The SCG Buffoon’s Guide to Competitive Type One

Let me start the article with this little explanation. I’m not saying play skill doesn’t count for anything in Vintage; otherwise the same people wouldn’t constantly place in tourneys. I’m simply illustrating that there are simplistic decks for those who are more inept or simply don’t want to think about what to play. In other words, tired of going X-2 at tourneys? Maybe it’s time to change to a more broken, albeit simpler, deck.

Not good at Magic? No time to playtest? Too lazy to metagame? That’s alright! You, too, can win Type One events, despite your lack of competency!

Let me start the article with this little explanation. I’m not saying play skill doesn’t count for anything in Vintage; otherwise the same people wouldn’t constantly place in tourneys. I’m simply illustrating that there are simplistic decks for those who are more inept or simply don’t want to think about what to play. In other words, tired of going X-2 at tourneys? Maybe it’s time to change to a more broken, albeit simpler, deck.

Now we need to set requirements for what kind of deck would be suited for you.

1. The deck needs to have an incredibly strong first turn play.

This can be first turn Trinisphere, Tinker or even just winning on turn 1. Being able to win or nearly win the game on turn 1 means you have a lot less time to make a mistake. It also tends to give you more game wins for free, because your opponent has a slightly slower deck or gets a worse draw than you. These decks allow you to capitalize on winning the die roll and your opponent’s mulliganing.

2. The deck needs to be proactive.

Reacting to the opponent often means giving up the initiative in the match and forcing yourself to think about how to get out of bad situations. Typically, you don’t want to be the one doing this; rather, you want to be forcing your opponent to play catch-up the entire game. The more stress and pressure he’s under, the better the odds of his making a mistake or not being able to catch up to you. While playing Control Slaver, for example, you’ll usually be behind your opponent for most of the game. You need to be able to survive strong to broken openings multiple times and correctly apply the deck to many different situations through the course of a tourney. Even though this requirement usually means not playing control decks, you do gain free game wins by being proactive.

The exception to this is Oath, which is quite simple in its strategy. By adding a catch-all Oath “combo” to it’s game plan, you no longer need to fear being unable to deal with any resolved threat. Only a few threats will still pose major problems for you. In addition, Forbidden Orchard with Oath gives you a proactive route.

3. The deck must involve few decisions.

This eliminates most combo decks, but leaves something like Belcher in the running. Yes, sometimes the deck will pretend to be storm combo and you’ll have to play multiple tutors and draw-7’s to win, but usually it’s far simpler and hand-dependent. Workshop decks can simply tap a land and play Trinisphere, then lay a Crucible of Worlds or Juggernaut and go for the win. It’s not difficult to look at a hand and see if it has seven mana and Goblin Charbelcher in it. A deck like Spoils Dragon is also reasonably simple to play, though a bit more complicated than the previously mentioned decks.

Now that we’ve narrowed the field, let’s go over what decks can fit these criteria and what they can do.

5/3: Ah yes, the epitome of random “I Win”. This deck features the classic Workshop, Trinisphere hand that everyone adores. It also runs Tinker and Crucible of Worlds with five Strip Mine effects for more game wins with the right draws. When you draw your initial hand, these are the deck’s main goals. You’re going to want at least one of part A to keep the hand.

Part A

1. Drop Trinisphere first turn and a large beater on the second turn followed by whatever

2. Play first-turn Tinker

3. Play a large beater, Goblin Welder and every other guy and strip you can draw

Part B

Pray to whichever deity you want that your opening holds up

If you win a few die-rolls, you have the capability to win nearly half your games off whatever opening you end up playing. You can even afford to make game jeopardizing errors or even lose a few games due to mistakes. Why? Come back with a good opening the next game and run them over. Feel free to read SCG Chicago reports or the Waterbury report of 5/3 for some examples of this. As long as you can assess a hand and tap some lands, this deck can be right up your alley. Also note if you really want to rely on 1 and 2 of part A, a viable strategy can be to run Serum Powder in the maindeck. If you’re hand isn’t sufficiently broken, just remove it and draw another 7.

Originally designed by David Allen.

Since there are so many 5/3 lists, I’ll simply post the best placing recent list.

Joshua Roughley – 5/3 – 1st at SCG Chicago

Main Deck

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Black Lotus

3 City of Brass

3 Crucible of Worlds

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Duplicant

3 Gemstone Mine

2 Glimmervoid

4 Goblin Welder

4 Juggernaut

1 Karn, Silver Golem

1 Mana Crypt

1 Memory Jar

4 Mishra’s Workshop

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Platinum Angel

3 Seal of Cleansing

1 Sol Ring

1 Strip Mine

1 Sundering Titan

3 Swords to Plowshares

3 Thirst for Knowledge

1 Tinker

1 Tolarian Academy

4 Trinisphere

1 Triskelion

1 Vampiric Tutor

4 Wasteland


3 Hydroblast

2 Jester’s Cap

4 Pyroblast

3 Rack and Ruin

1 Seal of Cleansing

2 Tormod’s Crypt

Belcher: About 90% of the games you end up playing you’ll just win off making seven mana, then playing and activating Goblin Charbelcher. The remaining 10% of the time, you’ll have to go through the process of casting draw-7’s or tutors to go fetch Yawgmoth’s Will or Belcher itself. Surprisingly, thanks to Xantid Swarm, Duress and even Goblin Welder, the deck can reasonably overpower a counter wall. Other permanent based types of hate are still a major annoyance for the deck (First-turn Trinisphere kills you), but so be it. As long as you have the mad skill required to win the die roll, you’ll be fine anyway. What you want in you’re opening hand is as follows.

Part A

1. Seven mana and Goblin Charbelcher

2. Nine or more mana and a tutor for Goblin Charbelcher

3. Four or more mana and a draw-7

Part B

Hope you won the die roll

Credit for the main design of Belcher goes to Michael Simester

His Gencon build, with Desperate Rituals subbed for some of the mana.

Mana (38)

4 Elvish Spirit Guide

4 Tinder Wall

4 Land Grant

4 Dark Ritual

4 Chromatic Sphere

3 Desperate Ritual

1 Tropical Island

1 Bayou

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mana Crypt

1 Chrome Mox

1 Lotus Petal

1 Sol Ring

1 Mana Vault

1 Lion’s Eye Diamond

1 Black Lotus

1 Channel

Creatures (3)

3 Goblin Welder

Kill (5)

4 Goblin Charbelcher

1 Tendrils of Agony

Search/Draw/Broken (14)

2 Living Wish

2 Brainstorm

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Tinker

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Wheel of Fortune

1 Memory Jar

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Necropotence

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Timetwister

Sideboard (15)

4 Xantid Swarm

3 Oxidize

1 Artifact Mutation

1 Taiga

1 Goblin Welder

1 Uktabi Orangutan

1 Gemstone Mine

1 Scavenger Folk

1 Darksteel Colossus

1 Mishra’s Workshop

Another deck shown off at Waterbury by Meandeck was essentially a turn 1 combo deck like Belcher, but using cheap artifact cantrips and spells to run through you’re the library quickly. It also runs the full eight Ritual complement and Spoils of the Vault for extra tutor goodness.

The upside? It wins on turn 1 more often than Belcher does and can often run through Force of Will.

The downside? It gets smashed by all the standard combo hate (Pillar, Chalice of the Void, Trinisphere, Arcane Lab, etc) and its own Spoils. The die roll can hurt it just as much as Belcher. It’s also a bit more complicated to play, which means you’ll probably need to practice with it a bit longer.

Sadly, I don’t have a list to put up here for you, but I’m sure one will be up soon on TMD or in some article.

An honorable mention in this article goes out to Spoils Dragon. The deck never really caught on, but is stupidly good and very straightforward to play. It doesn’t fit in with previously mentioned decks, because of the lack of a good turn 1 play. But it does win quite consistently on turn 2. Options you’re looking for in an opening hand are as follows.

Part A

1. A Bazaar of Baghdad and an Animate

2. Bazaar of Baghdad and a tutor

3. WGD and a tutor for Bazaar

4. Buried Alive and an Animate

Part B

If you have Spoils, hope you don’t kill yourself

Original Design by Marc Perez

Spoils Dragon

by Dicemanx

3 Squee, Goblin Nabob

4 Worldgorger Dragon

1 Sliver Queen

2 Ambassador Laquatus

4 Animate Dead

4 Dance of the Dead

3 Buried Alive

4 Bazaar of Baghdad

4 Spoils of the Vault

1 Demonic Consultation

1 Vampiric Tutor

4 Xantid Swarm

4 Duress

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Emerald

1 Lotus Petal

1 Black Lotus

1 Mana Crypt

4 Dark Ritual

“>Elvish Spirit Guide

4 Swamps

2 Bayou

4 Polluted Delta

Now that we’ve gotten the deck choices for you out of the way, it’s time to talk about how to “test” them. The main method for this is goldfishing and the back up plan is playing against MWS opponents *shudder*. 75 to 100 goldfish games can give you a good idea of how the deck basically functions and your average draw. Playing another set of goldfish games against a goldfish assumed to have Force of Will in hand is also useful, especially with the combo decks. Playing games like this can incorporate how to dodge the most-run counter in the format into your natural play style.

That concludes my article, so I hope some of you learned something and best of luck to you winning some power.

Joshua Silvestri, Vegeta2711 on The Mana Drain

Team Reflection

Contact me at [email protected]