Let’s clear up the confusion once and for all: Type 2 is the format reserved for showing that your opponent is the frightened little schoolgirl we always suspected them to be.
Unlike Extended, where the game is simply too fast to determine whether the person across from you is fresh from daycare or fresh from the front lines, Standard gives your opponent ample time to deploy whatever offense they see fit. It’s so much more satisfying to crush someone when it looks like they’re actually *trying* to win.
In this particular gender-identity war, my weapon of choice is naturally Mono-Beige. The colour white has been about peace and healing for far too long, it’s time to practise the fine art of Asskickery.
This will be a revisiting of some months-old technology, but bear with me, I promise it will pan out. For those of you not yet religious enough about reading my work, my original decklist and analysis can be found here:
It may or may not be listed in the Archives by the time this sees pseudo-print. Here’s the current playtest version:
Mono-Beige (Hell On Earth Mix)
4 Grim Monolith
4 Voltaic Key
4 Thran Dynamo
2 Marble Diamond
2 Phyrexian Processor
1 Seal of Cleansing
4 Rishadan Port
Although, looking at the numbers right now, it doesn’t seem quite right. Let’s run down the card choices and pound out the theory into a fine white paste for general consumption.
Your early game is all about setting up a ridiculous mana presence. This means your ideal play is Voltaic Key, next turn Grim Monolith, Thran Dynamo. However, any subset of those cards is to your advantage. Usually, I will hold off Tutoring for mana-artifacts until the end of turn two, just to see what I draw. You need a Grim Monolith to jumpstart you, but more than one is rarely useful. Better to hold off for a turn and Tutor for a Key during your upkeep. Or a Masticore if you’re going to lose.
Middle game depends on your opponent’s play. If they have busted out creatures, then you will need to Wrath, Ring or Masticore. Otherwise, you can go for the jugular with a quick Processor, or establish brutal card-advantage with the Blueprints.
The endgame is the more mundane task of disposing of your helpless opponent. By now you’ve disrupted their game with your global sweepers and maxed out your handsize. Cast one of your five threats and go to town.
Here ends the explanation of the expected function of the deck. Onto some specifics:
Urza’s Blueprints have been a bit of a talking point amongst Team Comf’s finer minds. It took actually seeing them in action to convince myself that the 12-mana investment was worth it. I figured that, with Jayemdae Tome, I can draw extra cards without waiting for explosive mana development. Tapping out for two turns really is a big deal.
But here’s the thing: this card, Voltaic Key, makes them really
If you still aren’t convinced, watch someone draw two extra cards a turn for only one mana. It’s unbelievable. Three cards a turn.
As a result, the card count of a lot of cards has gone down. The Blueprints are just SAVAGE card drawing. So much so that it doubles as search.
The other nice thing about the Blueprints is that if you need your mana the turn after you cast them, you still get four cards if you have a Key. Cast Blueprints, draw a card, untap them, draw a card. Next turn, load echo on the stack, draw a card, untap them, draw a card. Then Wrath.
Or say if you’re like me, and cast them via Grim Monolith, forgetting that even WITH the Voltaic Key I can’t upkeep them, then you still get three cards. Not a bad deal for what should have been a tragic misplay.
Furthermore, after paying the echo, Blueprints are just better.
The value of Ring of Gix has also been hotly disputed, this time with myself as the only advocate.
The theory behind them says that if your opponent has creatures, then they can no longer put out a single threat and force you to Wrath it away. If your opponent is without creatures, you can use them as a complement to the Ports, shutting off their mana and forcing through key, skull-crushing spells.
Oddly enough, I’ve been borne out by fact. I’ve yet to convince anyone, but I’m doing my damnedest. It involves a lot of leaning over other people’s games and shouting”See? See? Ring of Gix! I told you it was boss! Crumbums, all of you!”
CHINESE NINJA WARRIOR
WITH A HEART SO COLD
YOUR LIFE IS A MYSTERY
WHY DO YOU WEAR THAT
More often than not, Mono-Beige forces its opponents into an unenviable position. Either A) Opponent must capitalise the one-turn window they are given and do something spectacular to stay alive, or B) Sit there like a sinking pudding, do nothing and get manhandled.
You’d be surprised how often my opponents have chosen ‘B’.
Some don’t. For instance, in one of my last games online this week, my opponent (playing Accelerated Blue) was left to defend against my hoard of artifact mana, two 7/7 Minions, assorted Ports and Rings, and my very active Processor. He Stroked himself for seven during my endstep, untapped, Treacheried one of my Minions and cast a Keg and a Morphling.
Seems okay. With two man-lands and a Morphling, he looks to be able to race me. Alas, he is simply not spectacular enough.
I am able to deny him all his mana with Rings and Ports and cast a very large Wrath Of God. This takes his well-laid plan and puts it directly into the toilet.
Lousy blue mages. Sure, I fear and respect Thwart, but that’s about all they’re getting out of me. They act all smug with their talk of Morphling being the best creature in Type Two, but you should watch their tune change when the Minion tokens crash their little party.
Blue Mage: Who’s there?
Outside: Large men.
Blue Mage: I beg your pardon?
Outside: Large men.
Blue Mage: I recall ordering no such thing. We’ll just see about this. (opens door) Now see here …
Minions: EAT HIS BRAINS!
Here’s today’s bit of intrigue: having seen Blake”I’m a one-man combo!” Manders play Final Fantasy I with a party of four white mages (universally belived to be the most difficult party), I’ve come to the earth-shattering realisation that they look just like little Klansmen. It’s one of those ideas that refuses to be ignored, all those little white-capped super-deformed dudes running around, bonking imps with huge wooden hammers. I’m going gently mad just writing about it.
Back to Mono-Beige. One of its more subtle threats is the ability to Armageddon aggressively. In most decks featuring Armageddon (like traditional White Weenie), your favorite three-and-a-white sorcery is used only as a game sealer. You’ve deployed your early armada, and since fourth turn is where the business spells come out of the woodwork, it’s timely to bust up your opponents mana supply, and subsequently your opponent.
Mono-Beige gives the player the further option of destroying all lands on turn three simply because they have a slight resource advantage in the form of a mana producing artifact. This can be to your benefit even if they have a critter on the board, because without Wrath Of God, stopping them from ejecting more dudes onto the battlefield is definitely in your favour. Plus, the Rings Of Gix make life that much easier.
It’s even more fantastic against echo creatures. Here’s the rundown of one of my”Real Life” matches with this deck:
OMC Turn 1: Plains, Go.
Jobber Turn 1: Forest, Go.
OMC Turn 2: Plains, Grim Monolith, Go.
Jobber Turn 2: Island, Albino Troll, Go.
OMC Turn 3: Armageddon, Voltaic Key, Plains, Untap Monolith, Go.
So the board situation at then end of my opponent’s next turn is OMC: Plains, Key and Monolith; Jobber: Forest, a glum look and no chance whatsoever. Worth doing even without the Key, depending on your hand.
The most important thing to remember with this deck is that, although garbage without support, the Voltaic Key is definitely broken. In that light, it is important to judge cards based on their worth when the Key is absent. This way, your deck will be the best it can be when performing non-optimally, since under optimal conditions it is a juggernaut. While this weakens the argument for playing Urza’s Blueprints, I think the reasoning is still valid.
Next week, further refinements, and results from running the Standard gauntlet.
You can learn a lot about comedy by watching old episodes of Wayne & Shuster. Mostly, you will learn that Wayne & Shuster are about as funny as dead monkeys and sawdust.