Who Wants To Be A Type II Player?

First of all, let me apologize to everyone for my rapidly published articles on this site. I just can’t stop writing about Magical cards. (Was that used correctly? I’d better check the dictionary.) Of course, I haven’t received one piece of mail regarding my writing on this site, so I imagine that I’m not offending…

First of all, let me apologize to everyone for my rapidly published articles on this site. I just can’t stop writing about Magical cards. (Was that used correctly? I’d better check the dictionary.) Of course, I haven’t received one piece of mail regarding my writing on this site, so I imagine that I’m not offending anyone. We’ll see how Extended players feel after this article. 😉

Now, on to the meat. I’d like to thank Omeed Dariani for giving me the idea for this article. His fervent belief in the life-to-be of Type II is no doubt shared by most, including me. I wish his petition godspeed, and I encourage everyone who reads this or that to sign it. But what is Type II? Why does Omeed like it so much? Well, you always have me to fall on when asking questions such as these!Extended is an environment that doesn’t change much. One example is Necropotence. Necro decks will be around in Extended for as long as Necropotence is still legal in that format. Extended is a very unchanging environment. Sure, it gets just as many new cards as Standard, but rarely (once, to my knowledge) do cards ever LEAVE Extended. Thus, the card pool keeps growing and growing. Since the normal Magic player has an affinity with 60-card decks, the slots a deck can have are limited. Once they’re filled, they’re not likely to be replaced, especially now that Wizards is trying to balance out the environment. Can you name one artifact that would replace Cursed Scroll in Sligh or Stampy? There’s even a decktype named CURSED Stampy after Cursed Scroll. This stagnation in Extended leaves the same decks played over and over with the same conclusions. What does all this amount to? A fun factor of two on the Funness Scale.

Now, let’s look at the other side of the tournament scene. Standard (even though it’s FAR from that!) is a much more varied type of Magic. Why, I remember the day when every weenie deck had Cursed Scroll and Overrun was a kill card in my green deck. But now, those cards have left us, and Standard players have evolved. The constantly changing card pool creates new, creative deck ideas that are much more fun to play, but the Funness Factor of Standard doesn’t take away from it since being competitive and fun can be one and the same in Type II. (Bargain, of course, is exempt from this example.) Another way Standard is varied is the way that sets are rotated in and out. In Extended, a whole lot of sets were just dumped. However, in Standard, things are done a lot more gradually. Cards are introduced 143 (or 350) at a time, and after three new sets, a rotation is dropped and a new rotation begun. The "new" expansion set in the previous environment is now the "old" set and new cards are brought in to complement their older companions. This allows (and almost forces) new cards to be used in new ways.

Earlier, I mentioned banned/extended lists. According to the most recent rules page on Wizards.com, the following cards are banned in Standard:

Time Spiral
Tolarian Academy

Now, lets take a look at the Extended Banned List:

Dream Halls
Lotus Petal
Mana Crypt
Mind Over Matter
Time Spiral
Tolarian Academy
Yawgmoth’s Bargain
Yawgmoth’s Will
Zuran Orb

Quite a few more than three, eh? There are even a few cards on there that are legal in Standard, namely Yawmoths Bargain and Yawgmoths Will. Why are these cards banned in Extended, especially the two that are legal in Standard? Because, when coupled with the massive card pool of Extended, those cards are much too powerful. In Standard, Bargain is a strong, yet beatable card. However, in Extended, the card pool is so over-extensive that it had to be banned because it was broken with the cards available. The case is a similar one for Yawgmoths Will. Also, I heard that when Dream Halls came out, it was considered to be the worst card (well, excluding vanilla creatures, etc) in Stronghold. And now it’s BANNED in Extended? That just goes to show you that the card choices in Extended are far too varied to make a fun environment.

Now that we’ve established why Standard is more fun than Extended, how can this have an even greater effect on the game we all know and love. Like thus. Is a player more likely to be pleasant if he’s having fun or worrying about winning? Is he more likely to be pleasant if he’s proud of his experimental deck or if he has stayed up past two every morning for the past week perfecting his deck to the metagame? The answers to both these questions is the former, and they both apply to Standard. When one’s having fun, he’s much more likely to be a pleasant opponent. Similarly, if you’re going to lose, wouldn’t you rather lose to an ingenious creature battle with swift enchantment footwork than to watching your opponent go off for twenty minutes and Stroke you for 100 (or more, depending on which of the many decks that use Stroke of Genius to kill you is used). The first one, of course, and, once again, it applies to Type II.

And now, about decks. In Extended, you can build a boring deck and win. Or, if you’re in the game for fun, you can try to build an interesting deck that might have the chance to win. However, combining those two attributes into a deck can be hard, and with the overwhelming card pool in Extended, exceedingly difficult. And, saying that you DO come up with an original deck, if you only give it a year or so, it’ll still be the same deck (because the new cards just don’t fit, and you’re still metagaming against the same Extended archetypes), and it will no longer be as fun as you thought it would be. I wonder how fun Necro was when it first came out. Tide? Sligh? However, in Standard, it is much easier to build a fun and competitive deck. There are always new ideas waiting to happen, and you’re not always playing against the same decks, so different cards can fit into slots as the deck evolves. Overall, it’s just plain EASIER to make decks in Standard than Extended.

There are several other ways in which Standard is superior to Extended, but for now, this will do. I hope that I’ve given a new spark to the love of Type II that Standard players have or that I’ve shown the light to Extended players. Or, perhaps I’ve enlightened some newbies into the ways of Magic, and I’ve persuaded them to join the Standard players. (Notice how they’re always on my mind and I can tie any subject to them? ;-)) In any case, that’s my story about Standard and I’m sticking with it.

Let’s all try to make Standard just that: a little more standard.

Daniel Crane
[email protected]