Strategy Superiority in Type 1, Or More Excuses to Make Fun of Suicide Black

Flores’ article from two weeks ago on strategy superiority and rogue deck design really caught me with respect to Type 1. In Type 1, there are so many powerful cards available that failing to build your deck in a way to try to grant yourself strategy superiority against a large number of opponents seems unacceptable.

Flores’ article from two weeks ago on strategy superiority and rogue deck design really caught me with respect to Type 1. In Type 1, there are so many powerful cards available that failing to build your deck in a way to try to grant yourself strategy superiority against a large number of opponents seems unacceptable.

Also, I hope that I am using the terms correctly, lest I be flagellated.

For Everyone That’s Too Lazy To Click the Link

The shortened definition of strategy superiority is the ability for a deck to beat another deck even if both decks are permitted to operate in the manner that they normally want to. This means that you typically cannot use hate cards in order to gain strategy superiority over another deck, since hate cards usually disallow an opponent from using an aspect of their deck, and strategy superiority only exists if both decks are capable of functioning. Mindslaver is the easiest card to think about with strategy superiority, especially against decks with”loss conditions.” In a matchup like Mindslaver decks vs. Dragon, Mindslaver is fine with Dragon getting cards like Bazaar of Baghdad or Intuition. It can just activate Mindslaver and win with the opponent’s own cards by making them combo themselves out. However, this does not mean that you have to be a combo deck in order to gain strategy superiority. If Keeper is playing against TnT, Keeper expects to be able to try to kill TnT’s creatures and TnT expects to Survival for and cast creatures. Just because a deck is disrupting another deck’s strategy does not mean that this is not considered strategy superiority.

Here’s a good example from the original article about the difference between running a hate card and running a card that gives you strategy superiority:

“The difference is that an operational Xantid Swarm comes out of the sideboard to fight a particular class of cards that may or may not pair off with threats from my own deck, whereas an operational Dwarven Blastminer trumps the U/W deck’s entire developmental process while at the same time enhancing the core competency of AnGGRRRy Slug.”

This Just In: Oscar Tan Not Dead, Keeper Is

[22:16] {Rakso} I took Tog last Time I went to a tourney

[22:16] {jpmeyer} !

[22:16] {jpmeyer} {Rakso} I took Tog last Time I went to a tourney

[22:17] {Rakso} It’s tough to play Keeper

This Also Just In: I Win The Prize

{DrSylvan}”Themes: Femmes Fatales, Hired Killers, Out For Revenge, Mistaken Identities”

{jpmeyer}”Lesbian assassins at war provide the focus for this outrageous Hong Kong martial arts film that is already becoming a cult classic.”

{DrSylvan} i have no idea how you find this stuff

{jpmeyer} by spending all day

{jpmeyer} every day

{jpmeyer} learning more about asian movies

{jpmeyer} my film profs mad defer to me on the subject

{DrSylvan} see, you could’ve competed for nerdiest TMDer. dave was such a lightweight, giving in after just exhibit B.

{DrSylvan} but i think you’ve one-upped me on that score


I actually submitted my previous article (the one I actually wrote as opposed to the one that that Stanton kid wrote – who if you didn’t already know, is Star Wars Kid in that lightsaber video,) earlier in the week, but since there were a number of Type 1 articles in the pipeline as well as the April Fool’s Day fun, it took a while to make the mainpage. In the meantime, we worked a lot more on that deck. Here’s what it looked like last time:

4 Tropical Island

4 Wasteland

3 Wooded Foothills

3 Polluted Delta

2 Island

2 Forest

1 Strip Mine

3 Null Rod

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Black Lotus

4 Basking Rootwalla

4 Wild Mongrel

4 River Boa

3 Hidden something-or-other

4 Force of Will

4 Curiosity

4 Brainstorm

3 Stifle

3 Daze

1 Time Walk

1 Ancestral Recall

Number of men-children in the deck: 7

Boy oh boy, did this deck beat Slaver decks. They dropped artifacts, we shut them down. Or they activated Hidden Guerrillas and we attacked for 5. Or they got the activations of their artifacts Stifled. If both decks did their thing, this deck would crush them. They could even Mindslaver you and usually the worst that would happen was that they would force you to discard the only card in your hand to Wild Mongrel and then not attack that turn. Worst Fog ever.

The deck then just had enormous problems with Tog. They didn’t need to activate Hidden Guerrillas or Hidden Gibbons. We usually couldn’t Daze them. There wasn’t much to Stifle. And any creature with Curiosity on it would just get blocked by Psychatog and die. Our plan of playing men and drawing cards was just trumped by their plan of casting Psychatog and winning. We went back the drawing board and came back with this:

4 Tropical Island

4 Wasteland

4 Polluted Delta

3 Island

3 Forest

1 Strip Mine

3 Null Rod

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Black Lotus

4 Basking Rootwalla

4 Wild Mongrel

4 Aquamoeba

4 Arrogant Wurm

2 Wonder

4 Force of Will

4 Circular Logic

4 Brainstorm

2 Deep Analysis

1 Gush

1 Time Walk

1 Ancestral Recall


4 Stupefying Touch

4 Oxidize

3 Sword of Fire and Ice (The Secret Of Steel)

3 Back to Basics

1 Wonder

Number of men-children in this deck: 14

This made the Tog matchup winnable by removing Tog’s strategy superiority. They couldn’t defeat our counters just by playing lands and they couldn’t defeat our creatures just by casting Tog. You have Tog? That’s great! I have Wonder. Attack for seven. The sideboard Stupefying Touch worked the same way. You have Goblin Welder/Tog/whatever? I have removal. This tipped the scales so that now our deck was the one with strategy superiority. We tested our ideas out at a small tourney in Columbus for a Mox (top 8 decklists available here courtesy of morphling.de) where I gave the list out to Rian”The Original Nut-Low All-Star” Litchard, who finished fourth, and Doug”Beautiful Girl Soldier of Thunder and Courage” Linn who finished ninth on tiebreakers. The changes that we made still let our deck have strategic superiority over Slaver. Even if they went for The Man Plan™ against us, which is their normal procedure against decks that would be using Null Rod against them, such as Fish or the Oshawa Stompy Survival-Madness deck, they still wouldn’t be able to block because of Wonder and would usually lose the turn after they cast their abnormally large man.

Oh, and the last thing we did was rename the deck. I thought that”Keeper” was a clever name (as well as how I also briefly considered”ffjc.dec”), Rian liked”Standard Oil,” and Doug E. Fresh for some reason like”Diet Air,” we decided to go with – no joke -“U/G Madness.” Seriously, I think people put way too much energy into naming decks and usually what happens in the end is that it just gets overly confusing for most people. I’m pretty sure that Kai said something along the lines of”In Germany, we spend time building decks, not naming them.” And besides, when there are topics on The Mana Drain like”Is Category III Deadbolt the beatdown against Easter Tendrils” I simply have no idea what is being discussed and therefore usually don’t even bother reading them. I mean, when I hear”Category III,” I don’t think Type 1 decks. I think (often) violent movies from Hong Kong bordering on softcore porn.

Q’n’D Report (since Ze Germans love these)

Round 1: Workshop Slaver

Game 1: I have to pitch all my gas on double turn 1 Force of Will

Game 2: I don’t draw a single Oxidize or Null Rod off of his Timetwister


Round 2: Draw-7 Combo

Game 1: I cast creatures and counterspells

Game 2: He has too much mana

Game 3: Turn 1 Null Rod


Round 3: Mirror

Game 1: He draws extra cards, but in the”Judge!” way and not the Deep Analysis way

Game 2: He has Wonder

Game 3: He does not know the Riddle of Steel and is therefore laughed at by Grom and cast out of Valhalla


Round 4: Survival

Game 1: I counter Survival of the Fittest

Game 2: I counter Peacekeeper


Round 5: Dump Truck


T8: Workshop Slaver (Kevin Cron)

Game 1: He can’t block

Game 2: His artifacts don’t do much

T4: Mirror (Rian Litchard)

Game 1: I have Wonder

Game 2: He who lives by the Sword of Fire and Ice, dies by the Sword of Fire and Ice

T2: Control Slaver (Jason Stinnett)

Game 1: He wants a $300 ante match

Game 2: His deck gets better after boarding

Game 3: But not better enough

Suicide Black Sucks

I will say right now that I built this deck completely off of the top of my head, but that also means that I built this deck to be completely standard and therefore be more appropriate to my argument as it is not running any strange card choices which would push the argument in one direction or another.

16 Swamp

4 Wasteland

1 Strip Mine

4 Null Rod

4 Withered Wretch

4 Phyrexian Negator

4 Nantuko Shade

4 Dark Ritual

4 Duress

4 Hymn to Tourach

4 Sinkhole

3 Chains of Mephistopheles

1 Necropotence

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Demonic Consultation

Number of men-children: zero

Basically, if you look at this deck, it plans on winning by hoping that its opponent can’t play its game. You could hand me a”Type 2 deck with Sol Ring” and I’d be able to beat an opponent that isn’t allowed to cast spells. Or draw cards. Actually, on second thought, maybe”Type 2 decks with Sol Ring” isn’t a very appropriate insult any more. But seriously, this deck is in a sense filled with the Xantid Swarms from the beginning of the article. Instead of fighting against the opposing deck, it’s loaded up with specific cards which may or may not match up against aspects of the opposing deck.

Suicide Black and Madness both appear really similar based on the look of the deck, and a rough feel for how the deck operates. But if we compare Suicide to Madness more closely, you can see that Madness doesn’t need to rely on such specific combinations of cards paired against specific threats. If Suicide’s opponent draws creatures and Suicide can’t Hymn them away at the right time or have Nantuko Shade to fight it, it becomes really difficult for it to beat an aggro deck. Madness can run over the creatures, or fly over them, or counter them, and so on. And this is to say nothing about the large number of cards that Suicide which have a very specific role and are dead otherwise, like Chains of Mephistopheles. That’s just completely dead against say, TnT in much the same way that the Null Rods are next to worthless against Fish.

Chains of Mephistopheles is good against decks that need to draw a lot of cards in order to win. Hymn to Tourach is good against decks which need to keep a lot of cards in hand during the first two turns of the game. You know what kind of decks Arrogant Wurm and Circular Logic are good against? Decks with life totals and spells. Similarly, I like when decks have strategy superiority in that it makes it easier for me to visualize the matchup before it actually happens, like in the beginning of Hero when Nameless and Long Sky have that sweet fight in their minds before actually fighting it out (although to be fair, that fight is nowhere near as awesome as when Flying Snow and Broken Sword fight through an entire legion of the Emperor’s best troops.) If I can see everything ahead of time, it becomes a lot easier to establish the proper strategic plan, and therefore to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women, rather than sitting there wondering if the cards in your hand will be usable at the moment that they are needed to produce an effect.

This is also why Workshop Slaver is a lot better than Workshop Prison. Workshop Prison was based almost entirely on the concept that its opponent wouldn’t be able to cast spells, so therefore it wasn’t surprising that when an opponent did cast a spell (like say, a Psychatog) they tended to lose the game in short order. In much the same way, it also had problems if the opponent was able to counter or discard some of the Prison deck’s lock parts or destroy them after they hit the table. One of the reasons that Workshop Slaver (as well as Control Slaver) is so strong is that you can do a lot against them but they can just as easily undo it with your own cards.

The last important deck to look at with respect to strategy superiority is Keeper. I think that one of the reasons that Keeper sticks around, despite being only the fourth-best control deck, is because it has strategy superiority against lots of random decks and strategies because of its core cards. You can do whatever you want, but there are just a lot of cards in Keeper like Balance, Exalted Angel, and Yawgmoth’s Will that can just win through almost anything or undo almost anything.

When it comes to deckbuilding in Type 1 remember”heart, don’t hate” and until next time, may you win a Type 1 tourney with a deck that you took to Regionals.

JP Meyer

jpmeyer at case dot edu