Why Can’t Wizards Make An Evil Bargain Again?

Come on, Wizards… Yawgmoth’s Bargain isn’t broken without Rector. Bring it back.

So I’m online, and I need to grab a quick picture of me on the computer — so I head to Star City’s featured writer archive and get it. When I’m done using my picture, I look up to see all my old articles from January 17th, 2000 on till the present. I decided to take a trip down Memory Lane (after making a left off of Good Times Avenue) and check out some of my old articles.

The first thing that I noticed was that my writing style was quite a bit different than it is today. I was much more personal in my writing, and my articles were shorter, I believe. I was enjoying reading my old articles and thinking about the old day of Star City back when Omeed* was the editor, when I stumbled upon an article by the name of Bargain Banned!** It talked about how non-broken Yawgmoth’s Bargain is and how reliant it was on the other cards in the extremely symbiotic deck.

And this is what brought me to write today’s article. I’m a control player at heart (right now, out of twelve Standard decks that I have put together, eight of them are control), but I remember absolutely loving my Blaze version of the Yawgmoth’s Bargain deck of old. For those of you interested, here’s a list:

4x Phyrexian Tower

2x City of Brass

2x Plains

5x Swamp

4x Remote Farm

4x Peat Bog

2x Skirge Familiar

2x Claws of Gix

4x Renounce

4x Grim Monolith

4x Tooth of Ramos

4x Academy Rector

4x Voltaic Key

4x Dark Ritual

3x Yawgmoth’s Bargain

1x Heart of Ramos

2x Yawgmoth’s Will

1x Blaze

4x Vampiric Tutor

And yes, there was a time when decks had less than 24 lands in them.

I loved this deck. But why do I love it, if I’m a control player at heart? Because this deck was so intricately designed that only the most perfect plays could steer it to flawless victory. Sure I could carelessly discard cards to the Skirge Familiar, but what made the deck exciting to me was to see how efficient I could be. How often could I squeeze an extra mana out of a Grim Monolith? How long could I go without Renouncing or casting Yawgmoth’s Will? I loved the challenge of playing a flawless game, and through laborious practice, I was able to overcome that challenge.

And, the other reason that I loved the deck was that it wasn’t broken. It could be defeated, and not everyone loved it. A lot of people just found it too boring to play, and it was actually not as ubiquitous as a lot of people thought it was. Therefore, I didn’t feel like a TOTAL rat playing it — more like a white mouse.

So, what’s the whole point here? Basically, I miss Bargain. I miss a deck that I could almost always win with (let’s face it, it was just that good), but that could also be beaten by a competent player with a good deck. I miss adding huge amounts of mana to my pool at one time. I miss the thrill of almost losing but peeling a Renounce off the top to just barely save my life. But the fact is that this deck can never be played again. Yawgmoth’s Bargain is banned in Extended, and it has rotated out of Standard.

But why, oh why could they not have reprinted Yawgmoth’s Bargain? Ever since it rotated out of Standard, I had been hoping that they’d bring back the Bargain in Seventh Edition.”You’re crazy!” you say, but I’m not. What broke Yawgmoth’s Bargain? Academy Rector. For those of you newer to the game, I’ll explain.

Academy Rector was a 1/2 creature for 3W that, when sent to the graveyard, would allow you to put an enchantment from your library directly into play. Here’s the scenario. Turn one, Swamp. Turn two Plains, Dark Ritual, Academy Rector. Turn three, Phyrexian Tower, sacrifice the Rector, GO GO GO! Or, turn one Remote Farm. Turn two, Peat Bog. Turn three Phyrexian Tower, Academy Rector, GO GO GO! Or turn three Rector, turn four Renounce/Claws of Gix, GO GO GO! There were just so many good, helpful ways to get the rector into the graveyard. And, if you were stalling out on ways to get it into the graveyard, the Rector acted as a deterrent to any attacking creature.”If you attack with a 1/1, I’ll block it, and it will die. If you attack with anything with a power higher than 1, I’ll block it, and YOU will die.” Bargain decks centered around Academy Rector.

And that, my dear Watson, is exactly why I think that Yawgmoth’s Bargain should have been reprinted. Without the Rector in today’s environment, Bargain wouldn’t be broken. Also, it appears that Dark Ritual might go the way of the dodo unless Odyssey saves it, so it would be even harder to get the 6cc enchantment into play. And, with so many fearsome enchantments in the environment (Saproling Burst, Parallax Wave, Fires of Yavimaya, a Rising Waters or two, and Pernicious Deed on the horizon), there’s already plenty of enchantment removal being used.

I believe that Yawgmoth’s Bargain should be in today’s Standard environment, if not in place of Phyrexian Arena, then in supplement to it. Phyrexian Arena can’t come close to the re-usable, instantaneous power of Yawgmoth’s Bargain. And, if Bargain were reprinted, it might not even be played for its high casting cost and severe life demand. I would just like to see it. For, if it were printed, it would mean that R&D would have ceased its tunnel-vision of CREATING an environment and broaden its horizons to USING that environment.

Now, say that my idea had been followed and Bargain were printed. What if it”backfired” and someone broke the card again? Well, although I don’t like combo decks running the field, like I mentioned earlier, I believe that Bargain was not an unstoppable combo deck. And even if a bona fide combo deck were created, nothing rallies the Magic community together like an evil combo deck on which to collect and direct its forces.

Well, either way, Bargain wasn’t reprinted — and because of Wizards reprint policy, it will never see the light of day again. I guess I’ll just have to content myself with memories until the next almost-broken combo deck that requires intricate precision comes along.

…C’mooooon, Odyssey!…

Daniel Crane

[email protected]

* – If your initial reaction to this was”Omeed who?” quickly, go here before it’s too late (after you’re finished reading my article)!!

** – NB: This article title was only used to attract attention. Yawgmoth’s Bargain was never banned.