Phage Two: Applying an Old Archetype to Type II

It has been a year now since I unleashed the secret of the”perfect deck” upon you, and my, how the time has crawled. In any case, I have returned to inform the masses that, with the release of Mirrodin block, the “perfect deck” can now be translated effectively from Type I to Type II! Rejoice, all – for another major archetype has entered the arena and will undoubtedly establish a Tier all unto itself!

It has been a year now since I unleashed the secret of the”perfect deck” upon you, and my, how the time has crawled. Unceasing, burning agony has a beautiful way of stretching time to the limits of endurance (and by God, I would have it no other way!) – but I digress, already. It is so hard to stay focused when you have multiple interests – and deep rectal pain! In any case, I have returned to inform the masses that, with the release of Mirrodin block, the”perfect deck” can now be translated effectively from Type I to Type II! Rejoice, all – for another major archetype has entered the arena and will undoubtedly establish a Tier all unto itself!

As you will recall, I previously defined the perfect deck as one that:”…theoretically would never allow opponents the opportunity to defeat you and would have a perfect record, regardless of the match-up or random factors such as mana screw.” Well, friends, this deck is better than ever at doing what I designed it to do – and it is capable of finishing a game on the first turn – in Type II! Unbelievable! The deck no longer even needs its Red component, becoming pure Black/Green, thus increasing its consistency! It needs a new name, however. Since it is B/G, it must be a”Rock” deck, as all B/G decks are labeled such, regardless of content. However, to distinguish my build, since it is the third version I have designed (the first was a failed experiment… and believe me, it is hard to fail to reach my objective!) I will call it:


4 Phage the Untouchable

4 Deepwood Ghoul

4 Wall of Blood

4 Elvish Piper

4 Leveler

4 Tooth and Nail

4 Chrome Mox

4 Spoils of the Vault

3 Lightning Greaves

3 Aether Vial

4 City of Brass

4 Grand Coliseum

4 Forest

10 Swamp


4 Call of the Wild

1 Aether Vial

1 Lightning Greaves

9 (open slots)

The basic design of the deck is still the same: get Phage the Untouchable into play as fast as possible to end the game quickly! As you can see, there are numerous ways to do so in Type II. Let me now give you some tips on how to play it. One big difference between this deck and the previous incarnation is that you don’t need to mulligan quite as viciously as before in order to get a game-ending hand. You have the eight tutors in the Spoils of the Vault and Tooth and Nail to end the game in style by grabbing Phage. An added bonus of the Spoils is that it allows you to ask for any card you desire to close out the contest. I personally love naming one of the famous power nine cards, or even something on [author name="Ben Bleiweiss"]Ben Bleiweiss’s[/author] bottom 100! Your opponent may try to tell you this is not legal, but I swear to you that as long as you name any legal card, it is! And you can do this on the first turn to end the game! To protect you while you set up, there are eight defensive creatures in the Walls of Blood and Deepwood Ghouls that also provide an alternative means to reach the endgame (more on these later). Also, there is the back-up”finisher” option of the huge Levelers, if Phage doesn’t show up. He is so potent, when you cast him he will end the game whether you are able to attack or not! What’s that? You don’t believe me? Well then, I advise you to look at those numbers in the lower right-hand corner, my friend. That says”10/10,” does it not? So say you cast him, put him in the Lightning Greaves and attack!”Even if they take him, that’s only ten damage – not enough to kill him,” you say. Well, I say the game is over.

You do the math.

As you can see, I have included eleven ways to get Phage into play quickly with the Aether Vials, Tooth and Nail, and Elvish Pipers. Again, I must emphasize how imbecilic anyone would be if they actually waited to reach seven mana to cast Phage from their hand. If you did that, you would surely die from damage before you could even reach seven mana! No, you have to get Phage into play ASAP using artificial means or you might as well go back to playing your stupid ten-land, ninety-Mahamoti Djinn decks you used as a child. Even if the results are the same, qualitatively, they are different.

What? It takes seven turns to use the Aether Vial anyway? Well… oh, just shut up. And replace Aether Vial with Call of the Wild. Moving on… now, the Pipers need no introduction. Just cast ’em, Greave ’em, and plop Phage (or even a Leveler!) down and you’re done! No fuss, no muss (so what no puss). Tooth and Nail is the card that just breaks this (already broken!) deck, however. Not only does it fish her out, but it can drop her into play as well! What? Entwining it costs seven mana? Shut up! (Critical forum bastards – I can hear you already!) So use it anyway. Cast it with Entwine, and Grab Phage and a Leveler – or, what the hell, another Phage! – and put them into play! In the end it doesn’t really matter, does it? This game’s over, boys! Put it in the bag, and make that a four-bagger!

While designing this deck, I followed the old football adage:”the best offense is a good defense.” I’m not really sure why, as I hold nothing but vile contempt for the game of football and all it stands for including its glorification of senseless violence and the misguided, overzealous partisan fury it evokes. All the players are nothing but wife-beating, drug-addicted, socially inept, double-murdering bastards… but then again, I guess that’s not really much different from us Magic players. In any case, I built this deck from a defensive perspective. Before I stumbled upon the duo of Deepwood Ghoul and Wall of Blood, I would too often be dealt lethal damage before I could”go off.” These guys were the ticket I needed to ensure that I and I alone would deliver the fatal blow! Opponent shocks the Ghoul? Regenerate it! Casts a Goblin? Regenerate it! Blinks? Regenerate it! Stifle? Pay the two life, then Regenerate in response! Regenerate? Regenerate regenerate degenerate regenerate! He can’t stop those regeneration shields!

Now, for the Wall of Blood… if you even think that Sligh player’s thinking about casting a Krosan Cloudscraper, pump that biatch up to 14/14! Show him he is not getting through! Don’t let him try to get through to you, either! One thing is certain about these creatures: once they are in play, they will certainly not die before you do.

Probably the most important thing I can say about this deck from a design aspect is that it conforms to one of the fundamental rules of deck building: it is exactly sixty cards! Many is the time that others have said that with what I’m trying to do, it wouldn’t matter if my decks were one thousand cards – but I beg to differ! Anything over sixty cards introduces the potential for randomness and inefficiency. I definitely want to be as efficient as possible, for as I have said before about the deck:”Remember, the key to playing it is that you must stop your opponent from beating you before you can ‘go off’ – anything else defeats the purpose of the deck.” If my decks were over sixty cards, my opponent might actually beat me! If that happens, then it is because you are misplaying the deck. Just because you achieve the same results does not mean you are playing the deck properly! Although to be honest, I could see adding four Mesmeric Orbs, four Zombifies, four Doomed Necromancers, and a few extra lands and still”going off” reliably, so… ah, to hell with this whole paragraph. I’ll leave it in anyway because I believe it is important to show people my thinking processes, and because I don’t think they should be repeated.

That’s the deck – and now here’s some Type Two matchups and how to play them!


I understand Affinity players and their ilk. During Onslaught block, they played Goblins; during Odyssey block, U/G madness; during Invasion block, Fires; and during Masques block, Rebels. They always play the fastest or least expensive of the”Tier I” decks, and never own more than seventy-five cards at any one time. All they ever care about is winning, and selling their winnings, and bragging about their winning. They definitely don’t play for the love of the game, just the love of winning. I call these kinds of players”Gutter Spikes.” They have an unhealthy psychological need to win. They are usually bereft of all normal human emotions save anger, jealousy, and greed. I believe this is because they were not breast-fed as babies, and their lack of breast has continued into their teen and even their middle years. I pity them; I really do.

In any case, the key to the Affinity matchup is simple: they will play as many permanents as possible within a very short period of time. Let them. All you have to do is mulligan until you have a Spoils of the Vault in hand. Once they have played out all their toys, you simply have to put the fear of God in them by going for the one card that they fear more than anything: Akroma’s Vengeance! Once you do this, know that their game is over.

Goblin Clamp/Bidding

This is by far the hardest matchup you will encounter playing C-Rock. This, my friends, is the Sligh deck of the format. I have described the typical Sligh player before, and I must warn you, he has not gotten any smarter since. When you come across the Goblin player, I beseech you to take a moment and observe him closely. Notice the sloping forehead, the unibrow, and the hunch-backed manner with which he sits in the chair. Notice the dried white spittle in the corners of his mouth and the shaving cream near his left ear. He may still have toilet paper covering his shaving”accidents.”

Unfortunately, as he slowly identifies more and more with his Goblin hordes, he has become more impatient, self-destructive, and moronic. He may have green teeth and yet greener nose whistlers, making him even more indistinguishable from his”precious” Goblins. None of this will help you. His attacks will be fast and brutal. He will be able to do enough damage to kill you before you can”go off.” This is the matchup that forced me to add the Deepwood Ghouls and Walls of Blood for defense. You must have one of these in your hand (or a Spoils of the Vault – for getting Pyroclasm! Do not worry if it is not in your deck – you will still clear the table!) before you start the game, or you will not be able to finish the game in style. Once you have one, though, you are definitely stylin’ and on to the next match! Sign that match slip with pride! In fact, you may go ahead and sign it before the match is over!

Red/Green Land Destruction

Of all the player archetypes out there, I probably understand the land destruction lovers best of all. These are people who grew up with nothing, or who always got hand-me-downs from their older siblings. Always envious and hateful, they enjoy depriving people of their own toys. If they can’t have it, then they don’t want you to have it, either! So they blow it up. My own younger brother was quite good at this, always stealing my Hot Wheels cars and dropping large boulders upon them out of spite because all he ever got were small, cheap Matchbox imitations. His hatred eventually became so extreme that after I poured gasoline on his Stretch Armstrong doll and set fire to it in response (my God did that thing burn hot!), he took all my G.I. Joes and pulled their heads as far as they would stretch and cut them off just to watch the arms and legs fly for tens of feet (they were attached to the extremities with a single large rubber band). [I’d say something clever here, but I’m cackling. – Knut] In short, these people don’t really care if they win – as long as they can do a lot of damage along the way. Your key to concluding this matchup is to be patient and lay down an Aether Vial or draw a Spoils of the Vault and just wait for your opportunity to act. You should have ample time to do what you must, as their overall attack plan is rather slow. Do not worry, as your opponent will not dictate your failure.


The people who play this deck really worry me. I think that they are the suicide terrorists of the future. Not only do they enjoy destroying their own stuff, but in doing so they like to take out everything else around them! I can’t think of any way to deal with people like this; people who are willing to destroy themselves to destroy others defy understanding. What really bothers me the most about these people, however, is that of all the player archetypes out there they are the most like-minded to myself. My true fear is that some day they will take the baton from my cold, dead hand and run with it to dimensions far beyond any I have ever dreamed existed. And to think that they win with this strategy! I wonder…should I convert? Hmmm…nah.

Anyway, the key here again lies in your early defense in the Walls of Blood and Deepwood Ghouls. These creatures give you the finite resources to fend off a mad Arcbound Ravager and end the game on your own terms. It will be close, however, and I advise holding off on Spoils of the Vault if they have a lot of artifacts and a Disciple of the Vault or Shrapnel Blast mana up as they can defeat you before you can pull your own trigger. These madmen must be taken seriously at all costs – you must be the one willing to sacrifice the most to end things on your terms!

So there you have it, the next wave in Type II Magic! If you decide to play it, I guarantee that it will provide you with a perfect record! Until next time, goodbye!

Tony Costa

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