This is an article I’ve dreamed about writing for years. I’m thrilled that this moment has finally arrived, and I can’t wait to see the reaction.
A few years ago, I wrote an article bringing to the Magic community a format that my playgroup created… Type Four.
I’ve always wanted a present a Type Four session through the entire draft and set of games. However, to pull it off is a huge logistical challenge. I have to record every draft pick and every game detail. Usually, we Type Four after a tournament, or on the spur of the moment.
However, I skipped a local Legacy event and got my video equipment primed, purchased plenty of extra tape, and finally did it. Here it is.
This is a seven-man draft of a 315-card Type Four stack. The stack belongs to the creator of Type Four, Paul Mastriano, and the full list is posted for your viewing pleasure in the Appendix.
Here’s how it works: With 315 cards, it perfectly divides so that all seven players will open 3 packs of 15 cards, just as you would in a TPS draft or any other draft.
This week I’ll run you through the draft. Next week, I’ll show you the play-by-plays of the game. As soon as possible, I’ll have the video up on YouTube to complement this pair of articles so you can watch the draft live.
Just as a quick reminder: Type Four is a multiplayer draft format where you have infinite mana available, but can only play one spell per turn. It is extremely skill intensive and unbelievably fun. I’m not going to explain all of the picks, but if you have any questions, I’ll answer them in the forums.
Let the fun begin!
Mindless Mass, Tooth and Nail, Naturalize, Scroll Rack, Reclaim, Word of Seizing, Combat Medic, Dismiss, Induce Paranoia, Anger, Absorb, Hypnox, Shattering Pulse, Enshrined Memories, Dissipate
Pick: Word of Seizing
Split Second is incredible in Type Four. In any given Type Four game, there is usually a lot of draw-go, and two or three key junctures in which the stack is full of spells. After the stack resolves, one or more players is knocked out of the game. The Split Second mechanics ensure that so long as you aren’t “spelled out” (meaning that you haven’t played your spell for the turn yet), your spell is going to resolve regardless of the wishes of anyone else. This is one of the best, if not the best, Split Second cards for Type Four.
Reiterate; Vanish Into Memory; Suffocating Blast; Muddle the Mixture; Panacea; Grinning Totem; Promise of Power; Venser, Shaper Savant; Cerebral Vortex; Heed the Mists; Terminate; Frazzle; Voidmage Prodigy; Planeswalker’s Mischief
Panacea is innocuous but extremely powerful. If you have it on the table, people aren’t going to expose themselves by attacking you. Grinning Totem and Voidmage Prodigy are also high picks here, but Panacea is one of the best defensive cards in the stack.
Dwarven Catapult, Genesis, Corpse Dance, Sculpting Steel, Betrayal of the Flesh, Crime/Punishment, Aladdin’s Lamp, Read the Runes, Molder, Armored Guardian, Bringer of the Black Dawn, Smokespew Invoker, Arcanis the Omnipotent.
Pick: Armored Guardian
Genesis is probably the best card in this pack, but my strategy is to play defense, letting other people kill themselves until I clean up the pieces. Armored Guardian is similar to Maze of Ith, and better if it hits.
Bringer of the Red Dawn, Snapback, Disrupting Shoal, Evacuation, Shunt, Spelljack, Autochthon Wurm, Mind’s Eye, Inferno, Ancestral Recall, Myojin of Night’s Reach, Shattering Spree
Inferno, Mind’s Eye, and Ancestral Recall are also extremely high picks. However, Spelljack trumps all of them.
Spelljack is one of the top 5 counterspells in the stack, after Decree of Silence, Force of Will, Misdirection, and Desertion. Note that with Force of Will and Misdirection, we play that the alternate casting cost does not count as your spell for the turn.
Forcefield, Skinthinner, Krosan Cloudscraper, Soulblast, Reito Lantern, Swords to Plowshares, Perplex, Myojin of Seeing Winds, Twisted Justice, Crush of Wurms, Aladdin’s Ring
Aladdin’s Ring is also very good. It’s not so incredibly powerful that the table won’t let it reach the board (like, say, Vedalken Orrery). However, Forcefield is a card that just screams, “don’t bother attacking that person, it’s not worth it.”
Crush of Wurms is a fun card that used to be incredible, but has dropped in value quite a bit over the years.
Aerial Caravan; Cruel Revival; Exclude; Thwart; Crowd Favorites; Opportunity; Morphling; Cancel; Akroma, Angel of Wrath; Reweave
This is an incredible pack. It is difficult to imagine what was taken in the first five picks out of this pack. I’m a huge fan of Crowd Favorites, but I had to go for the best card advantage spell in the entire stack. Opportunity is strictly superior to Ancestral Recall, and if the game goes long enough (and it usually does), it can serve as a win condition to deck someone.
Dismantling Blow; Serra Avatar; Body Double; Niv-Mizzet; the Firemind; Trickbind; Mana Drain; Hit/Run; Wrecking Ball; Rend Flesh
Trickbind can stop key plays like Mindslaver and Door into Nothingness, as well as many other annoying triggers and clear the stack at a key moment.
Naturalize, Reclaim, Combat Medic, Anger, Absorb, Hypnox, Shattering Pulse, Enshrined Memories, Dissipate
At this point, I’m tempted to take Combat Medic, but this is a nice 8th pick counterspell.
Muddle the Mixture, Promise of Power, Cerebral Vortex, Heed the Mists, Terminate, Frazzle, Vanish into Memory
Pick: Muddle of the Mixture
Promise of Power is actually a very good card that probably should not be in the ninth pick here. The problem is that the damage that Promise does leaves you in a weakened position and makes you an easy target for someone who wants a reason to attack someone.
See pick 8.
Smokespew Invoker, Read the Runes, Aladdin’s Lamp, Sculpting Steel, Molder, Dwarven Catapult,
Pick: Smokespew Invoker
He’s a board wiper, but in some ways better. Giving creatures —3/-3 is sometimes better than dealing them damage, what with the plethora cards that redirect damage floating around.
Bringer of the Red Dawn, Autochthon Wurm, Snapback, Evacuation, Shattering Spree
Pick: Shattering Spree.
Uncounterable artifact destruction. Better than Shatterstorm.
Swords to Plowshares, Twisted Justice, Krosan Cloudscraper, Soulblast
Pick: Swords to Plowshares
There are very few cards that have a converted mana cost of one in the Type Four stack. The fact that Swords is in here I think demonstrates how incredibly undercosted and good it is. One of the best instant speed removal spells in the game. Soulblast is a card I’d never draft. I rarely draft creatures, so it’s pretty terrible to begin with. Twisted Justice is really powerful if it resolves, but it’s a sorcery. For removal. Swords is just better.
Exclude, Crowd Favorites, Cruel Revival
Pick: Crowd Favorites
I’m surprised, but very pleased, that Crowd Favorites made it this far. If I didn’t take Opportunity in pick 6, I would have taken this. It’s always a plus when your second choice comes back around. I don’t care if you’re an aggro, mid-range aggro, combo, or control strategy, Crowd Favorites will help you get the job done. People just undervalue this card far too much until they see how he controls the board.
Wrecking Ball, Serra Avatar
Pick: Wrecking Ball.
Avatar is a huge liability. Getting Agonizing Demised or Reflect Damaged, or smashed by any number of other spells, makes this guy a pretty risky play.
Legacy Weapon; Crosis, the Purger; Mystic Melting; Grozoth. Wreak Havoc; Prophetic Bolt; Yawgmoth’s Agenda; Myojin of Life’s Web; Bosh, Iron Golem; Dominate; Storm Seeker; Tidespout Tyrant; Reya Dawnbringer; Time Stretch; All Sun’s Dawn
Pick: Legacy Weapon
Dominate is also a first pick. It was a close call. Bosh is also up there. Bosh is part of a two-card kill a player combo with Gleemax. If you have Genesis, Bosh is even better. Yawgmoth’s Agenda is one of my favorite cards from Type Four in years past, but its power has diminished greatly over time.
Glory, Crown of Convergence, Acquire, Angel of Despair, Wild Speculation*, Beacon of Unrest, Perplex, Tower of Fortunes, Thicket Elemental, Voidslime, Dromar’s Charm, Jushi Apprentice, Treva’s Charm, Fissure
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure that this was the correct pick. In terms of raw power, Glory or Tower of Fortunes are probably the best picks, followed by Acquire. Crown of Convergence is not a card that is likely to resolve, and if it does, it will make you a big target. I really don’t need Glory, but I would like a second Stifle effect. Voidslime plus Trickbind will give me two Stifle effects in a 45-card deck.
Gifts Ungiven; Ray of Distortion; Counterspell; Annul; Misdirection; Last Word; Academy Ruins; Illusionary Mask; Sisters of Stone Death; Decree of Annihilation; Descendant of Soramaro; Vampiric Tutor; Tatsumasa, the Dragon’s Fang
As you may or may not know, we play that if you use the alternative casting cost for cards like Misdirection, Force of Will, and Snapback, it does not count as your spell for the turn. Since mana is not a constraint in Type Four, it is in the spirit of the card and the format translation to have them obviate the one key restraint in the format. Misdirection should not have made it this far. It’s a first pick. I passed this pack to Doug Linn, who took Gifts Ungiven, which nicely complemented the Glory I sent him in the previous pick.
Restock; Simic Sky Swallower; Twincast; Intet, the Dreamer; Darigaaz’s Charm; Withered Wretch; Draining Whelk; Undermine; Krosan Grip; Spell Blast; Blatant Thievery; Glarecaster
Blatant Thievery is probably the most powerful spell here, but the least likely to resolve. Since it affects most (if not all) players at any given time, at least one of those is probably going to counter it. Plus, if someone else drafts it, they are likely going to make themselves a target and make my job easier. I eye the Krosan Grip for a while, but I can’t pass up on Glarecaster.
First of all, Glarecaster is part of one of the few auto-win combos in this stack: Masticore/Vampiric Dragon plus Glarecaster is called Glasticore in Type Four lingo. Second, Glarecaster controls the board when it’s in play. Certain cards just can’t be played, like Inferno. People also can’t attack you.
I happily take Glarecaster fourth pick.
Kaervek, the Merciless; Akroma’s Vengeance; Bane of the Living; Reviving Vapors; Seed Spark; Willbender; Infernal Spawn of Evil; Draco; Maze of Ith; Uktabi Kong; Plague Wind
Pick: Maze of Ith
This pick is between Willbender and Maze of Ith. Willbender is a unique and incredible card. It’s the only card that can redirect things like the activation of Door to Nothingness or Mindslaver. Alternatively, it can protect any spell you want to force into play. Its unmorphing doesn’t use the stack either, which is a nice plus. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to survive circles around the table.
Maze of Ith, on the other hand, is much harder to kill, much more likely to ensure my long-term survival, and doesn’t cost me a spell for my turn. Maze of Ith is a first pick, and I’m shocked it came this far. My teammate Kevin Cron actually argues that Maze is better than Prahv, because Prahv makes you more of a target.
Flowstone Overseer; Hisoka; Minamo Sensei; Return to Dust; Spirit of the Night; Sway of the Stars; Quicksilver Amulet; Assert Authority; Memory Lapse; Final Judgment; Smash
Pick: Assert Authority
I’m tempted to take Hisoka (Mr. Miyagi) as I’ve seen him play very well in key situations. I also take a quick look at Flowstone Overseer. But in the end, I just really would like more countermagic. Assert Authority is one of the better counterspells, in that it removes the cards countered from game. In a format with so much recursion – Genesis, Chainer, etc – this is a huge plus.
Quash, Eternal Dragon, Putrefy, Orim’s Thunder, Allay, Second Thoughts, Flashfreeze, Myojin of Infinite Rage, Deflection
Eternal Dragon is definitely my second pick here. He’s a great finisher because he can’t easily be stopped, and he’s somewhat innocuous, but he’s a decent attacker. Deflection is one of those cards that can really mess up the stack and kill someone. I am also planning to take a disproportionate number of Blue spells to ensure that I can support Misdirection.
Crosis; the Purger; Mystic Melting; Grozoth. Wreak Havoc; Prophetic Bolt; Tidespout Tyrant; Reya Dawnbringer; Time Stretch
Pick: Prophetic Bolt
Prophetic Bolt is the best card on top of my library, which is better than anything else here.
Acquire, Fissure, Jushi Apprentice, Thicket Elemental, Tower of Fortunes, Beacon of Unrest, Wild Speculation*
This is a difficult pick. Tower of Fortunes is enormously powerful. A single activation should probably put you in the lead or make you the favorite. However, getting it to resolve is tricky. A turn 1 Tower of Fortunes is as likely to resolve as Yawgmoth’s Bargain is in Vintage. It’s a card that has to be played carefully. Acquire, on the other hand, is a card that targets only a single player, so the players who aren’t targeted will probably have no beef. It’s much more likely to resolve, and incredibly powerful. I mean, Acquire has the potential to be the best artifact in Type Four.
Descendant of Soramaro, Vampiric Tutor, Decree of Annihilation, Academy Ruins, Ray of Distortion, Annul
Pick: Vampiric Tutor
I almost take Annul, but then I decide that Vampiric Tutor will give me an opportunity to try and outplay people, so I go with Vamp.
Withered Wretch, Spell Blast, Darigaaz’s Charm, Simic Sky Swallower
Pick: Spell Blast
Bane of the Living, Seed Spark, Draco, Plague Wind
Pick: Bane of the Living
People underestimate how powerful Bane is. This was my third pick, after Maze of Ith and Willbender, from pick 5 of this pack.
Final Judgment, Smash, Spirit of the Night
Orim’s Thunder, Allay
This was probably a mistake in retrospect. Allay lasts longer, but Orim’s Thunder is more versatile. Not sure what I was thinking.
Crosis, the Purger
Boseiju, Who Shelters All; Darksteel Colossus; Scion of the Ur-Dragon; Brainspoil; Congregation at Dawn; Ertai, Wizard Adept; Pyre Zombie; Twilight’s Call; Red Elemental Blast; Murmurs From Below; Who/What/When/Where/Why; Arashi, the Sky Asunder; Spellshift; Trial/Error; Clutch of the Undercity
Pick: Arashi, the Sky Asunder
Recall that I have Glarecaster. Arashi plus Glarecaster = I win the game.
Hinder; Arcane Denial; Necrotic Sliver; Vampiric Dragon; Sudden Death; Spite/Malice; Force of Will; Oblivion Stone; Skyship Weatherlight; Chromeshell Crab; Ink Eyes; Servant of Oni; Firemane Angel; Bogardan Hellkite; Stonewood Invocation
Pick: Force of Will
This is a first pick. I only look at the remaining cards in the pack to ensure that I know what I’m passing along, and to try and see what might have motivated Doug to take something over this.
Mystic Snake, Mindslaver, Rout, Survival of the Fittest, Nevinyrral’s Disk, Myojin of the Cleansing Fire, Decree of Pain, Door to Nothingness, Planar Portal, Mindslaver, Nicol Bolas, Debtors Knell, Mortify, Winding Canyons
Pick: Mystic Snake
Mindslaver is the objective strongest card in this pack. However, Mystic Snake fits my deck well.
Krosan Colossus; Masticore; Rewind; Mystical Teachings; Evangelize; Savage Beating; Stuffy Doll; Multani, Maro-Sorcerer; Shield of the Ages; Root Elemental; Razia, Boros Archangel; Fork
Wow. Now I have the full Glasticore combo. Mike Bomholt, Paul Mastriano, and Doug Linn all passed this pack, and it’s still full of juicy spells.
To be honest, in normal circumstances, I would probably take Shield of the Ages or even Stuffy Doll. But I have no choice but to complete the Glasticore combo.
Glarecaster plus Masticore now becomes my path to victory. My plan is to let people beat themselves up, put up a wall without looking too powerful, and then eventually force through the combo with my counterspells to protect it.
All of the components are set. I need to use my last ten picks to round out the deck instead of drafting other tactical bombs.
Whispers of the Muse, Pulse of the Grid, Aven Mindcensor, Phage the Untouchable, Starstorm, Thought Dissector, Searing Wind, Iridescent Angel, Gorilla Shaman, Minamo’s Meddling, Vex
Pick: Whispers of the Muse
Voidmage Husher; Jiwari, the Earth Aflame; Null Brooch; Moonlight Bargain; Tornado; Mirror Strike; Gaze of Adamaro; Hidetsugu’s Second Rite; Mizzium Transreliquat; Ertai’s Meddling
Pick: Ertai’s Meddling
Odds/Ends, Plated Slagwurm, Privileged Position, Phthisis, Fact or Fiction, Petrified Wood Kin, Sickening Shoal, Discombobulate, Altar’s Light
Pick: Privileged Position
Privileged Position is a weak card. It’s certainly not better than Fact or Fiction. However, Privileged Position has the potential to help me combo out successfully. Even if it isn’t used for that purpose, it makes my cards like Maze of Ith and Panacea that much harder to address. It will make attacking me seem like more effort than its worth in a seven-man game.
In short, Privileged Position is not the best card here, but it has the potential to be the most helpful to my game plan.
Congregation at Dawn, Who/What/When/Where/Why, Scion of the Ur-Dragon, Twilight’s Call, Red Elemental Blast, Trial/Error, Spellshift, Murmurs From Below
Sudden Death, Arcane Denial, Necrotic Sliver, Oblivion Stone, Hinder, Firemane Angel
Pick: Arcane Denial
Arcane Denial is known in my circles as the “friendly” counterspell because the controller of the spell you countered is less likely to be annoyed due to the fact that they’ll be drawing two more cards. I’m happy with this pick, although O-Stone and Firemane Angel tempt me.
Debtors’ Knell, Nicol Bolas, Myojin of Cleansing Fire, Nevinyrral’s Disk, Winding Canyons
Pick: Nicol Bolas
The only reason I picked Nicol Bolas is because he is Blue and can pitch to Misdirection and Force of Will.
Savage Beating; Root Elemental; Rewind; Razia; Boros Archangel; Krosan Colossus
Pulse of the Grid, Phage the Untouchable, Gorilla Shaman, Vex
Mizzium Transreliquat, Moonlight Bargain, Null Brooch
Pick: Null Brooch
Petrified Wood-Kin, Altar’s Light
Pick: Altar’s Light
Murmurs From Beyond
So, here is my deck:
Stephen Menendian’s Type Four Draft Deck:
Arashi, the Sky Asunder
Bane of the Living
Crosis the Purger
Force of Will
Maze of Ith
Muddle the Mixture
Murmurs From Beyond
Swords to Plowshares
Whispers of the Muse
Word of Seizing
This is one of the best Type Four decks I’ve ever drafted. My deck has the Glarecaster plus Masticore combo, as well as Arashi to make it a one-spell combo. I have Force of Will and Misdirection to protect my combo from multiple players, and I have an incredible assortment of defense spells to help me survive until then: Panacea, Forcefield, Maze of Ith, Crowd Favorites, and Bane of the Living. Opportunity and Whispers of the Muse are nice card advantage spells and Word of Seizing will be my key out in a tight spot. I have a decent amount of removal, the best of which is Legacy Weapon, and a ton of counterspells. This deck is very synergistic.
It is designed to survive the early game by building a moat around my board state so that people won’t attack me, using counterspells to protect myself and mess up other people’s game plans, and then assembling a combo that I can use to win the game when the other players have started killing themselves off. I’ll be pretty inactive until the game whittles down to 3-4 players. And once we get to 2-3 players, I’ll try and combo out.
Next week, you’ll see if my plan worked.
Until next time,
Appendix: The Ultimate Type Four Deck… Paul Mastriano’s Type Four Stack:
Bosh, Iron Golem
Crown of Convergence
Door to Nothingness
Shield of Ages
Tatsumasa, the Dragon’s Fang
Tower of Fortunes
Arcanis, the Omnipotent
Decree of Silence
Descendant of Soramaro
Ertai, Wizard Adept
Fact or Fiction
Force of Will
Heed the Mists
Hisoka, Minamo Sensei
Muddle the Mixture
Murmurs From Beyond
Myojin of the Seeing Winds
Pulse of the Grid
Read the Runes
Sway of the Stars
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Venser, Shaper Savant
Whispers of the Muse
Bane of the Living
Beacon of Unrest
Betrayal of the Flesh
Bringer of the Black Dawn
Chainer, Dementia Master
Decree of Pain
Infernal Spawn of Evil
Infernal Spawn of Infernal Spawn of Evil
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Myojin of the Night’s Reach
Phage the Untouchable
Promise of Power
Spirit of the Night
Will of the Creator*
All Sun’s Dawn
Arashi, the Sky Asunder
Chord of Calling
Crush of Wurms
Myojin of the Life’s Web
Petrified Wood Kin
Survival of the Fittest
Tooth and Nail
Blast From the Past
Bringer of the Red Dawn
Decree of Annihilation
Gaze of Adamaro
Grab the Reins
Hidetsugu’s Second Rite
Jiwari, the Earth Aflame
Myojin of Infinite Rage
Red Elemental Blast
Word of Seizing
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Bringer of the White Dawn
Myojin of the Cleansing Fire
Ray of Distortion
Return to Dust
Swords to Plowshares
Angel of Despair
Clutch of the Undercity
Congregation at Dawn
Crosis, the Purger
Decree of the Creator*
Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
Razia, Boros Archangel
Simic Sky Swallower
Sisters of Stone Death
Boseiju, Who Shelters All
Maze of Ith
Prahv, Spires of Order
Note 1: Take Possession should be in the stack, but Paul doesn’t own one yet.
Note 2: Asterisked cards are cards made specifically for Type Four.
Here are their texts:
Creature — Human Wizard
If Psychomancer is in your hand, you may play it as a copy of any card in an opponent’s graveyard (you must pay all costs that you would normally pay for playing that card).
Will of the Creator
Instant — Arcane
Choose one — Put a permanent from your hand into play, or return target card that was removed from game to your hand. You are this card’s owner until the end of the game.
Entwine — pay half your life rounded up.
Decree of the Creator
Sorcery — Arcane Plains
Target Player can play an additional three spells this turn.
When you cycle Decree of the Creator, you may play an additional spell this turn.
Until the beginning of your next turn, gain control of each opponent’s turn.