SCG Daily – Doctor Mox’s Guide to Extended, Pt 1

Not strictly funny, nor full-blown strategy, Doctor Mox uncomfortably straddles the fence between both. Today your Magical Problem Practitioner provides a guide to the Extended format that’s accessible by all players competitive to casual.

Good morrow, my glorious sweetlings. It is I, the beloved Doctor Mox, ready to answer your Magical questions and heal your tapped-out heart.

I apologize if I appear a little “sparkly” this morning. I admit I feel rather intoxicated, a definite throwback from last night’s revels. However, it is no product of grape or grain that has me so giddy: it is the simple company of my Swiss friend Jetta that keeps my soul a-singing and my loins a-leaping. She is an uncommonly fine creature, especially since the electrolysis.

Today, we have a few questions regarding the forthcoming Extended season…

Dear Doctor Mox.

I wanna play Extended, but I just don’t know what deck to choose!

I like swinging with men, but I also enjoy being in control. My favorite color is yellow, I’m a Libra and I like long walks in the rain. I once ate a whole tube of toothpaste for a bet. If you find yourself in a similar position, my advice is to fake a seizure and run like hell.

So, Extended decks… what should I play?

Please help!

Dave, CHI.

Dave, Dave, Dave… what to do, what to do?

Every year, we face the same dilemma. Extended season rolls around, and we realize that we’re awash in a sea of good tech and fast decks. All around, people are doing obscene things on turns one and two, obscene things that mostly involve Magic cards.

We find ourselves floating down the Metagame River without a paddle, without a boat, and sometimes without even a pair of waterproof knickers… life can be hard when Extended rears its head.

The first thing we do is narrow down our options. We sit down at our oaken desks to draft a list of deck contenders. In attempting to narrow this list from “x” to 1, we must consider a number of important things:

1: Is the deck fun to play?

2: Is the deck competitive?

3: What type of player would this deck suit best?

4: Is the deck difficult to play correctly?

Of course, personal circumstances dictate that there may be other things that bear consideration: a large team, for example, may have to bow to the vagaries of the collective card pool. Or budget restrictions may make playing certain decktypes impossible. I myself am unable to play any decks that include Planeshift or Apocalypse cards, as this section of my collection was burnt to a cinder by my Swiss friend Jetta during an incident that involved Sambuca, an escaped monkey and an overpowering smell of almonds.

Deconstructing and dissecting the metagame in any format is an arduous and largely thankless process. Thus, I intend to have nothing to do with it.

However, I will do my best to inform your choice by supplying a brief primer to eight decks you will see during the upcoming Extended debacle. The first four I give you today, while the second will follow toot-sweet tomorrow.

I hope my words will steer your choice and enable you to rise above the feckless dregs one normally associated with the PTQ circuit.

Without further ado I present for your delectation and viewing pleasure…

Doctor Mox Guide to Extended, Pt 1

U/G Madness

U/G Madness is an Odyssey block deck that abuses the Madness mechanic to make trampling, flying 4/4 wurms as early as turn 2. Though how wurms “trample” is beyond me. “Trampling” suggests the creature in question is in possession of at least one leg, and more likely two or three.

1: Is U/G Madness fun to play?

Of course it is! Playing U/G sees you command an army of flying dogs and lizards and beasts and wurms!! It’s like being an evil genius and a zookeeper rolled into one!!! You can be Zoltag, the Zookeeper of Dooooooooom!!!one!

2: Is U/G Madness competitive?

Difficult to say. Some folk swear by this deck, forsaking all others in their quest for success. However, most folk swear at this deck instead, as it can bring down the brutal beatdown faster than you can punch a tramp.

3: What type of player would U/G Madness suit best?

At its heart, U/G Madness is a simple deck. Therefore it stands to reason that those best equipped to embrace its many facets would be… simpletons. So if you eat glue, listen to Evanescence or rub yourself in public, then I feel we’ve found the deck for you.

When playing in a tournament, remember to sleeve your cards. And be careful! After all, cards depreciate in value when coated with saliva.

4: Is U/G Madness difficult to play correctly?

Here is a typical U/G game, turn by turn.

1) Land, spell, make two 1/1 guys.

2) Land, make 2/2 guy, give all guys flying, swing.

3) Land, make 4/4 guy, swing.

4) Land, make 6/6 guy, swing.

5) Got any trades?

Difficult to play? Draw your own conclusions.


Life is a combo deck that attempts to “win” by gaining an arbitrarily large amount of life, thus boring the opponent to death by rendering their strategies powerless.


Talk about being pro-active… *yawn*

1: Is Life fun to play?

If your definition of “fun” is “sit doing random, inexplicable things for a few turns, then do something weird which makes you feel smug and superior while simultaneously irritating the very liver out of your bemused and undeserving opponent”… Then yes, the Life deck is a lot of fun.

2: Is Life competitive?

The Life deck is considered competitive in the same way that Tofu is considered food.

Technically they deliver, but in reality they taste like sh**.

I mean, where’s your bloody backbone? “Winning” by gaining a ludicrous amount of life?! What next, friggin’ Poison Counters? Coalition Victory?

I despair of people sometimes, I really do.

3: What type of player would Life suit best?

Life is the least threatening, most non-violent deck in the history of Magic. Therefore, it should exclusively be played by hippies and ladies. Anyone who collects My Little Ponies or watched Dawson’s Creek should also consider this option.

4: Is Life difficult to play correctly?

In considering this question, I am reminded of the movie Wargames. In the film, we see the world on the brink of nuclear catastrophe. Missiles are pointed at everyone, from everywhere, and the bombs will be launched unless WOPR, the controlling super-computer, is manoeuvred from its destructive course through an intricate process of self-learning.

By endlessly playing “itself” at the simple game of Tic-Tac-Toe, WOPR deduces that some games are pointless, declaring that sometimes “the only winning move is not to play.”

Can you see where I’m going with this?


Reanimator is a deck that puts big fat men in into the graveyard, then casts spells to bring these dead men back into play.

1: Is Reanimator fun to play?

Reanimator is an absolute scream to play. First turn Akroma?! That’s fantastic! However, such fun and frolics come with a price. The phrase “eggs in one basket” was invented specifically for Reanimator decks.

2: Is Reanimator competitive?

Reanimator has a mixed bag of matchups. Some, like Red Deck Wins, are heavily in favour of Reanimator. Some, like U/G Madness packing maindeck and sideboarded bounce, are torturous. On the right day, with the right matchups, the Reanimator deck can go all the way.

My advice? Rig the matchups and ride the first-turn beatstick to the top table.

3: What type of player would Reanimator suit best?

If you like raising people from the dead, then the Reanimator deck is definitely for you. So, any Necromancers out there had better stock up on Exhumes and Reanimates. Other folk who should consider playing the Reanimator deck: Burke and Hare, Ed Gein, Willow from Buffy, and those blokes who stole Charlie Chaplin’s corpse.

4: Is Reanimator difficult to play correctly?

Turns 1 and 2 are all that matter to the Reanimator deck. If by then you haven’t got a big guy swinging and dinging, you might as well pack up and move to Mississippi. Like many decks in Extended, the Reanimator deck plans to spend all its resources as quickly as possible. Thus, it can run out of steam almost before the game has begun.

No wonder there are so few female Magic players…


The Goblin deck is a deck that makes goblins. A lot of goblins. Very very quickly.

1: Is the Goblin deck fun to play?

The pleasure of the Goblin deck springs from one thing: the ability to make the quickest men possible. Backed with removal, this ensures a quick and easy victory.

However, true enjoyment of the Goblin deck comes after the match, when you and your opponent are signing the slip. During these times, you must look shamefaced while your vanquished foe bemoans your heathen luck, signs the drop box and heads for the side events. Sometimes, you can even apologize for your excellent draws, tutting and shaking your head all the while. Of course, inside you’re laughing at the poor sap. Because he deserved to lose, from the minute he lost the faith and picked up a Blue card.

2: Is the Goblin deck competitive?

Red decks will always be competitive. In any format.


For exactly the same reason why people continue turning up to tournaments with White Weenie decks…

Because people want it to be true.

Whenever a new set or format appears, you’ll find a bloke with the Red cards working frantically on his new deck. In the next room, there’s a bloke with the White cards doing the same thing.

And when they met, it was moidah!

3: What type of player would the Goblin deck suit best?

There are a number of players who’d appreciate the Goblin deck:

  • Players who don’t actually like Magic, thus wish to spend as little time as possible playing the bloody game.

  • Players who fear blue spells, because they require thought and application.

  • Players who are sexually attracted to weird looking midgets.

  • Dan Paskins.

Fun for the whole family!

4: Is the Goblin deck difficult to play correctly?

The Goblin deck, in general, had three components: mountains, men and burn. Make Mountains, make men, burn things, swing. That’s about all there is to it. Sure, there’s some math involved, but nothing too taxing.

With Goblins, the only difficult decision is when to scoop. I suggest that if your opponent is above ten life on turn 6, and he clears the board, then it’s Goodnight Vienna.

So… four down, and four to go. The excitement it almost unbearable. I think I’ll call Jetta and see if she’ll fetch me a cold compress.

Join me again tomorrow, when I shall be exploring four other contenders for the Extended crown.

Until then, keep ripping that second land!

Doctor Mox

NB: If you have a question for Doctor Mox, he can be contacted at [email protected].

No hawkers, traders or religious zealots.