The MidSize Type One Metagame Report – September

That said, the biggest lesson I learned from the most recent Waterbury was really something I already knew, but somehow forgot. The larger the Vintage event, the more randomness you’ll encounter. It’s easy, for example, for me to keep tabs on Myriad’s 40-50 player metagame. You have some New Hampshire guys, usually half of the Hadley crowd, some Bostonians, and of course the Mighty-Mighty Maine-tones. You know the decks that people play will be pretty close to the last months, but with all the easy calculations of taking metagame trends into account. Big events like Waterbury are far more different.

We have a very interesting month but even more interesting is Philip Stanton upcoming article since he gets to include not only normal hits like Italy’s gigantic turnouts and Duelmen, but he gets to say all the things about Waterbury that I want to write about. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll cheat a little bit and give my thoughts on Waterbury right here as a bonus!

Waterbury (187)


1) Control Slaver

2) Tendrils (Death Long)

3) Tendrils

4) Mono-U

5) Mono-U Belcher

6) Meandeck Titan

7) Tendrils

8) Tog

9) GAT

10) Gay/R

11) Turboland

12) Workshop Aggro

13) Workshop Aggro

14) Belcher

15) U/G Madness

16) 4cControl

Before I continue, here is a snippet from my report that describes my first-hand account of Waterbury:

"Waterbury was a very well-run event. The amount of people there was astounding, which is always nice. It was my first event there, so there was one crucial element I didn’t understand: 60% of the people there only marginally keep up with Type 1. Does this mean they are playing old Academy, Keeper with Morphlings, and Price of Progress Sligh? Not necessarily.

It means that they know what decks are out there and what-not, but those 60% don’t follow the trends by reading reports and realizing that Control Slaver and Fish are popular choices right now. It means that with 5 additional proxies, they don’t care to change up to a Workshop deck. They are just fine running with whatevertheywant.dec. This differs from the normal New England events that I’ve attended since the 40-50 people there, generally only have maybe 10 (20%) people not up on the trends or the ebb and flow of the metagame.

What that meant to me is that by making crucial decisions to cut things like Mind Twist and Decree of Justice, it made me worse against an older version of the mirror. I made these decisions based on Fish, Titan, and Control Slaver showing up all over New England reports (Mind Twist versus Misdirection and Goblin Welder for example) and there being a downward trend of 4cControl being played. I’m not the only one who shared this sentiment (that is, estimating the metagame) as at least the 2 finalists (oh-so CrazyCarl and Rich Shay) and a slew of other talented players discussed this very suprising aspect.

I thought that by keeping the environment, metagame trends, and statistics in mind when making decisions would pay off. I was wrong there."

I go on from there to discuss my luck, my play-testing, and then I go on to my full report. The posts that follow were other players sharing my sentiments about the metagame. In short, it was good times but the environment not only threw predictions out the window, it pulled in reverse and ran over said predictions a few times before speeding off again.

That said, the biggest lesson I learned was really something I already knew, but somehow forgot. The larger the Vintage event, the more randomness you’ll encounter. It’s easy, for example, for me to keep tabs on Myriad’s 40-50 player metagame. You have some New Hampshire guys, usually half of the Hadley crowd, some Bostonians, and of course the Mighty-Mighty Maine-tones. You know the decks that people play will be pretty close to the last months, but with all the easy calculations of taking metagame trends into account. Big events like Waterbury are far more different.

Waterbury isn’t what they want you to believe. There isn’t a 90% TheManaDrain all-stars with the complete cast of Team Meandeck and Shortbus making our entrances WWE style…

I have to interrupt this with sub-bonus section bonus section!

WWE Entrance Music by the Various Team Members of Meandeck

Team Meandeck

Stephen Menendian – Eye of the Tiger, Survivor

Carl Winter – The Right Stuff, NKOTB

Toad – La Ruda Salska – L’Instinct du Meilleur

Saucemaster – 4 Ton Mantis – Amon Tobin

Kirdape3 – Barbarian theme from Conan

Hi-Val – The Roots – Rock You

JPMeyer – Mass Pike – Theme from NARC

Shivan Knight – The F-Ups – Lazy Generation

Kevin Cron – In The Mood

Binary – LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out

Steve O'Connell – WWIII, KMFDM

I’d finish the rest but …back to the bonus section.

As I was saying, there isn’t a vast amount of well known TheManaDrain members in comparison to the sheer amount of people I’ve never seen before and probably will never see again. When I sat down to play against most of these people, here is my breakdown of people who keep up with Type 1:

Round 1: Occasionally reads TMD and StarCityGames.com.

Round 2: Is the girlfriend of someone who is a TMD regular.

Round 3: Is a TMD Regular.

Round 4: Has no idea what’s going on in Type 1, but found a deck somewhere and played it.

Round 5: Occasionally reads TMD and StarCityGames.com.

Round 6: Has a little clue about Type 1, but never looks online.

Now compare this to my last Myriad performance:

Round 1: TMD Regular.

Round 2: I don’t speak German, but he was surely no TMD regular.

Round 3: TMD Regular.

Round 4: Occasional TMD Reader.

Round 5: TMD Regular.

Top8: TMD Regular.

Top4: TMD Regular.

Top2: Occasional TMD Reader.

Did you happen to notice a bit of a difference? I could dissect the top decks, I’m sure Mr. Stanton will have plenty to say about the trends, decklists, and the top16 as a whole. In short Rich Shay metagamed incorrectly and he metagamed correctly all at once. It’s what we in the biz call ‘adjusting’. He knew people would be gunning for him so he changed his game-plan around a bit, just enough to throw them off. When I say he metagamed incorrectly, I refer to the same misappraisal of Waterbury as I made.

/end Bonus Section


Myriad (XX)


1) Dragon

2) Gay/R

3) R/G Beats

4) Ravager Affinity

5) 4cControl

6) Masknought

7) Tendrils

8) Mono-U


Karlsruhe (27)


1) Control Slaver

2) Meandeck Titan

3) Welder MUD

4) Control Slaver

5) Mono-U

6) Workshop Aggro

7) Crucible Control

8) 4cControl


Eau Claire, WI (26)


1) U/G Madness

2) Oshawa Stompy

3) Welder Mud

4) Workshop Aggro

5) Combo-GAT

6) Masknought

7) R/G Beats

8) Dragon


Copenhagen (43)


1) Goblins

2) Sligh

3) Titan.dec

4) B/G Void

5) 4cControl

6) Mono-U Belcher

7) Gay/R

8) Sligh


Eindhoven (42)


1) Stax

2) Control Slaver

3) Mono-U Belcher

4) Stax

5) 4cControl

6) Control Slaver

7) 4cControl

8) U/G Madness

Did you happen to notice the 2 tournaments that dip below my set range of 30-49 players? Is this because there is a shortage of tournaments in that range? No, this is because there is a shortage of people giving out the results or at least giving it out where I can find it. As a rule of thumb, if I can’t find it on my site (www.TheManaDrain.com) or www.morphling.de, I generally don’t know about it and therefore cannot really write about it. If you are a tournament organizer or just have access to top 8 lists, please email me at [email protected]. I’d appreciate it if you could provide a date and the number of players as well.

The Myriad T8 is quite entertaining. Here, we have EIGHT different archetypes, two combo decks, 2 control decks, 2 aggro decks, 1 aggro-control deck, and 1 aggro-combo deck. How much more diverse can you really get? Of course, that begs the question of whether diversity in our format is a sign of health or a sign that we’re in need of streamlining. After all, a Mirrodin Block PTQ has a card pool of like 55 cards, Type 1 should as well… right?

A Word About Diversity

Our format differs from standard and block on two major levels. First is the obvious, we have EVERYTHING in our card pool. This means that if we assume that there are no prohibitive factors in our format like in Mirrodin Block (I.E. everything should be able to beat Affinity) we basically have every archetype that was ever semi-viable in the history of Magic: The Gathering to potentially play.

The second is that card accessability is a major hinderance to players, even if you take into account 10 proxies. There are some decks that even after proxying the P10, you still have to shell out $800 for Workshops and another $200 in random things like rares and dual lands. I guarantee the only reason Workshop isn’t restricted is because I was able to sell my 8th and final Workshop on eBay for $175, that limits the amount of cameos Mishra’s Workshop can make in any given tournament.

Given these two differences, that should be enough to illustrate why we have like 20 Archetypes a month showing up in Top 8’s. If that wasn’t enough for you, consider our split playerbase. On one hand, we have the Meandecks and Shortbuses of the format. They do a fair share of innovation and progression that goes into the format, they have a good chunk of the well-known type 1 players on staff, and they want to beat each other, take home the prize, and brag about it later. On the other hand, we have the players that show up with decks that look not much different than they did two years ago. Fortunately, these players are slowly dwindling as it’s much tougher to score wins against the field with a pet deck than it was 3 or 4 years ago and they are realizing this.

This brings us to the Copenhagen T8. Whew… before I start let me add a little disclaimer. I’m not making any attempts to insult anyone personally, embarrass anyone, or start a meta-fight ™. However, this should really be discussed. Before I start, I want to point out that this is obviously not a proxy environment as evidenced by 3/4th of the T4 lists. There is something admirable about playing Type 1 with no power cards to a top 8 finish when there are powered decks in the environment. It’s not a regular occurance that I take apart a top 8 and talk about each deck, but I feel compelled.

First place was Mono-red Goblins – standard fare; Nothing special, nothing random, and nothing flashy. Historically, it hasn’t done consistently well, but every so often it shows up on the radar. Fine, I can live with that. Am I surprised by this? No, not so much. Will this happen a lot? No, that’s very unlikely. Will this happen again somewhere? Yeah, I’m sure it will.

Second place is Ankh Sligh, which hasn’t made a peep since Type 1 players realized Mishra’s Workshops were good. It even features Shrapnel Blast with only 8 artifacts, something I probably wouldn’t do in the event I was captured by terrorists, held at gunpoint on some fuzzy camera, and commanded in some foreign language to play Ankh Sligh.

Third place was really cool, actually. It’s a 7/10 split deck that transforms into Stax postboard. Very cool to say the least, but honestly I haven’t even begun to consider if it actually has place in the global scheme of things or whether it’s a smart choice to play in a metagame full of mono-red.

Fourth place went to a B/G Nether Void deck from 2001. Seriously, if the Withered Wretch’s weren’t in the sideboard, it would look like the Void lists from two days after the Apocalypse spoiler came out. Personally, I love Nether Void. I wrote a Primer on it during TMD’s early days and played the deck right up until Workshop’s started showing up. In a perfect world where everyone had power and Workshops, not a single soul would be touching this deck with a 75 foot pole.

Fifth went to a 4cControl deck that looks real tight in the maindeck, but the sideboard uses Chill instead of a million other cards that are available to him in the four colors he’s running. To start, we have COP: Red and Blue Elemental Blasts. Both are commons and both do very tasty things against Mono-red.

Sixth and seventh are so far the most boring. We have a few solid decks, solid lists, and they had a solid performance with them. NEXT!

Eighth, but certainly not ‘least’ we have Ball Lightning Sligh. Wow, I got nothing.

Why did I go through the motions of going over this top 8? Well, there are two reasons. First this is much more entertaining than Top 8’s that are like five Tier 1 decks, two tier 2 decks, and something else random. Secondly, I want to illustrate what people on the ‘other side’ are doing. Let me get a few things out of the way first:

  1. I’m not saying the people playing the more ‘entertaining’ decks like 2001 Nether Void and Ball Lightning Sligh are bad players.

  2. I’m not saying that Copenhagen is a ‘bad’ metagame.

  3. I’m definitely not saying the people who made t8 didn’t deserve their slots.

I hate this top 8 because all the decks are subpar, outdated, and have just about zero relevancy to anyone else.

I love this top 8 because this is a metagame, which I assume is largely unpowered, and I get to see what would happen in New England if everyone stopped allowing proxies. We’d have the 15% of us who are fully powered, another 30% that are partially powered, and the rest playing different decks. For example, compared to current lists how would you expect Stax and 4cControl decks to look if 50% of the field was swarm decks like Sligh and Stompy? How great would Fish really be then? What would Sligh look like? Would Suicide be playable again?

We don’t know because we don’t have the opportunity to look into a metagame like this… that is, until I pointed it out and said, ‘Hey everyone, this is what your metagame would look like with no proxies! So if you want to start a type 1 scene locally and the card shop you play at doesn’t want to allow proxies, here’s what you have to look towards.’ This all really goes to show just how much proxies are doing for the format in terms of advancement, but that’s a double-edged sword since WotC pays no attention to non-sanctioned events.

There were 22 Separate archetypes for September, for an average of 4.4 archetypes per tournament Top8.

4cControl (5,8,5,5,7) 5 12.50%

Control Slaver (1,4,2,6) 4 10.00%

Dragon (1,8) 2 5.00%

Gay/R (2,7) 2 5.00%

R/G Beats (3,7) 2 5.00%

Masknought (6,6) 2 5.00%

WelderMUD (3,3) 2 5.00%

Workshop Aggro (6,4) 2 5.00%

U/G Madness (1,8) 2 5.00%

Sligh (2,8) 2 5.00%

Mono-U Belcher (6,3) 2 5.00%

Stax (1,4) 2 5.00%

Mono-U (8,5) 2 5.00%

Ravager Affinity 4 1 2.50%

Tendrils 7 1 2.50%

Meandeck Titan 2 1 2.50%

Crucible Control 7 1 2.50%

Oshawa Stompy 2 1 2.50%

Combo-GAT 5 1 2.50%

Goblins 1 1 2.50%

Titan.dec 3 1 2.50%

B/G Void 4 1 2.50%

4cControl and Control Slaver retained their upper spots on the list, with Stax and Tendrils taking a sharp dive from the top. I see this as a passing of the Crucible fad. Does this mean Crucible isn’t good anymore? No, it just means that the format has adjusted accordingly and it has less of an effect on the overall environment.

And here’s the monthly totals:

73 Island

46 Mountain

30 Forest

19 Swamp

1 Plains

33 Black Lotus

32 Mox Sapphire

29 Mox Emerald

28 Ancestral Recall

28 Mox Jet

28 Mox Ruby

28 Strip Mine

27 Sol Ring

25 Time Walk

23 Mox Pearl

18 Tinker

15 Demonic Tutor

15 Mana Crypt

14 Library of Alexandria

11 Fact or Fiction

11 Mystical Tutor

11 Vampiric Tutor

10 Mana Vault

9 Memory Jar

9 Tolarian Academy

5 Balance

5 Gush

5 Lotus Petal

3 Crop Rotation

3 Fastbond

3 Necropotence

3 Regrowth

3 Wheel of Fortune

2 Timetwister

1 Frantic Search

1 Grim Monolith

1 Lion’s Eye Diamond

1 Mind’s Desire

1 Voltaic Key

1 Windfall

1 Yawgmoth’s Bargain

103 Wasteland

100 Force of Will

73 Brainstorm

62 Mana Drain

59 Red Elemental Blast

59 Volcanic Island

56 Polluted Delta

50 Goblin Welder

48 Flooded Strand

44 Rack and Ruin

41 Underground Sea

38 Thirst for Knowledge

36 Chalice of the Void

34 Blue Elemental Blast

34 Crucible of Worlds

31 Duress

29 Mishra’s Workshop

28 Fire // Ice

28 Null Rod

28 Trinisphere

22 Blood Moon

21 Cunning Wish

20 Lightning Bolt

20 Smokestack

20 Tormod’s Crypt

20 Tropical Island

20 Xantid Swarm

19 Gorilla Shaman

19 Tangle Wire

19 Wooded Foothills

18 Grim Lavamancer

18 Tundra

17 Back to Basics

17 Naturalize

17 Sundering Titan

16 Stifle

15 Triskelion

15 Yawgmoth’s Will

14 Energy Flux

14 Impulse

14 Incinerate

14 Mana Leak

14 Oxidize

14 Propaganda

14 Shivan Reef

14 Skeletal Scrying

13 City of Brass

13 Intuition

13 Squee, Goblin Nabob

13 Swords to Plowshares

12 Accumulated Knowledge

12 Arrogant Wurm

12 Basking Rootwalla

12 Bayou

12 Bazaar of Baghdad

12 Dark Ritual

12 Goblin Vandal

12 Juggernaut

12 Mishra’s Factory

12 Price of Progress

12 Survival of the Fittest

12 Taiga

12 Wild Mongrel

11 River Boa

10 Misdirection

9 Exalted Angel

9 Mindslaver

9 Pyroblast

9 Pyrokinesis

8 Animate Dead

8 Aquamoeba

8 Chain Lightning

8 Circular Logic

8 Cloud of Faeries

8 Control Magic

8 Elvish Spirit Guide

8 Flametongue Kavu

8 Goblin Cadets

8 Ground Seal

8 Illusionary Mask

8 Jackal Pup

8 Kird Ape

8 Mind Twist

8 Mogg Fanatic

8 Ophidian

8 Pernicious Deed

8 Phyrexian Dreadnought

8 Skullclamp

8 Spiketail Hatchling

8 Standstill

8 Worldgorger Dragon

7 Curiosity

7 Darksteel Colossus

7 Duplicant

7 Glimmervoid

7 Hurkyl’s Recall

7 Lava Dart

7 Powder Keg

7 Rancor

7 Shrapnel Blast

7 Tsabo’s Web

6 Artifact Mutation

6 Chain of Vapor

6 City of Traitors

6 Counterspell

6 Darksteel Citadel

6 Deep Analysis

6 Disenchant

6 Great Furnace

6 Necromancy

6 Platinum Angel

6 Reckless Charge

6 Shattering Pulse

5 Arcbound Ravager

5 Chill

5 Goblin Charbelcher

5 Jester’s Cap

5 Karn, Silver Golem

5 Mana Severance

5 Metalworker

5 Old Man of the Sea

5 Sphere of Resistance

5 Su-Chi

4 Ancient Tomb

4 Ankh of Mishra

4 Arcbound Worker

4 Ball Lightning

4 Barbarian Ring

4 Bloodstained Mire

4 Chains of Mephistopheles

4 Compulsion

4 Cranial Plating

4 Daze

4 Defense Grid

4 Diabolic Edict

4 Disciple of the Vault

4 Echoing Truth

4 Engineered Plague

4 Frogmite

4 Gemstone Mine

4 Goblin Grenade

4 Goblin Lackey

4 Goblin Piledriver

4 Hymn to Tourach

4 Isochron Scepter

4 Lim-Dul’s Vault

4 Maze of Ith

4 Mogg Flunkies

4 Morphling

4 Myr Servitor

4 Nantuko Shade

4 Order of the Ebon Hand

4 Pentavus

4 Phyrexian Negator

4 Plated Slagwurm

4 Pyroclasm

4 Pyrostatic Pillar

4 Quirion Dryad

4 Quirion Ranger

4 Raging Goblin

4 Sinkhole

4 Skyshroud Ridgeback

4 Stupefying Touch

4 Thoughtcast

4 Troll Ascetic

4 Volrath’s Shapeshifter

4 Windswept Heath

4 Withered Wretch

3 AEther Vial

3 Arcane Laboratory

3 Atog

3 Birds of Paradise

3 Call of the Herd

3 Caltrops

3 Cursed Scroll

3 Decree of Justice

3 Diminishing Returns

3 Dwarven Blastminer

3 Fireblast

3 Flaring Pain

3 Ghastly Demise

3 Gilded Lotus

3 Hidden Guerrillas

3 Myr Enforcer

3 Ornithopter

3 Planar Void

3 Slice and Dice

3 Splinter

3 Suq’Ata Firewalker

3 Welding Jar

3 Wonder

2 Ambassador Laquatus

2 Annul

2 Coffin Purge

2 Drop of Honey

2 Dust Bowl

2 Ebony Charm

2 Engineered Explosives

2 Exploration

2 Faerie Conclave

2 Future Sight

2 Gilded Drake

2 Hull Breach

2 Meditate

2 Meltdown

2 Merchant Scroll

2 Mind’s Eye

2 Nether Void

2 Night’s Whisper

2 Psychatog

2 Recoil

2 Root Maze

2 Rushing River

2 Seat of the Synod

2 Sliver Queen

2 Solemn Simulacrum

2 Sword of Fire and Ice

2 Sylvan Library

2 Tendrils of Agony

2 Verdant Force

2 Viashino Heretic

2 Viridian Shaman

2 Voidmage Prodigy

2 Zuran Orb

1 Anger

1 Berserk

1 Brawn

1 Capsize

1 Damping Matrix

1 Dance of the Dead

1 Demonic Consultation

1 Elvish Lyrist

1 Gaea’s Blessing

1 Gigapede

1 Masticore

1 Memnarch

1 Miscalculation

1 Mogg Salvage

1 Phage the Untouchable

1 Plaguebearer

1 Rebuild

1 Stroke of Genius

1 Submerge

1 Tempest of Light

Steve O'Connell

AKA Zherbus

Owner/Administrator of TheManaDrain.com

Zherbus at themanadrain.com