Bonjour! Today on The Kitchen Table, we are going to take a closer look at Type Four. J’adore le Type Quatre. It’s a casual format that is easy to play anytime. Just keep your draft in a short box and pull it out when you want a little fun. We’ve played it with new players and old, good players and bad, and the results are always fun!
What Is Type Four?
It is a draft format, with a few rules. You draft Rochester with your friends. You play it in multiplayer. Each turn, players can make any amount of mana (and any color or type, such as snow mana) but can only play one spell per turn (unless it is a spell with an alternate cost and that is paid). That’s the rules—any mana, one spell, Rochester draft, multiplayer.
The easy way to build your stack is to add all of the splashiest cards of all time. You want huge beaters like Akroma, Angel of Vengeance, Darksteel Colossus, Krosan Cloudscaper, Inkwell Leviathan, Simic Sky Swallower, and Silvos, Rogue Elemental. Even vanilla creatures such as Enormous Baloth and Whiptail Wurm have a strong value.
After you add the giant titans of Magic, the next thing you’ll want are the splashiest spells you can find. Searing Wind, Urza’s Rage, Time Stretch, Ancestral Tribute, Tooth and Nail, Titanic Ultimatum, Crush of Wurms, and Insurrection. Spells go rar!
Then you’ll want to add the biggest, meanest artifacts, planeswalkers, and enchantments. Vicious Shadows, Mindslaver, Mirari, Tower of Eons, True Conviction, Warstorm Surge, and Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker will make appearances.
Once you’ve got this stack of beats, feats, and treats, let’s play! That’s as easy as it is, right? Right? Well, it’s not that easy. You’ve got the aggro side of the triumvirate, but there are two other sides.
In a previous article, I discussed adding Johnny elements, or combo elements, to the stack. (You can find it here.) I consider this article the third entry of a trilogy of articles on Type Four. I suspect we’ll let the subject lie for a while after this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you see some more articles someday.
Today, I want to discuss the addition of control elements. You must be able to kill the stuff that people play and control the board. If I want to draft a deck that stops your deck from smashing through, I need the tools to do it. How does this thing work?
Creatures Are More Than Power/Toughness
Which of these would you rather draft for your deck—Quilled Slagwurm or Iridescent Angel? Assuming it’s the first pick, and you don’t have any previously drafted cards like Dramatic Entrance to influence your decision, you will always go for the Angel. Despite the fact that it’s a -4/-4 downgrade from the Wurm, the ability to block anything, swing through anything with a color, all while preventing damage, is awesome.
You need to understand that not every creature needs to be Eldrazi-sized in order to be great for the format. There are roles for smaller, but highly useful creatures, such as those that can plug a defense. Remember that this is played in multiplayer. Even if you draft the biggest creatures, when you tap to swing, you’re leaving yourself open to counter attack. As such, having a defense is how you’ll get through with big creatures. There’s nothing wrong with drafting both Pristine Angel and Furyborn Hellkite for the same deck. You can hold the fort with one and go walkabout with the other.
Try to find creatures to play good cop. Don’t go for exclusive defense—I’d steer clear of most walls. Look for things like regenerating fliers, indestructible creatures, or things with abilities that are interesting in a mana-free zone
Here are some defensive creatures I swear by and would suggest you consider for your Type Four stack.
Darksteel Gargoyle, Darksteel Sentinel — Both of these 3/3 creatures can be played and block for as long as you want. They will survive through a ton of various types of removal—damaged-based, pinpoint, and sweeping. The Sentinel can be flashed out on another turn, so it doesn’t take up your main phase spell to play, and it can nip in for three damage when someone is open while staying back for blocking. The Gargoyle is better at holding its position, due to flying, but lacks the other advantages of the Sentinel. Both are really strong in this format.
Dawn Elemental — Another flier that can survive a lot, this is something you’ll be happy to have on your defensive squad. It never gets drafted highly, but it will stay alive for a long time.
Armored Guardian — Giving any creature you control protection from any color is rough. Adding shroud on top of it feels superfluous. (Except vs. colorless artifacts or vs. Karn Liberated I suppose.) It’s sometimes so powerful, I sometimes consider pulling it. Usually the only option left when facing it is to Wrath of God and start over.
Aerie Mystics — As a weaker version of Armored Guardian, they fall in the draft order, and you can grab them and protect your team from anything that looks at it. A constant shroud over everything isn’t the biggest protection in the world, but it definitely helps.
Loxodon Hierarch — As a 4/4 that gains you four life when it enters the battlefield, it certainly has a pertinent element in the red zone. Where this shines is the ability to save your team by jumping in front of anything nasty. While a lot of sweeping effects won’t allow regeneration, an increasing number will. Plus, you can save your team from a bad combat step, or whatever. Even if all it does is jump in front of a Rend Flesh targeted at your Tidal Kraken, that’s enough.
Rainbow Efreet — Because you can always phase it out after blocking or removal, this is a creature that, once played, will always remain out. It might be phased, but it will always be there. Despite its 3/1 status, that is a pretty strong recommendation.
Indomitable Ancients — Because it can block anything up to a nine power and live, while also swinging for two damage, this little number makes me happy. It always gets picked in the back three, which gives a control deck a great opportunity to grab a nice little defensive number.
After defensive creatures, there is a lot of space for utility creatures. These are not necessarily designed to jump in front of a charging Enormous Baloth, but instead assist in other ways. There are tons of cards you could play, but here are a few that I do:
Tidespout Tyrant — Sure, a 5/5 flier can win the game, but what this dude really does is Time Walk an opponent each time you play a spell. The tempo advantage is palpable. Other creatures that have similarly powerful effects are Aethersnipe, the broken Hoverguard Sweepers, and the useful Waterspout Elemental.
Nullstone Gargoyle — A 4/5 flying critter is not going to wake up the neighbors. Countering someone’s noncreature spell is. Since you can’t play a chump spell, get it countered, and then play the real spell, you are just screwed. It’s only creatures when the Nullstone Gargoyle is in play.
Bellowing Tanglewurm — A lot of your fat is green. Having a few green enablers like Dramatic Entrance and this plays into the theme very nicely. I emphasize my green fat creatures in order to add these synergetic cards to it.
Stone-Tongue Basilisk — With threshold, this can attack and clear out someone’s board. Meanwhile, the rest of your dudes can get through the suddenly open defenses. It’s powerful and underrated by most drafters.
Galvanoth — You can play a sorcery or instant for free every upkeep, if it’s on top of your library. Since most of them are super amazingly good, Galvanoth has the potential to break your game wide open.
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni — Reanimating a foe’s creature for free due to hitting them with Ink-Eyes is very sexy. The ninjutsu can make that happen, plays well with the decent amount of ETB abilities we have on creatures, and the regeneration is fantastic on defense or survival.
Gerrard Capashen — When this attacks, just tap down every creature on the table. In addition, during your upkeep, gain a bunch of life. Gerrard may lose to Tsabo Tavoc, but he’ll win the Type Four Contest for Sexiest Male Legendary Weatherlight Character.
When you first pull cards for your Type Four stack, you’ll probably grab some removal spells. I’d recommend staying clear of sorcery pinpoint removal, with few exceptions.
The first type of removal you will want is mass removal. Maximize this section of your stack. Include as many different ways of killing multiple creatures as makes sense. Wrath of God, Damnation, and more—all fine. Inferno, Torrent of Lava, Savage Twister—all good. Look at Plague Wind, Decree of Pain, and Reiver Demon; Hour of Reckoning, Phyrexian Rebirth, and Hallowed Burial; Jokulhaups, Obliterate, and Devastation.
After you add as many mass removal cards as you can, then you’ll want pinpoint creature removal. I only play one sorcery one—Death Mutation. Because it kills a creature and makes an army of tokens at the same time, it’s worth playing as a sorcery. I don’t even play flexible removal such as Desert Twister and Vindicate. If it’s a sorcery and it’s pinpoint removal, I don’t rock it.
I also don’t believe you need that much instant removal. Just enough to keep things safe. I run the best ones we can. In addition to obvious ones like Unmake and Terminate, here’s some I recommend looking at:
Violet Pall — Kill one creature and make a token to block another. Having a chumpy little flying 1/1 is much better than you think, when a lot of creatures here don’t have trample. The first time you stop nine damage from a Kalonian Behemoth by killing an opposing Goliath Sphinx, you’ll understand.
Agonizing Demise — I would never construct a Type Four stack without one of these. They will whack a creature and deal damage to the controller. The amount of times I’ve seen this kill a player with that damage is obscene.
Order / Chaos, Exile, Second Thoughts — Exiling an attacking creature is a basic ability of white. Doing it here prevents any recursion shenanigans. Everybody wants to prevent them. All of these cards will exile as well as something else — draw a card, gain you life, or be able to be played as a Wave of Indifference.
Resounding Silence — This card is amazing, and I can’t build a stack without it. Since you can cycle it for an even more powerful ability, it won’t open you up to something silly in response (such as a Searing Wind to the head). You cycle, draw a card, exile two attackers, and not use your spell for the turn. That is truly amazing. (In this cycle, Resounding Wave is also mega awesome too, and the others are quite playable—I don’t play Resounding Roar, but you could.)
Dispense Justice, Wing Shards — In a format with little storm potential, Wing Shards is not nearly as good as you think. Getting metalcraft on Dispense Justice for the two for one is more feasible than a storm count on the Wing Shards (barring a haste creature being played and used).
Putrefy, Mortify, Spite / Malice — Because they have options to take out something more than a creature, these all have a lot of play value to my mind. They get usually get drafted around the wheel, perhaps a bit later.
Hail of Arrows — Somewhere between mass removal and pinpoint removal is this amazing number. It will take out any number of creatures that bother to attack you, so long as they are vulnerable to damage based removal.
Creatures that kill other creatures are also quite useful. I don’t play the small stuff, such as Nekrataal, but I do like Dread Cacodemon, Jiwari, the Earth Aflame, Arashi, the Sky Asunder, Havoc Demon, Butcher of Malakir, Bane of the Living, Magus of the Disk, Crater Hellion, Duplicant, and more.
Don’t forget to include removal spells for non-creatures. Again, I wouldn’t recommend sorcery removal here. I’d go with things such as Slice in Twain, Mystic Melting, Uktabi Kong, Furnace Dragon, Dismantling Blow, Orim’s Thunder, Seed Spark, and more.
Staying Alive Is Hard to Do
One often overlooked aspect of building your Type Four stack is to include cards that keep you and yours from dying. If someone attacks you for game, wouldn’t it be nice to know that there are ways to stay alive? Things that keep you from dying?
I like to have a handful of spells that do just that. Look at Captain’s Maneuver and Reflect Damage as perfect examples. They will turn damage that comes your way through spells or creatures back to the controller or another target. I’ve seen them kill a player. These two spells can turn a game around in an instant, and I’d recommend you acquire them for your Type Four stack.
Here are some others I like:
Mirror Strike — It’s basically Reflect Damage on one attacking creature. With such large creatures running around the format, you can imagine how powerful this is. I’ve seen it kill someone twice. It’s a 16-life swing on an 8/8, and it could easily be more than that.
Moment’s Peace — One Fog is good. Having the ability to Fog a second time is really good. I don’t want too many Fogs in my format—they slow it down—but you need a few to keep people honest. This does.
Blunt the Assault — With a smaller number of creatures, Congregate is not strong enough to make the cut. A Fog that gains you 3-6 life may not seem like a lot, but it can be. Every bit of life matters in a format that starts at twenty and has giant attacking creatures on the first turn.
Endure, Safe Passage — Do you want to stop damage to you? Your creatures? Perhaps both? No problem here because you will Endure. It doesn’t matter what you want to stop, all damage to you and yours is ceased. It doesn’t just prevent the next damage, it prevents all damage that will be dealt on the turn played. These two cards are nice, versatile answers.
Stonewood Invocation — When choosing what major spells to play, you may add Might of Oaks. Add this too. The split second avoids countermagic or responses while the shroud protects a creature from being targeted and the +5/+5 is a big old smack to the face. If you play Might of Oaks, you open yourself to getting two for one’d. This does not have that weakness, and it’s much better as a result. (See Vines of Vastwood for a similar, but not as useful, ability.)
With this handful of cards in your Type Four stack, you really help to make it a lot more interesting without watering it down too much with Fogs and such. If you want to extend it further, I’d suggest cycling Fogs—Angelsong, for instance. Cycling is a free card and a valuable draft at all times to give you something if you need it or reduce the size of your deck if you don’t.
In addition to these spells, there are some permanents I think you ought to check out. There’s nothing wrong with running defensive lands like Kor Haven, but I prefer things like Reflecting Mirror and Panacea.
(Note that Reflecting Mirror has an Oracle change from the printed ability on the card. According to the text on the card, it should allow you to bounce a target that targets you to another player no question. The Oracle only allows me to change the target if I am the only target of the spell. As the card is worded, if a foe played Shower of Coals and targeted me, a third player, and a creature, I could redirect the target of me to the caster. According to Oracle, I could not do that. It’s still good in a format with Urza’s Rage, Sorin’s Vengeance, and Searing Flesh, but I wanted to let you know.)
Just Say No
In a normal multiplayer environment, countermagic is a very bad thing. It’s card disadvantage since your enemies are outdrawing you massively. While there is a role for it by stopping the worst offenders, it’s not as powerful as you might think. In Type Four, that all changes. While it may be card disadvantage technically, it is also a Time Walk against someone. They can’t play anything else, just attack and use abilities. There is no follow up.
What is really interesting is that you can rely on getting a lot of things countered, and you can’t do anything about it. Every time you play something, you feel exposed. It’s like tapping out to play a spell. You are unlikely to have a response. You are going all in every time you play a spell.
The game will change a bit as a result. If you are at eight life, and I play Searing Wind on you, you can just respond with Cancel. If you played Bogardan Hellkite, then I can play Searing Wind in response, and there is nothing you can do.
I would recommend adding a copy of every hard counter you own, with the exception of those with a disadvantage. (Such as Familiar’s Ruse.) In addition to these tricks, there are also a few other counters you should play. They bend the rules of the format in amazingly awesome ways.
Decree of Silence — In my opinion, this is the best card in the format. Countermagic is great. Counters that replace themselves are even better. Counters that are virtually impossible to counter back are even better. But a counterspell that can be played, anytime, without discarding cards, and without counting as your spell for the turn? That’s really strong. If you can do them all in one card, then you have the single best card in Type Four. You can lead with a card that will end the game or kill a player, and when they try to take advantage of the fact that you’ve already played your spell for the turn, you just cycle Decree of Silence.
Voidmage Apprentice — This is in my top ten. The ability to flip it up and counter anything is awesome. In order to hide the best morph creatures, I like to add some others. I play this, Voidmage Prodigy, the next card on the list, Krosan Cloudscaper, Exalted Angel, Rockshard Elemental, Bane of the Living, Quicksilver Dragon, Chromeshell Crab, Blistering Firecat, Brine Elemental, Root Elemental, Towering Baloth, Imperial Hellkite, Krosan Colossus, Titanic Bulvox, and Vesuvan Shapeshifter.
Willbender — One of the few answers in my Type Four stack to abilities, Willbender can redirect anything from a kicked Urza’s Rage to a Door to Nothingness activation (I don’t run Door in my stack, but I know those who do). Just like Voidmage Apprentice and Decree of Silence, this is a way to say no without being subject much to being countered by other cards.
Ertai, Wizard Adept — Some people swear by him and play him heavily, but I’ve never gotten much use out of him. He’s way too fragile and gets caught up in all sorts of removal. If you can get him to work, he is a countering machine. I don’t play him, but a lot of people do.
Draining Whelk — Of the spells that counter, this is my favorite. With the high casting cost of cards running around, the Whelk is almost always very large. It’s easy to get a 10/10 Draining Whelk, plus have countered a crucial card.
Force of Will, Misdirection — Remember that pitch spells with alternate casting costs can be played with the alternate cost and do not count as the spell for the turn. I have one of each in my stack, and it adds another element of uncertainty—that’s a good thing.
In order to have a Type Four stack that everybody will have fun playing, you have to have more than the biggest creatures, spells, and permanents. You need counters, removal (both sweeping and targeted), defensive creatures, ways to stay alive, and utility cards. You need to make sure that you have combo and control in addition to aggro. When you have a well-rounded stack that can be drafted in any number of ways, then you’ll have even more fun with a format that’s already heavily dosed with it.
Note that all of my suggestions are just that, suggestions. Perhaps you don’t like the vanilla creatures, and thus Scaled Wurm isn’t a card that your friends want. Perhaps you aren’t fans of Eldrazi, because annihilator is such a powerful ability in a format without lands (I just run five for that reason). Make the best stack for you and your playgroup, not for me. Have fun!