anyway? Mark Rosewater reprinting an article with a few extra blurbs? This article, however, is not really geared towards people who have their minds made up, so don’t confuse them with the facts. Instead, it is focused on the average person whose head is spinning from all of the Type One Speak. I will try to speak English to you, and in doing so, will probably annoy an entire chunk of the Type One community.

Is it just me, or has the Type One community seemed particularly irate these past few weeks? Some advocates of Type One have been whining more than my four-year-old sister when she wants cheese. What is all of the hullabaloo about, anyway? Mark Rosewater reprinting an article with a few extra blurbs? This article, however, is not really geared towards people who have their minds made up, so don’t confuse them with the facts. Instead, it is focused on the average person whose head is spinning from all of the Type One Speak. I will try to speak English to you, and in doing so, will probably annoy an entire chunk of the Type One community.

I intend to debunk a few Type One myths that are still getting spread around the message boards, namely,”Type One isn’t expensive, not really, not when you think about it….”

But first, allow me to detail my particular Type One credentials. Firstly, I have the Power cards, and I regularly play Type One. I have played at a variety of local and side Type One events, and have always done well. I have played the format for years. Additionally, for two years, I was a semi-active member of Beyond Dominia, a forum known for its Type One pedigree. I always read the posts, but sometimes I went into lurker mode. I was one of the foremost experts on the Zoo archetype until it became antiquated. For those who care about such things, I posted under the nick,”Anxiety.”

As an aside, Rakso (a.k.a. Oscar Tan) was my moderator. I’ll occasionally throw a comment in my articles every now and then as an inside joke to him. I disagree with some of the things that Rakso says, however I always have to read his stuff — because it is amazingly good. I do have a question for Rakso that I hope he’ll address in a future article —

If Wizards R&D could create a card that would completely destroy Keeper as a deck archetype, making so obsolete that it would cease to be viable, but at the same type it would create five viable new deck types, would you be for that card?

Begin Experiment:

Now, before we begin, I want to run a little experiment for all those out there who haven’t played much Type One. If this is you, I want you to load up Apprentice. Right now, if you don’t mind. Refer back to this article as you take the various steps I will outline. Create a deck named”Abe’s Random Deck”

Now, start by putting one card of each of the Power Nine in the deck. That’s the five basic Moxen, Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, and Timetwister. Also put in a Library of Alexandria, Sol Ring, Mana Vault, and Grim Monolith. This core will form the foundation of our explosive plays.

Now we have a deck with only thirteen cards in it, hardly exciting. We need win conditions, so add a Stroke of Genius, Braingeyser, and Morphling. Let’s also add a Mystical Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, and Demonic Tutor so we can find our winning conditions more easily. Now we are at nineteen cards.

I want explosiveness, so we’ll put a Wheel of Fortune in. Regrowth would be good as well. Fact or Fiction rounds out our card drawing. We want Balance for some control. We are at twenty-three cards now, so let’s toss in four Impulses and four Force of Will too. Add that Tolarian Academy sitting in the back ground, and that should bring us up to thirty-two cards. Note that Impulse is not the most common card to include, but it is decent enough search.

We need some more mana. We currently have nine Mana Sources, so we want some lands. Let’s put in four Cities of Brass. Also add four Underground Sea. For simplicity sake, we’ll also toss in two each of the other Blue dual lands. That puts us at twenty-five mana sources. We want Strip Mine for sure, so we toss that in. Total Mana Sources — 26. That’s a good Type One number.

Our card count is at forty-six. Here is our decklist so far:

Abe’s Random Deck

Mana (26):

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Mox Jet

1 Black Lotus

1 Tolarian Academy

1 Strip Mine

1 Library of Alexandria

1 Sol Ring

1 Mana Vault

1 Grim Monolith

4 City of Brass

4 Underground Sea

2 Tundra

2 Volcanic Island

2 Tropical Island

Card Drawing (6):

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Fact or Fiction

1 Braingeyser

1 Stroke of Genius

1 Wheel of Fortune

1 Timetwister

Card Finding (7):

4 Impulse

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Vampiric Tutor

Other (7):

1 Morphling

1 Balance

1 Regrowth

4 Force of Will

Now, what will round out our deck? Well, we want Mind Twist for sure. For demonstration purposes, let’s also throw in a copy of Kaervek’s Torch. We want more protection, and Blue cards, so two Misdirection make the cut. Throw in an Edict of your choice, Fire / Ice, Dismantling Blow, and a Swords to Plowshares, and that brings us to fifty-four cards.

What we have here is a particularly bad five color Type One deck. But it should serve for our purposes. Now, here is what I am going to do. I am going to close my eyes; move my mouse down the entire list of Type One cards on Apprentice, and randomly select six other cards to add to this deck. I will toss back anything that makes no sense. Like, say, Brass Herald.

Let’s start. Where will the mouse end up?

I feel like I am doing a lottery, and I have a bunch of balls flying madly about in a cage.

The first card is Battle Cry, but that makes no sense with only one creature. I spin the”wheel” again and land on Volrath’s Stronghold, everybody’s favorite Legendary Land. So, in goes a Stronghold. Hey, you can recur your Morphling.

Five cards to go. I land on Spinning Darkness, but we have like three Black cards in the entire deck. Not good enough. Likewise, Solfatara was not deemed by me to make the cut. Sol’kanar the Swamp King does, though. So, we add our second creature to the mix, and Volrath’s Stronghold doubles in power.

Two cards down. Where will the wheel stop? On the first spin we hit Browse. That’s Type One power there. So Browse is added to the mix. Three cards left, what will they be?

I land on Impulse, but we already have four of those, so no dice. I then hit Mogg Hollows, but I elect to deny any future lands unless they have abilities, a la the Stronghold. Cadaverous Bloom, though, is intriguing. We add that to the deck.

Two cards remaining, what balls will pop out of our eldritch container? Elephant Resurgence is next, and I consider it for a bit. Interesting, but I ultimately decide against it. Play it if you want though, you purist. No basic lands in the deck, so Rampant Growth would be substandard. I also deem Parapet to be meaningless with two creatures main deck. Lab Rats could prove useful though, so in it goes.

One card remaining. What could it be? I close my eyes and move my mouse around. I want something particularly wacky for that last spot, so while Baloon Peddler certainly piques my interest, I elect to go elsewhere. Fluctuator will do nothing, and is dismissed from its audition with a”Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Battle of Wits is similarly let go. Battle Squadron is not good enough either (can you tell I didn’t move the mouse very far on that one? Whoops) Tinker is too good, but way too mainstream. And then I hit it. Time Stretch. There ya go. So, here are the final fourteen cards for the deck:

Round Out Deck (8):

2 Misdirection

1 Mind Twist

1 Kaervek’s Torch

1 Swords to Plowshares

1 Fire / Ice

1 Diabolic Edict or Chainer’s Edict. I don’t care which.

1 Dismantling Blow

Random Cards (6):

Volrath’s Stronghold

Sol’kanar the Swamp King


Cadaverous Bloom

Lab Rats

Time Stretch

Now, take your sixty card deck (sixty-one if you tossed in Elephant Resurgence) and save it. Load it up and goldfish a couple of games, so you get the feel. Now, go on IRC, yell at the guy down the hall, make proxies, or whatever, and play your deck against various Type One decks.

Come back here when you are finished.

No seriously, come back later.

Yeah, you didn’t, but please do so afterwards. Because if you did make that deck, and play it, here is what you would find:

You won at least one game with Lab Rat tokens. You won at least one game with Sol’Kanar. You cast Time Stretch. You broke Cad Bloom and X Spelled your opponent to death. And so forth.

Because, Type One is the Great Equalizer of Magic. You can play any deck, and win. Anything. Zombie/Deadapult? You can get wins. ProsBloom? You can get wins. Thallid/Citanul Hierophants/Fireball deck? You can get wins. It’s like a bad Sunday of Football — Any Given Deck can beat Any Given Deck on Any Given Day.

But only if. If. If you are fully powered, that is.

Try doing this experiment with Lotus Petal and Mox Diamond and Dark Ritual and Rampant Growth instead of the power — that’s a different story.

We will come back to this example later in the article. But this is what Type One is about. This is the core of Type One.

Now, one of the most commonly rebuked phrases that Rosewater used in his once-again-infamous article was the claim that Type One is expensive. Bah, Ptah, Pshaw! Certain people in the Type One community are crying out yet again.

Except Rosewater is right.

Now, the Type One community has responded in several ways. Firstly, they challenge the expense of Type Two. Direct and indirect quotes would be along the lines of:

“A Mox Pearl costs $225 in Good Condition. A player’s set of Chrome Moxes costs $120. The Pearl is a one time cost, the Chromes will leave Type Two sooner or later”

That is a pure smokescreen, plain and simple. The $225 Mox Pearl quote is accurate as a Good condition quote. You can regularly find Moxes for less, but cheaper is typically going to mean poorer condition. But, a lot of websites, stores, and so forth sell your basic Unlimited Mox for much more. Four Chrome Moxes, at their most expensive, might cost you around $125. It’s like the Type One player is comparing a price guide’s Low price on one card to a price guide’s High price on another… and there is still a disparity. Can’t do that.

Oh yeah, and a player’s set of Chrome Moxes is four cards usable in a variety of formats. Compared to one Mox Pearl, only playable in Type One. It’s not even comparing apples and oranges — more like comparing apples and steak. Both are food, but the comparison ends there.

There is another problem with these sorts of comparisons. Here is another typical trumpet call of Type One players:

“And then you add Exalted Angels and <insert random expensive Type Two card here> and the cost goes up tremendously”

But this is another smokescreen. Sure, if you wanted a player set of, say, both Chrome Moxes and Exalted Angels, you’d spend some money. But in what deck, exactly, would you play both? You wouldn’t usually. You can, and probably would, play all of the power in one deck. In Type Two, you could likely trade, or close to it, your four Angels for four Chrome Moxes if you wanted to switch decks or something. In Type One, you want all of the power.

Remember your example from Abe’s Random Deck. A fully powered deck can have nothing else in it but Homelands cards, and it can still win games. That’s what the power gives you. Power. They wouldn’t call it the Power if is was more like a double AA battery by a generic company.

My favorite smokescreen, however, is something like the following:

“And you can play <insert mono colored deck here> in Type One without any power. And it’s competitive. But <insert expensive Type Two deck here> costs more.”

We will, for the time being, use Sligh as the cheap Type One build. Sure, Sligh can get a quick hand, jump out fast, and overrun a Type One deck packing Power. But, remember, so could Abe’s Random Deck. So, Abe’s Random Deck is technically”competitive.”

And yet, Type One players would have you believe that there are these swarms, scads even, of players playing Sligh, Suicide Black, Stompy, and so forth. And are all doing it on the cheap. Maybe there are.

However, let me ask you this: How many players out there have you seen who own the Power cards, choose not to play them? If Sligh were the best deck out there, honestly, wouldn’t players with all the Power in the world still be playing it? Unless a player is playing it for fun, or because they are bored, or because it is their secondary deck, or whatever other excuse they have. I find that very few players play Stompy or such when they have the Power to play OSE, or Keeper, or something. Simply put, Sligh might be”competitive,” but good players with Power play something else. Players with Power overwhelmingly play Power.

I think that decks like Sligh and Stompy, in Type One, are simply mindless decks traipsed out every now and then by Type One advocates so they can merely make the claim — Anybody CAN Play Type One, See This Deck Here?

In more recent formats, for a real cheap deck, we’ve had U/G madness, for example. A deck of mostly commons and uncommons that was one of the defining decks of its day, all made at roughly the price of $10. What Type One deck compares to that? Sure, a Type Two Mono White Control might cost more than a Type One Stompy deck, but comparing the least expensive Type One decks with the most expensive Type Two decks is hardly fair. If MWC is the most expensive deck in Type Two (and with Akroma’s Vengeance, Wrath of God, Decree of Justice, Eternal Dragons, and Exalted Angels, it may very well be), then let’s compare it to the most expensive deck in Type One. Obviously, that would not be in Type One’s favor.

Let’s play some hypothetical math for a second. Let us suppose, just for illustrative purposes, that you can miraculously pick up all of the Type One power cards, Mana Drains, Dual Lands, everything — for $1200. Completely hypothetically, of course, and very cheap. Now, I stay competitive in Block and Type Two decks by buying one box of each expansion when it comes out. That’s $70 per expansion, or $210 per year. Toss in another $40 for the basic set that comes out every other year. $250 a year. That means I can play Type Two for four years, for the cost of playing Type One. So yeah, after four years, maybe, Type Two can be equated to Type One. After four years. Maybe. And even then, I only get to play one Type I deck unless I make further investments.

But yet some Type One adherents would have you believe that Type One is really cheaper than Type Two. I can’t even say”Type One is cheaper than Type Two” without cracking a smile.

There are other annoying whines that are coming from the Type One community, of course. It is just that the money one is the most egregious. I know that, by writing this, I may have very well ostracized myself from the Type One players.

But the truth needed to be told.

Until Later,

Abe Sargent