Hello again. The saga of the Casual Framework continues as we explore individual
Archetypes and peer more closely at their Subtypes. I even include some sample decks in order
to illustrate the ideas that I am talking about.
This is the Magic Taxonomy class. In it, I have divided most Magic decks into five
Archetypes that are individually divided into additional Subtypes. In the previous four
articles, we’ve explored the first four Archetypes, which are all distinctive and their
Now, however, it’s time for the fifth Archetype, the Hybrid one. The Hybrid
Archetype includes all decks that combine two or more elements of the previous four
Archetypes. The problem with this Archetype is that the original article listed nine
Subtypes, and I have since added two more.
If I give the Hybrid Subtypes the same focus and dedication that I gave the other Subtypes
in previous Archetypes, then I’d have to break this article into several bits spread
over at least two weeks. Alternatively, I could skip the sample decks, or just link to sample
decks when I can. Last week’s article saw me link to a decklist once, and I could try
to do that here as well. Thirdly, I could just not explore these Subtypes with the detail
that I gave others.
So, how shall I write this article? There are several options and plenty of ways to do
it. As I write this, I have rejected the third option. These Subtypes will get just as much
detail as the previous ones. However, I have not decided on the first two options. What I
intend to do is to begin the article by writing out the detailed exploration of each Subtype
and then decide how to do the sample deck from there.
So, without further ado, allow me to present the modified section of the framework known
as the Hybrid Archetype:
Archetype #5 — Hybrid — Combines two or more Archetypes to create one
Aggro-Control Deck — Uses quick creatures and then removes threats until they
Temporal Deck — Uses time to cut off options
One Hit Wonder Deck — Uses a creature that can win in one hit and then tries to get
its hit in.
Bleeder Deck — Uses control methods as both a way to slow down opponents and also to
Permanent Refusal Deck — Uses permanents as an adjunct to a Resource Denial Strategy
Creatures as Removal Deck — Uses creatures to both remove threats and to be threats
of their own.
Slow Blow Deck — Uses creatures to attack and win while also slowing down the
opponent’s ability to respond.
Extreme Theme Deck — This deck is designed to be merely an uber-fun deck with little
chance of winning.
Card Advantage Deck — Uses card advantage to the max in order to bury opponent in
Sweep but Keep Deck — Uses creatures and sweeping kill cards that do not kill your
Matrix Deck — Uses a variety of synergies to create a matrix of interweaving
The Aggro-Control Deck (Combines NHBAggro with CTB)
The Aggro-Control deck is one of the scions of the Hybrid Archetype. Aggro-Control decks
have an established history of doing well in tournaments and in casual circles. Some of the
top competitions have been won by Aggro-Control decks. Some previous powerful Aggro-Control
decks have included some builds of Zoo, CounterSliver and PT Jank.
The Aggro-Control Subtype seeks to play out several creatures and then ride them to
victory by using various methods of control to clear a path and keep creatures off the board.
Therefore this deck combines the attack of a NHBAggro deck with the controlling nature of a
There are several ways you can build this deck. One way is with actual removal, like
usually pack some very quick creatures backed by some very quick removal. It might have a few
backup plans like Cursed Scroll to assist after the primary plan is cut off by defensive
creature or sweeping removal. However, the primary plan is to play a few cheap creatures and
then swing for game in a few turns while continuing to clear a path. PT Jank was this type of
Another way to build this deck is to emphasize the countermagic. This deck will play some
quick creatures and then use countermagic and occasional bounce or removal spell to keep the
pathway clear until the creatures deal lethal damage. This deck can protect the creatures
more easily than the previous deck because countermagic can be used on removal just as easily
as creatures. CounterSliver was this type of deck.
Whichever way you build this Hybrid Subtype, the decks will have some similarities between
this Subtype and the Temporal Subtype, which you’ll see next.
Let’s take a look at a sample deck:
This is a version of the second type of Aggro-Control deck that uses countermagic to back
up the initial threat and allow those creatures to win the game on their own. You begin the
and then ride them to victory.
allowing the attack to continue unabated. The Tidal Merfolk is best at making an Island so
all of the Islandwalking Merfolk led by a Lord of Atlantis can get a free hit in.
I love the underused River Merfolk. Not only do they get Islandwalk when a Lord is out,
but you can give them Mountainwalk as well. They are unblockable against a lot of decks.
They’re also a beefy merfolk with a two power.
The Looters and Lords are obvious choices for the deck and each adds something nice. The
Looters are a nice card to find immediate things with. When you need countermagic, more
beaters or land, use the Looter as much as possible. When your hand is happy, and you have a
Lord out, start swinging.
In countermagic, I included four copies of some of the best countermagic in the game.
good against many threats and Forbid can be bought back. These four counters make up the
quartet of good casual counters (Force of Will and Mana Drain are added to make a sextet when
you consider tournament Magic as well).
This deck is simple in design, but it helps to illustrate the Aggro-Control Subtype really
well because you can see how the two Archetypes interweave.
The Temporal Deck (Combines Resource Denial and NHBAggro)
This deck plays a few cheap creatures and then uses Resource Denial strategies to keep
opposing creatures off the board until said creatures deal lethal damage. This was a very
opponents down until victory was established.
Take for example, the Ponza deck that dropped something like Veteran Brawlers before using
long enough for the Brawlers or other creatures to win. This is a classic example of a
This deck tries to win by initially using the NHBAggro element by using one or more
creatures in the early game to win. However, it uses a Resource Denial strategy to get those
creatures to successfully deal damage and win. Both elements are combined for the victory.
In my original article, I had placed this Subtype in the Resource Denial Archetype.
However, when reading the Archetype for the The Casual Metagame #4, I realized that this
really belonged in the Hybrid Subtype as a combination of NHBAggro and RD. Therefore, I
bumped this here.
There are some obvious similarities between the Temporal Subtype and the previous one, the
Aggro-Control Subtype. Both play cheap creatures and then try to give them a clear path. One
tries to control the board while the others seeks to dominate the board. This similarity can
lead to some crossover even between these two Subtypes.
are played. This deck falls between both Subtypes and uses both CTB and RD elements combined
with the NHBAggro element. You just have to expect that this sort of thing will happen
sometimes in the Hybrid Archetype.
Here’s the sample decklist.
For illustrative purposes, I decided to show a different take on the same deck for the
first pair of Subtypes. They are both merfolk decks with the exact same twenty merfolk in
As mentioned above, these two types can sometimes blend in tournament and casual decks.
This is another example. Resource Denial cards like the Orb and Waters meets Controlling the
Board cards like the countermagic meets the No-Holds-Barred Aggro with the creatures. Rar!
I’d classify this deck as closer to the Temporal Subtype than the Aggro-Control
Likewise, this may only have six RD cards in it, but the entire deck takes on that flavor as
Putting both decklists virtually side by side also allows me to examine myself as a
player. Which do I prefer? That tells me a little more about my own inner Magic player.
The One Hit Wonder Deck (Combines NHBAggro and CCM)
This Subtype wins by playing a creature that can hit in one swing, and then giving it a
way of hitting. The route of victory here is the creature, not a combo. Nevertheless, these
deck often use combinations to get the creature big or to give it some form of evasion.
The most popular versions of these decks have got to be Phage decks. Play Phage and then
her in for the kill. Once you’ve done this, you win easily. You can see the CCM
elements by giving Phage various tools to allow her to deal damage. The deck wins by having a
creature attack and deal damage, yet it uses a combination of cards to get it to that point.
There are tons of ways that you can built a One Hit Wonder deck. The most recent may be
position where it can win the game in one massive “Hulk Smash” moment.
The combo elements of this deck distinguish it from a normal big creature deck. Likewise,
the creature elements of this deck distinguish it from the Crazy Combo Man Archetype.
Therefore, you can find these decks in the Hybrid section of the Framework.
win with the Terravore. This deck is a lot better in multiplayer than duels. The combination
requires a lot of mana so it needs some defense.
The defense begins with Wall of Blossoms. Not only is this a cheap wall but it can also
draw a card that helps to find the combo pieces. It also has Llanowar Elves, which not only
make mana but also make the board look busy. Often cheap mana creatures are good, not just
because they make mana, but because they also allow a player to look like they are doing
something, thus making them a less viable target.
finisher, especially with all of this mana lying around. Before you drop the Obliterate, feel
free to drop an Anger. Use it to chump block, attack with it mercilessly into a 7/7 Ivy
Elemental or just leave it as defense until you Obliterate.
key mana number is eleven. One Elf and Monolith give you four mana, so you would only need
seven lands in that case, which is easily achieved with your defense in multiplayer. Add
another Elf and you need six lands. Add another artifact instead and you need four lands.
Play Obliterate, which cannot be prevented by traditional countermagic (it can be delayed
graveyard, you can attack right now and probably kill a player.
You need to assess threats. The opponent with the fastest deck is a threat. Bounce is a
threat. A counter deck with no bounce spells except for Capsize will need three mana, so you
can leave them alone for a turn or two while you hammer the fast deck players, then hit and
kill the counter mage. Combo players are usually the worst hurt by an Obliterate, so leave
them until last.
lose, but not impossible. Swords to Plowshares will take out the Vore all by itself. Still,
it can be a fun deck to play around with.
If you decide to play this deck, good luck with it!
The Bleeder Deck (Combines CTB and CCM)
This deck uses control and combo methods to both control the board and win the game
simultaneously. A classic example of such a card is Pillory of the Sleepless from Guildpact.
In fact, the Orzhov often play with a Bleeder strategy.
One old school example of this deck is to look at Shandalar. Outside of the recent Orzhov
decks, this Subtype hasn’t been played often recently. The computer game Shandalar
created a decks around old Fourth Edition cards. One deck was a Black Green Bleeder deck with
There are a few cards that truly combine the CTB and CCM abilities in just one card but
none does so as clearly as the Pillory. Other cards that fit this include Curse Artifact,
Black combined with White and/or Red would be the way to build a Bleeder Deck.
You can see the interaction between the control elements that shut things down and the
combo elements that kill the player. Sometimes you’ll need to add a card to the mix to
make things work. For example, Dingus Staff will zark the opponent for two damage every time
you off one of her creatures. This adds the CCM element to the CTB strategy,
As I mentioned before, this isn’t a commonly played combination of cards. In fact,
true Bleeder decks are fairly rare outside of the occasional Orzhov deck. Therefore there
aren’t a lot of strategies built around the combination of control and death from that
control. There is another Subtype, that we will review next, which is much more commonly used
to combine CCM with another Archetype.
This deck uses a variety of control mechanisms with bleeding effects to win the game. It
enough to keep the opponent from burying you in an avalanche of creatures, so be prepared to
relied upon to give you the time you need to establish control and win the game.
Don’t worry overmuch with the small creatures your opponent has. Faith’s
Fetters, Orzhova, Agents, Verdicts and Hunters will all assist in gaining life. You’ll
get enough life to survive the small stuff while you eliminate the big stuff. You can block
recklessly with the Blind Hunter if you have need because of the haunt provision.
You’ll note that the opponent will die quickly to all of your bleeding effects.
quickly be plinked to death. The benefit you receive from all of this is obvious. Not only
are you establishing control, not only are you gaining life, but you are also winning
I tossed in Vindicate as an emergency mechanism. You can toss it at anything that needs
to be offed, although I expect that creatures will be your primary target by far. There are
to the owner of the enchanted artifact, but the owner of said artifact will usually choose to
sacrifice it. This is perfectly fine by you.
I threw in a set of Gerrard’s Verdicts. These are great early game discards and you
often get some life with them as well. Later they become nice ways of taking out good cards
or land, as players have a tendency to hold either land or really good cards in their hand.
Either is good for you as you gain life or see good cards go away. Note that, as an
emergency, you can Verdict yourself and discard lands to gain life.
I included twenty-six lands because this seems a bit more mana intensive than your normal
deck, especially with four and five drops of some importance, since they are your only
creatures. Orzhova can be activated with the extra mana when you have some, so feel free to
play lands when you get them.
I hope you enjoyed this trek through a Bleeder deck!
The Permanent Refusal Deck (Combines CCM and RD)
Permanent Refusal is focused on finding ways to adjunct a normal Resource Denial strategy
with combo elements to create a situation where the Resource Denial wins the game instead of
just stalling the game. By using combinations, this deck introduces CCM to the RD Archetype.
A classic example of this Archetype is the discard deck that plays Megrims as its winning
condition. Outside of few creatures for defense and discarding, it usually wins with just the
Deal, or Wheel of Fortune.
There are a variety of was to build this deck depending on which resource the deck is
trying to deny. The example given above focuses on a discard strategy and looks at something
like Megrim. Another example would be supplementing a land destruction strategy with Dingus
Egg as the winning condition.
Other Resource Denial strategies also have supplemental Permanent Refusal Subtypes. A
condition. As you can see, this Subtype is all about using various abilities and effects as
an adjunct to the normal Resource Denial strategy.
Here is the ubiquitous sample deck:
This deck resembles the Land Destruction Deck from the Resource Denial Framework because
into a Hybrid with Crazy Combo Man.
One of the keys of this deck are the elves. Play an Elf on the first turn and you can
drop one of your twelve three mana LD spells on the second turn with no problem. This speed
is very important in getting a jump on opposing players.
Drop an Egg or Ankh as soon as you can in order to maximize your damage from it. Your
opponent will take two to play a land and then another two when you pop the land. At some
point in time, they’ll just stop playing lands altogether. Once that happens, swing
with your elves or the pair of Silvoses provided.
Sixteen spells in this deck destroy a land, including twelve which cost three mana each
and Creeping Mold. The Mold will also take out annoying enchantments or artifact, especially
There is also a pair of Ports to slow down the opposing player long enough for you to get
in control of the board. You can also use it to lock out a mana while you search for land
Don’t take too much damage from your own Ankh. Drop it when you can, but your eight
elves will suffice for the game. In fact, in retrospect, it might be a good idea to include a
discard outlet for the extra lands you might hold. I’d consider things like Scroll
Rack or something for the deck.
I hope that you enjoy this deck. More importantly, I hope that you see how this Subtype
is distinguished from a normal Resource Denial Archetype by adding the Crazy Combo Man element
The Creatures as Removal Deck (Combines NHBaggro and CTB)
Although this Subtype combines the same two Archetypes as the Aggro-Control Subtype
mentioned above, this Subtype uses creatures as control. Aggro-Control plays a few creatures
and then rides them to victory by clearing a path and stopping things that might kill them.
Creatures as Removal wins by using creatures as the controlling elements of the deck.
A perfect example of this deck is my Bear Beats deck. In this deck, virtually every card
is a creature or a land. The creatures include a large variety that kill other creatures,
deal damage, destroy artifacts, enchantments or lands, bounce creatures, recur cards or
creatures, and draw cards. The deck is designed around various creatures that each do
something important and controlling.
Although the individual elements of the Subtype fit a CTB strategy, with various
controlling methods, it is the creature oriented nature of the deck that introduces the
NHBAggro element to the mix.
A popular example of this Subtype are earlier version of RecSur built around a toolbox
engine with creatures that performed various functions, usually of a controlling nature, that
were tutored for and played as the situation needed. This deck performed admirably as an
NHBAggro deck by winning through the Red Zone. It also was a perfect CTB deck with various
controlling mechanisms built into the creature base.
After playing Bear Beats for a while, I can tell you that it can be a very powerful
combination. As you remove threats of various sizes, you accumulate a larger and large horde
until you burst through the remaining defenses and swarm for a win. It is a perfect
combination of the two Archetypes into one deck.
Let’s look at a smaller version of Bear Beats:
This deck is a simple deck with a large number of creatures that have abilities when they
come into play. Many of these will kill something, which is where the control element of the
deck comes from.
Take a look at Nekrataal. Playing this 2/1 first striking creature will off a non-Black
non-artifact threat of your choice. Not only is it a fair creature in combat but it is also a
solid removal spell. Another example is Flametongue Kavu. It deals four damage to a creature
while also having an impressively dangerous 4/2 body. The combination of damage and potential
has always made FTK a powerful tool. The Ghitu Slingers can also kill smaller creatures or
they can be used to deal damage straight to an opponent’s head. Either way, they have
There are other creatures that kill things. The Orangutan will off an offending artifact.
Avalanche Riders are not only hasted but will also destroy any land of your choice —
typically an opponent’s land is a good call. Thunderscape Battlemage can take out
enchantments while also stripping cards out of a hand. This makes for a powerful creature in
Outside of this, we also have Gravediggers which recur one of these creatures from your
graveyard. There are usually a lot of good choices, so choose wisely. Solemn Simulacrum will
get you a land when he comes into play and a card when he leaves. This smoothes your mana
while also speeding up your deck.
After that, I included a few tricks. Erratic Portal is a great card with a lot of uses,
but one of its primary uses is to bounce your own creatures back to your hand so that you can
reuse them as needed. One Avalanche Riders usage is nice, but bouncing it and reusing it over
and over again? That’s just unfair. The same is true of creature removal, artifact
removal, enchantment removal and land grabbing from the other creatures. Erratic Portal plays
well with this deck.
Living Death is a solid adjunct to this deck. Once some of your creatures die, you can
bring them back en masse with a Living Death. One of my favorite plays in all of Magic is to
play a Living Death when I have a tons of creatures in my graveyard that have various effects
when they come into play from drawing cards, destroying permanents, and more. If you’ve
never done that, then you’ve never seen Shakespeare the way it was meant to be played.
I could write a whole article on the tricks you could pull with Portcullis….wait a
second… I did!
Remember that when you play a creature under Portcullis, it comes into play, triggering any
abilities. Then it gets removed from the game but comes back when the Portcullis leaves, so
you get a second set of comes into play abilities. Plus, when you have a Portcullis out, you
can dictate who will have creatures out. Play removal for an opposing creature, then play
your own creature so that you are the one with creatures and not your opponent. Check out the
above article for more crazy Portcullis ideas. Just don’t get Portcullised yourself.
There you have another deck demonstrating the ideas of a Subtype.
After some analysis, I’ve decided to split this article up. I feel that these decks
could really use a few sample decklists right in the body of the article. Therefore, I am
going back and adding decks to these six Subtypes. Of course, you already know that because I
will have already added the decks to the article by the time you read this. Next week
I’ll probably skip the normal Casual Metagame article for a Time Spiral article of some
sort or another. After that, I’ll pick up The Casual Metagame as some point in the next
few weeks for sure.
I hope you have enjoyed another trek through all things casual here on The Kitchen Table.
I always enjoy another jaunt into the realm of the casual, this time laying out a road map for
all to follow in the future. Catch you somewhere in that land where all possibilities lie.