I seem to be on a recurring theme of “terrible decisions made by the Brass Man.” While terrible decisions are certainly something I’m well known for, I don’t want anyone getting the wrong impression here. Every once and while, and I’m sure more often than I deserve, some of my terrible decisions pan out. I’m about to give you a decklist that has a perfect tournament record. In fact, it’s never lost a match in tournament play. Mostly this is because I only played the list once and was harassed by well-intentioned friends to never run it again.
For people who aren’t familiar with the history, OSE stands for “Old School Expulsion,” an arrogant but perhaps accurate reference to the list outclassing the top deck of that era, Keeper. Keeper, as many of us know, was a four- or five-color control deck that ran “silver bullet” style answers to threats. OSE was essentially a variant that ran the same amount of disruption, but more threats, in the form of redundant Morphling, Masticore, and Mishra’s Factory. Years down the road, long after both decks were considered obsolete, then-world champion Carl Winter played a deck he called “OSE 2k3”, mostly as a joke, to a Top 8 finish at one of the first Waterbury “TMD Opens”. Carl’s deck was a variant of the contemporary four-color control deck, except it ran Isochron Scepter and Mishra’s Factory. In this grand tradition, I played the following list sometime last year to a first place finish in a forty man power tournament:
I really liked Gorilla Shaman and Sundering Titan in the metagame at that point, but I hated running them in a deck like Slaver or Gifts, which wasn’t designed to completely abuse them. OSE was a deck put together specifically for that purpose, to fully abuse those two cards, even though it’s only running a small number of them. The Wastelands are obvious. Shaman alone usually only puts pressure on a manabase, but combined with a Strip Mine or two, the effect can be back-breaking. Obviously if you throw a Titan in the mix, pretty much any deck with dual lands shouldn’t be able to recover.
Mishra’s Factory is in the deck for essentially the same reason. The other, lesser known part of Gorilla Shaman’s makeup is his single point of power. Over the course of a game, especially one in which your opponent is running short on mana, you may actually get in a few swings with your ape. On its own, a single Shaman is unlikely to bring an opponent to zero in a reasonable window of time. If you add some Welders and Factories however, that clock speeds up significantly. In theory. Okay, I never said it was any good, I just won power with it, alright? Another important thing to remember is at the time, Slaver players were running Darksteel Citadel to have something to weld out against an opposing Shaman. Mishra’s Factory can animate and do the same thing, as Shaman’s ability is limited to non-creature artifacts.
With those two additions, Crucible of Worlds becomes an easy inclusion. Besides the obvious Crucible-Strip lock, Mishra’s Factory can be brought back and welded out for Mindslaver or Titan, like the Citadel as mentioned. Welding a Factory into a Crucible and replaying the Factory is one of the most hilarious plays out there. I can’t vouch for Factory’s viability in general, but I remember at least three games in the tournament I won with Factory when little else would have. A first turn Factory, Mox Pearl stopped an opposing Food Chain Goblin’s player’s entire team from swinging in for enough turns for me to win. Against Oath, my two Factories raced his two Oaths without an Orchard after I boarded out most of my little men. My favorite win was against a Slaver player in Top 4. His post-board plan was to bring in Boseiju and Deep Analysis to totally dominate me with counters and draw. His plan worked, as around turn 5, he had a full grip of Drains and Forces, and I was completely empty. Unfortunately for him, his Boseiju, Deep Analysis, and Mana Crypt left him at about six or so life, and though I had no shot at resolving a spell for the rest of the game, a topdecked Mishra’s Factory took it home before he drew his business.
Now, the real fun card in the deck is Disrupt. Disrupt has a few things going for it that made me want to run it. Obviously, it plays nice with the Gorilla Shamans and Wastes, but that’s not all. Disrupt is one of those “psychology cards” Marc Perez used to get me to run when I was back on Team Shortbus. If your opponent doesn’t know you run it, you stand a good chance of catching them surprised. If they do know you’re running it, they may play poorly for the rest of the game, trying to keep you from catching them off guard. The amazing thing about Disrupt is because it cycles, you can actually fire it off when it won’t counter anything for no loss on mana or cards. Do this once, early, and your opponent is running scared for the rest of the match, even if, say, you’ve boarded them all out. There might even be a case to be made for running one and seeing where it takes you. Early game the card is amazing, if you can hit one Brainstorm, or use it to defend an early Ancestral, the tempo swing can be too much to recover from. Mid to Late game it loses a lot of steam, but you can still shut off a second counter in a counter war, or use it draw into a better threat or answer, without losing tempo. My favorite play with Disrupt certainly isn’t it’s most powerful use, but boy is it fun. In early game, an opponent with an Island and a fetchland in play will often run a Brainstorm out at the end of your turn. Disrupt won’t counter the Brainstorm there, but it will force them to break their fetch, often ruining their Brainstorm, while you draw a card. Disrupt isn’t a card that usually wins the game single handedly, but the look on your opponent’s face is totally worth it.
I’m not going to tell you with a straight face that this deck is Tier 1, and the cards I mentioned are top of the line. Sometimes, in some environments, however, it pays off to play sub-par cards and strategies that people aren’t prepared for. For instance: the metagame hand grenade that is Frozen Solid plus Vizzerdrix.
So let’s hear more about your favorite terrible cards, but this time I want to know about the ones that actually won you something. See yah tomorrow.
aprobasco at gmail dot com