Being a Type 1 player by nature, I tend to detest Type 2. In all honesty, I don’t mind it that much, but I have to keep up appearances around other Type 1 players lest they steal my power and call me a”st00pid n00b.”
Despite that, a week or so before the tournament, I decided I was going to go – more to hang out then to play, but go nevertheless. The big problem with this plan is a) I don’t have the cards to build even half of a Type 2 deck, and b) I absolutely hate Neutral Ground, and to a lesser extent, New York City. Both are so crowded and often times dirty that I really hate the idea of planning on going there without something really pressing that would demand my being in the city anyway.
It was the Monday of the week of States when I figured I should really get around to building something that at least looked decent so that I would be able to put up a fight against those vicious, playtested decks I was sure would be all over the tourney. A friend of mine had been testing Blue/White for about a month, so I decided I’d give it a whirl. His deck looked too good, so I decided to make it bad by replacing Renewed Faiths with Sunbeam Spellbomb, which was tech against discard (it’s like having a card on the table they cant hit!) and with the Thirsts of Knowledge in the deck and running Oblation to combo with my Stalking Stones to make them nigh-invincible. The first game I played with the deck I cast Oblation in response to a Wrath of God to save my poor Stones from a fate worse than death. Upon being informed that Oblation was unable to target lands, I decided Type 2 was stupid and drowned my sorrows in draft.
Later on in the evening, I realized I had nothing to do that weekend and I figured that I should build something to play in States. A friend of mine who I promised to help playtest with, Seneca, told me about how much fun Affinity was to play. I scoffed at the idea of a deck running four-mana 2/2s and Welding Jars and said he was an idiot.
I thought on it for a few seconds and remembered how much fun it was to win with awful cards, so in honor of my ill-fated Oblation experiment, I put the deck together with a few proxies as I was unable to find two Welding Jars and a Broodstar. We played a few games with various lists online, ranging from the list we started with that he found somewhere, to Kai’s, then to my friend, and eventual semi-finalist, Max’s list.
4 Myr Enforcer
4 Mana Leak
4 Thirst for Knowledge
4 Pyrite Spellbomb
4 Aether Spellbomb
4 Talisman of Progress
4 Chrome Mox
4 Great Furnace
4 Seat of Synod
4 Ancient Den
The list performed well enough, and I liked it a hell of a lot better than Kai’s (even though I love getting my flying Atogs Terrored). What sold me on the deck eventually was my theory on Type 1: The deck that can do the most broken things wins most. I figured that the same must hold true for Type 2! So for the next day or so I thought a bit about the deck and what I’d do with it and the sideboard (which turned out to be so-so) and how to make it even more broken. What I came to was the following (which I played in the tournament itself):
4 Myr Enforcer
4 Mana Leak
4 Thirst for Knowledge
4 Pyrite Spellbomb
4 Aether Spellbomb
1 Lightning Greaves
4 Talisman of Progress
4 Chrome Mox
4 Great Furnace
4 Seat of Synod
4 Ancient Den
3 Second Sunrise
2 Temporal Fissure (Big Ups for you)
Big change, I know. What can I say? I’m an innovator. I wanted very desperately to fit in Lightning Greaves, though was unable to think of anything to cut. Eventually, I settled on the fourth Override because I really don’t like the card and don’t mind drawing one or none a game. Any more usually tend to clog your hand anyway.
Friday night I packed up my things as I had planned to attend the local Friday Night Magic, and then afterwards playtest for a bit at my friend Eli’s parent’s place, and then leave at 5:30 to get to Neutral Ground on time. The FNM was a good time. I faced off against a Goblin deck that had a little mana trouble, a Mono Black played Seneca, and then I drew against Eli as I figured I’d actually get points from the draw and then I could either a) mise a Foil Sparksmith or b) complain about how lucky he got for winning it like a good Magic player.
With the State Championships in a few hours, everyone in attendance other than yours truly decided to prepare by neither practicing or sleeping. They did what all good Magic players do in such situations: Draft. I join them for the first as they only had three and needed a fourth. After getting mised out by Eli plucking his Viridian Shaman for my Crystal Shard the turn after I played Duplicant, and following it up with a healthy dosage of lands, I play a few games with my buddy Anson who after a couple of games, decided my deck was the least heterosexual thing he’d ever seen, and therefore wanted to play it the next day.
After helping him scrape together Frogmites and a few of the rares he needed, I headed upstairs and drift into that zone where you aren’t quite awake, but you’re definitely not asleep. After an hour or so, I stumble downstairs and tell everyone how awesome splashing black instead of White is so that you can get Infest and Dark Banishing (my new favorite card, apparently, as I’ve suggested it for everything from Mono Black to Sligh). A few confused stares later I make my way back out of the basement and lay back down.
The next thing I know, I see Eli’s ugly mug peering down at me and it’s two hours later. Apparently I fell asleep and it was time to go. Awesome. I brushed my teeth, applied liberal amounts of body spray, grabbed my stuff, and headed to Seneca’s car. When we go to put our stuff in Seneca’s trunk, he remembers the box of Onslaught block commons and uncommons he has and we pull out all the Temporal Fissures and Rush of Knowledges.
I settle in for the three-hour trip and chat about things ranging from Toys ‘R Us store policy to how despite my always having headphones on, I’m never listening to music. The drive is fairly boring for a while, though we have a good time laughing at the white circles on the road in Pennsylvania meant to keep cars from being too close together. We also complain about how bright the sun is and do everything we can to protect ourselves from it’s blinding rays while still somehow staying on the road. Ahhh, road trips.
So we drive and drive…
Around 8:30 or so, we pull onto this sketchy-looking ramp and find ourselves outside of some project in New Jersey where Redman grew up. Upon realizing this project is not the city, I call up Anson and ask him where we are – not a good thing to hear when you’re following someone. It turns out he and Eli have no idea and are going to just blindly drive until we hit a highway. Fun. We get fairly well acquainted with the projects in whatever part of Jersey we were in and eventually hit a highway which, after a bunch of weaving and dodging rampaging busses, gets us into the city and to Neutral Ground.
We arrive around 9:50 and run into a guy we know from our area. He tells us that Round 1 is going to be paired in eight minutes. This is rather fortunate, as we had planned on lounging around outside and would have likely missed the event otherwise. We hop in the elevator, and upon getting out on the fourth floor, I run into Max and tell him about how I decided to put Lightning Greaves into the deck.
After a short wait, Round 1 is paired.
I hate to be so unprepared for writing this, but I didn’t save my paper, which I wrote down some of my opponent’s names. I say most because on many I got lazy and just wrote”Me|You”, so I’m going to be creative in how I name my opponents. Keep in mind the names have nothing to do with who you are, what you do, and so forth. Apologies to any who might require one.
Round 1: Anson (Yes, the one I came down with) playing card-for-card my Affinity list
Okay, so I lied – I remembered one person’s name. The matchup comes down to draws most of the time, and I really didn’t mind letting luck dictate this match, regardless if I won or lost – so despite his asking to draw, I tell him it’s really best that we play.
He starts off with a mulligan and I Thoughtcast turn 2. Turn 3 I lay a bunch of artifacts, including a Froggie and Enforcer. He has no drops until it’s too late due to my Aether Spellbomb.
He mulligans again and I get another quick start and he can’t do a whole lot about it.
It really sucked having to play, but those are the breaks. We play a few more games for fun and we split about 50/50 total. By the end of the games, he too was convinced they would mostly come down to luck.
Round 2: Bugs Bunny playing Goblins
Game 1: The game starts off with him laying a Great Furnace and Pyrite Spellbomb. I figure I’m facing a mirror and do the same to hopefully trick him into thinking I’m playing Sligh (or Goblins with Shrapnel Blast; whatever). Turn 2 he plays two Raging Goblins. Oh well.
He burns away any guys I’m able to get out and is able to overwhelm my Spellbombs and counters.
I sideboard in Pyroclasm because he has lots of low-toughness creatures and I figure being able to do two damage to all creatures will be good against them, despite killing off my own Frogmites. Sacrifices must be made.
The game starts off with him laying a bunch of quick creatures and plucking land 3 for his Goblin Warchief. Again, I’m can keep my guys on the board and am forced to blow my Spellbombs stay in the game. I get stuck with three Broodstars in my hand and after clearing out everything except for a Goblin Goon, I’m forced to play one to chump as a 5/5. Saddening. He Shrapnel Blasts me during his main phase at some point, which allows me to Leak it and then do stuff on my turn as opposed to me being able to do nothing, so I still have a shot at two life.
He untaps, draws, and drops Sulfuric Vortex. Fair enough.
Bugs was a fairly quiet kid, and as I prefer a quiet opponent to a loud obnoxious one, I won’t complain. He seemed like a solid player, but I thought I should have won game 2 as if I had been able to draw another artifact land or Spellbomb, whatever I’d have been able to play Broodstar earlier and would’ve been able to kill the Goon.
Round 3: Superman playing U/r Scepter control
Game 1: I’m able to get out a quick Frogmite and Enforcer and stop him from doing anything that really hurts me.
Sideboarding is kind of tough as I don’t know if he’s playing Isochron Scepter or not, or what else he’s playing for that matter. I saw a few artifact lands, so I decide to bring in the Fissures and Stifles as he then likely has Shrapnel Blasts and probably Scepters to go with them (though he could have just been running them for Thirst of Knowledges – a possibility I hadn’t considered at the time).
Game 2: He plays turn 2 Isochron Scepter on Boomerang. I have all my Shatters in the sideboard. I’d like to say I won despite having no way to deal with it, but that’s not true; I actually play Chrome Moxes and Imprint them, which lets me cast a lot, and he’s unable to bounce them before I Fissure for 3, returning the Scepter and a few lands. He’s not able to recover from it and I’m able to kill him.
Superman was an amiable fellow (I hate the term”cool guy”) I talked with a few more times during the day. He also used the same picture of Mercadian Masques foil Island that I’m a fan of (the slanty rocky one). We chat a bit and wish each other luck whenever we see each other.
Round 4: Jeff Goldblum playing Molder Slug Red/Green
Game 1: He drops some mana acceleration, destroys a few lands, and uses Contested Cliffs and Arc-Slogger to cap my boys and finally kill me with a few Beasts.
I sideboard in Temporal Fissure and Stifle because I really don’t know what else to do.
Game 2: He gets out a very fast Molder Slug. I had a good draw which results in a few early 7/7 Broodstars. I still lose despite the fact the Slug came out after the Broodstars. He’s able to hold off long enough to Cliffs off my Broodstars with the Slug and win.
Jeff Goldblum is a pleasant fellow who just rolled me both games. Not very chatty, but still friendly. I hadn’t heard of people playing Molder Slug before today and told him that it was quite a beating – and despite good draws in both games, there was just no way I could beat him. I also think I possibly should have boarded in Pyroclasms instead to kill off his Birds, as my only way to win is to kill him with fast Broodstars.
Round 5: Jon Bon Jovi playing Goblin Bidding
Game 1: He gets a slow draw, making me think he’s playing some weird red black control deck, so I start off slowly building up cards. He suddenly explodes on me with Goblins and I’m not able to keep up.
I board in Pyroclasms again for the same, clever reasons.
Game 2: I win a somewhat long game with me killing lots of innocent Goblins in my quest to attack with random artifact creatures and their flying, evil, blue overlord. This victory will surely weigh heavily on my conscience for days to come.
Game 3: I had forgotten that matches often involve a third game.
I’m able to hold off his team for a while with a fast Frogmite. (Try saying that five times fast.) I have a Greaves out to keep it safe from any stray removal, and after it trades with some random Goblin I Pyroclasm and follow it up shortly after with an Enforcer I draw. The game then lasts for some time as he gets out a few Goblins and I’m holding counters and some Broodstars. The bad thing is that I only have three artifact lands, a Talisman, the Greaves, and a Glimmervoid.
I’m unable to drop a Broodstar without another artifact land and keep up Mana Leak for the one card in his hand – which I’m sure is Patriarch’s Bidding. I am able to draw an artifact or two to keep pace with his lands that he’s built up for a few turns to be able to counter with my Override. The turn I run out and the turn after he dropped land #9, I use my Pyrite Spellbomb to kill his Skirk Prospector to keep him from being able to override my Override next turn.
A turn or so after this he eventually does Bidding with enough to pay for the Override in my hand. Very fortunately for me, I’ve topdecked the second Mana Leak the turn before to counter the game ending Sorcery. The next turn he drops a Siege-Gang Commander, and not wanting to be a part of a Goblin Siege-Bang, I Override for six. He has ten lands and I forget about his Goblin Warchief, so all I succeed in doing is Mana Shorting him. This is a good thing, however, as he’d be able to throw enough guys at me to kill me after attacking. I Pyroclasm on my turn and hold back in case he draws a Warchief – which he does. Soon after I drop Broodstar, Greaves it up, then kill him over the course of two turns where he doesn’t draw another Commander or Bidding.
We chat a bit during and after the game. We were both being serious, but were able to joke around a bit and have a good time. He tells me that he’s got me one up on having built my deck Thursday by showing up and hoping someone had a deck for him. I feel a bond with him as I’m notorious for doing such things. We wish each other luck and head off, exhausted from such a good game, which could have gone either way had either of us drawn different – the kind of game that I play for.
Round 6 – Brad Pitt playing White Weenie
Game 1: He starts off slow with a Bonesplitter and then equipping a Leonine Den-Guard. I’m able to hold him back long enough to win with an 8/8 flier for two.
I sideboard in Pyroclasms for Overrides and an Aether Spellbomb.
Game 2: He gets his The Abyss on early with a Empyrial Plated Deftblade Elite. I’m not able to get out a big enough Broodstar quickly enough and succumb to his crazy crackas and their toys.
Game 3: He gets out a Guard, which I Spellbomb when he Plates it up. I bash with a few guys and Spellbomb or counter anything else he tries to drop.
I’ve seen Brad around at New Jersey PTQs and lost to him the last time I played him when he topdecked Soul Nova with an empty hand to kill my very equipped random guy about to house him. He doesn’t seem pleased with his loss (and who ever is?), so I head out quickly to chill with my homies.
Round 7: Boris Yeltsin playing Red/Green with Chrome Mox over Vine Trellis
Game 1: He starts off with land destruction for a few turns, but I’m able to draw out of it, and he has nothing to back it up with and gets smashed by undercosted 4/4s and 2/2s.
Sideboarding included me fumbling around and bringing in Stifles and Fissures ’cause I can.
Game 2: He starts off with Mountain, Chrome Mox, imprinting Birds of Paradise. He proceeds to Naturalize my first three mana sources, and then stall out on land along with me. He draws out of it, but I’m able to drop Talismans and counter enough to start playing my guys to kill him.
Boris was a gracious loser, though obviously disappointed with his deck’s failure to deliver the goods in time. I felt bad for my offhand comment about not wishing him luck at the beginning because I’d need him to get screwed for me to win. Fortunately for me, I learned later on, he wasn’t running Molder Slugs because of their obvious lack of synergy with Mox. After today, he thought he might switch to Trellis because Slug is just so ridiculous with all the artifacts running around for him to munch on.
Round 8: Marvin the Martian (Yes, the Marvin) playing Ponza
Okay, he wasn’t actually Marvin the Martian – but I have to keep you on my toes as this is going kind of long.
Game 1: He does his Land kill thing and I’m not really able to do much before he kills me with an Arc-Slogger. I take consolation in the fact that I’m able to look through much of his deck before I meet my demise.
Sideboarding involved me, once again, bumbling around and eventually putting in Shatters in case he has Ensnaring Bridge. I suppose I could’ve gone with my Stifle/Fissure plan to have Fissures to deal with Bridge, but oh well.
Game 2: I have the option of dropping turn 1 Mox to Mana Leak, though I don’t take into account that I’d not have blue mana to Leak with, as I was going to pitch a Shatter. I also figure he can’t have any turn 1 drops that would worry me that much anyway. A few moments later I’m down one land due to a Detonate and don’t draw a blue card or blue mana source to stave off his land destruction spells and I lose quickly.
Marvin was a chatty opponent, but he seemed a little nervous as he thought with his tiebreakers he’d have a shot of making Top 8. The frequency with which he brought up this topic led me to believe he wanted me to scoop to him in exchange for some prize – but I came to play, and play I did. I’m such a fool.
So endeth my quest into the world of Type 2. I watch Eli mise his way into the Finals, where he scooped for an extra box. He went back on his agreement and forced a game to play for the plaque, even though he wasn’t technically the State Champion, but eventually decided to give J (his opponent) a draft set (along with one from the guy he was splitting with) to make up for being a jerk. What a guy.
On the way out myself, Seneca and his friend lose track of Eli, Anson, and Anson’s girlfriend who stuck out the entire day in a game shop filled with sweaty gamers to be with her guy (what a gal!) when they fail to hold open the elevator door for us. We don’t meet them downstairs and leave the city to go home. We don’t really know which road to take, and we end up somewhere in Jersey before we hear something from them when I call to find out how to get home, as they had the only set of directions.
We take I-95 North as instructed, and around an hour and a half later, we discover we’re in Connecticut and give them another call. We finally find a way home and make it back at around 5 or 6 a.m., though I’m still not sure which because it was apparently daylight savings time.
I was pleased overall with how the deck preformed, however I feel that playing Welding Jars over four Spellbombs will give the deck a better shot against mana denial. Neither Max nor I were able to decide which Spellbomb to cut, but I think that Aether is the best bet as my gut tells me that Pyrite are essential for having a decent shot against Goblins. Time and testing will tell. Likely not for me as I have too little of the former, and the latter is for those who are into that whole”winning” thing.
After Round 3, myself and Max were convinced that White was”teh suck.” Splashing Black may be viable and still decent as you’re able to run Talisman of Dominance and not hurt your blue mana production, which I think could be a huge factor with running Green as I used Talismans for Blue mana a lot. Max and I also determined that there should definitely be three Stifles in the sideboard. They’re so good at stopping Oblivion Stones and at slowing down R/G by countering either a Fetch or helping to kill them by stopping an activation of Baloth that they were counting on to save them. In the mirror they’re needed to stop Temporal Fissure and can in a time where you’re stuck with multiples stop something like a Welding Jar or cycling of a Spellbomb.
My final thoughts on the deck are:
1) It’s broken
2) It’s far too inconsistent
3) It’s a lot more fun than any of those”good” decks that”win,” and that’s what matters… Especially if you can win with it.
Paragon of Vintage
Member of Team Mean-Deck
Vintage World Champion
Awful Type 2 Player