Mit dem Ravager Gebeatdownt! The New Face of Type 1 Aggro

Aggro waxes and wanes a lot in Type 1. It just came off one of its worst protracted periods yet, having to contend first with GroAtog and then with Long.dec. Right now, aggro is on the upswing, but there’s a big difference between the aggro decks now and the aggro decks that used to be prevalent. Part of this is that the new decks are leaner and meaner, but there are other, more subtle elements as well.

Aggro waxes and wanes a lot in Type 1. It just came off one of its worst protracted periods yet, having to contend first with GroAtog and then with Long.dec. Right now, aggro is on the upswing, but there’s a big difference between the aggro decks now and the aggro decks that used to be prevalent. Part of this is that the new decks are leaner and meaner, but there are other, more subtle elements as well.

Too Slow

Sligh decks in general that consist of some creatures, a lot of burn, and a dash of disruptive cards (such as Ankh Sligh) probably suffered the most from the recent speedup of Type 1 over the last year or two. These decks rarely killed before turn 4 and usually killed turn 5 unless they had an extremely fast hand, meaning without cards like Cursed Scroll. Between fast combo decks and control decks packing cards like Fire / Ice and Psychatog, Jackal Pup and Mogg Fanatic just don’t do enough damage fast enough to really make the burn like Price of Progress threatening.

Yes, I just said that turn 1 Jackal Pup is too slow. But seriously, think about it. It’s only a ten-turn clock. Granted, you’re really using it to bring your opponent into burn range, but like what is it supposed to do against a Basking Rootwalla (to say nothing of say, Psychatog or Phyrexian Dreadnought.)

Core Cards are No Longer Relevant

Suicide Black doesn’t have the problem that Sligh has, where its creatures don’t do enough damage. Flesh Reaver, Nantuko Shade, and company are a pretty fast kill especially when powered out by Dark Ritual. Suicide’s problem is that the disruption that it uses to try to buy enough time to kill isn’t that effective any more. It’s extremely frustrating to have a Sinkhole in hand while your opponent’s only land is a Flooded Strand. It’s even more frustrating when your Hymn to Tourach makes him discard a Pentavus, which he can now return to play with Goblin Welder. Or when he Brainstorms in response to your Duress and leaves only Deep Analysis as a possible card to discard. Or when Hymn to Tourach hits something with Madness. I think you can see where this is going.

In a way, playing Suicide Black is like playing a control deck without draw or tutoring. Everyone knows that there are no wrong threats, only wrong solutions, which is one big reason why control decks need to run so many card drawing and tutoring effects. Hymn and Sinkhole aren’t too hot on turn 4 when your opponent has already done his thing.

Not Enough Threats

While they might not be the best threats, at least Suicide and Sligh have a lot of them. With Nether Void, the count is usually between eight and twelve (typically Nantuko Shade, Phyrexian Negator, and possibly Withered Wretch.) Wretch is more of a disruptive card that happens to have a 2/2 body attached, but Negator and Shade are fine men. It’s just that it’s really easy to stop one or two creatures in a game. It requires much too much work to clear the way for a creature that needs four attacks to win the game (which is way more than Decree of Justice and Psychatog) and can’t protect itself (like Morphling could.)

Just Completely Outclassed

Sorry, (insert number from nine to eleven) Land Stompy. Nobody likes you. You scoop to everything.

Intermission: Q’n’D Tourney Report From My Last Tourney

Q’n’D=Quick ‘n’ Dirty

Round 1: Slaver

Game 1: He mulligans to 4

Game 2: I Force his Chalice for 2

Round 2: Madness

Game 1: I try to race but lose to Fiery Temper

Game 2: I don’t draw spells

Round 3: TnT

Game 1: I cast Tog at 14 life

Game 2: I cast Deed twice (!)

Round 4: Sligh

Game 1: I Force turn 1 Lackey

Game 2: He doesn’t have turn 2 Siege-Gang Commander

Round 5: Landstill

Game 1: I draw too many cards

Game 2: I draw too many cards

Round 6:


T8: Miracle Gro

Game 1: He doesn’t cast Forgotten Ancient on turn 2

Game 2: He casts Forgotten Ancient on turn 2

Game 3: He doesn’t cast Forgotten Ancient on turn 2

T4: Tog

Game 1: He Duresses my AKs

Game 2: I mess up Tog math

Here’s my list:

4 Polluted Delta

4 Underground Sea

3 Tropical Island

3 Island

1 Swamp

1 Library of Alexandria

5 Moxes

1 Mana Crypt

1 Black Lotus

3 Psychatog

1 Pernicious Deed

4 Mana Drain

4 Force of Will

4 Brainstorm

4 Accumulated Knowledge

3 Cunning Wish

2 Intuition

2 Deep Analysis

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Gush

3 Duress

1 Mind Twist

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Yawgmoth’s Will


3 Cabal Interrogator

2 Deep Analysis

2 Coffin Purge

1 Duress

1 Pernicious Deed

1 Berserk

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Smother

1 Naturalize

1 Oxidize

1 Blue Elemental Blast

0 Firestorm (frown)

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming


Black could try to make you discard it and Red could try to burn it, but generally, the old aggro decks just didn’t like permanents. In addition to being a turn 4-kill deck, TnT can handle just about anything that hits the board because of Survival of the Fittest. If you need to deal with something that would be game over against an old deck (like Illusionary Mask, Goblin Welder, or Isochron Scepter imprinting Swords to Plowshares), you can just pull something up and win. And don’t forget how Anger can let you kill on turn 4 even if you spent turn 2 casting Survival.


If I had to play a budget deck at a tournament or if someone forced me to play a pure aggro deck, I’d have to choose Food Chain Goblins. If you looked at my round 4 matchup against Sligh, the only threat that he had that I needed to worry about was Goblin Lackey. FCG really increases the number of cheap, potentially game-ending threats that a Goblin deck can run by adding Goblin Recruiter and by running Goblin Matron to find Goblin Recruiter or Goblin Lackey. You can mulligan down to four and still win on turn 4, provided that you draw another land on your next draw, if those four cards are Goblin Recruiter and three land (the way you do it is by stacking your deck to have Goblin Warchief, Goblin Ringleader, Skirk Prospector, and three Goblin Piledrivers.) And don’t forget the potential turn 2 kill.

Really Freaking Fast

I was at least mildly intrigued when I saw a Ravager Affinity deck top 8 the last Dülmen tournament, even if Roland Bode said that that tournament was the same weekend as Regionals, meaning that a lot of top players weren’t there. Everyone (or is it nobody? I’m expecting a Type 1 audience after all) saw the PT: Kobe coverage (and am I the only person that laughed every time I read the phrase”Kobe Beef” in the match coverage?) and saw how strong Ravager Affinity is there. The fact that it scoops to Null Rod and Gorilla Shaman notwithstanding, it’s even faster in Type 1, where you can replace chaff like Welding Jar with Moxes.


While I like the efficiency of the deck, and will obviously be playing it at Regionals, Ravager Affinity is the epitome of everything that I hate in the way that recent sets have been designed for Constructed play. Everyone started yelling”They build all our decks for us!” when Madness came out, but now in retrospect, at least Madness benefited from having additional sets. It got to add cards like Compost, Yavimaya Coast, and so on in Standard, Daze, Intuition, Waterfront Bouncer in Extended, and dual lands, Lion’s Eye Diamond, and Bazaar of Baghdad in Type 1. You can’t do anything with Ravager Affinity outside of block. More or less, the only difference I saw was that now you can replace Oxidize with Naturalize, since now you also need to stop Astral Slide.

And while the Ravager Affinity deck is really fast in Type 1, there are almost no changes you can make to it for the format. You might be able to cut some of the artifact lands for Mishra’s Workshop and Tolarian Academy. I guess you could cut Thoughtcast and replace those with Ancestral Recall, Timetwister, Windfall, and Mind’s Desire. And you can obviously cut the cards that are there pretty much just for Affinity’s sake like Welding Jar and Scale of Chiss-Goria for Moxes, Black Lotus, and Mana Crypt. But I’m wary of cutting anything more than that. I really wouldn’t even want to cut cards like Ornithopter or Myr Moonvessel in order to fit in Goblin Welder, for instance.

That’s a real shame too, because before Darksteel came out, Mirrodin was a really interesting set for deck construction purposes. The old Broodstar Affinity might have been really obvious, but it was still able to be improved by adding cards from outside of Mirrodin like Mana Leak to the maindeck and CoP: Red and Cabal Interrogator to the sideboard.


Here are some decks I tossed together that I think have a lot of potential. The first two I’d classify as aggro-control decks. The reason that I’m differentiating this as aggro-control is because it uses its disruptive elements to protect its threats once they hit the board, rather than using its disruption as a way to take Time Walks.

Stacker (arbitrary number)

4 Mishra’s Workshop

4 Polluted Delta

4 Volcanic Island

2 Seat of the Synod

1 Tolarian Academy

1 Island

5 Moxes

3 Sword of Fire and Ice

1 Black Lotus

1 Sol Ring

1 Mana Vault

1 Mana Crypt

1 Memory Jar

4 Goblin Welder

4 Juggernaut

4 Su-Chi

1 Platinum Angel

4 Force of Will

4 Mana Leak

4 Brainstorm

3 Thirst for Knowledge

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

1 Tinker

The sideboard would probably consist of some combinations of REB, BEB, Stifle, Tormod’s Crypt, and Rack and Ruin. I’ve only tested it against Tog so far, but it has a pretty favorable matchup there, since what happens is that you both expend your hands fighting over early threats and then you reload with Thirst for Knowledge and win.


4 Tropical Island

4 Wasteland

3 Wooded Foothills

3 Polluted Delta

2 Island

2 Forest

1 Strip Mine

3 Null Rod

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Black Lotus

4 Basking Rootwalla

4 Wild Mongrel

4 River Boa

3 Hidden something-or-other

4 Force of Will

4 Curiosity

4 Brainstorm

3 Stifle

3 Daze

1 Time Walk

1 Ancestral Recall

While it’d be much less confusing if I just called this a very strange U/G Madness deck, that wouldn’t be keeping in the spirit of Type 1, where decks that are commonly referred to by one name in every other format need for some reason to be called something else. Anyway, it’s Keeper, since both decks do the same thing: they hope to draw a fistful of hate cards, and barring that, hope to draw a broken opening hand.

All jabs at the Worst Deck in Type 1™ aside, all I really know about the sideboard for this one is that you’re running Sword of Fire and Ice and Wonder. Even without enough Madness outlets to reliably cast, you can always just cast it and have it do its best Moat impression. Oh, and is it just me, or is Sword of Fire and Ice like Type 1’s Skullclamp, in that you can toss it into just about any random aggro deck and suddenly it gets delusions of grandeur that it’s good or something?

Ravager Affinity

4 Glimmervoid

3 Seat of the Synod

3 Vault of Whispers

2 Great Furnace

1 Tolarian Academy

4 Skullclamp

1 Mana Vault

1 Sol Ring

1 Mana Crypt

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Emerald

4 Ornithopter

4 Arcbound Worker

4 Disciple of the Vault

4 Arcbound Ravager

4 Frogmite

4 Myr Enforcer

4 Thoughtcast

1 Windfall

1 Timetwister

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

1 Wheel of Fortune

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

Like I said above, this is really freaking fast. It needs Gorilla Shaman and maybe Goblin Welder in the sideboard to beat Mindslaver decks, which seem like it would be a nightmare matchup game 1 because of Goblin Welder. One of the things that I do like about this deck is that it’s got the potential to outrace some of the cards that are really devastating against it, like Gorilla Shaman. I also haven’t experimented with this that much, so that’s the reason why a lot of cards like Shrapnel Blast, Genesis Chamber, and so on aren’t in here.

These are rough test decks and I put them together mostly as fun experiments but hey, at the very least they beat obsolete aggro!

JP Meyer

jpmeyer at case dot edu